Birds-eye-view Camera




Take fantastic photos from 40 feet up with this free photo mast. Easy to make, fun to use.

Make cool videos, panoramas, and mind-boggling virtual reality shots from a bird's-eye view.

Professional photo masts are usually telescoping and easier to set up and use. But they can run hundreds or even thousands to buy new.

Step 1: Bamboo Hunting

Okay so where do you get bamboo poles to lash together?

Chances are there's some growing nearby, and rug stores may throw them away.

Bring bungee cords to hold the bamboo on your car and a towel to protect the car roof.

Step 2: Limbo Time

Limb your bamboo with a long handled cutter.

After the brush is cleared away, use a garden snipper and a rough file or rasp to remove any remaining twigs.

The bamboo should not have any sharp points.

Step 3: Round-Lash

Overlap the poles by about a yard.

Then round-lash them together with lots of duct tape

Duct tape makes it easy to take the poles apart for carrying. Just slice the tape with a pocket knife.

Step 4: Attach Camera

Fasten your digital camera on the end of the mast.

I use a DIY Tennis Ball Tripod and a bungee cord.

Step 5: Twist and Stitch

Set the camera to either movie mode, or multiple shot mode.

If you have a remote control shutter release you can take just the shots you want.

Brace the other end of your mast against a heavy stone or wall.

Have one person start the camera while you quickly walk along the mast hoisting it hand over hand.

You can also use the flagpole method - make a wire loop for the top of the mast out of a paperclip. Then use kite string to hoist the camera up the mast.

When the camera is up, slowly twist the mast to get a panoramic view.

You can use a free editor like Picasa, or Microsoft Movie Maker to extract still images from the movie files.

Stitch the images together with free panorama software like AutoStitch.

The images can be used for cool Photosynth VR collages as well.

Here is a Photosynth taken from the camera tower.

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    10 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    This sounds like a lot of fun. I always wanted to do aerial shots.Has anyone seen Art Attack? Brilliant overhead shots but real expertise needed to set them up at ground level.

    Now I need some bamboo - guess I could bite the bullet and buy some at the hardware... it has lots of other uses, I'm sure.

    Thanks for sharing this idea!

    2 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Hope you can get some free bamboo. Check out rug stores - they use it to roll up rugs. Best of all is to just scout around. In the USA bamboo grows wild in California, Oregon, and from Texas up to Connecticut.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I wondered why you said rug stores- never heard of that use. My mum used to have some in her garden but it spreads too readily, so we haven't planted it here (urban fringes in Australia - have to watch vigorous introduced plants).

    I have seen bamboo sticks sold cheap in bundles at garden supply shops to use as stakes- I'll check them out.

    Otherwise I can try adding some dowel to my trusty extension stick curtain rod that I used in my High Spray Extension handle and Cobweb broom instructables ;)

    bobby sissom

    9 years ago on Introduction

    just a hunch but are you saying that bamboo attracts lightning ?we have bamboo on our property and i have never notices any increase in lightning strikes in that area as apposed to any other

    4 replies
    iectyx3cbobby sissom

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Yep, shouldn't be a problem as far as I know. But a single 40 foot pole out in a storm, wet with rain, or even freshly cut and green, seems like just asking for grief.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Oh yeah, a few words on safety:

    Ask permission before cutting bamboo. Look out for electrical wires before you cut. Don't cut bamboo in a storm, or if you hear thunder.

    Do not throw the fresh leafy bamboo cuttings in your lawn trimming pile. Though unlikely, it is just barely possible that in a wet climate some of them may take root and become a nuisance. So let them dry in the sun for a few days before discarding them in your brush pile.

    Before you start lifting the tower look out for overhead electric wires, trees, houses and other structures. Think carefully about what might be hit if the tower falls.

    Never raise a camera tower in a storm, or even if you just hear thunder in the distance.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    LOL! Yes and be sure to hold a compact fluorescent light bulb in your mouth and wear a tinfoil hat to dissipate any excess charge!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    An excellent use of this is to use it to see in your gutters to see if they are stopped up instead of using a ladder! I did the same thing with a 20 foot bamboo pole.

    1 reply