Overhead Video Tutorial: How to Shoot Top Down Video [UPDATED!]
If you’re seeing value in this video make sure you’re giving it a thumbs up, it really makes a huge difference and all the links to everything we mentioned in this video. You can find linked in the description box below let’s jump into it. A top down camera angle is great for getting your viewers immersed in what you’re doing on a tabletop like you’ve, probably seen in a lot of cooking, drawing and craft videos, or even tech reviews and tutorials that’s, really not that hard to do either there’s a few Different ways to get the job done, depending on your requirements and your budget, starting with diy gear, that many of us already have and ranging up to some more professional purpose, built gear for a more permanent studio, so we’re going to cover a lot of options here. So make sure you’re sticking around to the end to hear them all out to completion to make sure that you’re getting the best one for you and for your setup. So the first option is a great diy option: it’s not the best option but it’s good. If you’ve already got this lying around and that’s using a standard tripod, so what i’m talking about here is, instead of having your camera facing forward you’re, actually tilting it down to film what’s beneath the tripod. Now, obviously, here you want to make sure that you’ve got enough room around the tripod to get the shot that you’re after but depending on the tripod that you’re using and the camera that you’re using.
You might end up getting the tripod legs in your shot or, if you’re, using a bigger camera, it could be unstable, so you might need to use some sandbags or a counterweight to keep it stable. A step up from that one option: number two is using a tripod with a flippable head or a tripod with a boom or extension arm. This is actually a lot more common in cheaper tripods than i thought. So what i’m talking about is a tripod where you can mount the camera underneath it. So this is going to be more stable than just tilting your camera forward as it’s going to be hanging under the tripod now again, depending on the specific tripod or the camera. That you’re using it is still possible to get the tripod legs in your shot, but it’s a lot less likely than just using a regular tripod. So an example of a tripod like this is the slick, video sprint series of tripods. You can literally just pull out the top piece and mount it underneath and the camera is then hanging under there option. Number three is using a microphone stand now this is going to be great for a small camera or a phone or a webcam. Something that’s not got a lot of weight to it, and the great part about using a microphone stand. Is that you’re not going to get any tripod legs or anything in your shot underneath it because the camera is overhanging the area that you’re going to be filming? If you’re going to go with this setup, i would definitely recommend using some sort of sandbag or counterweight to make sure it’s going to be stable and not going to tip over and you’re likely going to need an adapter from your standard microphone mount to a tripod.
Mount so that you can easily mount your camera now. This is something that you can pick up really cheap, like starting at the 30 to 40 dollar price point and obviously going up. If you want something more professional and maybe more stable, but you can get some great results with the cheap gear here as well option number four is to use a microphone boom arm, so a retractable arm to hold a podcast style microphone. So this is something that you could easily clamp to your desk and move it into position and then easily move it out of the way once you’re done, recording now again, this is an area where you’ve got lots of options. The cheap ones are going to be perfect for a lightweight camera, something like a webcam, smartphone or a small point and shoot camera, whereas the more expensive ones the sturdier ones, will be better suited for a heavier camera like a dslr or mirrorless camera as well. Now, just be mindful, with any of these options, where you’re going to be mounting or clamping your camera to the desk, if you knock or bump that surface, it might actually shake the camera too option. Number five is to use a dedicated, desktop camera stand now. This is something that’s made specifically for this purpose of making it easy for you to create top down videos from your desk. So this is a really simple solution that you could just bring out when you want to use it and then easily pack it away afterwards and given the design, it’s also unlikely that you’re going to get the mount in shot as well.
Now, there’s lots of options out there for this, but arcon makes some great ones and they start around the 100 price point option. Number six is a desk clamp camera stand with boom arms. This is another one that’s going to be a really clean setup, because it’s not going to take up much desk space, you’re literally clamping this to the side or the back of your desk, and there is an arm that protrudes over your desk, where you mount your Camera now this is great because it’s height adjustable and it can be configured up for different shots and some of the more professional options here can hold some heavier cameras like dslr or mirrorless cameras. No problem now, while there’s lots of options. Here my personal favorite are the ones from elgato. They are super stable and they’ll hold some heavier cameras as well. Option number seven is using an overhead mirror now in some cases, especially where it’s not going to be practical to mount a big production, style, camera or a big heavy camera. It could be easier to mount a mirror above the area, and then you set your cameras up on the ground and you zoom into the mirror and you’re filming the reflection of what’s going on underneath it. So, yes, you still have to mount a mirror up there, but you might be able to get away with something relatively small, but this can really get you around a lot of the weight issues with mounting big cameras up high and yes, the image will be reversed, But it’s something that you can easily flip back to normal in your editing software option number eight is using a tripod crane or a jib arm.
Now this is a more professional setup of essentially what we looked at a little bit earlier with the microphone stand. Now this is something where you can either purchase a full dedicated complete unit or you can purchase just the add on for a standard tripod it’s. Not only is this a great setup to get nice overhead shots, but it’s also a great setup for any moving or panning overhead shots as well, and while you can have this setup for filming solo, ideally you’d have someone there manning the jib arm, especially if you Want to have any of those movement shots and for this setup you will need counterweights or sandbags to keep it in position and to keep it stable now, once again, there’s lots of options, both cheap and expensive, the cheaper ones, starting at around the 100 price point. But going up to thousands of dollars, depending on the setup option, number nine is to use a wall or a ceiling mount. So this is where you are permanently setting up permanently: fixing your camera to the wall or to the ceiling. Now, with this sort of mounting setup, you got lots of flexibility in terms of mounting options, different weights sizes, all to lock your camera in place, and because your camera is going to be mounted to the wall or the ceiling. You’Ve got next to no chance of having any camera shake in your footage because it’s off the table or it’s off the ground.
Now, obviously, with this setup it is a permanent setup. So, even just to move the camera a little bit, it’s not going to be an easy task. Option number 10 is an overhead truss setup. Now this is again another more permanent setup. This is something that you wouldn’t want to be setting up and packing up each time you wanted to create a video, but instead of just mounting cameras, you also have the option here to use this truss setup to also mount lights and speakers and to have all Your cables managed as well so that they’re not in the way now. This is once again an area where there is a huge range of options and prices, depending on the size, the strength and the height required. But you can pick up a truss setup, starting at a hundred dollars for something reasonable and obviously going up to thousands. So those are my top camera setup options for shooting top down videos. Now i’ve got two quick tips for you to help. You get the most out of whichever setup you went with number one is to use a zoom lens or a camera, or a phone with zoom capabilities so that you can zoom in or you can crop things out like the tripod legs or things that you don’t Want in your shot, you can crop them out easily and tip number two will help you monitor or see what it is that you’re actually recording.
So it could be that you’re running an hdmi cable from your camera to a tv or a computer monitor. So you can actually see what’s going on or if you’re going to be recording using a phone, you could mirror your phone screen to a tv using a chromecast or an apple tv or to a computer using software like reflector, which is an amazing, app it’ll work On ios on android and mac and pc – and it will essentially mirror your phone screen to your computer so that you can see what’s going on so now that you’ve got your top down videos. Sorted i’ve got two videos for you.