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Hands Free Photography with a Smart Phone

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I make pop-up cards, and, since I like showing others how to make them too, I shoot videos of my hands cutting, folding, and gluing.

My phone is by far the quickest and easiest camera for making web quality videos, but there are surprisingly few phone tripods on the market. I wanted a mount which I could easily adjust and put right by my face as I work, to get perfect POV shots. I can keep one eye on the screen and one on my hands, to make sure they stay in the frame and in focus. The footage shows the pop-up being made as you would see it, which makes it easier to follow.

Possibly, if I'd spent lots of time looking, and lots of money to buy and ship it, I could have found a ready-made solution manufactured half way around the world. Instead, I rummaged through my recycling bin and my pile of lamp parts (collected while walking my dog on garbage day), and rigged this up in about 15 minutes. A quick and dirty job. It might not be pretty, but it was free and works like a dream.
 
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Step 1: Materials & tools

This is the list of the parts I used, but since looks don't matter here, I encourage you to use whatever you can find in the trash: don't buy  parts if you can re-use something which is going to be thrown out....

A weighted lamp base
A gooseneck pipe (24" is ideal)
A fixture crossbar (for attaching the gooseneck to the lamp base)
A tin can (14 fluid oz or 414 ml)
A pipe flange with a female threaded hole or a hickey to attach the gooseneck pipe to the tin can
A couple nuts and bolts (for attaching the hickey or flange to the tin can)
A rubber band

The only tool you'll need is a drill to make small holes in the tin can where you will be attaching the flange or hickey.

NOTE: you can also skip most of this and just use an existing adjustable table lamp, as long as it's strong enough to hold the weight of a phone. 
Might make mine using a see through plastic jar to allow viewing from more angles, but otherwise perfect. Just have to finish that peanut butter.
belsey (author)  titchtheclown1 year ago
Not sure how good the optics would be though a recycled peanut butter jar... but it could provide an interesting filter effect. Maybe you could make some peanut butter stuffed turkey to use up your jar today....
Ellystu belsey1 year ago
I'm thinking Titch meant it's the view of the screen that would improve, and I like that idea too. :)
belsey (author)  Ellystu1 year ago
That makes sense... I didn't think of it that way because looking at the phone screen from a slight angle actually isn't a problem at all (for my use). I have to place the camera slightly on the side otherwise it gets in my way.
Was just on the view of the screen idea, the optics aren't that good but certainly better than through a tin can.
Also in Australia we don't do thanksgiving. But for a use for turkey leftovers, a Vietnamese style coleslaw with leftover turkey, cabbage (Chinese if you can get it), bean shoots, mint (Vietnamese mint if you can get it) carrot, coriander leaves, crispy and or green shallots, onion, peanut butter &/or peanuts, with a dressing from rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, chilli, brown sugar crushed garlic and peanut/vegetable oil. (from Stephanie Alexander's The Cook's Companion). Enjoy with a nice Traminer Riesling.
belsey (author)  titchtheclown1 year ago
That sounds delicious... you should write an instructable with the recipe!
did you use another, taller, phone-rigging-can to achieve the over-head shot?
i love me some recursive instructables...
belsey (author)  movexiaomoguai1 year ago
A taller, live, bipod got that shot.... though the attention span of inanimate objects is superior, this shot was done quickly enough so I didn't get too many complaints.
elic1 year ago
Very nice. I use the same patent to increase the voice of the Smart Phone's speaker while hearing music.
IDThoris1 year ago
Definitely adding this to the mental kluge pile. Frankly I had never read the little CC by-nc-sa licence before. I like.
askjerry1 year ago
I like the idea of recycled lamp parts... nice idea. If you have access to a bandsaw you could use PVC pipe and modify to have a nice opening in the back... or perhaps a laser cut part to hold the camera/phone. But overall... very clever and nicely done.
belsey (author)  askjerry1 year ago
Yes, there's definitely room improvement, improvisation, or customizing it to your specific use -- I hope it inspires you (and others) to make something even better.
Ellystu1 year ago
What a great idea! I love your philosophy and commitment to using something already made instead of rushing out to buy things. Good for you.
MarkML1 year ago
Excellent, simple idea that also repurposes old parts. About the commercially available tripods: most of the ones I have seen advertised for phone are small and short. This one gives you the height you needed to film your projects and the flexibility. Nice job!
nice work
good0884561 year ago
Good,I like your website! Hope working on! (2012 Best Copy Swiss

watches: http://www.saleukwatches.com )
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