This definitely ranks highly amongst the oddest camera mounting jobs I’ve ever seen. This one-time-use camera rig from Thomas Renck mounts to the top of a clay pigeon. Yes, those things. Then it’s fired out of the trap to be brought back down to earth by a shotgun. If you’re lucky. If you’re not lucky – depending on your perspective – it might just be brought back down by simple gravity. At least the camera would survive.
It’s an odd experiment, for sure, but it allowed Thomas to get some pretty unique and interesting footage. The footage isn’t of amazing quality, though, because it was built around a $28 keyring camera, with a 3D printed spinning mount. Actually, the mount’s quite ingenious, keeping the camera pointed in a single direction while the clay spins through the air.
[Related reading: Nikon 600mm lens vs. shotgun: what’s better for shooting clay pigeons?]
Thomas writes that he didn’t expect to find the microSD card from the camera which shot the footage above. Not only did he find it, but the camera was intact and still working, too. He says that the cheap $28 keychain camera is “no GoPro, but it does its job, and the video quality is much better than I expected”. What I found impressive was how well Thomas’ mount helped to stabilise the camera and keep it pointing in a single direction.
Sure, it’s not gimbal or Insta360 levels of stabilisation, but for a $28 keychain camera parked on top of a rapidly spinning disk flying through the air at up to 60 miles per hour? Yeah, that’s pretty impressive if you ask me!
The mount acts like a wind vane, using the air rushing over the clay to hit those relatively large rudders and “steer” the camera in a consistent direction, with the camera pointing to where the clay has just come from. Although you can see the fins in the shot, it’s a very clever design. With a small working space and not wanting to upset the balance of the clay too much, I expect you’re quite limited in exactly what you can do with this.
Sadly, if you were thinking of having a go at this yourself, Thomas hasn’t open-sourced the project, so the STL files are not available to download. If you still want to give it a try, though, Thomas has some great information in the complete write-up on his website to help you figure out your own design.