Introduction: Simple In-Car Camera Mount for Less Than $2
You have probably seen quite a few videos that were shot from inside a moving car. My favorites are the videos of a meteor exploding in the skies above Russia in early 2013. You never know what interesting sites you might come across while driving to work.
There are a lot of different designs of in-car camera mounts. Some have the camera mounted to the windows. Others mount the camera to the dashboard. But the design that I like the best has the camera mounted to the headrest. This design is sturdy that doesn't require any modification to your car.
In this project, I am going to show you how you can make a simplified headrest camera mount.
Step 1: Materials
21" piece of 2" x 2" lumber ($1.75)
1/4"-20 x 1" Machine Screw ($0.25)
Power Drill and Bit Set
Step 2: Measure the Space of the Headrest Supports
First you need to measure the size and spacing of the headrest supports. Measure the distance from the center of one post to the center of the other post. Then measure the diameter of the posts. In my car the headrest supports were 6 inches apart (center to center) and each post was 1/2 inch wide. We will use these measurements to make the mounting holes on the camera support.
Step 3: Cut and Drill the Camera Support Bar
The camera support bar is basically just a piece of 2" x 2" lumber with several holes drilled in it. Start by cutting a 21 inch long section from your 2x2 board.
On the right side of the board, drill a 1/2" hole about 1 inch from the end. Then, drill a second 1/2" hole six inches to the left of the first hole. When drilling large holes it is often a good idea to first drill a smaller hole and then gradually widen the hole with larger bits until you reach the desired size. This helps to prevent the wood from splitting or breaking up. It also helps to place a second piece of wood underneath the one that you are drilling. By drilling directly into a second piece of wood, it helps to keep the exit hole clean and even.
On the left side of the board, drill a 1/4" hole through the board about 1 inch from the end. Then on the bottom side of the board, counterbore the hole with a 1/2" bit so that a 1 inch long 1/4-20 machine screw can reach through the board and stick out the other side. Again, it is often helpful to use several bits to gradually widen the hole. This helps to prevent too much damage to the wood. Repeat this process at several locations along the board. This gives you several options as to where to mount your camera. I recommend having the mounting holes no closer than one inch apart.
Step 4: Mount the Camera
Decide where you would like to position the camera. At the corresponding mounting hole, insert the machine screw through the bottom of the board. Place the camera on top of the board so that the mounting screw hole on the camera lines up with the hole on the board. Using your screw driver, tun the screw and thread it into the hole on the camera. Tighten the screw just enough so that camera is securely held in place but you can still turn it by hand.
Step 5: Mount the 2x2 Onto the Headrest
In your car, remove the passenger headrest. There is usually a release button that will let the headrest just slide out. Insert the two posts of the headrest through the two 1/2" holes that you drilled on the board. The counterbored side of the mounting holes should be on the bottom side. Then reattach the headrest to the seat.
Step 6: Adjust the Position of the Camera
This design gives you several ways that you can adjust the position of the camera. To pan the camera right and left, you can simply turn the camera by hand. If necessary you can use your screw driver to loosen it first. To tilt the camera up and down, adjust the angle of the passenger seat. To slide the camera right or left, unscrew the camera, and relocate the camera and the machine screw to a different mounting hole. Unfortunately, this design doesn't give you any way to roll the camera, but that shouldn't restrict you too much.
Step 7: Test Out Your Camera Mount
Now you just need to test out your new camera rig. So hit record, and go for a drive. You may not capture exciting footage on every trip but it is still a fun little project.
If you are driving on a rough road, the video can get shaky. If this happens you can pad the camera support by placing a rolled up cloth such as a shirt or towel between the board and the seat.
Never operate the camera while driving. If you want to make adjustment to the camera while on the road, have a friend sit in he back seat and operate the camera.