When all you have is a video camera (or DSLR with video capabilities) you'll wind up with some pretty shaky, handheld shots. Camera cranes/jibs can fix that by allowing you to get smooth shots that look like the camera is floating. While normally costly, you can make this happen on the cheap with a painter's pole and some gears.
Instructables user Mr Noack took a Wooster Sherlock painter's pole, a tripod and some gears, to create a camera crane on the cheap. He explains the benefits:
The second Wooster Sherlock camera crane was built on the cheap for sure. Using only one pole cuts down the cost. Instead of having one crane that does it all, I decided to build this model specifically for manual tilt shots. The other great feature of this version is the ability to set up the camera for extreme high angle shots.
If you want to give this project a try, check out the full instructions over at Instructables.
DIY Camera Crane - The Wooster Sherlock 2.0 with Manual Tilt [Instructables via DIY Photography]