Overhead Camera Rig

Sometimes, making certain videos requires specific gear and equipment. My latest video series idea needs a way to take steady video and images from above. To accomplish this, I will need to make an overhead camera rig.

My budget? Well, I wanted to spend less than $200 on the entire thing. That includes lighting, materials, and a backdrop.

Progress so far? I have made the frame. I bought two 8′ poplar boards (7$ each), one 6′ poplar board ($6), a container of drywall screws ($3), and four supporting brackets ($1 each). So, I’m in the hole $29.

It isn’t done yet, but I am happy with the overall progress of the rig.

What I still need to make/buy

  1. Crafting paper for the backdrop
    1. A PVC/copper pipe to attach the roll to the structure.
  2. Four hanging diffused light structures
    1. Four paper china balls from a party store
    2. Four LED 100 watt bulbs
    3. Four standard light sockets
    4. Some plastic cord clips
    5. One surge protector
    6. wood/plastic glue
  3. A way to attach the camera to the rig
    1. Easy release camera plate and attachment (already purchased from Amazon for $11)
    2. One 8′ poplar board (to be cut into sections)
    3. A screw to attach the camera plate

When the overhead camera rig is complete, I aim to post a video of it.

Failure. Who Cares?

Two days ago, I published my first video on Youtube. It currently, as of Feb. 17 2017, has 2 views (and I honestly think one of those is mine). So, I think that we can chalk this video up as a failure. Who cares? Not me.

I had fun making it, and I actually completed the video. Throughout my life, I have failed at many things (and I’m only 22 years old). A few years back, I started asking myself “what did you learn at least?” Believe it or not, this made the failures somehow less important when put into the overall perspective of learning.

So. What did I learn? Glad you asked.

  1. Adobe Premiere Pro is extensive and more complicated than I had originally thought. There are too many effects that I don’t even know what to do with. Video editing is arguably my least favorite part of the video-making process.
  2. I need to set up the camera at a better angle during interviews. Melissa looked like she was talking to the ceiling the entire time during the video.
  3. Audio is very important. Unfortunately, I chose the loudest locations for shooting footage. The audio at the gym was unavoidable, but the audio in my living room was definitely my fault. I should have either turned off the furnace in the closet, or recorded the footage in my room.
  4. You can’t just wing a story line. I filmed myself before the interview with Melissa, which made it hard to actually form a coherent overall train of thought for the video. Next video’s personal commentary will be shot after the interview.
  5. My video concept was half baked at best. Overall, I need to plan better.
  6. I am STILL shy about shooting video. I don’t honestly know when that is going to subside or go away…
  7. I need to research and study other filmmakers. Go to the library and find some books. Ask for help from friends.

This is not an exhaustive list. Everything listed above is just the broad strokes of what I learned.

Here is my first video…Don’t Follow Your Dreams. Chase Them.

My First Video. Again.

I bought a video camera. A Cannon Vixia HF R700, to be exact. Why? To start an adventure. To pursue a dream. To make videos. To connect with people.

Some background information on this dream of mine…

My first video was made when I was roughly 10 years old. My Mom and sister dragged me along to a beauty pageant that my sister was competing in. This was a nightmare for a young boy who had zero interest in watching one of America’s darkest traditions (child beauty pageants). Thankfully, my Mom had bought a video camera a few months before and was excited when I offered to record that weekend’s happenings. I filmed. So. Much. When I got back home, I used the footage to compile a movie on Windows Movie Maker.

Sadly, I hated the final product. I most likely threw it in the virtual recycling bin. Either way, that video is lost forever. At ten years old, I tossed away my dream at making videos.

Flash forward 12 years. Here stands a man with a video camera. A man who took his dream out of the virtual recycling bin.

My videos are going to be horrible. They will most likely make me cringe. I won’t toss them out though. I will post them to Youtube for the world to see. Learning happens through steps, failures, blunders and an unyielding persistence. LET’S GO!