Building a DIY Ronin Trinity Steadicam

Have you ever wanted something so badly, but then you saw the price tag you nearly sh*t yourself?  I have. That’s how I felt the first time I saw the ARRI Trinity.

The ARRI Trinity is an absolutely amazing testament to quality and precision. Its release was revolutionary and it transformed the way movies are made. But with its $65,000 cost, it’s probably a little too expensive for most of us.

Lots of camera stabilizer supports seem way overpriced too. Though they might smooth out our shots and save our backs, $3-16k is still a bit just too much of an investment to justify.

If you’re a DJI RS 2 owner, the Tilta Float is a great option at just about $1,200. However, who knows when that will finally be in stock, and it’s also a little more than the frugal filmmaker might want to fork over.

So, for those of us who prefer to build it ourselves, those who are incredibly cheap, or both, check out this nifty DIY project by Bestboy Adam!

After using everything from the Ronin 1, Ronin 2 Pro, Ronin S, and the RS 2, Adam was looking to save his back. You see, gimbal shots might look smooth and easy, but operators have to support their rigs with their arms (and backs) for hours on end.

If you’re filming live events, commercials, or short films, you’re going to be in a lot of pain by the end of the day. And on top of the discomfort, you’re always going to have some amount of stepping motion in your footage no matter how much you practice to eliminate it.

Tons of support systems exist online to help you handle the weight of your gimbal, but most of them are for two-handed systems and they’re generally cost-prohibitive ranging up to around $16,000, which is a lot for an accessory for the $1,200 DJI  RS 2.

So after Adam ran across a review of the ARRI Trinity by PotatoJet (we wrote a post about it too, check it out here: Meet ARRI Trinity – the World’s Most Advanced Stabilizer), and after discovering how awesome the $65,000 stabilizer could be he knew he had to have something like it.

Fortunately, Tilta announced The Float, which is an RS 2 accessory for $1,200 and is functionally identical to the Trinity, but since no one really knows when they’ll actually be able to get one (Tilta isn’t known for getting products to the shelves quickly) Adam decided to make one himself.

This isn’t that complicated since there are many Steadicam systems that are available at a low cost on eBay, but ever the frugal filmmaker, Adam wanted to make it for as little as possible.

Firstly, he got a used Glidecam sled for $150 (Glidecam Davin Graham). Then, he picked up an inexpensive “Stabifly Light” vest with an arm ($250), added extra springs to allow it to support his full rig ($10), and he was ready to go.

Well… that isn’t actually true he also needed the DJI Expansion Base Kit ($499), Ronin 2 Dual TB50 battery mount ($339), and several other items.

This build has a total of $1,309 (not including some items).

With a little bit of rigging, removing the Glidecam post and putting it on the bottom to mount the TB50 battery mount so it can move in every direction, putting the Expansion Base on the top, and coiling the power cable around the pole, the rig is finally good to go.

Armed with a complete DIY RS 2 Trinity, Adam can shoot for hours and get footage like never before.

He doesn’t need to walk backward to film a tracking shot, the camera can fly through a car window seamlessly, and his every motion is counteracted by a really cool, self-made camera support project.

There is only one issue, the cost.

DIYing

The big takeaway here is that you can build almost anything on your own as long as you are willing to put the time in to create it. However, with a cost of around $1,309 and the time it took to think it through, purchase the components, etc, Adam spent more money than the cost of a Tilta Float system, which is sure to be all the rage when it arrives.

This is a fantastic build, and it was a lot more affordable for Adam because he previously owned some of the more expensive parts, but for the rest of us, it might be best to wait for a complete system like the Float or a more affordable competitor which is surely under development.

[source: Bestboy Adam]

Order Links:

  • DJI RS 2 Gimbal Stabilizer (B&H, Amazon)
  • Tilta Float Handheld Gimbal Support System for DJI RS 2 (B&H)

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