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 learn …

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.