A few weeks ago I posted about a homemade steadicam you can build for around $20 from materials you can find at your local Home Depot or Lowes. I finally built one of these, only I used PVC caps for the ends of the pipes instead of steel as they are much easier to drill.
The homemade steadicam definitely makes things smoother, but it takes some time to master it. From the official Poor Man’s Steadicam site, Johnny gives this advice:
How you use it is 80% of the smoothness…Don’t expect this thing to perform miracles, you have to practice using your arms and body to create a smooth motion…Keep your legs bent and learn how to “glide”. Getting good results is not so much about the equipment, but how you use it.