I decided to take the very brave step of documenting my project to build a cheap stop motion rig as I am building it rather than waiting to the end when I know whether it was a success or not - nothing better than sharing your best disasters with everyone
Yesterday was spent welding up a bracket to firmly hold my existing tripod - car exhaust brackets grip the tripod stem. Last night I wondered if I should have just gone and bought a pan-tilt head (on its own) rather than have the rig carry the whole tripod but then I remembered I did want height adjust as well so perhaps I can convince myself I took the right path, it will probably look a tad ungainly but I am not sure there will be a practical downside.
The bracket can be used 'upside down' I deliberately designed it assymetric this way so that by simply reversing the bracket the camera can rise or fall by 15 cm - this just gives me a little more adjustment over and beyond the rise in the tripod itself.
I have two ready beds to hand, one is a folding aluminium rail support table for a chop saw, the other is a light lathe bed ( one person can pick it up ) I favour the lathe for a swing arm as the length of the boom arm will demand a steady base, the rail support for the saw will be fine for linear motion.
If it works for video footage then all well and good but I am designing primarily with stills - ie stop motion in mind.
The driver for all of this is lack of a high end video camera but a ready high end SLR, need to compose various tracking shots of high quality and pin sharp focus of hand made products.
"Keep it simple stupid thoughts"
I am planning to just use a steel rule or even the giveaway Ikea paper rulers for the linear bed.
For indexing on the radial arm I have experimented with simply standing steady right up to the camera end of the arm so that the end of the arm is nearly in my chest, I think I can reliably push it say 2 centimetres at a time, I dont want to over engineer some system of angle measurement only to find it does not make much difference.
I am not worrying too much about silky smooth qualities, this is primarily for stop motion rather than video - accurate positioning yes but quality of movement is not a priority at the moment