How to Make a Camera Crane / Jib for $30

How to Make a Camera Crane / Jib for $30

– If you like this
video, why not subscribe? (mouse clicks) (film rolls) Hey, everybody, welcome back
to The Frugal Filmmaker, the place where dreams can come true. Now, in the last episode,
I teased everyone, saying that this episode
would feature the number one most requested piece of DIY gear. And as you can tell from the title, it’s a camera crane or a jib. Essentially, a camera
on the end of a pole. It allows you to get
swooping, up-and-down shots, low-angle shots, high-angle
shots, all kinds of things. But they’re expensive, so, people ask me to build one inexpensively. Now, the criteria that
I had for this build was it had to be under $30,
it had to be transportable, and it had to be made
from off-the-shelf parts. And this is what I came up. (stately classical music) Now, I must add a disclaimer
here, saying that the $30 does not include the heavy
duty tripod you’ll need, the monitoring system,
or the counter weights. All of those things you can
do in a variety of ways, which I have no control over. But I will show you how I did mine. But the $30 is, essentially,
is the crane itself. Now, that being said,
let’s build the thing. Okay, here’s your parts list. You’ve got a 10-foot piece
of steel chain link top rail. Notice the tapered end. That’s important. You’ve got a group of PVC
parts here, half-inch PVC. There’s a three-inch piece of PVC pipe and a five-inch piece of PVC pipe. You have a T-joint,
you’ve got an elbow joint, you have a pair of plugs,
and you have an end cap. And here’s some quarter-inch bolts, they’re an inch and a half in length. And you’ve got a couple
of nuts to go with them. You’ve got a pair of training wheels here. These are pulleys. They have plastic wheels
and rubber grooved tires. Very important. Here’s a hook and eye turnbuckle. It’s the smallest one you can find. Here’s some 50-pound test line. That’s fishing line. You’ve got a dumbbell
handle with screw collars. You’ve got this piece of steel angle used as our camera platform. You’ve got a three-inch bolt. That’s a 3/8-inch bolt. You’ve got some 3/8-inch nuts. You’ve got a pair of
3/8-inch fender washers. You have a quarter-inch machine screw and a couple of nuts and a
lock washer to go with it. You’ve got a quick plate from your tripod. You’ve got a four-inch, 3/8-inch bolt. You got a pair of 3/8-inch fender washers. You’ve got a regular 3/8-inch washer and a lock washer. And you have four
3/8-inch nuts right here. One, two, three, four. Oh, and I almost forgot. You need a way to screw
your camera to the platform, so here’s a quarter-inch screw with a cool knob attached to it. You need about five or six threads on your quarter-inch screw. Here is another quarter-inch machine screw with a quarter-inch wing nut. That’s about two-and-a-half inches. Okay, here’s your tool list. You’ll need a hand drill, along with an actual, real drill press. You can’t drill through that
steel without a drill press. Here’re some scissors. You have a pair of screwdrivers. Phillips and a flat head. You’ve got two different wrenches here, actually similar in size, a 9/16 and a 14. Then, you’ve got a 7/16 wrench. Also got a pair of PVC ratcheting cutters to cut the PVC with. And we need some way to cut metal. This is a cheap, flimsy hacksaw. I wouldn’t recommend you use this. Use something like a chop saw or a Sawzall or something, but if you
have to use a hacksaw, I feel sorry for ya. (cheerful xylophone music) Okay, when you get your top
rail at the hardware store, have them cut it in half there. Go to your plumbing aisle. They should have a pipe cutter there and they’ll cut the top
rail in half for you. Just makes it a lot easier
than trying to do it at a later date. So, make them do the work. They’ll do it for free. Now, take the end you just
cut off, not the tapered end, and drill a hole two feet
from one of those ends. That’s a 3/16-inch hole right there. Then take your tapered
end, flip it around, and we’ll drill the size
hole one inch from the end. It’s also 3/16. Now flip both ends around. And insert one end into the other, drilling a hole through both pieces. This is how you join your ends together and secure them so they don’t fall apart. Next up, take your dumbbell handle and cut it right in half. This a solid steel bar
inside, so, hopefully, you have something with
some power behind it. Now, take your top rail
with the hole drilled two feet from one end, and take
one of your dumbbell halves and grind down the edge on a sidewalk, and pop it in the end. Now, originally, the idea was
to take the dumbbell handle, insert it into the top rail,
and hit it with a mallet or a hammer to get it to stay, but I actually found if you
took the dumbbell handle and put it into the top rail
and turned it like a screw, it would go right in. Now, this would shave away
a little bit of the padding on the dumbbell handle,
but it works amazingly and it looks like it belongs there. (cheerful music) For your tilt lever
assembly, you’re gonna take one of your training
wheels and drill two holes opposite each other in
the rubber of the tire. Do the same thing with
your half-inch PVC plugs. These are quarter-inch holes. And you’re using them
because you’re gonna use a quarter-inch screw, one
of your quarter-inch screws is an inch and a half long. Assemble it like so. Your quarter-inch nut goes here. Hold it with your finger and tighten it with your Phillips head, if that’s what your screw requires. Then, just insert a flat head
screw driver against the nut so that it stays put. And tighten the thing up. And do the same with the opposite side. Then, you can assemble
your PVC parts like so. The smaller PVC pipe or three-inch pipe will go in the middle of your two joints. And your five-inch piece will
go in the end of your T-joint, like this, as your handle,
and your cap goes on the end to complete the look. There you go. (cheerful xylophone music) Now, here are the parts
for your camera mount. Take your second pulley or training wheel and drill another quarter-inch
hole in the rubber like this. This will allow you to take
your quarter-inch machine screw, inch and a half in length,
and pass it through a lock washer and a fender
washer, and through the pulley. Put a nut on the other end,
and then tighten it up, using your, one of your screw drivers and your 7/16-inch wrench. Now, take your steel angle
and put it over the protruding machine screw and quarter-inch nut. Follow that with a fender washer and another quarter-inch nut. Tighten these down with the
wrench and the screw driver. (metal clanking) This is gonna give you
your camera platform, but I must say that after I did this, I had to take the whole
thing apart and actually bend the steel angle upwards a little bit because the weight of
the camera was causing it to give too much on the rubber,
giving me a crooked shot. So, I had to go back and put
the steel angle in a vise and beat it with a hammer a little bit, so that it would compensate
for the weight of the camera. (cheerful xylophone music) To start your wire
assembly, you’re gonna take your 50-pound test fishing
line and cut off 18 feet of it. Next, you’re gonna take that 18 feet and measure seven inches in from one end. Bend it over and create a loop. Do the same on the other end. Then, take one of those loops
and pass it through the eye of the turnbuckle. Take the opposite loop and
pass it through the first loop. And snug it up tight. And you’re done. Just remember that when you store it, you’re gonna need to wrap it
around a spool of some kind. Otherwise, it’ll tangle easily and you’ll have to do
the whole thing over. It’s not fun. Okay, let’s put some of
these pieces together. First, we’re gonna take our tripod head and tilt it completely downward. I’m gonna put my quick
plate inside of that, which exposes this great 3/8-inch hole that my Bogen 501 head
quick plate comes with. This allows me to pass
through our four-inch bolt. I’ve got mine padded with some
washers and a lock washer. I can just put it through this hole here. And then cover that with a fender washer. 3/8-inch fender washer. And I take the rear section of the pole, with the weight screw collar on one end, put it on like this. And then cover it with
another fender washer. And lock it down with a nut. Now, it’s important to lock
these down pretty tightly because if you’ve got your
holes aligned properly, it’ll only be level if it’s
snug against the quick plate or the fender washer. I’m gonna tighten it
down pretty good here. And then, you’re gonna
put a second nut over that and tighten them against each other. Next, goes on the tilt lever assembly. And you’re gonna put
two more nuts over that to hold it on. Now, it’s important that this
is snug and doesn’t rattle. But not too snug because then
you won’t be able to turn it. Actually, it might be a
good idea to put a washer in between the nuts and the plastic, ’cause the plastic was getting shaved off, I was noticing. Then, tighten both those
nuts against each other when you have it in the right spot. Next, join your two halves together. Line up the holes and pass
your quarter-inch machine screw through both pieces of pipe, and secure it with your wing nut. You don’t need to tighten
this with a screw driver, you can just use your hands
because all you wanna do is keep it from falling apart. (metal rattles) Okay, now, rest your opposite
end on a chair or something, since now you’ve got a
10-foot pole to deal with. And pass your three-inch, 3/8-inch bolt through the hole that’s
an inch from the end. Secure it with a nut and then
tighten the whole thing down with your two wrenches. Next, take your camera run assembly and slide it over the protruding bolt. And then put two more
of your 3/8-inch nuts over this. Make sure the pulley isn’t
rattling, but is secure yet somewhat loose. And then tighten the two
nuts against each other. Okay, let’s attach your wire
assembly by wrapping your wire around your tilt lever on one end and your camera pulley on the other. You’ll then take your open loop and attach it to the hook
on your turnbuckle, like so. Next, get full tension
by turning you tilt lever around like this, and bite
the wire into the pulley. If you don’t have enough tension,
tighten up the turnbuckle. All you have to do now
is attach your camera. Now, the counter weights are
of the half-inch variety, which are the least expensive. You can get used ones at a thrift store or new ones at Walmart for
about a dollar a pound. The most important thing
about counter weights are that you’ll know when you’re balanced because you can let go of
your crane and it won’t move. That’s what you want. Now, if you wanna see
what you’re shooting, you’re gonna need some
kind of monitoring system. I’ve recycled my old video
camera to use it as a monitor. I’ve got a cable running
from the video output to my HD camera on the end of the jib, to the video inputs on this SD camera. The nice thing about
using an old video camera is that you probably
already have batteries, and it’s got a built-in mounting system. Now, I’ve got the video cables wire tied down the length of the entire pole, but I’ve got a coupler in the middle, so that when I break down the pole, I can also break down the
cables and leave them attached. Okay, now, the biggest
problem you’re gonna have to contend with is
probably the canted angle or crooked shot that you might end up with that you didn’t plan on. This is because the
platform isn’t bent enough, or it’s giving too much on the pulley. Or, the top rails aren’t, the
holes aren’t properly aligned. Or whatever. You just have to tweak
these things until you get the straightest shot you can get. And even if you can’t get
the straightest perfect shot ’cause of all these
factors, you can always turn the thing in post. Just take your frame and
tweak it a little bit. You can do this in Vegas
with the pan-crop tool. I’m sure other editors will
allow you to do the same thing. And that’s your frugal
camera crane and or jib. If you liked this project, please come to for more. And please find us on
Instructables, Twitter, and Facebook. And if you have a comment,
question, or request, please send it to
[email protected] We’ll see ya next time. (stately classical music)
(film rolls)


  • Droidy Pendejo

    March 6, 2014

    So very awesome!

  • Mark Bunds

    March 23, 2014

    …"Grind down the edge on the sidewalk"… I love ideas like this! This works extremely well, and will save you the expense of a bench grinder or Dremel grinder until you can afford one.

  • Matt

    April 6, 2014

    Would there be a way to motorize this for special effects shots?


    April 9, 2014


  • Tonyjambajuice

    April 10, 2014

    Damn i came up with a very similar design……i was really excited to post but you beat me to it . Only by 4 years lol

  • jimmy bananna

    April 30, 2014

    anyone think it would work with a 15' metal pole


    May 1, 2014

    Ohh man, you are awesome..I love your creativity..

  • Suresh Kumar R

    May 8, 2014


  • michael86734

    May 16, 2014

    nice work wath kind of tripod are you using Iam also trying to build 
    one usually the cranes are square but circle will also do it

  • michael86734

    May 16, 2014

    cool wold any tripod or or just the HDV once 

  • Randel Abratique

    May 22, 2014

    Dude you look like Greg Hicks. 

  • Frankie e

    June 2, 2014

    3/8 or 5/8 Pole??

  • Pridish Raj

    June 17, 2014

    thanks for the info

  • MrDriezz

    June 19, 2014

    is it possible to mount a DSLR on the jib? 

  • Just for U

    June 22, 2014

    sir your genius please build the tilt i am eagerly waiting thank you sir god bless you 

  • Just for U

    June 22, 2014

    sorry sir not tilt camera left right rotate 

  • Pato Mucchielli

    June 30, 2014

    Can this hold a DSLR Canon T3i? Amazing work

  • andrewsaurus Rex

    July 1, 2014

    Wow! Great! This is really impressive!! 😀

  • T G

    July 5, 2014

    Built this, worked perfectly although didnt have the chance to video rig it on short notice. Cheers!!!!!


    July 21, 2014

    saludos amigo soy de venezuela, te felicito muy bueno tu tutorial, no hablo ingles! me hubiese gustado que tus videos tengan subtitulos en español… gracias y eres muy talentoso! hice un dolly gracias a tus videos! te deseo mucho exitoo!

  • Daniel Silva

    August 2, 2014

    hi,How made ​​to use the old camera and video monitor?


    August 8, 2014

    wOw thats what i was looking for, great , thanks

  • Kyle Durrett

    August 9, 2014

    Dude this is really smart

  • Really Cheap Teleprompter

    August 11, 2014

    this is such a cool tool.  I love the way you solve the problems in a low cost way. 

  • Karrar Hader

    August 20, 2014


  • Loulou78

    August 25, 2014

    I have an old SONY camcorder (DCR-TRV33E) and I would like to use it as a monitor for my Canon DSLR… Which cable do I need?

  • Bert Simonis

    September 10, 2014

    I just built this, but it looks like parts prices have gone up – just spent $53. I'm trying to figure out how much counterweight to use – I have a Canon similar to yours – any suggestions on where to start?

  • Canu Bananu

    September 13, 2014

    omg, you're an genius thx a lot for this!!! you can't imagine how grateful i am!!!

  • Tyler Matson

    September 28, 2014

    What was up with the subtitles. Good video but you might want too fix those they said things like court, anarchy, cocain and many other things

  • Northern Productions

    October 3, 2014

    Hey guys!  I would really like to build this, but I only have a Velbon CX 686 tripod with the fluid head.  I dont really know if that will work.  Any suggestions on whether or not it will work for this and if not, what would be a good option for the setup?

  • Игорь Воронков

    October 14, 2014

    Круто !!!! Молодец !!! 

  • Tony Marquez

    October 19, 2014

    I'm a aspiring filmmaker myself and i do want to say I enjoy all of your tips & tricks of being FRUGAL and making and building the tools.  I do want to say I've been hoping and wanting to see if you are ever planing to build a DIY steadicam and vest combo and as you are aware the good one range from $1,000 and up.  This would be the ultimate build if you do you implement your techniques as you do with all of your other builds.

  • Kabelo Kebile

    October 23, 2014

    Great video…

  • Alessio Follonica

    November 13, 2014

    Oh my god. Who put the subtitles? It looks someone very bad in english….

  • Dan Little

    December 17, 2014

    Hey Frug,
    Nice jib design and, as always, excellent, helpful video.
    To deal with the “over-sensitivity” issue that you mentioned, you might want to consider any a several ways to induce some adjustable drag/friction on either of your garage pulleys.
    One way would be to drill holes through you main beam/fence pole, and insert a nylon bolt through the holes, so that is could be adjusted to rub on the inside of your pulley.
    Probably the best way to do that would be to use a thread tap, to thread the holes in the beam so that they would engage the nylon bolt, making it adjustable.
    But you would have to buy the tap, if you don’t have one. So that may violate your standards on either cost or simplicity.
    But there are probably at least 5 other ways to induce drag on those pulleys to slow them down/stiffen them up/control them.
    Another may be just wrapping some foam on the fence pole, between the pole and the pulley, to create some soft friction.
    Anyway  – – –
    Thanks for an very nice design.  I am probably going to try it.
    Dan L.

  • Rafael Xenes

    January 4, 2015


  • Qiniso Jake Madlala

    January 7, 2015


  • Mafaufau Mulipola

    January 7, 2015


  • Mohanraj Pillay

    January 12, 2015

    awsome tool

  • Cankut Türktekin

    January 24, 2015

    Nice job

  • TransdimensionalFilms

    January 25, 2015

    If the wheel down by the operator's hand is smaller than the wheel up by the camera, the turning motion will be less sensitive and smoother on the camera. Lots of cranking, nice slow motion. Law of mechanical advantage 🙂

  • Mc Sasi

    February 2, 2015

    Hello sear how u conect tat camera to another…please let me know the name

  • carissa denver

    February 7, 2015

    U had me until I heard fishing line…R u crazy I'm not trusting my hundreds of dollars of equipment at the end of some fishing line

  • Aaron Burr

    February 9, 2015

    You look and sound a little like Jeff Goldblum 🙂 I like that

  • Ralphael Lunna

    February 10, 2015

    I sincerely thank you for this very informative video! It is exactly what I needed! I plan on getting the things needed tomorrow, and make one asap!! Thank you very much for sharing!!!

  • Dana Wana Pskana

    February 11, 2015

    Very valuable video for me – GREAT job.
    Thank you

  • assaad youbi

    February 16, 2015


  • marcos roberto monte da silva

    March 1, 2015


  • Shathana Annadorai

    March 18, 2015

    Was super I like it


    March 27, 2015

    Dear Divine brother,Thank you very much.I'm very happy!!!

  • R.Y recs galeano

    April 14, 2015

    Fantastic idea thank you


    April 19, 2015

    Dear Brother,
    Om Shanti,
    As per your instructions I made the jib.But I am suffering from one problem my jib is tilting a little to left side due to which the ground level is not maintained what to do?

  • VeeSociety

    June 17, 2015

    Great Video, simple and efficient ! if you were to add a pan to it, how would you do it?

  • Mitch Redford

    June 25, 2015

    What camera do you have mounted on the jib in the video?

  • Big Guy Review

    July 22, 2015

    Great idea. I love the ability to be able to tilt the camera as you crane up or down. This is going on the "to do list". Thanks for the video and the time.   -John

  • Preston Taylor

    July 23, 2015

    Out of all the diy job videos I've seen this one is my favorite! My only concern being the I have the canon t5i along with rails follow focus and matte box… I'm just concerned that it will warp under the weight, did you come across any issues like this?

  • Olabode Folarin

    October 24, 2015

    please send me your email i need to send a picture of Garage Door Pulley if i can use it because i did not get the exact one you use

  • JOE

    December 6, 2015

    awesome video thumbs up for sure! EVERYONE SHOULD SUBSCRIBE!!!! 👍

  • Amir's Tech

    December 10, 2015

    how to attach the camera with the base??What are you using up??

  • Jon England

    December 21, 2015

    Excellent creativity and VERY well-made video. Thanks for sharing your ingenuity… I LOVE the fishing line/turnbuckle idea. I'm sure (if you had an industrious side-buddy) if you wanted to, you could make a small fortune selling the 'kit' to make this! I bought a 'poor-man's' Stedicam years ago that way. I use it all the time and it's made from $15 of Lowes/Home Depot parts.

  • BlackJacketJones

    January 2, 2016

    does it matter what size the training wheels are? can you give a link to the ones you purchased?

  • Miraslan Aslanov

    January 26, 2016


  • BlackJacketJones

    February 17, 2016

    Why do you say the holes in the pole are 3/16th if you are putting a 3/8th bolt through it?

  • Fareed Fakhro

    February 19, 2016

    Under process…..

  • Brett Rat

    February 28, 2016

    I made one, under thirty dollars but not all off the shelf. To be honest, I cheated because I have access to parts and machines that most people don't. But I too just wanted to show people, if you want one you just have to use what resources you have and do it. Have fun making yours and more fun using it.

  • Maya CG

    March 12, 2016

    Will this work if I want a pan shot going from bottom to top maintaining a straight view?

  • life studio

    March 14, 2016

    very niceeee

  • Oliver Winegar

    March 18, 2016

    Do you know how to connect a camcorder to another using an HDMI cord

  • Experiments With Knowledge

    March 25, 2016

    Hey ! I liked your project but I don't have even 15 dollars also , so please you can gift me this job , so that I can teach my students cinemagraphy that would be very kin doc you will wait for your reply .

  • Ton Nav

    March 30, 2016

    Thank you for this video!

  • Grace Carter

    May 14, 2016

    I wonder if I could modify a selfie stick to get these shots.

  • Thomas Windfeld

    June 6, 2016

    Thanx for the vid! A request :-). It would be totally awesome if the parts used weren't like really low price, fx price for the build could be 50-100 dollars. What could you do with that, I wonder? Just an idea.
    Id love to see some of these home build accessories which also works for the eye. Anyway thanx for the great vids! 🙂

  • Ian Roley

    June 19, 2016

    Brillaint!!! USA warning No. 3 – He excels himself here! Only 2.17 mins befor we get to the info. IMPOSSIBLE!!! – 🙂

  • ShortStop Animations

    July 2, 2016

    this helps a lot. saw another DIY jib crane for around 100 bucks that didn't have some of these cool features. thanks

  • David Pickens

    August 7, 2016

    Not all Tri-pods are the same…. Which one are you using here and what other tripods can be use?

  • Jagdeep Singh Hayre

    September 17, 2016


  • franswa Vergucht

    November 16, 2016

    Fantastic work!! Greetings from Belgium.

  • CTM Podcast

    November 25, 2016

    Why are you asking me to subscribe at the start of the video?

  • APSUF social services Orgn

    November 29, 2016

    nice job sir

  • Bachala Sanmukh Rao

    December 16, 2016

    sir i am so thank full to you because i wandered for Crane tripod …you really brought to us with very easy and handy and also a low cost … i can make whatever i wanted ………..Thank you thank you thank you so much sir …………..


    January 19, 2017

    This was a great video… What a fantastic how to! Thanks!

  • RetroVision Films

    January 24, 2017

    Having trouble finding a quick release plate like you listed. Is there a certain plate for each brand of tripod? If not can you send the link?


    March 23, 2017

    nice video

  • bella bell hood spillsburg

    April 9, 2017

    can i buy 1 from u

  • CHANEL sami islam

    June 4, 2017

    good job

  • Team work Entertainment #Arunachal Pradesh

    July 26, 2017

    please make it offline sir

  • mikexhotmail

    August 9, 2017

    Genius <3

  • usta Tv

    October 27, 2017


  • Horga Vaani Tribal songs and Messages

    December 31, 2017

    great idea, Thank you for sharing this.

  • Bharat Kukadiya

    January 12, 2018

    Fentastic vedio

  • Motaparthy Vimal

    February 6, 2018

    noo caments OSM

  • Vijay Digital Sirgapur

    February 13, 2018

    Super sir
    How to recording….sir
    replay me plzzz..

  • عشاق العزاء

    April 3, 2018

    شكرا لك من العراق

  • Travel & travel

    April 30, 2018

    Super 👍🏻

  • Ben Press

    May 2, 2018

    That "taper" is called a swage.

  • karthik k

    September 11, 2018

    I love you😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍

  • iJesse

    October 17, 2018

    would you make this for others too??

  • Usama Ayoub

    October 21, 2018

    Please make a cemra mobile

  • Shek Abi2006

    September 25, 2019

    I like this and I am going to do this ,very valuable one,tn q

  • The Astute Tourist

    September 29, 2019

    Think I may build this, Thanks for sharing.


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