Cheaper Document Camera*

Introduction: Cheaper Document Camera*

About: I have always like building... now I have the skills and equipment to do some really cool stuff.

Document cameras are expensive and don't have the field of view I was looking for. One day, looking at the back of the LCD projector I noticed it had a video input... This led me to my old digital camera that had a video output!

What you will need:
1. Digital camera with video output
2. LCD projector with video input mounted to ceiling
3. Cable to connect the two (1/8" mini jack to RCA)
4. Lots of batteries for the digital camera (if you have a plug... all the better)
5. 1/4-20 bolt/machine screw 0.5"-0.75" long
6. Three old yardsticks
7. Metal piece with 90 degree bend or the like
8. Pop riveter & rivets or equivalent

*(this is only a cheap document camera... if you already have the LCD projector)

Step 1: Camera Mount:

The digital camera needs to aim at the work area to show what you are doing and be up enough to not get in your way or bonk your head. So I needed to hang it from the ceiling. The first time I did this the pole, from ceiling to camera, was to short... then I lengthened it.

Step 2: Ceiling Set Up

I needed to hook it to the ceiling but it also needed to move if I needed to change something... so not permanent. Also needed to be close enough for the camera cord to reach the projector. So I made this set up with:

two yardsticks
one plastic plate/piece
piece of metal with 90 degree bend and some hole in it
Some pop rivets
and finally some short bolts (1/4-20 is what you will need to screw into the bottom of the camera)

Nothing is fixed everything is just hanging there. wedged under the edges of the ceiling tiles.

Step 3: Camera Bit!

I drilled two holes in the yardstick, one at each end. One to bolt the yardstick to the metal bit and the other to mount the camera to.

As you can see the cord from the camera, video out, goes to the projectors video in.

Step 4: Final Thoughts

This was remarkably easy to set up... here are some of the goods and bads"

easy to set up
Has a wide field of view for showing entire work area
Can be moved if need be
Uses things that you probably have around
Students love it. They are transfixed just because it's different and cool.

Can still see all the camera settings through the projector (can't turn them off on this camera model. Other cameras you can)
eats batteries (some cameras have the option to plug them in... that would be good)
You bump the camera... all your kids get seasick!

I am going to try this set-up with a higher resolution web cam... I have the cam ordered.
You could use a better resolution digital camera... mine is 2 mega pixel. (make sure the video output is really good, so the detail is better)
You could also use an old video camera or cam corder... that way you have a plug (no batteries) and higher video output resolution.
Old color security camera would work also... you don't need sound just the video.

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    13 years ago

    This project looks awesome but there isn't enough documentation of you actually making it to be a full Instructable. There are two things which you could do. 1) If you happen to have images of you making your project you can create some more steps, add those additional photos into your Instructable and then republish your Instructable. 2) If you don't have any more pictures of you working on your project, that's ok too. That just means that your project is better suited to be submitted as a slideshow. Your images are already in your library, and you can use the same text that you have already written for your Instructable so it should only take a few minutes to create your slideshow and show the world what you made! Thanks for your submission and let me know if you have any questions along the way.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I'd go with a webcam and computer hooked up to the projector's VGA input - that way you'll have far higher resolution than an NTSC video input.

    Check out my recent instructables for approaches using a desk lamp and a swing arm lamp.


    11 years ago on Step 4

    step 1 says camera goes into computer and from there to the projector, but you actually bypassed the computer and connected camera directly to projector.  That is good since it simplifies matters, but then, don't you lose the ability to zoom in on a document & make the type readable on the screen?


    12 years ago on Step 4

    As I was reading I was thinking that a video camera with a remote would be awesome. You could use it to zoom in on things and you could hook it directly into the LCD without having to run it through you computer.


    13 years ago on Introduction

    our school had the exact same projector mounted in every single classroom


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Then I win.It was the school.