DIY Camcorder

[Jonas] sent in a surprisingly retro concept given the number of small cheap funky video recorders on the market. He built his own. At the heart is a sony Digital8 recorder, combined with a security camera and a SLR lens. It’s finished out with an LCD viewfinder and a handful of AA batteries to power the security camera.


  1. PKM says:

    wow.. that’s awesome. anyone have an idea how to record from the thing if you’re using a camera with an analogue output and don’t have the digital8 recorder? i love modular design concepts like this, but for me it falls down at the requirement for a specific recorder, which if it was cheap on ebay before, probably won’t be now.

  2. You can use a DVR like Archos AV-500

  3. By the way…
    I’m curently about to make a 2. version camera, smaller, better, etc.
    But i’m needing a super8 camera for it
    So if any one would like to donate one for the project…
    Please contact me through my website:

  4. Tom says:

    Pretty good. As a pro camera op, I’d be a little afraid of what my clients would think if I showed up on a shoot with one, but I do actually use a quite similar system for shots where I can’t put a big ol’ broadcast camera. I use a very small security camera, just with its built in optics, and a wide angle converter, and then a $200 MiniDV camera with analog inputs. Makes a perfect rig for doing things like taping to body panels of cars or flying down a road inches above the ground. (Obviously with the MiniDV recorder/camera in the car, but the security camera outside).

    And as to the Super8 camera, are you going to add a CCD where the film plane was? That’d be a pretty cool idea. EBay always has a ton of really cheap Super8 cameras.

  5. RusH says:

    I dont get it, you said you used mono camera yet viewfinder picture and .mov file both have color

  6. Well… I had to try with a colour of course

  7. Letze says:

    Awesome, I’m building a undercover police car and this will make the project so much easier than using scraped parts from a decom

  8. HMM why not use a Hard drive instead of a Super8? I’d be interested in something like this if I could tak on my own 400GB IDE drive… at very least it’d be cutting edge as the HDD camcorder seem to be the latest trend these days.

  9. I gues you are refering to the upcomeing version i want to make…
    It is going to be with a harddrive… but i still need the super8 camera to make it.

  10. RusH says:

    by teh way, I read your post about the HDD recorders and you wrote you don’t want mpeg4 .. and you used mpeg2 converter .. ??? Am I missing something? mpeg4 gives better quality than mpeg2 when using same stream bandwidth

  11. Mpeg2 converter… Nope! As discribet in the project i use pure DV and by my knowlegde DV vs. Mpeg4 is like Raw vs. Jpeg…
    This is why i like the Quickstream… it can record in DV to its harddrive and the Canopus ADVC55 is a standard Analog video to DV converter…
    It’s all pretty simple. ;)

  12. LegendHasIt says:

    I built something similar about 6-8 months ago for infrared night videos. I use my COWON A2 as a DVR.

    Toshiba Color super low-lux security camera with a manual focus, manual zoom lens (autofocus would be way better.)

    Camera powered by three 2400mah LiIon batteries built in the frame.

    5 watt Infrared LED illuminator… Which is TOO powerful for anything closer than 10 ft.
    Removed the camera’s infrared filter, so on daylight videos the color is a little off, but I didn’t intend to use it as a regular camcorder anyway.

    Still needs some finishing touches, but works fine.

    Photos here:
    Short demo video of camera in dark room here:

  13. lordcanyon says:

    eh.. i wouldnt call that a do it yourself camcorder since it uses a camcorder in the first place

  14. parker says:

    This article is great!
    some alternatives to the digital8 recorder are the samsung sports camera, or, if you want to use your own security camera, the aiptek personal media recorder/camcorder, which is $150 and records your video to an SD card.
    and, it includes the screen, so in the end, it saves about $350

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