We’re all still working on big projects, but we couldn’t resist showing you this nifty little hack. If you’ve ever tried to use a webcam to demonstrate craft or technical project, then you’ll know how difficult it is to get the camera position right. The main problems that you will encounter are:
- Trying to perch the camera on a shelf or a stack of books usually results in a camera based disaster
- Holding the camera freehand means that you don’t have your hands free to demonstrate the project
- Getting someone else to hold the camera usually results in camera shake
- A tripod or boom just seems to get in the way, and you can’t always position the camera in a satisfactory spot.
- Tripods and booms are difficult to reposition live, because they are bulky and inflexible.
We ran into these problems while working with another project, and Andrew Lewis threw together this handy helper from an old angle-poise lamp and a few parts that were lying around the workshop.
First, the bulb holder and reflector were removed from the lamp, and a powerful, rare earth magnet was hot glued into the head of the lamp. A similar magnet was fixed onto our webcam with hot glue. The Logitech Pro 9000 has a weight inside the base of the camera, and we removed this to position the magnet out of sight. The camera stand works perfectly without the extra weight, and isn’t unstable.
The magnets hold the camera onto the lamp head quite firmly, and the camera can be positioned using the handle built onto the lamp. The articulated lamp body makes it very easy to maneuver the camera into exactly the right position.
We also added a couple of banana sockets to the head and connected them to the wire running to the lamp head. The sockets can be connected to our meter probes, or to a bench power supply. The positioning of the sockets means that the wires will be out of camera shot until they are needed, helping to eliminate the tangled mountain of wires that make electronic projects difficult to explain on camera.
This is one of those projects that only takes a few minutes to build, but will last a lifetime on the bench. We might even add a few more gadgets to the lamp head to make our lives easier. What would you add?