Whether you’re live streaming builds or just want to take your project photography to the next level, you can’t beat an overhead camera setup. Unfortunately, they tend to be cumbersome and more often than not quite pricey. Looking for an affordable solution that could easily be moved out of the way when not in use, [Jay Doscher] had the clever idea of adapting a common VESA monitor arm to give his camera a bird’s eye view of the action.
If you think about it, one of these monitor arms is a nearly perfect base for a camera rig. They’re easily mounted to a desk or work bench, can be quickly repositioned by design, and perhaps best of all, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a decent one. A camera is also a far lighter and less awkward payload than the arm was designed to hold, so you don’t have to worry about it potentially dropping your expensive gear. Or cheap webcam, as the case may be.
All [Jay] had to do was come up with a way to securely mount his Sony A7R3 on the end of one. While there’s certainly a few ways you could solve this particular problem, he went the extruded plastic route and 3D printed a beefy adapter plate with the standard VESA bolt pattern. His Smallrig camera cage attaches to the plate, and thanks to a pair of press-fit bubble levels from McMaster Carr, he’s able to get everything lined up properly over the bench.
Of course, there’s an excellent chance you don’t have the same camera as [Jay]. But that doesn’t mean you can’t modify the design of his adapter to fit your own gear. To that end, he’s not only shared the final STLs, but he’s provided a link to the TinkerCAD project that you can actually edit right in the browser.
If you’ve got a light enough camera, you could put something similar together with PVC pipes or even an articulated arm intended for a desk lamp. But if you’ve got a DSLR or other full-sized camera, we think it’s more than worth the $30 USD one of these will cost you on Amazon to make sure your gear doesn’t end up smashing into the deck during a live stream.
8 thoughts on “VESA Arm Turned Low-Cost Overhead Camera Rig”
really smart idea, not only for overhead shots but even for web conference/streamers a simple VESA adapter to standard tripod socket or arca-swiss would be much easier to mount
For light cameras there have been swing arm mounts (think drafting lamp, minus the lampshade) with standard 1/4″ – 20 threads for years. Handy for in-class demos and overhead shots of equipment in operation.
These are much more expensive than VESA mounts. Scale of manufacturing I suppose
Haha I did the same thing a few weeks ago https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4705840 my only issue is that the spring on the arm I chose could not be adjusted to a low enough value to balance my camera.
Add a brick or two to make it heavier. Bonus off the increased mass could be more inertia to compensate little wiggles from the table the arm is connected to.
Finally a use for my terracotta filament :P
Last June, made a mount to use my DSLR for teaching with a Vivo monitor arm using a cheese plate (CAMVATE #C1751), 501HD compatible quick release plate base (UTEBIT P200), 1″ spacers, bolts, and a few washers. Choose the Vivo arm because it had the only clamp that would fit my 3.25″ thick workbench. Turns out the VESA plate connects to the arm with quick release via two M3 bolts, so was able to bolt the cheese plate directly to the arm and haven’t looked back.
Had issues with the HDMI cable disconnecting whenever the camera was moved, solved with a HDMI cable clamp mounted on a camera cage.
I did this with my Einscan Pro+ for 3d scanning and it works extremely well.
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