You can buy any number of different cell phone mounts for your bicycle, and they all work pretty well. But what if you want a medium shot? A long shot? Here’s a way to do it.
First, a disclaimer: this procedure describes an economical way to shoot a MEDIUM SHOT of you, in motion, on your bicycle. A handlebar mounted camera holder will give you a closeup, but not a medium shot. This works if you’re all by yourself, and converts your bicycle into a camera car.
Although we tested it with a cell phone – yes, a cell phone – it would work even better with a GoPro or similar lightweight camera. The strengths of this rig are the ease of assembly, and the low cost of the components.
To build it, we started with a block of 2×2, four inches in length. A camera mount stolen from a selfie stick is mounted on one end. The block is mounted to the end of a two-foot long section of 2×2 using a bolt, lockwasher, and wingnut.
That wooden section is, in turn, bolted to a five-foot long steel upright from a shelving system.
You could use virtually any linear material, but you are looking for a high degree of rigidity – that’s the beauty of the steel upright. It’s bent into a super-rigid “U” shape. You’ll see why that matters in a moment.
The steel upright was lashed to the bicycle’s top tube, with the steel end butted against the rear brake cable lug, and the wooden end passing between the front and rear brake and shift cables. Padding was placed around the top tube to protect the paint. Nylon cable ties anchored the steel upright to the frame.
The cell phone was mounted in the camera mount out at the end of the wooden section. Setting the camera to selfie mode allows you to see what you’re shooting.
That’s it! Turn on the camera’s timer, push the button, hop on the bike, and hit the highway!
You’ve essentially installed a harpoon off the prow of your bike. Since it’s lashed to the top tube, it doesn’t turn when you turn the handlebars. Watch the turns!
Make sure you use cable ties to anchor your camera/phone to the camera mount. There’s a surprising number of Gs that build up out there at the end of the harpoon.
Finally, if you’re shooting video, those G forces amplify every movement of the bicycle out at the camera, leading to a nauseating sway in the final video. In addition, because the camera’s mounted to the bike, you as the rider sway against the background, inducing even more seasickness.
Because the rider is dominant in the image, it looks like he’s riding against a green screened background.
For video, the problem lies in rigidity of the harpoon. Neither the wooden nor the steel components have any sway in them, and, assembled together, seem secure and immobile. But mount them on the bike, and hello seasick city!
HOW WE SOLVED IT
We pulled the camera mount off of the harpoon and mounted it to the rear rack of another bike. Although this solved the seasickness problem, it broke the one-bike requirement.
Mounting the camera on a second bicycle solves the issue, although it requires a second rider and a second bicycle. The results are much better.
If you find a solution to the One Bike Problem, please don’t hesitate to forward your solution to firstname.lastname@example.org, or add a comment to this post!
Please note: do not do this procedure if you are not certain that you can complete it safely, or if it doesn’t seem accurate. Skippity Whistles provides this information as advice, and cannot accept any liability for your usage of it.
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