Dot Physics

Better technology sometimes causes problems. In this case, technology has made video cameras really small. Small? That’s a problem? Well, the problem (as I discussed previously) is that small cameras are not stable and make “shaky” videos. Well, then increase the mass of the camera – simple. I wanted to test this idea and make a test video with and without extra mass on the camera. I was thinking – what could I attach to it? A 2 lb or 5 lb scuba weight came to my mind. Then it hit me: a water bottle.

When do people use these little video cameras? To film their kids or something? If you have to carry around and extra weight, what is the point of having such a small camera? What do people often carry around? A water bottle. It doesn’t even have to be a water bottle, it could even be a soda or something. My idea is to modify a water bottle top so that it has a camera mount on it. All you would need to carry is the top, you can put it on anything that has the same size opening (don’t all water bottles use the same size cap?)

Here is my first crude attempt. I found a screw that was the correct size. I drilled a slightly smaller hole through the water bottle lid. Put on a washer, some hot glue – done. I think you could do a better job if you put a washer on each side of the lid and maybe a small nut to keep it tight. Here is mine:


And then with the camera on:


I didn’t conduct any official tests of stability, but it seems better. (and it is cheap and easy and reuseable)


  1. #1 Damir
    March 16, 2009

    You might be interested in watching this video: ($1 Image Stabilizer For Any Camera)

    Looks very good and sound. I’ve yet to try this myself. Problem is the only time I remember about it is when I actually have to use the camera.

  2. #2 Nick
    March 16, 2009

    You can’t argue with a solution that involves hot glue. I don’t even have a camera and I want to build one of these things.

  3. #3 Dave
    March 16, 2009

    I think I’ve seen a commercial device for stabilizing movie cameras involving a floating lens arrangement. Probably horribly expensive, though.

    One wonders if filling the bottle with water, and, perhaps, adding a few baffles to prevent sloshing, one would build a hydraulically damped stabilizer? Sort of a camera mount dashpot:

    Or, if you could build a Stockbridge style damper?


  4. #4 Bill
    March 16, 2009

    If you want professional results build a Steadycam(TM). Wikipedia article –

    The speeder bike sequence in “Return of the Jedi” wouldn’t have been possible without it.

    You can build a DIY version for about $14. Instructions here –

    Of course a modified bottle cap sure fits in your pocket better.

  5. #5 Nick
    March 17, 2009

    Hey Rhett, I emailed you yesterday and it came back to me as undeliverable. Did you forget some email settings after the server move? I figure this is the best way to get in contact after email!

  6. #6 J
    June 13, 2009

    I wouldn’t want the unsuspecting to screw beyond the damage point into their cameras. I’ve had 2 or 3 Sonys, for example, which specifically mention this danger in the user manual. Not all have “stops” in the screw chamber and/or might not stop a strong twist into the chamber.

    Otherwise, great idea to carry a bottlecap. I plan to work on one for myself.

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