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.
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.
Here is a nice hack for making an overhead camera rig. If you are doing video tutorials, crafts videos or just need an overhead camera for still life, there is always the question of how to mount the camera. A with the standard tripod setup, you have a bit of an angle, and while you can go this route, there are easier solutions (what was I thinking back then….)
The team at Lensvid used a TV wall mount, which is kinda genius because TVs are heavy and should not move, just like camera. Those are not too pricey and a decent one will set you back about $25. That will get you secured to the wall. The other half is to connect the end of the arm to the camera. Lensvid opted for a VESA to 5/8″ Receptacle + El-BO arm, but I think a magic clamp and magic arm combo would be just as efficient.
There are lots of reasons why you may need to take an overhead photo of a desk or table top and, depending on your setup, a tripod isn’t always the most helpful tool to get the job done. That’s why we have overhead camera stands, they make the task much less complicated. The team over at I Like To Make Stuff, thought so too, and decided to whip up this whole tutorial showing us how we can make an overhead stand ourselves, plus add some custom features to it like remote controlled LED lighting.[Read More…]