VESA Arm Turned Low-Cost Overhead Camera Rig

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.

Color A Sound

This is an interesting take on a music box. [Blair Neal] is using an overhead projector with a roll of transparency to make a synthesized music box. A camera watches the projected image and feeds data to Max/MSP to produce the sounds. Customization merely requires creative image analysis. In this case, different colored pens or different tracks can be assigned to a sound with the speed of the track based on how fast you wind the transparency spool.