Sunday, May 10, 2009
Knot-tying instruction is a difficult subject to film. If you don't believe me, go onto YouTube and just search for knots. The problem is that the easiest angle to film is from the front, but if you try to follow along and tie the knot, everything is in reverse. The best angle for instruction is from the perspective of the knot-tyer. But most videos from that angle are really jerky as someone attaches the camera to their head to get a "point of view" recording.
So I came up with a PVC contraption, originally called the Knot Demonstrator. It allows you to film directly downwards, which works pretty well for filming knot-tying. But then my wife wanted to digitize some artwork that wouldn't fit in the scanner, and we discovered that the Knot Demonstrator works for that, too. So after a lot of experimentation and changes, I've come up with a stable design that allows you to film and photograph anything from directly above. The new name is Tabletop Demonstrator because it can be used for much more than just knot videos.
(All 3/4" sch 40 PVC or fittings)
Legs -- 4x 21.5"
Crossbeams -- 4x 9"
Z-Beams -- 4x 10.5"
Stabilizers -- 2x 7"
Hidden Connectors -- 6x 1.5"
* A note on lengths: These lengths are set up with my specific camera in mind. Depending on how wide of an angle your camera has, you may need to change the dimensions slightly. If, when you have everything set up correctly, you can see any of the PVC, you either need to shorten the legs or make the Z-Beams or Crossbeams longer.
2 End Caps
8 90-degree elbows
By the way, you may notice that there's an extra Tee between the lower crossbeams. I don't know what it's doing there, but it seemed to be a handy place to put a connector (possibly for future modifications).
Price: Around $10.00, unless you have all the parts lying around (like I do)
Build time: 15 minutes, more if you need to adjust the height or width
Availability of materials: Readily available
Durability: It's PVC. Plenty durable for indoor work
Functionality: Works very well for what it's designed for
Portability: Somewhat large and bulky, but it can fold up into a smaller size (see future post)