Fri - August 31, 2007

How to Make a Simple Camera Mount for a Kayak Deck - Video Mast

Mark Sanders is a sea kayaker from Costa Mesa, California. Visit his web site SandMark's to see cool pictures and movies from his paddling in the ocean off the Newport Beach coast.

Mark is using Pentax Optio W10 camera for paddling. He made a cradle out of minicell foam that attaches to a paddle and holds the camera to shoot still pictures. He also fabricated an interesting video mast to mount his camera on a kayak deck shown and described below. He used PVC pipes for this rig. However, the PVC pipe appeared to be too wobbly for a vertical, so he replaced it with a copper one.

video mount on kayak deck video mount on kayak deck
video mount on kayak deck video mount on kayak deck

Video Mast by Mark Sanders

Seeing Justine Curgenven's This is the Sea got me interested in trying to come up with a similar angle on my own videos. The problem was how to get that angle and still be able to work the camera controls. I'd love to buy one of the video systems they use, but I'm enjoying my success with my Pentax Optio W10, so I decided to create my own rig.

The height of the mast is not a function of the heighth of the angle I wanted. It had to be that high to be able to be placed that far away and still be able to swing down so I could work the controls. People who exceed my level of flexibility could change that up a bit, but as it is, I'm turning on the controls blind. I turn off the cameras screen and turn up the control sounds so I can hear when the camera goes on or I've pressed the record button. Having a mind of its own by this time, my camera stops recording on its own usually a couple minutes after I start it, which actually works pretty well with the lengh of the videos I shoot. It makes a beep when it turns off, but as you can imagine in the dynamic marine environment, I don't always hear it, which makes it difficult to know whether the camera is ready to take the next shot.

I admit, it does seem somewhat of a Rube Goldberg affair! Photos of me by Duane Strosaker.

The bungy has to be tied tight enough to hold the rig down, but leave enough stretch to allow it to tilt down. Can't tell you just how I do it, because it changes each time I tie it!

Since the first three photos were taken, I've switched to the new camera mount shown in the 4th picture. With the old one, the camera was attached directly to the PVC which allowed any sound on the hull to travel all the way up to the camera. The new L shaped foam provides some sound insulation so I can use some whatever natural sound I capture. It also keeps the camera oriented better while fumbling with the controls.

- Mark

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