Whether you are a casual food photographer, Etsy seller, or seasoned craft videographer; you can’t deny the beauty of the overhead camera shot. Unfortunately, professional overhead camera mount rigs are expensive, bulky, & generally get in the way. Not ideal by any means. After years of research, trial & error, along with a little engineering, I bring you my DIY overhead rig! It stays up in my studio 24/7 at the ready to shoot within a moment’s notice!
The best part is I can use my iPhone or Canon DSLR with my overhead camera mount, making things super easy if a battery dies or I just need to take a quick pic.
My overhead camera mount utilizes an extra tall stand up desk computer monitor stand that gives me a whopping 39 inches of clearance! On top of that, it can tilt 15 degrees in either direction, swivel a full 360°, & rotate a full 360°. Flexible is an understatement to say the least.
If you have ever tried to shoot overhead videos with a tripod, you know it’s about impossible to keep the tripod legs out of the shot. It takes some major manipulation to shoot overhead without a special tripod arm, but even then, it still takes up 2/3 of your workspace. Tight spaces lead to camera shake because you’re bound to hit a tripod leg no matter how careful you are. I feel claustrophobic just thinking about it.
The extra thick C-clamp that comes standard with this stand up monitor mount, allowing you to set the overhead camera mount virtually anywhere, up to 4 inches thick! Clamp it on your counter, dining room table, workshop bench, window ledge. You can’t beat the versatility!
Since this overhead camera hack uses a clamp to secure the solid steel stand it to surfaces, there’s no need for counterweight!s Praise the photography gods!
Tripod overhead boom arms require counterweights to balance out the weight of your camera to keep the tripod from tipping over. If you do not have counterweight experience, it can be a very scary when your $900 camera comes crashing down or frustrating as hell when your counterweight is too heavy, thus slowly lifting your camera higher & higher.
DIY Overhead Camera Mount for Under $75
iPhone, Android, & DSLR compatible
For wicked fast overhead photo & video set up, I used the 3/8″ screw & nut that came with my tripod to attach a quick release tripod ball head to a 3/4″ thick piece of lumber with the help of a small washer to distribute the load.
MDF is a poor option for this application but acrylic is a great lightweight option if you have it.
With the help of eight 1/2″ truss head screws, I attached the removable VESA plate from the monitor stand to the back, then slid the whole shebang back onto the articulating arm.
Quick release plates live on my camera and phone mount so I am always ready when I need to use either the tripod or table mounted overhead camera rig.
Once the overhead camera mount is set up, you will never need to mess with it again! Pull the arm out when you need it, fold it back when you’re done.
My overhead camera rig lives on a table I like to shoot on in my studio but if I ever need it in my kitchen or outside in my shop, it takes all of 30 seconds to move. Seriously, I wish I had this years ago!
Tripod Ball Head w/Quick Release
5″x5″x1″ wood mounting square (cut from scrap lumber)
How did you attach the 3/8” tripod screw to the wood?
I simply predrilled a hole then screwed it in.
I’m the video you don’t use the wooden base to the camera mount. Which is a better option?
Thanks! Very helpful
I’m not sure what video you are referencing but the wooden base is needed to screw the tripod head onto the monitor base that comes with the kit. There simply isn’t a spot to attach the tripod head to the monitor plate otherwise, unless there has been a recent design change.