I’ve always loved the look of photos taken with a ringlight. About 6 years ago, before my son was born, I built a ringlight using some circular fluorescent lights and a chip and dip bowl from Big Lots. It produced the look I wanted, but the ballast required to power the lights made it a bit heavy and unwieldy.
In November of 2009, a fellow by the name of Jani ‘Japala’ Pönkkö made a cool DIY ringlight using automotive LED rings. Since those LED rings could be battery powered, I thought that would be a good fit for the Lego camera.
Here are the build instructions for the Lego Tripod Mount that accompanies the Lego camera. Please keep in mind that unless you’re willing to bond the tripod mount to the Lego camera (and glue together all the Lego pieces that make up the camera), the camera can still be knocked off the tripod with any decent amount of force. With that said, this tripod mount is very handy for keeping the camera steady for making videos like the one below.
This is a working digital Lego camera that takes real photos.
One day recently, I was sitting with my son and we were tinkering with his Legos. I made something that looked like a camera and pretended to take some photos of my son with the Lego camera. Then thought that it might be fun if I could build a little case for the iPhone 4 so that I could actually take some photos and videos with something that looked like a little Lego toy. I used a wheel as a fake lens, a window as a fake viewfinder, and round button-like piece as the fake shutter release button.
If you actually build something like this, you’ll notice right away how much easier it is to hold the camera steady in almost all situations. If needed, a tripod mount can easily be created by gluing a 1/4″ nut into a couple sacrificial Lego pieces. But the functionality of the case is only half the point of this thing. Try taking a toy camera like this to a party – it is the ultimate ice breaker. You’re sure to enjoy compliments from curious onlookers about your one-of-a-kind photographic device! C’mon, who wouldn’t want their portrait captured with a Lego camera?!
This is a very simple and fun project and can be used to turn any smartphone into a Lego “camera”.
Update (7/19/2011) – I finally got around to making a build video. Enjoy!
Update: Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to build this particular version.
So I have had an iPhone since mid 2008 and I’ve always been a huge fan of it. Last year, I upgraded to the iPhone 4 and was excited to use its 720p recording capabilities along with all the other cool things. I used the video camera a few times and after a few weeks, it became one of the less frequently used apps on the phone. One of the reasons was that it was very difficult to record good looking video. I knew that it was prone to the “wobble” effect if you panned too quickly, but even when trying to minimize panning, the small form factor of the phone made it difficult to hold steady.
Here is another portrait from my archives. This one is of Chava, a local surfer. Usually, I like my subjects to look into the camera because I feel like it is a bit more personal and more likely to connect the viewer with the subject. Perhaps it is because of the extreme closeup nature of the shot, but Chava’s off-camera stare still seems to invite the viewer into his personal space.
Click on the full-screen button in the upper-right corner of the image below for the best viewing experience!