I have started down the path of video creation for YouTube, mostly so I can participate in build challenges, but possibly in time as another revenue stream for the business. Presently, my video recording hardware is minimal at best, quite ancient if I include my old Panasonic VHS-C camcorder.
I had hoped my 10 Megapixel Fujifilm S1500 would be able to handle my needs. It maxes out at 640×480 at 30 fps, which means 480p is about as good as it will get in YouTube. The best camera is in my DROID Ultra, not quite a year old, but it is my business phone. It can’t be tied up with lengthy recording sessions. Next in line is my previous cell phone, a DROID X, which is capable of 720p at 24 fps. Additionally, I invested in several hands-free docks and mounts for it over the years. It was this point that lead me to attempt a dock-to-tripod conversion.
The first Motorola DROID X Vehicle Dock I purchased was right around the time I acquired the cell phone, the second only a few years ago.
The Vivitar VPT-360SE uses a quick-release plate, allowing multiple camera mounts that snap in as needed.
The Motorola Dock comes with a round plastic plate that can be mounted to a flat surface, like the vehicle dash, via double-sided tape. I used that plate, sans adhesive mounting tape, as the liaison between tripod quick-release mount and the wood spacer that will be permanently attached to the swivel mount for the dock. Note the threaded center hole: I tapped an appropriately threaded nut into a slightly smaller hole in the wood spacer and drilled a small hole to allow for the tripod plate’s spring loaded centering pin.
Here is the conversion assembled and ready for tripod mounting.
Because the photo/video taking end of the DROID X is at the back of the dock, I had to be sure that the swiveling mount elbow wouldn’t be in the line of sight. Moving the mount about 20-30 degrees off center was enough to clear the recording path, as can be seen where the plastic base attaches to the wood spacer.
The finished conversion and camera ready to take a picture.
Between the ball socket connection of the dock mount and the 3-dimensional tilt capability of the tripod, I have infinite possibilities for leveling, tilting and camera orientation. The dock has a power port. I plan on zip-tying a 5v DC power converter to one of the tripod legs, allowing for AC power via extension cord—I won’t have to worry about the battery dying on me while recording lengthy events.
Prior to starting this project, I made a few short videos to make sure the phone was capable enough for my needs before. A Bluetooth earpiece should give me better sound quality and volume with the camera at a distance.
A simple project that temporarily takes a costly investment in a video camera out of the needs list.