Easy to use web cam for "over the shoulder" zoom painting demos ?
February 3, 2021 5:53 PM   Subscribe

My wife conducts painting workshops using zoom, and needs a camera to to show her demonstrations from either "over her shoulder" or "above her head". The solution we have been using isn't tenable ( placing her Mac on a step ladder).

She is an old school painter, and tech really isn't her thing. I know that it can be done with our digital camera, but she is resistant to that because to her, that seems too complicated. Is there some sort of plug and play device that I can put on the aforementioned step ladder to prevent a disaster? Would like to keep it under $200, if possible.
posted by lobstah to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: On a whim I bought a tablet tripod from Kmart- it's surprisingly good and useful!

I googled "iPad tripod" and there were a heap.

Maybe this will be suitably low-tech friendly?
posted by freethefeet at 5:58 PM on February 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: You must have read my mind...I never mentioned that she has an iPad too . That just might work, since she has mastered the iPad ! :)
posted by lobstah at 6:14 PM on February 3, 2021

Best answer: Please get a proper swingarm (like those for podcast microphones) that can mount a webcam on.

It's the first Hardware upgrade: swingarm webcam mount I recommended. You don't have to buy that exact model, but something similar.

There are also tripods with gooseneck holders that should also work.
posted by kschang at 10:16 PM on February 3, 2021

Best answer: The setup I came up with for this in a student shop environment is a phone clamp mounted to a microphone stand, with an auxiliary battery. The mic stand has a much smaller footprint than a ladder or tripod, but mine tops out at 6’ so over-the-head shots wouldn’t be straightforward.
posted by jon1270 at 3:29 AM on February 4, 2021

Best answer: I forgot to mention a component: a cheap photography ball mount between mic stand and phone clamp.

Memail me if you’d like links to the pieces I used.
posted by jon1270 at 3:36 AM on February 4, 2021

Response by poster: All great ideas, thanks !
posted by lobstah at 6:43 AM on February 4, 2021

Best answer: The setup my colleagues use for virtual watchmaking demos is a document camera. They can then switch views between the instructor's face (main laptop camera) and the thing they are demonstrating (document camera).
posted by bedhead at 8:23 AM on February 4, 2021

Best answer: I have done this sort of thing with a webcam on a telescoping, boom arm microphone stand - like this for example. You need a webcam that has a tripod mount hole (most seem to) and a little adapter to match the mic stand threads with the camera threads (google mic stand to camera mount adapter). Much more easily positioned than a normal tripod.
posted by aspersioncast at 12:39 PM on February 4, 2021

Best answer: I teach drawing and painting with Zoom these days, working from my dining room. If she has an iPhone she can just use that by hooking it up to her mac laptop running Zoom, as a secondary camera, either wired or via AirPlay. I have my phone running into my laptop with a long cord so that it never runs out of batteries. I bought a gooseneck phone holder with a screw clamp so that I can move it around easily. I think it cost $15. Here's something like mine, there are tons of them available. It works great for overhead shots and I use it to record videos from over my shoulder. I can attach it to any of my furniture, which is helpful since I move around to film a lot. It is also easy to remove and pack away, important to me since we are a family of 4 living working and going to school in the house (thanks Covid) and I don't have a dedicated office.

I'm not sure how/if this works if she has an Android or other phone but it looks like the person I linked to on YouTube has some options for that below this video.
posted by Cuke at 7:28 PM on February 4, 2021

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