Eye in the Sky Workshop Cam -- Hang an ATC 1000 Video Camera Above Your Workspace to Help You Document





Introduction: Eye in the Sky Workshop Cam -- Hang an ATC 1000 Video Camera Above Your Workspace to Help You Document

About: Eric J. Wilhelm is the founder of Instructables. He has a Ph.D. from MIT in Mechanical Engineering. Eric believes in making technology accessible through understanding, and strives to inspire others to lear...

Putting a camera above your workspace lets you use both hands while still documenting your project. Build quickly with the confidence that you can always show how you did it (or remind yourself where that last screw came from!).

The Oregon Scientific ATC 1000 is light enough to strap to your head, but its fixed-focal length makes the field of view too small at only arm's length. Mounting or hanging the camera above lets you optimize the field of view while also keeping it consistent -- no sudden pans when someone walks over and asks what you're up to.

Here, I attached some mounting points to the camera, hung it 45 inches above a workbench, and took a video of tying a sheetbend.

Compare the video in this Instructable with video from our helmet cam including How to build a sling and 1D accelerometer or the bike cam to see what works for you.

Step 1: Decide Where You Want the Camera

I wanted to get this done quickly, so decided to hang the camera with string from a beam in the ceiling. A rigid connection has some advantages: reducing swing of the camera being the biggest.

Step 2: Drill Shallow Holes in the Camera

Just touch the camera with the drill. It didn't look like there was a good place to drill all the way through, so I just pecked the surface of the case enough so that a wood screw could bite.

Step 3: Screw in Wood Screws

Step 4: Epoxy Around the Screws

Since the screws aren't in very deep, add some epoxy.

Step 5: Tie Some String to the Ceiling and Hang the Camera

I hung the camera 45 inches above the workbench.

Step 6: Document Away!

You have to press record manually on the camera and with my setup the camera swings for a few seconds. Mounting the camera rigidly would fix this.

The ATC needs a lot of light, otherwise the pictures turn our grainy. We've got pretty nice skylights in the shop, but more light certainly wouldn't hurt.

Since the ATC is only 15 fps you might want to slow down any operations that you do quickly, but you want to make sure are clear. In the video, I tied the sheetbend about half as fast as I normally would.

Awesome pictures on this step by Tim. The original video straight off of the ATC 1000 is included so you can check out the quality.



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    Just do Three Taught Line knots take The Loops from the Knots and thread them down the Cameras body a little under the Lens then pull The Sliders on the knot till it tightens.Do the Tripod triangle pattern with the ropes and hang them from Your Celing and no holes.

    hang three strings like a tripod to the camera so it doesn't wobble for 10 minutes.

    I just wanted to say that adding "...exactly what went wrong." to the title was my first impression... but nicely done. Though camera on a string isn't exactly the most elegant solution, it certainly seems to be the simplest and cheapest... so kudos to you..

    Holy crap you just changed comment display styling :P I like this idea :D

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    Newest comment now shows up first. If you respond to a comment, it bring the whole thread to the top. Hopefully, this will make carrying on conversations a bit easier on the site. (There's a couple of other changes too, see if you can find them!).

    I found some: 1. When you place your cursor over the yellow note windows, the rest of the photo turns black. 2. We now have stat boxes in our own instructables, so we can see how many people looked at it. 3. Now there's a direct connection chat (Orangeboard) in the profiles. Great job, I like it.

    you forgot the giant navigation system :P

    Actually ewilhelm already told us about that. And I figured people would have already seen the oulined comment boxes.

    its taking some getting used to... I'm finding it a bit awkward as things are out of cron order (especially when people press add comment instead of reply) :P

    Now all I need is one of those cameras.... Great idea, I'd try do it with the camera I've got, but I have a mini tripod that I use for steady shots/movies already. Thanks for the idea though. Also what's up with those "color shadows" in the movie? Did the camera make those? They look cool either way.

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    They appear to be a result of the YouTube encoding. I'll post the original file so people can check out the quality directly.

    That knot your tying is a 'sheet bend' http://www.iwillknot.com/sheet_bend/

    The bowline is as follows: http://www.realknots.com/knots/sloops.htm

    Similar but one is for joining ropes the other for attaching.

    On UI changes: the top level grouping row is very cludgy, stats are nice but feel very feature creep. floating active comments to the top is an interesting idea, sounds good. I've been having loads of issues publishing today, firefox has been hanging a lot. Will let you know if that continues

    A string-held camera? Ewww. Back in high school a friend of mine built a crazy contraption that would hold a camera suspended by four pieces of string. The idea was that he could get any angle just by pulling or letting out string. His shots were horrible until he finally bit the bullet and bought a $30 tripod. The new comment system is cool, I like it. Would it be possible to add a Comment button to the top as well so you don't have to scroll all the way down? And what's up with those ghostly orange hands?

    I also have an idea to improve the design so you won't have to put screws into the case. Use a hose clamp around the area you would have placed the screws and clamp a short wire (coat hanger?) to the camera. Make a hook or loop in the other end of the wire and hook it onto a another hook hanging from the ceiling. I think this way might work better (I wouldn't know though, cause I don't have a tube-like camera) to hang the camera up and take it down. Also you wouldn't have to damage the case of the camera to do it this way (no worries about whether or not you screwed the screws in too much and killed something within). I just thought I should share that design.

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    My original plan was to rubberband a bent piece of wire to the case, but then I saw the drill press and a bucket of screws and went to work. If a hose clamp had been sitting out on the table, I'm sure I would have used it instead.