In recent years, camera technology has gotten to the point that you can take very high quality video with a sub-$1,000 DSLR, or just using a smartphone in many cases. You can even add zoom and panning effects after the fact with (also readily available) production software, but it’s hard — if not impossible — to duplicate the effect of actually moving the camera in a predefined path while you focus on your intended subject. For that you’ll need a camera slider, and while you can buy one for hundreds, or maybe thousands of dollars, this project by RZtronics presents a a nicely-finished DIY option.
The rig’s body is constructed using 2020 extrusion and 3D-printed mounting feet, with an also-printed carriage assembly for the camera. A ball head mount can attach to a DSLR or similar camera directly, while a smartphone holder is also available if needed. The carriage is pulled linearly via a stepper attached to the base with a timing belt, while a second stepper/belt assembly rides on the camera carriage and takes care of panning duties.
Control is via an Arduino Nano and two A4988 stepper drivers, which can be programmed using an encoder, with a tiny OLED screen for user feedback. One simply inputs “X” and “Y” values to program both how far it travels and rotation angles, allowing it to keep your subject in-frame while it moves. Code for the build is available here, and a parts list is in the video description.