Cheap Ikea camera boom ensures shake-free video

ikea_webcam_jig

[Chris] recently got himself a nice web cam for documenting his Makerbot builds, and much like [Dino], he was looking for a way to get a bird’s-eye view of the action while keeping the camera nice and steady. While [Dino] ventured off to the hardware store, [Chris] tried a few different options that included tape, before heading off to Ikea to see what he could find.

$9 and a few Swedish meatballs later, he was on his way home with a “TERTIAL Work Lamp” that can be mounted on virtually any desk-like surface. He had to remove most of the web cam’s useless mounting hardware, doing the same with the lamp’s light fixture. He put together a small bracket in Google Sketchup, which he then printed out using his Makerbot.

It fit perfectly, and now he can get steady video of his Makerbot prints every single time.

Comments

  1. Aaron says:

    Those meatballs really aren’t very good, are they?

    Nifty hack, though I’d note that similar standing lamps can be had a bit cheaper from Goodwill; it was a very common style a few years ago, and if you’re just going to gut it anyway, why buy a new one?

  2. Sheldon says:

    I was looking at this hack and was thinking that it was a shame to hack up a perfectly functional lamp. So, rather than remove all the fittings, how about make the mounting base for the camera the bulb socket itself?
    The fittings are quite secure, as a bonus can supply power for the camera (no need for batteries) and is quickly transferable to a different (desk) lamp.

  3. Krusty says:

    Shake-free video is a must for those.. umm… ‘bouncy’ shots…

  4. anybodysguess says:

    Better tighten the legs on that table for the best results.

  5. Rachie says:

    They could at least run the wire through the body of the frame. It would be much more secure.

  6. rasz says:

    /me likes a lot better than spending an hour gluing PVC pipes

  7. Oren Beck says:

    Chris has a VERY nice initial Hack on several levels. Using Sketchup puts the part fab info “overview” into a quite share friendly format. Using a base part from a vendor that is worldwide/currently off-the-shelf makes it a lot more replication practical compared to random one-off junk.

    @Sheldon: VERY neat elegance in your idea. again- works on several levels.

    My only improvements on what Chris did would be- adding friction control enhancements like wave washers and nylock nuts at all the joints.the combination of wave washers clamped between two smooth washers and preload tension set by nylock makes for a moderate cost, smooth stability enhancement. If the nylocks are scavenged from scrap, it’s a bigger win.

    Wire dress for such builds has been IME best handled by velcro bands.

  8. Stevie says:

    You know they sell these great things which you can attach a camera to and they let you change the height, position, angle etc. No need for a base to attach it to or anything. What’s it called again? Ah yes, a camera tripod. They’re about $5.

    Why all this work?

    • Khai says:

      now get one of those tripods to get a close up of say a soldering job without getting in the way…. and getting an overhead view of the task in hand… etc.

      tripods are good for many things, no doubt about that, but are not that flexible for close in work.

      (remember most webcams don’t have a zoom worth a crap.. you have to move the camera in close…)

      • Stevie says:

        Fair points :)

      • Veneficus says:

        Well, all tripods are not the same. With the right head you can use a tripod to get close up shots without the tripod is being on your way. That said, it won’t be cheap. But if you are into photography and also want to take great close up shots while working, and if you don’t mind spending money for a great tripod, I am sure you can find a good tripod/head combination at manfrotto.com.

    • Shortcinema says:

      The thing about a rig like this is that it mimics a crane for video. Tripods are great for steady still shots but a tripod is not great for the awesome over the head aka birds eye view shot.
      Also a tripod is a pain if you are demoing something on a tabletop. The tripod can just get in the way.

      Great hack I CANNOT wait to try this.

      Found ya via this Dutch blogger who made minor adjustments http://ow.ly/7H45I

  9. lamer says:

    i have used these lamps in the past for holding flashes Works really good..

    he should feed the usb cord through the frame
    rather than the “taped on there” approach

  10. abc123 says:

    Might as well kludge on one of those flexi-curve/spline/snake contraption that were all the rage briefly on those flexible flashlights.

  11. MElisa says:

    Awesome contraption! Exactly what I am looking to make. Would this rig be strong enough for a digital SLR camera with a lens, like a rebel? I want to use this for stop motion.

    ?

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