Camera Jib Arm

Jib-arm animation

2002-05-25: Here is a paper model of a camera boom or jib arm, made with folded pieces of note cards and a few sewing pins. The camera would go where the white plastic pulley is. Note how the two parallel arms keep the camera platform level. I used a bolt for a counterweight. -jpb

Jib-Dolly   swivel   dolly base   head 1   head 2  

2002-06-03: Here is a working version of the jib with my VX2000 camera and Bogen 3130 head mounted on it. The counterweight is a weightlifting disc. The jib arm is two 4' pieces of 1" square aluminum tubing bolted together in the middle, and the rest is aluminum angle stock and some wood from the hardware store.  The rotating base is made from a 12-inch "lazy susan" bearing. It is sitting on a rolling spreader base of 1-1/4" Al tubing and wood pieces, which uses rollerblade wheels running on a track of PVC pipe. The whole thing enables the camera to move quite smoothly back and forth, up and down, and around.

This took four days to assemble using a cordless drill and some hand tools. It really helps to make accurate holes if you use a drill press instead. Given the amount of work involved, the various small jibs sold commercially aren't such a bad deal.

Safety note: most people are not used to having obstructions about head level, and if you use the jib much it's not a question of "if", but "when" someone will hit or get hit by the jib arm, the camera head or the counterweight. It's a very good idea to make sure it has no sharp edges- some padding would be better- and bright colors would be useful also. Always make sure the other end is resting on something before removing the camera or the counterweight.

This design is not original; I copied parts of it from what I found on these web pages:  small commercial jib and dolly system (no plans, but just looking at the photos gave me ideas)
Ron Dexter's page  photos of do-it-yourself skateboard-wheel dolly ideas
Paul Turner's boom  made from a parking sign
homebuiltstabilizers  has many impressive cranes, dollies, and stabilizers
Skateboard Dolly  (original page gone, this is an mirror)

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