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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The MiniDV Stabilizer is Back With an Upgraded Deal

Our Christmas elves have been hard at work with a special holiday upgrade. Adding a new head plate to our MiniDV Stabilizer to make balancing the camera stabilizer quick and easy.  Featuring 15 camera mounting holes and front-to-back and side-to-side sliding adjustment.  The change also adds support for cameras all the way down to just 11oz, making it more versatile than ever.

Start shooting the super smooth footage you always wanted. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Continuum - Part 1 (Dir. by Ben Hughes)

Long time customer Ben Hughes of Ben Hughes Studios just dropped Part 1 of his suspenseful, thrilling feature length film. Check it out!
 
 

Friday, November 29, 2013

2013 Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sales Event!

Black Friday is officially here and so are the deals. Bringing you some of the biggest discounts on our camera stabilizers this year. Shop now at http://www.BalvanzEnterprises.com/

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Machining Camera Stabilizer Head Plates, One Hole at a Time.

Camera Stabilizer Head Plates hand crafted from raw material to finished product.  Follow along as we build just one head plate


Whether you're interested in building your own DIY camera stabilizer, or just enjoy seeing the process behind the product, follow along the hand crafted journey as we go from raw material to finished product.
 



27 holes are hand drilled in the camera stabilizer head plate with the help of a laser guided drill press

The process begins with the top plate of the camera stabilizer head.  A paper template is glued on to the surface, then 27 holes are hand drilled with the help of a laser guided drill press. If the head plate is intended for use with our Specter Stabilizer, the holes are also counter-sunk.



Alignment test of the camera stabilizer mounting holes, showing the high precision machining
7 years and an estimated 100,000+ holes drilled by none other than the owner himself, precision can be seen in the alignment test.



Slots are machined in the middle plate of the camera stabilizer head plate to allow for camera adjustment




Moving on to the middle plate, slots are machined with the help of our manual 3-axis mill.  These slots allow for the front-to-back adjustment of the camera.



Screw mounting holes are drilled in the middle plate of the camera stabilizer head plate
Holes are drilled for the mounting screws that connect the middle and bottom plates. 



Screw holes are counter-sunk on the middle plate of the camera stabilizer head plate
Then counter-sunk on the drill press.



Side holes are drilled on the camera stabilizer head plate to allow mounting inertial dampers for more stability while flying








 1/4"-20 mounting holes are drilled in the sides of the plate, allowing users to attach our inertial dampers for added stability. 



Mounting holes are threaded on the camera stabilizer head plate with the help of a 3-axis mill







With the help of the 3-axis mill for alignment, the holes are hand threaded to prevent damaging the threads.




Cut lines are marked on the middle plate of the camera stabilizer head plate
 A custom metal template is used to mark the cut lines for the next step.



Using a scroll saw to cut the final shape of the camera stabilizer head plate









Once marked, the final shape is cut via the scroll saw.



Using a metal template to mark the bottom plate of the camera stabilizer head plate.




Another custom metal template is used to mark the bottom plate on a longer strip of material, then cut to length using the scroll saw.



Slots are machined in the bottom plate of the camera stabilizer head plate using a 3-axis mill.  These slots allow for side to side camera adjustment
Slots are then machined using the 3-axis mill.  These slots allow for the side-to-side adjustment of the camera.





The mounting hole is drilled and counter-sunk on the bottom plate of the camera stabilizer head plate
The mounting hole is drilled and counter-sunk in the plate, allowing it to attach to the main tube of the camera stabilizer.



Camera stabilizer head plate parts after machining, prior to sandingWith machining done, the parts are ready for sanding.



Two finishes are performed on the camera stabilizer head plate, matte and gloss.  Requiring two grits of sandpaper for matte, and six for gloss.
A majority of the sanding is done by hand. The matte finish on the left is used for our MiniDV Stabilizer Pro V2 and requires two grits of sandpaper to complete.  The more time consuming gloss finish is used on our Specter Stabilizer and requires six different grits going all the way up to 2000 grit paper.  The gloss finish can take up to several hours to complete.   
Mounting hardware is added and the camera stabilizer head plates are finished.
Once sanding is done, mounting hardware is added, and the camera stabilizer head plates are complete.
Machining required
32 holes drilled
4 slots milled
6 holes threaded


Learn more about the MiniDV Stabilizer Pro V2 and Specter Stabilizer at the links below:


MiniDV Stabilizer Pro V2 - Camera Stabilizer
Specter Stabilizer - Camera Stabilizer

Sunday, October 20, 2013

New music video sent to us by: Ted Cole

We would like to thank Ted Cole for sending us his most recent music video filmed with a Canon T3i and our MiniDV Stabilizer.
  

You can learn more about the MiniDV Stabilizer at the link below:

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Music video filmed with our Specter Stabilizer

We would like to give a special thanks to Christopher Jared Cotton from Cotton Films for sending us one of his latest projects.  He filmed the following music video using only our Specter Stabilizer, a Canon EOS 6D with Canon 24-105 f4l lens and a reflector.  Overall amazing results, keep it up Cotton!


If you're in the market for a camera stabilizer and want to learn more about our Specter Stabilizer, check out the link below:
http://www.balvanzenterprises.com/SpecterStabilizer.html

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

3-Axis Camera Stabilizer Gimbal

Over the course of several hours thirty four different parts come together to produce just one of the high precision 3-axis camera stabilizer gimbals found in our Specter Stabilizer
 For precise alignment of the mounting holes, the middle layer of the gimbal starts out as a square.   Once the holes are drilled and threaded the corners are cut off prior to final rounding(Shown on right).

Designed with three layers that are machined together for a perfect fit, lighter weight, and calibration adjustment for perfect balance.

It takes over seventy different parts to assemble just one of our Specter Stabilizers, seventeen of which are custom machined with tolerances of just a few thousandth of an inch. Here’s a close up look at just two of those custom parts found in the 3-axis gimbal.

With high precision ultra low friction surfaces, the new fully ceramic main bearing will give you the super smooth footage you need.  With a bearing that retails just under some of our competitors products, we're confident you won't be disappointed.
Learn more about the Specter Stabilizer at: http://www.balvanzenterprises.com/SpecterStabilizer.html

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Specter Stabilizer is back and it's better than ever!



The Specter Camera Stabilizer

 

 

Its back and better than ever!

Only $349.95

Buy Now 

 

 

 
Ceramic Camera Stabilizer Gimbal Bearing

New! - High Precision Low Friction Ceramic Main Bearing
 

Not all bearings are created equal. Some only strive to meet the industry standard, we strive to advance the standard. With high precision ultra low friction surfaces, the new fully ceramic main bearing will give you the super smooth footage you need. With a bearing that retails just under some of our competitors products, we're confident you won't be disappointed.

 

 

 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

MiniDV Stabilizer Pro V2 Camera Stabilizer Tutorial - Canon T3i DSLR

Setup Tutorial for the MiniDV Stabilizer Pro V2 Camera Stabilizer

The Canon T3i was used for example purposes, but the instructions apply to any camera both DSLR and Camcorder format within the 1.25-4.25pound weight range of the camera stabilizer.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day Sales

Have your eye on our MiniDV Stabilizer Pro V2? 

Now is a great time to take the plunge.

Bring your videos up to a whole new level at a great low price. Right now for the very first time our MiniDV Stabilizer Pro V2 is on sale for only $179.96! Adding that beautifully smooth footage to your next video might just land you that big bonus you've been hoping for. 

Learn More

http://www.balvanzenterprises.com/MiniDVStabilizerPro.html 

Offer Ends 8th of Sep 2013

Impress your customers with a more professional look.

Showing up with gear all safely stored in our Hard Shell Case vs that old duffel bag you have laying around shows your customers you care about what you do. Upgrade now without breaking the bank. Take 30% OFF the regular price of our Hard Shell Case 

Learn More 

http://www.balvanzenterprises.com/HardShellCase.htmll


Offer Ends 4th sep 2013.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Labor Day Sales

Looking professional doesn't have to break the bank.  Take 30% off our Hard Shell Case over labor day!  Was $̶4̶9̶.̶9̶5̶ now only $34.96 You save $14.99!

Order today!

Offer ends Sep 4 2013

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

July Customer Video Submission

Bringing us some super smooth footage from his maiden flight with our MiniDV Stabilizer Pro V2.  We want to give a big shout out to DongTZ on YouTube.

Filmed with a Canon t2i with a tokina 11-16mm lens.

Want to learn more about the MiniDV Stabilizer Pro V2?  Check out the link below:
http://www.BalvanzEnterprises.com/MiniDVStabilizerPro.html

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

MiniDV Stabilizer Pro V2 Demo Video

The newly designed MiniDV Stabilier Pro V2, based exclusively on customer feedback, adds the smooth, professional footage to your video projects that you've always wanted.  Check out the demo footage below.




Learn more at: MiniDV Stabilizer Pro V2

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

June Customer Video Submissions

JAY R DA STAR OFFICIAL VIDEO 


Filmed with a CanonT3i/50mm lens and the MiniDV Stabilizer Pro
Submitted by: TJ Parker

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

New and Improved MiniDV Stabilizer Pro V2!


We are excited to share with you the new and improved version of our MiniDV Stabilizer Pro.  The MiniDV Stabilizer Pro V2 is based exclusively on the countless years of customer feedback we received.  Bringing you exactly what customers in the field need at a great price.  Designed with DSLR's in mind we've pushed the limits of the original.














We added teflon sealed side bearings for ultra smooth gimbal movement.

The upgraded head plate combines the power of the off-set with the ease of slot based adjustments.  Pushing the limits with 25 1/4"-20 mounting holes you'll be hard pressed to find a camera that can't be balanced.



With DSLR users we found using multiple lenses was popular, so we set up the unit with a whopping 1-1/2" of sliding travel to reduce the need to switch camera mounting holes when swapping lenses.

We added the popular extendable main tube to make vertical balance faster.  Another benefit for DSLR users when switching lenses.  This change also pushes the camera weight rating to 1.25-4.25pounds giving DSLR users more room to upgrade their camera with lights, lenses, mics and more


Durable Powder Coat Paint

We've had many issues with the old paint, so we decided it was time to move on.  We upgraded to an ultra durable gloss black powder coat paint to give you years of service and still look good.


Check it out at:







Monday, May 13, 2013

Deluxe Camera Stabilizer Combo - Limited time offer!

Bringing together some of our most popular products at a great low price. For a limited time only get this great camera stabilizer combo for only $190.  Stable rolling and flying video is just a few clicks away!http://balvanzenterprises.com/SpecialCombo.html

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Upgrade your MiniDV Stabilizer Pro Purchase!

Upgrade to an extendable main to on your MiniDV Stabilizer Pro Camera Stabilizer Purchase
MiniDV Stabilizer Pro Camera Stabilizer shown with extendable main tube





Available for a limited time only, you can now upgrade your MiniDV Stabilizer Pro purchase to include a 7-12" extendable main tube for only $20 more.







 

MiniDV Stabilizer Pro Camera Stabilizer with 3" extension and Extendable Main Tube

 

Benefits

  • With the help of the 3" extension kit included with the MiniDV Stabilizer Pro, the extendable tube increases the maximum camera weight support to 4.25 pounds.
  • Fine tuning vertical balance is as simple as adjusting the length of the extendable tube.
  • Thanks to the more adjustable alignment of the components, it also reduces the pressure on the main bearings, reducing friction on the panning rotation a stunning amount, giving you super smooth flying.






 Offer valid on new MiniDV Stabilizer Pro purchase only.  Offer subject to change

Thursday, April 18, 2013

DIY Camera Stabilizer Build - The Camera Stabilizer Main Tube

Working our way up the camera stabilizer from the base plate, we come to the main tube.  The piece that connects everything together plays another important role.  The length of the main tube above and below the gimbal affects the vertical balance of the camera stabilizer (top to bottom).  The goal in the long run is to adjust the vertical balance so the center of gravity is just below the gimbal, so depending on the design, making adjustments to the main tube may be necessary.

The basic concept is the longer you make the tube below the gimbal, the more camera weight the stabilizer will support.  Stabilizers designed for ultra light cameras may benefit from a longer tube above the gimbal depending on the design.   The million dollar question of course is how long do I make it?

There of course is a whole bunch of math that you could run based on weights and measurements, but it's far easier to just experiment.  A simple starting point is the 1to1 ratio, If you have tubes the same length above and below the gimbal, it will require just over 1 pound of counter-weight to balance a 1 pound camera.  There are some design options that can come in to play to make life a little easier, like an extendable tube, or a moveable gimbal.  With the help of one or more of these options, you simply need to hit the ballpark rather then really fine tuning the lengths.  We'll cover the extendable main tube below, and the moveable gimbal in the next section.


 

Materials

Camera Stabilizer Main Tube Material Options
Recommended:
  • Aluminum
  • Carbon Fiber
  • Thin walled steel

Because the weight of the main tube has little affect on the inertia of the unit due to its close proximity to the gimbal (we covered this concept a bit in the Camera Stabilizer Base Plate Post), we recommend keeping it as light as possible.  Strength is also a factor as it must be able to support the full weight of your camera stabilizer, so we don't typically recommend plastic for this task unless you're working on a stabilizer for an ultra light camera.  Aluminum is a great option for low to mid level budgets, consider looking at carbon fiber if you've got plenty of cash to spend, and if your DIY project is on a shoe string budget, thin walled steel tubing works just fine for most projects.


Design Options

There are actually several ways you can design the tube, or tubes for your DIY camera stabilizer, just keep in mind that length is important.

 
Camera Stabilizer Main Tube Design Options

Fixed length tubes

Fixed Length Camera Stabilizer Main Tubes The example main tubes shown on the left are from our DIY-Garage.  It's a simple thin walled steel tube with threaded plugs in each end.  If you can't find plugs that fit, in many cases a cap that fits over the tube may also work.

The 12" tube or similar could be used in a single tube design with a moveable gimbal.  Or you can mix and match lengths for a dual tube split design. 

One of the drawbacks of using a fixed length tube without a moveable gimbal is it relies on careful adjustment of the counter-weights to fine tune the vertical balance.


Extendable Tubes

Extendable Camera Stabilizer Main Tubes
The image on the left shows some of the variations in length you can achieve with an extendable tube.  The extendable main tubes pictured are currently available in our DIY-Garage.

There are two key benefits of an adjustable tube:
  1. It allows the vertical balance to be changed by simply adjusting the length of the tube.
  2. Greater camera weight support range can be achieved.
Finding tubes that both fit well inside each other and a clamp can be tricky, so building these from scratch may be out of reach for the novice DIY'er.


<< Part 1 - The Stabilizer Base Plate | Part 3 - The Camera Stabilizer Gimbal
--Coming soon--

Saturday, March 30, 2013

DIY Camera Stabilizer Build - The Stabilizer Base Plate


DIY camera stabilizer base plate
You're probably asking yourself why we chose to start off our DIY stabilizer build series with a part that seems so simple.  Just strap on a plate with some weights and move on right?  This is a part that regularly gets neglected, both in DIY rigs and Commercial stabilizers as well.  The base plate actually serves several key functions, so in the quest for a more stable rig spending some time on the design of your base plate is well worth it.
  1. Its the mounting point for your Counter-Weights
  2. If designed it can be used as a stand for smaller rigs
  3. It controls the inertia of the stabilizer - Key factor

 

Material

DIY Camera Stabilizer Material OptionsAnything from wood to plastic to metal works as long as it's strong enough.  It needs to be able to support the counter-weights, and if you plan on using it as a stand keep the stabilizer upright.  We prefer to use ABS plastic sheet because it's both strong and light weight.  If you go with a 3/8" thick sheet like we offer in our DIY-Garage it gives you the ability to counter-sink screws in the plate giving you a smooth bottom, so no need for those stick on feet that always fall off.  Simple hand tools work with most plastics so its a great option for the DIY crowd. If you have access to more advanced tools a thinner aluminum sheet is great.  Keep in mind that the weight of the base plate factors in as counter-weighting, which can be a problem if you have a fixed main tube height design(we'll cover this later on).

Design

Unless you're trying to mount an LCD screen or other gear to the base of the stabilizer we recommend your design have a symmetrical shape, doing so will make balancing your rig easier in the long run. 

DIY Camera Stabilizer Base Plate Weight Inertia
One of the key factors that comes in to play with the stabilizer base plate is its control on the inertia of the unit.  In basic physics terms, the farther out you place the weight, the harder it will be to turn the stabilizer(or the wind to turn it for that matter).  With that in mind, there are a few key things to take away.  The first is the fact that placing any weight directly below the main tube will have the least impact on the panning inertia, so a base plate design that narrows in the middle allows you to place more of the weight out at the ends, improving stability while keeping the stabilizers weight the same.

The next thing to ask yourself is how far out should I go?  This is a tricky thing to answer because it really comes down to personal preference, and how, and what you plan to film.

  1. If you're the type to film those slow walks in the park, the farther the better.
  2. If you're looking for fast action shots with quick pans, pull the weight closer to the main tube.
  3. If you're looking to do a little of both, consider making it adjustable.
Multiple DIY Camera Stabilizer Base Plate Designs
Option 3 is designed to give you the best of both worlds, but comes at the expense of a more difficult design.   The easiest way to handle this is to simply have multiple mounting posts for the counter-weights.  Another is to place the mounting bolts in slots, but this can lead to difficulty balancing.  The last option is to make the base plate itself extend, taking advantage of the base plates weight as well. 

If you're looking to keep things simple, we've found for smaller handheld rigs selecting a mounting point for your counter-weights that's 3-6inches away from the center of the plate works well.

Tubular design
Tublular DIY Camera Stabilizer Base Plate

I'm going to touch on this briefly because we haven't had time to really extensively test this option.  You'll notice that some of the larger commercial rigs use a tubular design for their base plates.  One of the key reasons is the ability to use lighter materials like carbon fiber, plus its stronger than a similar flat sheet of metal.  There are however a few down sides the DIY'er should consider.  First off it's typically more difficult to mount both to the stabilizer and the counter-weights.  Drilling in to the side of a tube or making a special clamping mount can be a little tricky.  The other is shy of an +, H or X configuration or some special mounts it typically can't be used as a stand for the stabilizer.  That's not to say it's not worth considering, because like we covered in the previous section, the farther out you can place the weight from center, the more it affects inertia. 

For the basis of this series we're going to assume you're looking for something more than just a few pieces of PVC pipe glued together, otherwise why would you have read this whole thing?


Thursday, March 28, 2013

DIY Camera Stabilizer - Start Your Build Project Right






Building your own camera stabilizer can be a fun and rewarding project.  If you're up for the challenge the process will teach you the fundamentals of dynamic balance, weight distribution, design, and the precision involved to make it all happen.  This is the start of our multi part series covering as many of the build steps we can.   We've spent years perfecting our stabilizers and now want to share with you some of the knowledge we've gained along the way.






DIY Camera Stabilizer Anatomy




The anatomy of a floating camera stabilizer is fairly standard. How you implement it, however, is up to you. The example shown is broken down to its base components, some of which are simple to build, while others require precision machining.  The good news is you don't have to let equipment limitations stop your DIY project, because we have many of the parts available in our DIY-Garage.