One of the things that I got for Christmas was made for me by my brother-in-law, Dalon. It's a home made video camera "steadicam" consisting of some piping, a weight, and a screw. Simple, but yet something that I didn't have the tools, materials, or time to make. So yes, it's a big heavy black thing that you put a somewhat tiny camera on and walk around with. An arm and shoulder workout and hopefully smoother video all at once.
In short, one of those really cool gifts that I knew what it was but everyone else in the room kind of went "Huh?" about.
The day after Christmas, I had the chance to test it out. We were pulling Brooklynn around in the yard on the sled (and when I say Brooklynn, I mean Brooklynn and Sarah and when I say we, I mean Brooklynn's grandpa) and I was videoing. The problem I've always had shooting video of Brooklynn, at least ever since she started moving, was that I would either have to hold the camera at my chest as I walked around to be stable or deal with the jerkiness that comes when I try to crouch as I walk to follow her around.
So, with the homebrew steadicam, I just flip it over and have the camera down at ground level. Yes, the video is upside down, but I flip that back over on the computer. And no, I didn't flip the audio tracks, so left and right are a little off here, but it doesn't matter too much in this version.
Do still need practice to get a little smoother? Sure. But it's a whole lot better than it was. Now if only the snow wasn't quite so crunchy underfoot.
Thanks go out to Sarah for riding around with Brooklynn, who apparently doesn't like actually touching or being close to snow all that much, and to Ted, for pulling people around while I played with my camera. Don't worry, I took my turn at pulling too, just as soon as Brooklynn got comfortable enough to sit in the sled all by herself.