Road Trip Camcorder Tips
By the Editors at RoadsideAmerica.com
6) The Steady-Sock Technique
We have always admired the smooth, moving shots cinematographers produce with the Steadicam. This technology minimizes bumps, jolts, and vibrations as a camera moves to follow a subject.
If you've ever seen a real Steadicam, the rig is relatively heavy, involves a body harness with counter-weights, and takes about 20 minutes to don, balance, and calibrate. Not practical for on-the-go road trip shooting...
We couldn't imagine why it was so tricky to make a moving camera shot steady. So, to achieve our own rapid, no-budget Steadicam effect, we used an old sweat sock, two rubber bands, and an RCA Small Wonder camera. We made sure the sock had a hole in the center which would align with the camera's lens. The rubber bands firmly secured the camcorder.
The flexible fibers of the sweat sock were supposed to provide enough "give" to smooth out the movement over rough ground. We tried the Steady-Sock on a gravel road, dangling from the driver's side window as we approached Truckhenge.
The elastic sock, surprisingly, increased the jiggle and vertical wobbling. Perhaps this could be remedied by first loading it with gravel or mud.
No time for that on this trip, but we're holding on to our faithful sock for future experimentation!
Not all of our suggestions may be appropriate for your videos, and may just seem moronic -- especially the whole sock thing. But we hope we've at least helped spark some ideas for your next tiny epic.
All it takes is a small digital camcorder, a little creativity -- and two rubber bands.