ArticlesWoodworking projects

Shop built – Camera track and boom

My main camera for filming my YouTube videos is always mounted on a tripod which works great 99% of the time but when I want to get a shot right over the bench or table saw, the tripod doesn’t really work that well. I started looking at different homemade camera boom options out there and decided to build one myself. I wanted to build something that was very flexible in the way I could mount the camera at any angle along the table saw and workbench. I also wanted to be able to switch from my tripod to the boom quickly and easily.

I recently added a bulk head right down the Center of the shop to cover up some wires and I thought that would be a great spot to mount the boom.

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To allow the boom to move freely across the table saw and bench I decided to use a dovetail track. To build this track I first ripped two pieces of pine at a 30 degree bevel.

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I then could attach the two strips to my bulk head being careful to keep them parallel through out the entire length. I first tacked it into place with a finish nailer and then once I was happy I went back and screwed it into place permanently.

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Once the track was up I could take an accurate measurement of the gap and make a mating dovetail block out of plywood. I made this a loose fit as I was more interested in it sliding freely.

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With the track complete I went on to making the boom. I will first make what I call the drop leg out of some 5/8″ plywood I had lying around. I cut 3 strips at 5″ wide and 36″ long.

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I then could take 2 of the strips and milled a slot 3/8″ by 24″ long right down the center of the strip using a spiral up cut bit. This will be used to adjust the camera height and lock it into that position.

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The construction of the drop leg is simple, I just cut two 5″ end caps and attached them to the milled strips forming a box.

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To attach the drop leg to the moveable dovetail block, I drilled a 3/8″ hole in the center of the end cap so I could use a 5/16″ lag bolt and a snap lock knobs. This will allow my to rotate the drop leg at any angle.

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For the camera mount i’m going to use the head and post from my tripod.

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This will give me the most flexibility to rotate the camera at whatever angle I need. It will also allow me to transfer the camera from the tripod to he boom quickly and easily.

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All I need to do now is make a bracket to mount the tripod head into. It needs to be simple to build and allow me to remove the head easily. So I decided to laminate two pieces of plywood together and make two 2″ by 2″ blocks that I could drill a one inch hole through to accept the camera mount post.

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The post was just a little bit larger than 1″ so I opened up the hole a little bit with my oscillating spindle sander.

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Here you can get a better idea of what the camera mount looks like. I cut two pieces of plywood to glue to either side of the blocks. I drilled two holes in the plywood to accept the lag bolts that will go through drop lag.

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I set the mount into the drop lag and slid two lag bolts through the holes in the mount and the slot in the drop leg. I then used two snap lock knobs to lock the position of the mount at any angle. Because the mount is sandwiched in the drop leg, it will be less likely to slip.

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With the boom all done, I tray out a few different angles. The first one is here at the table saw. What’s nice about this set up is I get to be right in the front of the saw and the work piece will go right under the camera. I wouldn’t be able to do this set up with a tripod because the work piece would hit the tripod as it travels through the saw.

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Here I’m taking a low to the bench angle shot which is set lower that what my tripod would allow.

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This shot is a direct overhead shot of the table saw.

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And finally a overhead shot at the bench which will probably be the most used new location.

I’m really happy with the new camera setup.  This is going to be one of those projects that I’ll wonder why I hadn’t done  sooner. The only thing I would change is the dovetail setup. With the weight of the camera being overhung makes it move pretty rough. I had a commenter (Dana Murphy) on the video suggesting a pocket door track and I think that would be a great idea. other than that, Love it!

3 thoughts on “Shop built – Camera track and boom

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