Well, if I want to put foodie video content on my blog, I need to set up the kitchen as a temporary studio – one that can be set up and taken down again in, preferably, seconds – but I’ll settle for minutes.
My first attempt at mounting a camcorder support was using this:-
It’s a camera support I made so I could mount my DSLR on my powerchair, the tripod head was specifically chosen for its lack of protruding levers. It works very well as originally intended, but as you can see it’s just a vertical shaft with a tripod head at one end and a clamp at the other – I needed something with more adjustability. Not that it doesn’t do the job – it does, I’ve tried it – but it can be better. To the right is a Kindle Paperwhite, mounted on a car tablet holder, which contains my recipes (Amazon has a free service to convert my stuff from Word to Kindle format – I just email the Word doc and retrieve the conversion from the Cloud), and a selection of food-related books. I also have copies of the books on my other Kindles, so I don’t have to stand in the kitchen to read them.
Then, mooching around online I spotted this, reduced to £20, almost half price:-
It’s a hide stand, for birdwatching, but it’s far too flimsy to mount a spotting scope – hence its reduction, presumably. It’s barely robust enough for my tiny camcorder.
It does, though, have a ball joint at both ends, which allows it to be angled over my workspace and give a clear view from my left, and to get a few extra inches of height I’ve added a pan & tilt head which also has a quick-release plate to make things a little easier.
And at that point I realised just how flimsy it really is, prone to picking up and amplifying every vibration. Feeling ever so slightly pissed off, I put everything away while I thought about the problem.
Then, late last night, as I was going to bed, the solution hit me but, manfully resisting the temptation, I went to bed anyway, and left it until today.
So, look at the pic – see the circular gubbins near the bottom? That’s a half-kilo iron dumbbell weight and, suitably tweaked, it does a really good job of damping out most vibration.
The hole in its centre is rather larger than the shaft diameter, so I’ve padded the shaft with some closed-cell foam (camping-mat), so that the weight fits snugly, and wrapped the shaft below the weight thickly in the same material, so it sits on a thick, absorbent, cushion, secured above and below with duct tape. And the whole assembly damps out vibration brilliantly. Looks crude but as long as it works I don’t care.
The weight would be more effective attached to a short arm, rather than on the same axis as the shaft, as now, but that would exert too much leverage on the bottom ball joint, probably causing it to slip (these things rely solely on friction to hold them). And my chopping boards are on two layers of non-slip material, sandwiching a closed-cell foam core (more camping mat), which will also reduce any vibration though its main purpose is to keep the noise down. The worktop is attached to a hollow plasterboard wall (drywall in the US), which makes the kitchen into a giant, reverberating, drum!
Next week, hopefully, my next recipe will be recorded for posterity – well, it will be if I can come up with one – I’m running on empty at the moment. I just hope the results justify the enthusiasm with which the idea has been received.
And then, as I said, I want to re-do the Batterie de Cuisine post with visuals, so that people can see what I’m talking about – useful for newbies, hopefully.
There probably won’t be a voice-over as I can be severely aphasic (ME-related), and I’ve experimented with captioning the shots, but this would obscure what’s on-screen, so my plan for now is for the visuals to have brief explanatory text screens, in the manner of early silent movies, preceding each shot. It should work. It should also ensure that nothing is omitted, as a voice-over would have me doing too many things at once when just the basics are challenge enough even on a good day – whatever that might be!