For most of us, when we want an overhead camera rig, we set up a light stand with a boom arm or stick a modified TV bracket on the wall or something. Then we’ll throw up an LED panel, or maybe some Spekulars. But that’s not good enough for YouTuber GreatScott!. Oh no, he built his own custom design using PVC pipe, plywood, aluminium sheets and stuck a computer monitor to it to see the camera viewpoint and made his own LED control circuit to light the scene below.
When photographer Daniel Shiffer was looking at overhead rigs, none of these solutions worked for him. He needed something portable that he could just throw in the back of the car and set up or break down at a moment’s notice. So, he turned to a desktop computer monitor stand.
There must be at least 3 million different ways to mount an overhead camera rig. Seriously just look at how many we’ve already covered here on DIYP. But there’s always room for more, especially when they set things up a little differently. And even more so when they’re designed for much larger sets than those we might typically be used to. And in this video from commercial photographer Tony Roslund, we see just how to build one for that larger set using a couple of light stands, a few clamps and a pole.
There are so many different ways to mount a camera for overhead shots. But it always surprises me both how many people don’t know how they can do it, and whenever a video shows another method. We’ve posted about plenty of DIY options in the past for building fancy rigs, but this one utilises gear you probably already have.
Peter McKinnon’s recent video taking apart his Canon 1DX Mark II required an overhead shot. He wanted to be able to show the camera what he could see while he was doing it. So, he came up with this solution. All you need is a light stand, a boom arm, and a ball head.
We’ve shown a few overhead camera rigs here on DIYP. Some have been quite simple using things you may already own. Others have been created from Open Source hardware. A few have been quite versatile, letting you quickly switch between vlogging & overhead setups. One thing many of them have in common, though, is that they’re not very space saving. They’re often built over fixed desks or tables, or require a lot of room for a stand, boom arm and counterweight.
This one from the guys over at The Film Look is a very elegant and simple solution to achieving these sorts of shots. Especially if you’re short on space. Based around a desk mounted monitor stand, this is a complete top-down solution. As well as the mount for the camera itself, there’s a place to put an external monitor, a backdrop holder, and even a folding flat surface to look down on.
Vlogging has seen a massive boom over the last couple of years. But, there still aren’t really any perfect options out there when it comes to the gear used and how to set it up. Everything seems to have a compromise. You get touch screen, but no 4K. 4K but no touch screen. Or you get both, but the AF can’t keep up. Or you get everything you want, but you can’t see the camera’s LCD and have no idea how your framing is.
There’s all kinds of different workarounds out there to make life a little easier. Some options, though, aren’t quite as versatile as others. Switching from a mounted camera to handheld (or vice versa) can be a pain. In this video from DSLR Video Shooter, Caleb Pike shows us how to build out own vlogging rig that can be easily adapted to almost any setup.
The “flat design” style drop shadows seem to have become a big thing lately. Whenever I check out my YouTube feed, I always seem to see a new tutorial on how to do it in Photoshop, Illustrator or After Effects. It’s easy to see why. It’s a pleasing look. It complements a flat design with a sense of realism, depth and context. This is the first time, though, that I’ve seen it done for real, with actual objects.
In this video from the Cinematography Database, Matt Workman teams up with Greg from Lens Pro To Go to show us how it’s done. Starting off with a simple overhead setup, they take us through the entire process. They break the process down into individual steps and build it up one light at a time. This lets you see exactly how each light is contributing to the scene.
Mounting a camera overhead can be a difficult task if it’s not something you need to do regularly. Many of those that do need it regularly have permanent camera installations so they’re always ready at a moment’s notice. For those who prefer to take the DIY approach, we’ve covered quite a few options before. Sometimes, though, you don’t want a permanent fixed rig.
What do you do for those random occasions where you just decide you want an overhead shot, and need to setup in a hurry? Well, this video from the folks over at Wistia offers three different ways to help you get the overhead shot with minimal extra kit.
We’ve shown you a few overhead camera rigs before. This one, though, has to be amongst the least expensive DIY solutions I’ve seen. Based around a square metal tube, the construction is about as simple as it gets.
The video comes from YouTube user Energy Researcher. He goes through the build step by step, although there’s just really not much to it. Even if you’re not that great at DIY, this should pose no problem.
Whether hardware or software, Open Source is a wonderful thing. Open Source doesn’t always mean free, though, especially when it comes to hardware.
While not necessarily cheap, the DIY solution presented in this video from Bent-Tronics does fall in line with other such overhead camera projects. The simple fact of the matter is that it’s not easy to do something like this ultra cheap unless you happen to have the perfect components just laying around doing nothing already.