This Slypod-Like Camera Slider Captures Great Inverted Radial Shots

You can build your own camera slider if you have the tech and fabrication skills. This Slypod-inspired project is one example of that.

Cameron Coward
3 months agoPhotos & Video / Robotics

A lot goes into making a good video, and a major factor is smooth camera movement. The handheld camcorder aesthetic might work for found footage movies about ghosts with suspiciously good dramatic timing, but it probably won’t work well for your YouTube channel. The most common solution is to use a motorized camera slider system, but those can be very expensive. Fortunately you can build your own camera slider if you have the tech and fabrication skills. This fantastic project inspired by the MOZA Slypod is one example of that.

The Slypod is a very unique combination of a slider and monopod. It has the ability to extend the camera and rotate it at the same time, and can facilitate some pretty amazing shots. But it also costs roughly $500, which makes it a substantial investment. This DIY setup is far more affordable, and just as good—even better in some regards. This version has many custom metal parts that were welded together, but clever makers can find a way around that. Most of the other parts are 3D-printed. The finished setup does a lot more than just slide. It is capable of taking “inverted radial” shots, in which the camera moves in a circle around a foreground object while maintaining a consistent distance from it.

An inverted radial shot requires a minimum of three movement axes: one to rotate an arm, one to extend or retract that arm, and one to rotate the camera mounted at the end of the arm. Each of those axes is actuated by a stepper motor. Those motors are controlled by an Arduino-compatible Microchip ATmega328P through A4988 stepper drivers. An 18V DeWalt power tool battery provides power through an adapter and voltage regulator. Specific motor movement sequences can be pre-programmed, or performed manually with a custom controller. A little bit of math is necessary to retain a consistent distance from the foreground subject, but the results are well worth the effort.

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