(Topic ID: 61136)

The pinball camera rig club!!! Tips on building and shooting pinball videos


By Winball_Pizard

6 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 111 posts
  • 34 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by Axl
  • Topic is favorited by 50 Pinsiders

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    There are 111 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 3.
    #1 6 years ago

    Thats right! The only club that takes more than a pocket book to join. Well I guess that not true since you can pay someone else to make you a camera rig... Well, since there are no retailers currently that sell this sort of thing, I thought I would share my design and experiences since no one else seems to have. Pay no attention to my horrible welding skills, it stays together I swear!

    I went to the metal shop and asked them what would be the best size for nesting purposes and they told me 14ga 1 3/4 and 1 1/2 square tubing so uhh its quite beefy. I thought it would be important to have the boom arm adjustable up and down and forward and back but I wouldn't recommend that unless you are using a fixed camera mount.

    BASE:
    2x 20" 1 3/4 tube
    1x 4' 1 3/4 tube
    1x 6" 1 3/4 tube
    4x 2x2" angle steel cut to 1 3/4 strips

    UPRIGHT:
    1x 7' 1 1/2 tube

    BOOM:
    1x 5' 1 1/2 tube

    90 DEGREE COLLAR:
    2x 6" 1 3/4 tube

    The 5' section of the base has a 6" tube welded to it for the upright. I welded plate between these two pieces for added strength. The 20" pieces are the feet and are held in place by the 2x2 strips of angle steel cut to 1 3/4. The upright fits into the base then the collar is attached to the top of the upright. The collar is two 6" pieces welded together at a 90 degree angle. The boom arm slides into the collar once attached to the upright. Everything is bolted together with 3/8 bolts.

    The metal cost around $76 dollars. The clamp camera mount around $25. Misc probably around $20-25

    camerarig.jpg camerarig1.jpg

    The camera I'm currently using is a Canon T3i with the 18-55mm kit lens. I'm also using Magic Lantern v2.3 firmware which adds additional features for video. DSLR have some definite drawbacks except for versatility and quality. If you have a pro-sumer grade camcorder I would recommend that instead. This is just the camera I have.

    The main downfall with current DSLR are they have a FAT32 file format which restricts video clip sizes to 4gb max. Using Magic Lantern you can work around this but you can't completely solve the issue. One of the most important functions of Magic Lantern is the restart movie function. Basically whenever a clip reaches 4gb the camera stop and starts a new one. Unfortunately, there is a 2-4 second loss of video while the new clip starts recording.

    Another draw back to using DSLR is that sensor which originally was designed for still photography is quite large and can overheat with continuous use. The camera has no cooling mechanism built into it so if you are recording constantly for hours or the ambient temps are high, the camera will shut off completely if the sensor reaches a certain temperature. I have ran the camera continuously, except for the pauses between clips, for an hour in an air conditioned environment with no issues. Would it last all day at a tournament? I doubt it.

    I'm no pro and the following video was taken with no additional lighting but I think its decent quality footage and very watchable. I'm using the lowest f-stop this lens will allow f/3.5 and shooting at 1920x1080 30fps. I have the shutter speed set to 1/60 or double the fps. In this video The ISO setting was on auto and the lens was focused manually. I think with the ambient light and GI light the camera was using right around 1400.

    You'll notice quite a few overexposed areas of the playfield where ever there are groups LED's grouped together. If anyone has any tips or advice on how I might be able to avoid this I'd appreciate it!

    So if you have a camera rig, SHOW IT! Tell everyone how you made it, what you used to make it and what you are using to film your pins. The more people that have a rig and a camera the more fun we can all have watching people play pinball!

    Thanks,
    WP

    #2 6 years ago

    Wow - quite thorough... have you thought about sliding it from the sides of the machine so you don't have to worry about ever stepping on it during play? It looks like it could go at least two machines over from the side if needed. Nice!

    #3 6 years ago

    we had it behind the machine as you can see in this image:

    BSdw9YZCEAEHHnV.jpg

    #4 6 years ago

    Here's a TourneyCam at CAX 2010, 4 stands and 4 cameras. Breaks down into a bundle of tubes weighing about 25lbs total, fits in the trunk of a car. Made from 1" AL tubing and assorted parts. Costs depend on the price of AL, around $50 per stand a few years ago.

    Cameras are low-budget Panny's (had to buy 4, can't afford DSLRx4 price), and HDMI cabled & powered, wireless remote so 1 of 4 cameras displayed on a projector for everyone to see. Cameras are on all weekend during the tourney. Built-in memory records about 5hrs, good enough for capturing finals action.

    Here's a CAX '13 tourney finals video of AC/DC:

    Lighting is lousy since we can't alter lights in the CAX exhibition hall and adding external lights glares quite a bit -- players hate that...

    Rig in action at PPE 2010:

    Used 2 camcorders to make a 3D pin-video of Riply's:

    And did some other pin video stuff:


    -Hank

    tcam_cax10_1.jpg tcam_bundle_cax.jpg

    #5 6 years ago
    Quoted from Frankenator:

    Wow - quite thorough... have you thought about sliding it from the sides of the machine so you don't have to worry about ever stepping on it during play? It looks like it could go at least two machines over from the side if needed. Nice!

    Yea I made the legs 20" so that you could slide the base between a machines legs. I didn't think about sliding it in from the side though, I'll definitely try that next time. I did think about making another collar that would slide on the boom arm and form another 90 degree angle and extend it out to each side for a total of 3 machines covered by the stand. Like this rig sort of.

    http://rosecitypinball.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/photo4.jpg

    Quoted from L8vid:

    Here's a TourneyCam at CAX 2010, 4 stands and 4 cameras. Breaks down into a bundle of tubes weighing about 25lbs total, fits in the trunk of a car. Made from 1" AL tubing and assorted parts. Costs depend on the price of AL, around $50 per stand a few years ago.

    Hank your videos are awesome! Yours is one of very few designs that I was able to find online. How do you join all of your pieces together and what is that out by the camera?

    #6 6 years ago

    I got to build me one of these. thnks for the info!
    the best i got so far with a few chairs on top of each other and a broom holding the camera lol. and the result was this crap:

    so i really need to try those metal tubes.

    Also i tried to give the idea that we could do a sticky topic or even a site/blog with all the vids of gameplay. Everybody that makes a vid could send it and we could have an alphabetical order of the games. In that way we would have a bunch of gameplay videos all on the same place so people can find them easier. Of course the videos need to have some minimum requirements..
    How about that?

    #7 6 years ago

    Nice rig!

    This is how I roll. Glass off and GoPro Hero 2 suction cupped to the lock bar.

    #8 6 years ago

    Everything bolts together. The base detaches with 2 bolts to make it easier to reposition to another pin.
    The camera is mounted on a rotating "blade" to allow setting the view angle -- you have to move it up high if T-Mac is playing, otherwise it hits his head.
    The square tubing keeps the camera aligned fairly well so I don't have to spend $15 on a small ball head mount.
    The cables to the camera are power and HDMI.

    You can also bolt on a crossbar to mount lights but you have to watch your weight. We did this for the satellite remote pin:

    fig4.JPG fig5.JPG

    #9 6 years ago

    #10 6 years ago
    Quoted from hassanchop:

    I got to build me one of these. thnks for the info!
    the best i got so far with a few chairs on top of each other and a broom holding the camera lol. and the result was this crap:
    » YouTube video
    so i really need to try those metal tubes.
    Also i tried to give the idea that we could do a sticky topic or even a site/blog with all the vids of gameplay. Everybody that makes a vid could send it and we could have an alphabetical order of the games. In that way we would have a bunch of gameplay videos all on the same place so people can find them easier. Of course the videos need to have some minimum requirements..
    How about that?

    The first vid I did was a 1 x 2 that had a bolt(for the camera mount) nailed to the end and a stack of books on the backbox to hold it down! You can get metal online if you can't find a local place.

    #11 6 years ago

    Just get a loft like me!

    pincam-1.jpg

    #12 6 years ago

    I have built three rigs. My current rig is the "Randy Ripoff 9000 Turn-E Cam" that mostly copies his Tourney Cam design except I used diagonal support beams instead of those square bracket things since I had leftover square tubing laying around.

    Hand-crafted during episodes of Loveboat, mine is built using only a hacksaw and drill with 1/4" bit, so there's lots more jagged edges to remind the lil tykes why messing with my stuff is always a bad idea.

    Tubing and misc. hardware is about $50 - 60. However, if you want to hook this all up to a projector you have a few more things to consider:

    1) You need a video cable that will go at least 25 feet. Also, your boom will bear the additional weight of video and power cables.
    2) You need to turn the projector sideways so you need to build a mount or have a plan for that.
    3) You need a camera that lets you turn off the control overlay, or else it will be visible on the projected image.

    #13 6 years ago
    Quoted from L8vid:

    Everything bolts together. The base detaches with 2 bolts to make it easier to reposition to another pin.
    The camera is mounted on a rotating "blade" to allow setting the view angle -- you have to move it up high if T-Mac is playing, otherwise it hits his head.
    The square tubing keeps the camera aligned fairly well so I don't have to spend $15 on a small ball head mount.
    The cables to the camera are power and HDMI.
    You can also bolt on a crossbar to mount lights but you have to watch your weight. We did this for the satellite remote pin:
    » YouTube video

    Thanks for sharing Hank! Your assembly looks clean. I think if I make another one I need access to a drill press. I did all of my drilling using a hand drill and my rig only bolts together one way or the holes don't align (expert pillage style)

    What cameras are you using? I was thinking there must be a camera that gets the job done, looks good and doesn't cost 1k+. My rig would definitely not accommodate T-Mac either.

    #14 6 years ago

    In my basement with exposed Joists I use a crappy gripping silver work light, rip the light/metal part out, and just use the clamp to screw into the bottom of a P&S.

    #15 6 years ago

    ha ha there's my novice trophy.

    trophy.jpg

    #16 6 years ago

    I use a cheap-o (used) Harbor Freight drill press that almost makes round holes. My stand assembly accepts a bit of slop and occasionally I "adjust" hole alignment with a hand drill. I use a miter saw with a carbide blade to cut AL pieces and to sprinkle AL chips in my hair.

    Quoted from Winball_Pizard:

    What cameras are you using? I was thinking there must be a camera that gets the job done, looks good and doesn't cost 1k+.

    TourneyCam uses Panny HDC-TM15, now a few years old, inexpensive but fair quality video. Most camcorders over $300 should work ok but for decent video you need decent light, not always available at pin tourney venues.

    Here's an old spreadsheet of camcorders folks have used:
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AlaJJwu-sac8dEp3aXlNcVBOU2pLVDlQSnl6eTNQeVE#gid=0

    For TourneyCam requirements "Acceptable" means the following:
    1) HDMI output, full 1080i video, or 720p at 60 fps. Also needs to
    drive a HDMI signal at least 25' -- most cameras can do this with a
    quality HDMI cable. Careful of 1080p video -- this ends up being 30
    frame/sec (fps) and won't look as smooth as 60i, especially with
    pinball. 60p should be ok.
    2) No overlay icons on the output video -- many cheap cameras won't
    let you turn off icons! You also won't easily find this out until you
    actually test the camera.
    3) can stay on for hours without overheating and turning off. Some
    cheap cameras automatically shut off after 1 hour. Finding this spec
    is also difficult.
    4) accept external power. Even better if a power adapter is included.
    I extended all my camera's power adapters with 25' of wire.
    5) focus, iris, manual/auto. Cheap fixed-lens cameras may be ok. Some
    cameras have wandering focus when playfield lights blink, manual
    controls prevent this.
    6) optional -- supports lens adapter. Very useful to clip-on a wide-
    angle lens adapter, allows capturing most backbox score displays.
    7) optional -- recording a few hours. Depends on recording bit-rate
    (quality) and FLASH card size.
    8) optional -- can record while outputting HDMI video. Some cameras
    are either/or.

    #17 6 years ago
    Quoted from hassanchop:

    Also i tried to give the idea that we could do a sticky topic or even a site/blog with all the vids of gameplay. Everybody that makes a vid could send it and we could have an alphabetical order of the games. In that way we would have a bunch of gameplay videos all on the same place so people can find them easier. Of course the videos need to have some minimum requirements..
    How about that?

    PAPA's got your pin videos:
    http://pinball.org/videos/

    They also accept quality pin video submissions.

    #18 6 years ago

    Agree with Hank here about the videos, and a big thank you for all the work he has done to help make Tourneycams possible.

    #19 6 years ago

    For shooting decent stable videos including playfield and DMD I've had good results simply using a drum cymbal stand and taping my iPhone to the top

    You can get good height, fully adjust the angle as you please, shoot vertical video without having to rotate it later, and you can edit on the phone right after shooting it.

    And with unlimited control over the position and angle of the camera you can avoid glass glare meaning you don't have to remove it.

    Not a solution for tourneys, but awesome solution for folks that like to film gameplay every so often or when selling a pin.

    #20 6 years ago

    My rig consists of a dowel hung across two hooks with a ram adaptors arm that can hold a phone or a screw mount from a camera. The first video is from an iPhone and second is from a Sony cam then well edited.

    #21 6 years ago

    Here's a coaxial cam setup to capture DMD and playfield simultaneously. Obviously not used for tourneys but for other pin video setups. Made from a broken cheap-o worklight stand, HomeDepot parts, and Giottos mini ball head mounts.

    coax_cam1.jpg coax_cam2.jpg and one way to look at gameplay: stng1f.jpg

    #22 6 years ago

    Hey, now we know how he got so good at Godzilla! UNFAIR!

    Also, that last image is clearly from The Pinball Arcade, not a real pinball machine.

    #23 6 years ago
    Quoted from boo32:

    My rig consists of a dowel hung across two hooks with a ram adaptors arm that can hold a phone or a screw mount from a camera. The first video is from an iPhone and second is from a Sony cam then well edited.
    » YouTube video
    » YouTube video

    I still need to rig one up. Soon.

    #24 6 years ago

    Here's some more rig footage. I was experimenting with some additional lights this time and trying to correctly adjust the WB. I used a couple of clip on shop lights and some 5500k rated energy savings bulbs. It looks like I botched my focusing job unfortunately but still looks ok.

    #25 6 years ago
    Quoted from Winball_Pizard:

    unfortunately but still looks ok.

    Just a touch or right lean on that thing eh?

    #26 6 years ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    Just a touch or right lean on that thing eh?

    Its been a while but I usually use a digi-level on all my games so its probably close to 0 L<>R and at least 6.5, though it does seem to let balls roll off the left flipper

    1 week later
    #27 6 years ago

    I have a bank of 4 pins with an 8' ceiling above them, and I was thinking of screwing this directly to the ceiling:

    http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/8020-Framing-Extrusion-5JTC8?Pid=search

    Then I'd create an 8" drop post, with another 3' section of T-slotted 80/20 at the end. I was wondering if someone had a design I could steal, or a pointer to an "80/20 Construction for Dummies" site. I'd like everything to pivot and move, but then be able to lock it down tight once I'm ready to shoot. I have a Panasonic HDC-TM900 camcorder.

    RE-EDIT: I found the 80/20 Training Center:

    http://8020.net/Training-1.asp

    #28 6 years ago

    All of you guys with open joists above your games can just use a standard photographer's C-clamp

    c-clamp_camera.JPG

    #29 6 years ago

    I just ordered everything I need for my in-home rig. Thanks to vid1900 for the last piece of the puzzle! I'll post pics when it's all assembled.

    Dumb question: should I film lengthwise (camera sideways) or normal (camera upright)?

    #30 6 years ago
    Quoted from swampfire:

    should I film
    lengthwise (camera sideways) or normal (camera upright)?

    You're not using film

    sideways. Many point and shoot digi cams these days have "16X9" setting so it'll work nice.

    #31 6 years ago

    All of you guys who built the Playfield Rotisserie out of Black Pipe can easily convert it into the ultimate camera rig, using the above Photographer's C-clamp.

    Just change out the two 36" 3/4" upright posts for two 72" 3/4" upright posts (or whatever height you want it) and add a 60" 1/2" pipe between.

    http://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vids-quick-and-dirty-rotisserie-guide

    #32 6 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    All of you guys with open joists above your games can just use a standard photographer's C-clamp

    That's the one I'm using. Works and its cheap

    #33 6 years ago

    Anyone try one of these?

    image.jpg

    #34 6 years ago

    Just finished the first half of "The Grizzly" (Great America reference), an attempt to make a pile of scrap wood in my driveway useful. Looks more like a gallows for executing small animals. I realize aluminum is the way to go, but the point was to utilize the pile of wood that was heading to the trash and 20 bucks in bolts/screws/tears. If it fails, it fails. I've only lost a weekend...

    The stem is detachable, so I can somewhat pack it up and take it somewhere. Although I didn't plan on traveling with it. Now I need to figure out the hard part, the boom arm and how to attach a camera to this thing. I'm thinking I'm gonna have to go aluminum piping there (besides I have run out of usable wood) and some sort of camera mount.

    grizzly01.jpg

    #35 6 years ago
    Quoted from sosage:

    Just finished the first half of "The Grizzly" (Great America reference), an attempt to make a pile of scrap wood in my driveway useful. Looks more like a gallows for executing small animals. I realize aluminum is the way to go, but the point was to utilize the pile of wood that was heading to the trash and 20 bucks in bolts/screws/tears. If it fails, it fails. I've only lost a weekend...
    The stem is detachable, so I can somewhat pack it up and take it somewhere. Although I didn't plan on traveling with it. Now I need to figure out the hard part, the boom arm and how to attach a camera to this thing. I'm thinking I'm gonna have to go aluminum piping there (besides I have run out of usable wood) and some sort of camera mount.

    Nice reference! Been to Great America many times. I think if your boom isn't made of round tubing the camera mount above should work.

    #36 6 years ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    You're not using film
    sideways. Many point and shoot digi cams these days have "16X9" setting so it'll work nice.

    #37 6 years ago

    I use one of these... an overhead mic boom stand with a swivel 1/4" camera mount on the end. Works very well, inexpensive and completely adjustable.

    boom_stand.jpg

    #38 6 years ago

    All of the PAPA videos are shot vertical...just sayin'

    I actually turned one of my monitors on its side to watch pinball vids for a while.

    #39 6 years ago

    Grizzly update. Short version: don't use wood.

    griz01.jpg

    The material is sturdy for a base and stem, but once I had to figure out how to attach the boom arm for the camera it became really, really obvious that wood is the only way to go if you're being cheap AND you have nothing else available.

    The next one I am definitely raising the budget and going aluminum piping for the entire thing. It's not that The Grizzly failed, but it's very much NOT portable friendly. It also doesn't help that I am not a carpenter. There is definitely some crookedness going on with some of the stuff. BUT, it should still work.

    The final step is putting a camera on the boom arm and testing it out. This part I am using aluminum tubing and a cheap bike-camera rig I found at Fry's (it's a belt system that you tighten around a bar, then swivel/spin the camera into place...it's more sturdy than I expected, BUT, I wouldn't stick a DSLR on it, but for a cheap-o cam on a cheap-o pinball rig, it seems to work).

    griz03.jpg

    #40 6 years ago
    Quoted from Crash:

    Anyone try one of these?

    Not sure if serious...

    But no, that would not work.

    #41 6 years ago

    Hank: Looking into building a rig similar to yours. Do you have a blueprint, or atleast sizes of the different parts? Would also be nice to see some more closeups on how you fix the blade on the boom? Also, what kind of bolt is used to fix the camera to the blade?

    Thanks!
    --Andreas

    #42 6 years ago

    I use a drum boom stand with a c clamp.

    #43 6 years ago

    In for updates.

    #44 6 years ago
    Quoted from bitwalk:

    Hank: Looking into building a rig similar to yours. Do you have a blueprint, or atleast sizes of the different parts? Would also be nice to see some more closeups on how you fix the blade on the boom? Also, what kind of bolt is used to fix the camera to the blade?
    Thanks!
    --Andreas

    Shoot me an email...

    #45 6 years ago

    Here's mine:

    Very similar to PinballHelp's rig. It's good for point and shoot cameras that do video. Total cost $32 shipped and it is easily portable and adjustable. It's a flexible camera mount on the end of a mic stand. It consists of these 2 items:

    ebay.com link

    ebay.com link

    rig1.jpg rig2.jpg

    #46 6 years ago
    Quoted from Crash:

    » YouTube video

    I'm guessing those stuffed animals don't understand that a pinball machine is vertical and not horizontal.

    #47 6 years ago
    Quoted from herbertbsharp:

    Here's mine:
    Very similar to PinballHelp's rig. It's good for point and shoot cameras that do video. Total cost $32 shipped and it is easily portable and adjustable. It's a flexible camera mount on the end of a mic stand. It consists of these 2 items:
    Ebay link
    Ebay link

    Is that Twist Mount steady and holds?
    Looks like a great option...

    #48 6 years ago
    Quoted from hassanchop:

    Is that Twist Mount steady and holds?
    Looks like a great option...

    Yeah, as long as the camera isn't too heavy. Since it is flexible you have to play with it a bit when you set up the shot but it holds fine with small cameras.

    #49 6 years ago
    Quoted from herbertbsharp:

    Here's mine:
    Very similar to PinballHelp's rig. It's good for point and shoot cameras that do video. Total cost $32 shipped and it is easily portable and adjustable. It's a flexible camera mount on the end of a mic stand. It consists of these 2 items:
    Ebay link
    Ebay link

    Cool and cheap too. What's the footage look like when nudge the game?

    2 weeks later
    10
    #50 6 years ago

    Here's my rig, just built it yesterday. I used the C-clamp that vid recommended. I used a long bar at the bottom so I could experiment with different perspectives. So far I like recording from behind the player's head the best.

    EDIT: I'd love to see some tweaks to improve this. I wish I could move the camcorder "fore and aft" by turning a knob, and I wish it was a little easier to move the assembly down the track (left and right).

    camcorder-rig-small.jpg

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