The Improvised Camera Arm
I’ve always disliked one thing about my monitor setup – It makes the camera that sits on top of the monitor too far away. I’ve been wanting to modify a desk lamp into a camera arm (kind of like this), but I never quite got around to doing it.
So the other day I was cleaning up a bit in my office and I noticed a brand new, still in the package, heavy-duty bathroom mirror that I picked up at a yard sale last summer for $2. Until I started to write this post, I didn’t even know it was an Ikea product, and would have never guessed that it was only $4.99 new.
Curiosity got the best of me, so I opened up the package to see what the mirror arm was like. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was not only made of really nice stainless steel, but that it also had an accordion style extension arm, and a threaded shaft for attaching the mirror. As soon as I took a look at it I said to myself “Eureka! I recognize that thread pitch – it’s the same as the camera!”
So I grabbed my drill and fastened it to the wall between my iMac and my main monitor. When retracted it sits about flush with the monitor, about 32 inches from my face. When extended it is about 18 inches from my face. The shaft allows for both rotation and a small amount of vertical adjustment.
This not only allows me to better fill the picture when video conferencing, but it also gives me a more natural “I’m looking at you” appearance when the camera is closer to the other person’s video on my screen. Here’s the before and after difference:
Not too bad for $2 – the camera arm that is, not my face.