Easy Overhead Camera Set-Up For Your Next DJ Livestream

Last updated 7 May, 2020

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With the increased interest in livestreaming recently, DJs around the world are looking for ways to set their livestreams apart. One of the best ways to do this is to have a more professional-looking camera angle than the somewhat standard view from the side of your DJ set-up.

An overhead shot of your DJ kit, like the ones you see in most product announcement and review videos, is an angle that DJs around the world have come to associate with more professional productions. So, MacGyver style, let’s recreate this type of camera angle for your smartphone, using just a few items that you probably already have around the house.

What you’ll need

For this DIY overhead shot, we’ll be using three items: A picture frame, a piece of cardboard or a box, and some strong tape.

The picture frame will be used as the base of this rig. While the picture frame isn’t necessarily required, it will help stabilise this set-up.

The cardboard will be acting as a makeshift smartphone mount. You’ll want to make sure that the cardboard can not only support the weight of your smartphone but also is long enough to hold your phone far enough from the wall to get your entire set-up in the frame.

Read this next: What Camera Is Best For DJ Set Livestreaming?

We’ll be using the tape as a way to connect the box and the frame as well as to suspend the box from the wall. It should only take a few pieces, but you’ll want to make sure that you use a tape with a stronger adhesive than just your normal scotch tape you’d find in a desk drawer. I like using gaffer tape as it holds pretty well and also does not leave a residue when removed.

So now that we have an idea of all the materials we’ll need, let’s move on to building this thing!

Pro overhead camera stup
In our studios, we use expensive camera arms to suspend our 4K DSLR cameras over the workshop benches, where we film review videos and so on – but you really don’t need to go to this trouble at home.

How to set it up

Watch the video above to follow along with these instructions.

The first thing you will want to do is figure out the proper height that you will need to set your phone to, to get your entire DJ set-up in the frame. Once you’ve figured out the height, you will need to find out how far away from the wall you will need to place your phone. Once both of these decisions are made and you know exactly where your smartphone needs to be, we can start building this rig.

Start by placing the cardboard or box under your smartphone, making sure that it is long enough that it can hold your smartphone at the proper distance and touch the wall at the same time. You’ll then want to place the picture frame underneath the cardboard and then mark where it needs to be hung on the wall.

Read this next: 10 Livestream Mistakes You Should Stop Making Immediately

Hang the frame on the wall where you previously marked, I like to use adhesive velcro strips to give myself the ability to move around the frame until it’s just right, then place the cardboard over the frame. Then, tape the cardboard to the wall and to the frame.

Overhead camera
We use this kind of shot all the time on our DJ school tutorial videos. While we have a pro “arm”, you can get EXACTLY the same finished result the way we are describing here.

Next, cut a longer piece of tape and attach it to one side the free-floating end of the cardboard. Take the other side of this piece of tape and attach it to the wall above the frame, creating a triangle shape between the wall, the cardboard, and the tape. Attach another piece of tape to the other side of the free-floating end of the cardboard. It should look something like a mediaeval drawbridge! Place one more piece of tape across where the two strips are stuck to the wall to help strengthen the whole rig.

This DIY solution is now complete! All that is left to do is place your phone onto the rig, turn your streaming app of choice on, and go live…

Finally…

It is easy to think you need an elaborate, and expensive, set-up to make your livestreams stand out, but with a little ingenuity and a few common items, you can create something that adds a ton of production value.

overhead camera arm
You can buy arms like this that work well with phones and webcams, that can be a good halfway house between pro gear and DIY.

While this type of set-up might not be the prettiest in the world, it definitely gets the job done and can tide you over until you can get a more professional-looking overhead rig. With DJing it is so easy to always want that next big thing, when sometimes it’s best to figure out how to get the most of what we may already have. and when you are ready (for instance, to step up to maybe an arm like this one from Amazon), you’ll know for sure it’s the right thing to get.

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