If you pay attention to the cinematography in any film, you’ll notice that only a handful of camera movements are commonly used. They’re often combined together for more complex results, but most movements can be categorized as pan, tilt, dolly, track, or pedestal. Zooming is often lumped in with those, but the camera isn’t actually moved when you zoom. Dolly, track, and pedestal movements usually require expensive equipment, but YouTuber Isaac879 has a video explaining how you can 3D print your own motorized mount for pan and tilt movements.
When you’re talking about camera movement, “pan” means the camera is rotated on the vertical axis as you scan along a horizontal line. “Tilt” is exactly what it sounds like, and means the camera is tilted forward or backward. Combining those two will give you the ability to capture a lot of really cool shots. As Isaac’s project proves, you can build a relatively compact mount that will provide motorized pan and tilt movements. You can control those movements using a computer connected to the mount via USB, or optionally via Bluetooth with something like an Xbox One controller. Thanks to microstepping, you can achieve very precise and smooth movement.
Isaac designed this mount for his Canon EOS 250D (also called the Rebel SL3), but it should work with most modern DLSR cameras. The movement is driven by a pair of NEMA 17 stepper motors, which are controlled by an Arduino Nano board via A4988 stepper driver boards. Hall effect sensors are used to home each axis when necessary. Power can come from either a DC power supply or a LiPo battery. If you want to connect an Xbox One controller you’ll need a JDY-31 Bluetooth module.
Almost all of the mechanical components are designed to be 3D-printed, but you will need bearings to ensure each axis rotates as smoothly as possible. If you want an affordable motorized pan and tilt mount, you should definitely consider Isaac’s design.