DIY Video Accessories

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Excerpt from an article orginally posted at Videomaker is the premiere magazine and online community for professional and hobbyist video producers, helping people make better video by providing the latest video training and product reviews.

Producing video is an exciting hobby and rewarding business, but it takes a lot of gear. Sometimes, the rewarding and the exciting part can be in just making the gear.

There are lots of pieces of equipment made to perform very exact tasks in video production, from camera mounts that help cameras move smoothly to light producing and shaping tools. We all look through thick catalogues crammed with gear with a quickening heartbeat and wide eyes (I know I’ve never seen a light modifier I didn’t immediately know would solve every problem I’ve ever had with lighting), and this gear acquisition syndrome can be hard on the bank account. Video producers though, are people who look for creative solutions to problems and a sub-current of DIY (Do It Yourself) runs strongly through our community, powered by the same thing that made you want to learn how the ditto machine worked back in 4th grade. This month we’re going to take a look at some DIY resources and ideas to get you started making your own equipment.

Tripod Shoulder Strap
I like to travel light when I’m on the road doing video and this very often means one camera, one fast lens and one tripod. While the camera and lens can easily fit over my shoulder alone, my tripod bag is three times the size of my tripod which very often leads me to think “well, if I have this mostly empty bag, I might as well fill it with light stands and batteries” and suddenly I’m carrying 40 pounds of gear. I’m puzzled that when my tripod manufacturer made my Very Expensive Tripod they didn’t think to put a couple of D-rings on it so that you can attach one of those extra bag straps cluttering your closet. You can take care of this yourself by using hose clamps to attach a pair of rings to the top and bottom of one of the legs and then attaching one of those extra straps you’ve hoarded from every duffel bag you’ve ever thrown out and are littering the back of your hall closet (I save them too, don’t feel weird).

The DIY Sky Cam
A few years back I was taking video of a construction site and although there were lots of sparks and people hammering things, the video suffered from a two dimensionality that didn’t really show off all the action that was going on. Noticing a crane being used to haul heavy items from one place to another I asked the foreman if it would be possible to have the crane operator make a pass over the side with a video camera. He agreed and I created a camera mount out of a five-gallon bucket with a hole cut in the bottom. A video camera was mounted vertically in the bucket aimed through the hole and held in place by a half dozen rolled up T-shirts. A five-minute pass over the site provided some “WOW” footage for the client and something interesting for the crane operator to take home and show his family. You don’t need a crane to get a camera in the air though – the same bucket suspended from a rope between a third story window and a tree in the back yard later provided aerial footage of the most intense game of croquet of the summer of 2007

Contributing Videomaker Editor Kyle Cassidy is a visual artist who exhibits regularly and has written books on technology and photographic art.

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4 thoughts on “DIY Video Accessories

  1. I love the bucket shot idea…..I need to put my thinking cap on and think of more cool ideas like this. I would have never thought of the bucket shot idea.

  2. i need to know what lense to buy for my cannon slr camera to get mtv quality i know theres a few different ones but i need to know which ones so i wont waste any money

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