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Recently, I made a table in my office to act specifically as an electronics workstation. So far this has been REALLY handy, but also, a little hard to shoot video of. I also had a lot of interest in the comments about making an overhead camera rig, so it just made sense make one for the table. I spent a great deal of time trying to come up with a really clever way to be able to position the camera, so that I had lots of flexibility, but also make it so the project wasn’t overly complicated.

After a while, I got stuck on the best way to pull it off.  Then I looked in the corner of my office, at a stack of mic stands…

It turned that one of the cheapest (read, I dislike using it) boom stands that I owned, had the full range of motion that I wanted for the camera, it already had the correct size thread on the end, AND it was $17 on Amazon (!!!)

Check out how I put the whole thing together, in an afternoon.

I used 3/4″ angle iron, 1/2″ square tubing, flat steel and solid rod.

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I measured four pieces of the square tubing to 18″ each.

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These were cut off with a cut off wheel on the grinder.

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I cleaned up the cut edges with a flat file.

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The 36″ angle iron are the verticals, the square tubing is for the horizontal support.

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I used magnets to hold the pieces at 90˚ angles.

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All four corners were welded together.

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I made a second, identical frame then smoothed all of the welds with a flap disc.

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I used a square file to smooth the inside corners.

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Using the magnets for support and squaring, I added another square tube (36″) in between the two frames. This will become the top, back side.

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I welded it in place. You could optionally add another support on the front side as well, but I didn’t find the need.

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I measured up 6″ from the back bar, and centered the steel rod on the marks.

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I welded the rod in place, making sure to get good penetration all of the way around it.

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I flipped the frame over, and added a piece of angle iron across the bottom, back side.

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All of the welds were smoothed with the flap disc.

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I sprayed the whole frame with flat black spray paint.

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For the over head mount, I used a $17 boom mic stand.

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I removed the bottom section as well as one of the cross bars.

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I added a rubber pad inside the section that fit around the rod, to help it hold tight.

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Then I mounted this on the steel rod in the frame.

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I used Joby tripod heads on all of my tripods. They have a smooth ball joint and are easy to move the camera between tripods.

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The thread on the mic stand is the same as the thread for the tripod head (how cool is that??).

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The camera slid right into place and locked into the tripod head.

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I got a 5000k˚ (color temperature) strip of LEDs, with a remote.

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These just plug together and work out of the box.

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The strip has an adhesive back, so it’s very easy to attach to the angle iron sides.

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There are marks ever few inches where you can cut the strip. There are re-solder terminals at these points.

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Once my strips were in place, I connected them by soldering on short wires to the provided terminals.

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Let there be remote controlled light!

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The color temp matches my other lights, but there are different options if you have a different preference.

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The light is pretty even from all directions.

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The steel frame keeps the footprint of the rig to a minimum, but helps it stay very sturdy and rigid.

 

The boom arm gives you a huge amount of control over camera placement.

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The overhead shots turned out better than I expected!!

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The steel frame keeps the footprint of the rig to a minimum, but helps it stay very sturdy and rigid.

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