I have a script I’m planning to shoot soon and there are a few unorthodox camera positions we want, like out the window of a car or from the top of a tree or some moving shots, and we don’t have a ton of money for camera stuff. I know people build their own rigs for creative shots and I’ve read some articles but I’m real nervous about suspending the nicest thing we own- our camera- with an unsafe, handmade rig. Any advice so I don’t have a heart attack every time we’re not on a tripod? Also any advice on keeping a camera steady for walk and talks without a traditional rig for a camera man is mucho appreciated.
For the “dangerous” shots, how about using a different, cheaper camera (maybe a smartphone or GoPro)? Worst case your nice camera is never at risk that way.
For steadiness, shoulder mounts or handheld stabilizers are relatively cheap ways to get a decent result.
Try to incorporate your tripod/a tripod INTO whatever rig you build, so you know the attachment is solid. And have you considered getting a scooter or a rolling thing for a walk and talk? Might have some audio concerns but also @hermdelica is right- a shoulder mount is not so bad price-wise. There’s this article about shooting with a phone too, with links to cheap stabilizers: Filming With Your Smartphone Hack
I’ve never used anything other than a tripod or my hand. But a good trick I learned for walk and talks is if you have one of those viewscreens you can flip around, do that and point the camera over your shoulder. That way the cameraperson doesn’t have to walk backward which makes your shot all jumpy.
For the car window stuff, I’d recommend a GoPro type camera, or putting it on the dashboard. I remember I shot in a car once and I had a gopro suction cupped to the windshield and I was under the passenger seat (not in frame) running audio.
You may have to think about re-adjusting your vision if you can’t rig it up safely and if you don’t want to spend the money to make it safe. You can possibly find some interesting workarounds to get a similar result!
For walk and talks? You can check out some cheap stabilizers like the Roxant Pro (I can’t get that thing balanced for the life of me so I am at odds with it at the moment.). You could try some tripod wheels but you’d need a track so you can make sure the surface is smooth (it doesn’t do well when the floors have any sort of imperfection which makes it tough.
Let me know if you have any follow up questions!