Forget the $500 Gimbal; Make a DIY Anti-Vibration Drone Camera Mount for $10

The problem with mounting a GoPro to a DJI Phantom or other drone is that the vibration of the propellers creates a terrible jello effect in the footage. This is the main reason that gimbals have become such a popular accessory for drones. But gimbals are expensive.

Two grad students from USC were searching for a cheaper way to reduce the jello effect in their footage from their Phantom-mounted GoPro. After months of failure in testing several aftermarket products, they finally built their own mount with household items for less than $10.

They discovered that they had to dampen the attachment between the GoPro and the Phantom, which is something that none of the attachments on the market allowed. In the end, they used a pair of sponges and some semi-rigid wires to connect a mount that was constructed from a plastic lid.

The results are impressive and resemble the look of an expensive gimbal when viewing the output footage. You can see a full walkthrough, along with sample footage, in the video above.

Homemade Soft Boxes

5 completed softboxes

I recently decided that I wanted to take my food photography up to another level, and in order to really make that work, I needed some soft boxes to better diffuse light.

The problem was that all of the available soft boxes I could find cost upwards of $100 apiece (and I would certainly need at least two soft boxes to make my setup work). Since this was just a project for sharing amongst my friends, rather than for paying work, I couldn’t justify the expense. [Read more...]

The $60 DIY Camera Bag

DIY Camera Bag

My Vivitar camera backpack has way outlived its shelf life, with ripped dividers and nowhere near enough protection for my gear, and it was time for a replacement. Initial research showed that nearly any of the name brand offerings were out of reach, ranging from $130 for the Think Tank Retrospective Bags, to $300-400 for their rolling cases. While these products are worth every penny typically, my lean budget wasn’t going to accomodate it.

A Cheesycam article perked my interest in creating my own solution out of a padded divider from Calumet, along with a cheap rolling suitcase from a big box store, but those dividers are currently backordered. With the possibility of this sort of solution in mind, I set out to find something similar. [Read more...]

Coleman LED Quad Lantern as Cheap Video Lighting Kit

Check out this $56 Coleman LED lantern kit, which breaks down into 4 separate LED lights with rechargeable batteries.

Of course, Coleman designed this as a camping accessory; however, it looks like it could work well as a compact remote light setup for video.  Obviously, it’s not for everyone, but if you are looking for a DIY light kit for your budget videos, this might fit the bill.

Check out the video below where the guys from Cameratown give it a go. [Read more...]

Video Stabilization Options

I just wanted to pass along a little update for those of you into video cameras and accessories.  Over at Tech Tilt, I’ve recently review the Barber Tech SteddiePod, which is a pretty darn sweet, all-in-one video camera stabilization device.  It does a lot of things from steadicam-type shots, to doggie cam, to boom shots.  It’s also got a nice little fluid head built-in.  You can find the whole review, which includes some sample footage, here:  SteddiePod Review.

After using the SteddiePod for a while, I started thinking about ways to DIY a similar device on a shoestring budget.  So, I took $30 to Lowe’s and Wal-Mart, and came away with what I call a DIY GlidePod.  While it’s not as pretty as the SteddiePod, it can do many of the same types of shots.  Of course, the SteddiePod is a smoother, more refined device, but the DIY GlidePod can get the job done for the backyard cinematographers out there.  So, if you’ve got $30 and an hour to kill, you can see how to make your own DIY GlidePod here.

I’ve had some great suggestions on ways to make the GlidePod better, along with alternatives that do a better job with some of the shot types from the GlidePod.  If you’ve got other ideas, feel free to drop a comment here or over on the GlidePod post.

If you’re interested in video gear and accessories, you’ll be able to find camcorder reviews and such over at Tech Tilt in the future.  However, I’ll also provide occasional updates on noteworthy gear here at Photography Bay.

Inkjet Greeting Card Intro Video from Red River Paper

Red River Paper has published a video that gives an overview of their paper selection and printing capabilities for holiday cards.  It’s a bit on the commercial pitch side of the coin; however, those of you interested in printing your own holiday cards might get something out of it.

Red River Paper keeps telling me how great their products are; however, I generally get all of my printing needs covered through MyPhotopipe, Mpix, SmugMug (via Bay Photo) or locally at Thompson Photo (all of which do a bang up job).  For those self-printing types out there, Red River Paper does have the endorsement of Derrick Story over at The Digital Story, who is a pretty trustworthy source.

If any of you have thoughts on your own use of Red River Paper, feel free to drop a comment below.

Finally, you can find the holiday card resource mentioned in the video – here at Red River Paper.

Concert Photography – Capturing the Essence of a Concert

The following post is by New York-based photographer and artist Angela Datre, who provides a thorough introduction into concert photography and delves into what it takes to capture the essence of a concert. Learn more about her at the end of this post.

“It’s very hard with a still photograph to capture the action of a concert. You try to see something in the face, the body, the lighting…Once I see a good shot in the viewfinder, it’s gone. The music gets inside of me, it’s in my brain, I’m close enough to the stage so that the vibration from the speakers is making my skin tingle, and I’m filling the viewfinder with the musician. I just always feel high.”

-Baron Wolman, Concert Photographer

When it comes down to it, I take photographs at the shows I attend because I can’t not take photographs when I am there. I feel awkward if I am not all the way up front-able to see everything, shoot everything. It started with snapshots in the crowd when I was younger and has now become a lifestyle, an obsession.

I thought I would write a blog post on live music photography because it is something that is so near and dear to me. And I’ll admit it; I started off the same way many young photographers start out-bringing a point and shoot digital camera to shows and shooting with a slow-shutter speed or tilting the camera so the image is askew. It took me some time to realize that there is so so much more you can do with live music photography and I feel the need to share what I have learned with others. [Read more...]