Home-made camera mounts

Good tripods can be expensive, and good small ones for mounting cameras close to objects (such as on the ground, or being fastened to other things), can be hard to find.

This is a bit of D.I.Y. to make a robust camera mount, that's only a bit bigger than some cameras.  It uses some fairly heavy duty right angle metal brackets that I bought from the local hardware store for just a few dollars each.  They're the kind of thing you might use if you were building a pergola (see the pictures, below).  I chose metal brackets that were strong enough to maintain their shape, so the camera will not film at obtuse Batman camera angles over time.  Originally, I used them with much heavier cameras than in the illustrations, and was faced with buying pan/tilt heads at a few hundred dollars, each, just for mounting some cameras outdoors in fixed positions.

They're bolted together at one point, giving a way to change the angle of the camera.  Depending on how much you tighten the bolts, the camera will either be fixed in position, or can repositioned without having to adjust the bolt.  I put a spacer between the two metal sections, as a slip pad, so it can be adjusted without causing metal to grind upon metal, or having a loose wobbly gadget.  And since the metal has sharp edges, you might want to file them smooth, or cover them in tape, to save you from cutting yourself or damaging your equipment.

Needless to say, this isn't a fluid-damped pan/tilt head, and isn't going to be suited to filming while you're adjusting the position of the camera.  It's a static bracket that's only really useable for locked-off shots.  But those are usually the kind of shots that you're going to be taking when using a special mounting bracket, anyway.

With the camera that I was using in the illustrations, the bracket is heavy enough to be completely free-standing.  You can place it on a table, and it'll stay where you put it.  It'll only need fastening down under some circumstances (e.g. hanging the camera upside down, or to moving objects, or with larger cameras).

For stability, and ease of adjustment, find the points closest to the centre of balance to insert the bolts (for the pivot point, for where the camera is screwed to the bracket, for where you attach the bracket to anything else).

You could use this gadget to hold a mobile phone camera in place, but rather than try to bolt it in, use rubber bands, adhesive tape, adhesive magnet patches (as per some mobile phone hands-free mounts), or some stick-on velcro (put the hooks half on the metal, and the fur half on the back of the phone, so you can leave it attached to the phone, and still be able to slip it in and out of your pocket).

Photo of
Camera in the mount, free-standing on equipment
Photo of
Camera in the mount, free-standing on equipment
Photo of
Empty camera mount
Photo of
Empty camera mount
Photo of
Empty camera mount

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