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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.


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


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


I cleaned up the cut edges with a flat file.


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


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


All four corners were welded together.


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


I used a square file to smooth the inside corners.


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.


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


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


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


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


All of the welds were smoothed with the flap disc.


I sprayed the whole frame with flat black spray paint.


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


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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


These just plug together and work out of the box.


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


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


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


Let there be remote controlled light!


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


The light is pretty even from all directions.


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.


The overhead shots turned out better than I expected!!


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