Tuesday, January 17, 2006

El Cheapo Camera Prop

I promised a few folks I'd post pictures of a camera prop I made so here it is. I'm having someone shoot some footage for me and it involves a semi-professional photographer character. The person shooting said they didn't have a fancy camera so I figured I'd make a fake one to send them and it would look good enough on video.

So, I started with a cheapo film camera (A) I got at the Dollar Tree.

Yes, it was $1.00.

In hindsight, I couldn've started with just a rectangular box. I had gone to the store hoping to find a toy camera and was about to give up after not finding one, then saw these real cameras and for some reason figured I'd get it and build on to it.

For the flash, I used a pancake syrup container (B) - in the photo, you are seeing the bottom of it: the peel-off lid was on the backside. It was attached with some strips of duct tape and some model glue.

For kind of a handle/battery pack kind of thingee, I used a small plastic box (C) that used to hold the suntanning goggles that "Tulsa" from BLOODSUCKING REDNECK VAMPIRES wore. This was just attached with duct tape.

The lens was built up with some circular plastic rings leftover from some of my son's toys (D). Not sure what exact toys they are from, but you know when you get plastic models and the small parts come on a kind of plastic grid and you wiggle and snap off the small parts? Well these rings had small parts on them and they'd been wiggled and snapped off. Anyhow, I put three of them together with duct tape, then taped the whole thing onto the front of the camera.

I painted the whole thing with a few coats of black latex paint - the thicknes of the paint actualy helped to hide some of the seams and tape edges. Then I painted the whole thing with flat black spray paint. Why flat? Just what I had on hand.

I'd taped off a rectangle for the "flashbulb" but when I peeled the gaffer's tape I'd used of, it left a bunch of glue behind. Not much I could do about it, so I just left it.

I cut up a rectangular piece and a round piece of clear plastic from some packaging from one of my son's toys. I used model glue to put the rectangular piece over the "flashbulb" and the round piece over the lens area. The model glue dried clear. My hope is that light will reflect of of these plastic pieces and push the illusion further on video.

The final touches were using a liquid paper pen, black marker and red marker to make some little dots, squares and such on the camera. I'm hoping that the lines and stuff on the lens look like all those focus marks on a real camera. You can see the lines better in the photo below, but when I took this photo, the flash really shows the fakeness of this thing. Again, on video, while being held by someone, with lights reflecting off of it, it should fool the audience.


Alexandra said...

WOW! Now that is impressive!

Tim S. said...

Coolsville, man. When will the flick be finished? I want to see it in action.

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