Making an overhead camera mount is easy! I quite often do closeup detail work when making videos for the YouTube channel or pictures for this site. In the past, I’ve used tabletop tripods. Doing overhead shots with these is challenging at best! I’ve had the tripod tip over in the middle of a shot. More often than not, right into whatever project I was working on.
I did a bit of research and found that although not prohibitively expensive, an overhead camera mount was expensive enough to warrant a DIY solution. Besides, this is a DIY website! Doing some more research led me to build one using my existing table mini tripod as a platform.
I like this approach since it lets me build one that’s adaptable. I can use the tripod on it’s own when needed. Or, I can add the overhead adapter to it when needed. So it basically is using something I already have on hand. All I had to do was buy a few parts.
The Parts for the Overhead Camera Mount
After some browsing on Amazon, I found the parts that would make this work. The parts list is rather small. There’s actually only two parts to this device! The first is a ceiling (or wall) mount for Projectors or cameras. The one I chose can extend up to 23″. The next piece is a sturdy bar or tube clamp for cameras. I have affiliate links to both of them below.
I ended up going through two of the clamps. The first one I bought was plastic and was way to flimsy. I ended up returning that one, the second one I bought was all aluminum and extremely sturdy. There’s a link below to the one I finally used.
I’ve also included a link to the tripods I eventually purchased. It’s not necessary for this project but it is a lot sturdier than the one I was using.
There’s actually a third component as well. I didn’t buy that though. Essentially all you need is a small basket or container of some kind to hold counter weights. All in all , I spent just under $30 on the parts I had to buy.
Assembling the Camera Rig
This is the easy part. It should only take a few minutes to put this together once you have all the parts. You may want to scrounge up a small container to hold the counterweights. I initially used a small basket but switched to a plastic cigarette box holder. I also gathered up a few lead fishing weights I had laying around. So let’s put the overhead camera mount together!
Time needed: 15 minutes
- Mount the Bar Clamp to Your Mini/Table Tripod
The tube clamp has a 1/4″ threaded hole, this allows it to be attached to just about any tripod .
- Attach the Ceiling Mount Tube to the Clamp
Extend the ceiling mount to it’s full length. Attach it to the clamp about a third of the way up from the threaded base.
- Add the Base to the Ceiling Mount Tube
Screw on the base to the ceiling mount tube. Next Attach a small basket or other container to the base of the mount you just screwed on. You can use just about anything heavy to fill this basket. It will act as a counterweight to the camera. I used about 5 oz of fishing weights I had laying around for this. You can get creative and use nuts bolts or any other small objects that are heavy.
- Attach Your Camera to your Overhead Camera Rig
Attach your camera to the opposite ind of the pole. The ceiling mount has a 1/4″ threaded mount on a ball that you can attach a camera to. You can rotate the mount so that the camera faces whatever you need to video.
Using the Overhead Camera Mount
Lets have some fun with the overhead camera rig. If you have the camera counter-weighted correctly, you should be able to swivel the arm up and down. I was able to use the tripods base to easily do this. I just had to make sure that the tripod was aligned to the adapter in such a way to allow this PICTURE.
Once you have adjusted the camera to the desired height, you can change the camera angle to whatever suits your project best. You can do this by simply twisting the tube closest to the camera up and down.
You also have the option of not only changing the camera angle from front to back, but also from side to side by simply rotating the camera and tightening the nut that is part of the pole mount. One other option you have is to extend or shorten the length of the pole. You can do this by simply loosening the collar on the pole and sliding the camera side in or out. Alternatively, you can also change where the tube is positioned in the bar clamp.
All in all, I find this to be extremely flexible in how you want to use it. An added bonus is that it is inexpensive, easy to put together and lets you use an existing tripod!
Watch the Video version of this article here: Easy Overhead Setup – Camera Rig Build Under $30
If you found this helpful, you may also want to check the article on using a power bank for your camera: Cannon Camcorder – Cannon Battery Charger with a USB Power Bank