Introduction: 29.87 Second Underwater Camera

I made this so I could film my cute little daughter practicing blowing bubbles under water. I was amazed that it captured sound also.

I used dish towels to hold the phone for two reasons, the first was that I was not sure if the plastic jar was water tight, I figured the cloth would catch any water before it got to my Blackberry and the second was that they worked well to hold the phone in the jar without scratching the face of my phone.

Please only use plastic for this as you should never introduce glass to a swimming pool.

The materials and complete process for the build are all in the video as I took the concept of showing someone how to do something in 30 seconds on video to be very literal. I even added a demonstration of the camera in action. I hope you enjoy this Instructable at least as much as my daughter enjoys blowing bubbles underwater!


talty (author)2009-09-26

Amazing idea! I know I'll be using it ;) But I'm interested, why shouldn't we use glass?

Deathstick (author)talty2009-09-27

First of all, thank you! I will answer this a couple of different ways.

Answer 1:
Well I was a lifeguard for eight years and swam competitively for ten. It seems that every time glass gets near a pool it gets broken. Have you ever tried to find clear glass shards in a pool full of water? You can't! The whole pool should be drained and cleaned. Some say you can just vacuum it up but I wouldn't put my little ones back in the pool after only vacuuming nor would I want to risk the liability if I was managing that pool.

Answer 2:
Not everyone has a pool and seeing as how it is against the rules at most public pools/beaches to bring glass items(some of the reasons listed above) this is something that was worth mentioning on that alone.

Answer 3:
Getting cut sucks! Seeing your little ones get cut sucks more!

Below are a couple of links from a quick Google search I performed (no applause necessary), one is an Ezine and the others are just examples.

Lowney (author)Deathstick2009-09-28

lol is the urine one a bluff?

Deathstick (author)Lowney2009-09-28

No they actually make a chemical that turns urine blue in the pool! Got to be pretty embarrassing to be swimming in the big blue cloud!

sfc_mark (author)Deathstick2010-03-18

It's a long-running bluff/joke (at least since the early 70s).  I'll bet pool stores get people asking for it every week.

Lowney (author)Deathstick2009-09-28

Haha, funny.

talty (author)Deathstick2009-09-27

Thank you for a complete, fast answer! You really explained everything I needed to know, I really love your idea and I hope you win :D Good luck!

IkilledKenny (author)2010-03-18

Glass would work better. Let Darwin decide about bringing glass into the pool.

c ssgt seifer (author)2009-10-12

Smart, but I wouldn't risk putting anything expensive in the jar.

Deathstick (author)c ssgt seifer2009-10-17

I now have 20+ hours of video without my $500.00 phone getting a single drop of water on it! Your paradox of a sentence seems to imply that I value my possessions less than you yours. Normally I would just give you a pass but it is not believable to me that you could make a knife from scratch but would be unable to make an air tight jar water tight enough to shoot a couple minutes of video underwater!

I am not going to go into fluid dynamics, the difference in viscosity between salt water & chlorinated water or the roughly 1.3atm that would be experienced at 10' underwater but since you have more than 30-seconds I will go ahead and give you a few ways to improve on my idea! In the spirit of the contset I will keep these things to something that would still have fit into the 30-second clip!

FOOL PROOF---Flip the jar upside down in the water
. Est. Length Of Time Possible Underwater Without A Leak= How long does it take a plastic jar to disintegrate under water?
Use Teflon tape on the threads
E.L.O.T.P.U.W.A.L.=The battery in your phone would be dead before your jar leaks!
Use RTV sealant on the threads.
E.L.O.T.P.U.W.A.L.= What is a leak?
Get gasket maker from auto parts store and cut a circle to match your lid.
E.L.O.T.P.U.W.A.L.=I'm done, the way it was originally worked fine and was simple!

Yes, that really just happened!

c ssgt seifer (author)Deathstick2009-10-21

You definitely blew my comment WAY out of proportion. You also misread my comment. I wasn't implying that you value your possessions any less than I value mine. I am simply saying that I wouldn't put a $200+ dollar item in a jar that costs less than 5.... Excuse me for being a bit skeptic about putting expensive and sensitive items in something that easily leak, crack, and shatter.

Deathstick (author)c ssgt seifer2009-11-02

Buy a $6 jar then!

I misread nothing! I may have taken liberty with interpretation though. You start with a paradox and what comes out the other end? An oxymoron would have been easier to respond to!

I recently put my new Mino Flip as well as my two Blackberry's in the same jar and shot another 30+ minutes of video with no problems. Bad workers often blame their tools!

Some people live and some people just breath! To each their own! Bla Bla Bla!

I love idioms!

While we are here it's skeptical and "in something that could easily leak..." or something to that effect. Maybe the question is not whether I misread your comment but whether your comment made sense to begin with!

"Good day sir. I said good day!"

Broom (author)Deathstick2010-03-15

Dude, chill.

Serious, take a pill or something.

Gage987 (author)2010-02-06

Why shouldn't you put glass in a pool?
Is it the breaking hazard?

Robot Lover (author)Gage9872010-03-04

because it could break and the glass shards would get lost in the pool and...(OOOOOOUUUUUCCCCHHHHH!!!!)

Broom (author)Robot Lover2010-03-15


Lowney (author)2009-10-09

 Congrats on winning! 
But I wouldn't trust this personally: knowing my luck the jar would have a hole in it or something... I guess I would just worry about water getting in somehow.

Deathstick (author)Lowney2009-10-10

I didn't include the fact that you have to use a pinch of common sense, I thought that would be kind of ironic because if one had  common sense one would use it anyway!

Hint:tsrif raj eht tseT

Lowney (author)Deathstick2009-10-31

Have you used your flip mino HD with this trick?

Deathstick (author)Lowney2009-11-02

Of course I have! That is one of the first things that I did after I opened the box. I  even went further and put my two Blackberry's in there with the Flip. When I cut everything together it didn't turn out the way I was originally thinking it would.. When summer comes back around I'm going to get plenty of use from my new Flip though. Unfortunately the weather here turned to crap and I covered up the pool last week. I did use my jar to shoot some pretty nasty weather in Sparks, NV. though. Now I'm thinking smaller jar with a hole in the bottom for a tripod. I'm gonna get me some lightning. Mid December I will be building a new steel building in Truckee and I should be able to get some good sub freezing video of the hazards of erecting steel buildings in 70+mph snow fall! Fun, Fun, Fun!

Lowney (author)Deathstick2009-10-11

 Yes I would but I would still feel a bit nervous. It's like when you go to an airport and every 5 seconds you check to see if you still have your passport, even though you know it's there but you are so worried about losing it.

husker (author)2009-10-11

 This is the best idea ever!

Deathstick (author)husker2009-10-17

Thanks! When(if) you use it please post some video as a reply on YouTube, I think that would be cool to see! If you are able to get your jar to leak I would love to hear about that also!

Deathstick (author)2009-10-01

Thanks to everyone that voted for my 30 seconds of Fast Teaching!!! Thanks to my daughter Sarah for the inspiration!!!! Thank you Instructables!!!!! Thank you Forbes!!!!!!!!!!!!!

talty (author)Deathstick2009-10-01

Congratulations! :D I knew you would win

Deathstick (author)talty2009-10-01

Thank you very much! Look for my full feature film titled," Recording things with my new Flip" that I'm going to shoot on my new Flip!

sarahfish (author)2009-10-01

freaking brilliant! Congrats on the win, now you can film the little fishy in style!

Deathstick (author)sarahfish2009-10-01

Thank you, thank you and that's what I'm talking about, my underwater camera just went HD!

iectyx3c (author)2009-09-20

Hot Dang. Smart. Fast. Works. Like it.

Deathstick (author)iectyx3c2009-09-20

Hey thanks!
My little one likes seeing herself underwater so much that in less than two weeks she has gone from just blowing bubbles underwater to diving down to the bottom of the pool for dive rings!

ktalex (author)2009-09-06

does it float? or sink?

Deathstick (author)ktalex2009-09-06

It floats if you let it go! If you put some lead weights at the bottom I'm sure you could get it neutral if you wanted. For me it didn't matter because I was only using it so I could film my daughter blowing bubbles. I don't exactly view lead weights as something that everyone would have laying around the house. What I show in the video is very common materials used in an intelligent manner to make something that not everyone can afford (like me!)! Having it neutral would be great as well as maybe some cardboard circles with slots cut out instead of the towels to hold the phone in place. There are a lot of ways to improve on this but nothing that can be done in 25+/- seconds and retained in the brain! As I have said in other post my objective in showing this was to be able to watch it once and get it immediately, hence TEACH-ME-FAST! Now I'm off to see if I can't remember how to peel a banana! LOL

Deathstick (author)2009-09-05

With our current exchange rate that is about $600 U.S....LOL I never really looked at what an actual underwater camera housing would cost, I always just kind of figured that I couldn't afford one. I can't afford the camera to go into it either now that I'm thinking about it! I had to use two cell phones to make this video and still the "production values" where better than half the folks that have submitted video for this contest! I'm glad that you liked it. Thank you!

ANTQNUT (author)2009-08-29

Great instructable! good luck in the contest! :D

Deathstick (author)ANTQNUT2009-08-29

Thank you very much! I thought that this would be something that is immediately usable and simple enough for you to watch one time and get it but not so simple as to be ridiculously obvious! Hence TEACH-ME-FAST!

ANTQNUT (author)Deathstick2009-08-29

Well you did exactly that! :P your daughter is adorable!

Deathstick (author)ANTQNUT2009-08-29


ANTQNUT (author)Deathstick2009-08-30

hah Your Welcome!

gomiboy (author)2009-08-10

so simple and elegant! nicely done.

ANTQNUT (author)gomiboy2009-08-29

hahaha i like your profile pic!

Deathstick (author)gomiboy2009-08-11

I like elegant! The closest I could come to this was a two hour Instructable on a camera housing. I thought that since every man (and woman) on earth has a cell phone that this would be useful for all. And that you, when the time came would remember how to do this easily!

Thank You!!!

Skywalker,The (author)2009-08-11

I'm going to try this and If I mess up my camera I will hunt you down! Kidding! Very neat!

Deathstick (author)Skywalker,The2009-08-11

I you follow my directions you should be fine. If you mess up your camera I will send you my Blackberry!! Now I'm Kidding!

Thank You!

emmerich45 (author)2009-08-10

nice idea.

Deathstick (author)emmerich452009-08-11

Thank You!

ramhardikar (author)2009-08-10

Quite innovative idea.

Deathstick (author)ramhardikar2009-08-11

It was the only thing I could think of where you where actually teaching someone how to do something in 30 second that would be use full to the common man. Thank you!!

Deathstick (author)ramhardikar2009-08-10

Thank you!!

Deathstick (author)2009-08-11

I thought so;-) Thank you!

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