Friday, April 03, 2020

DIY Document Camera

DIY Document Camera
My brother, Dr John Worthington, is an Educational Psychologist. Like many professionals, he is providing consultations remotely due to the . So I talked him through how to make a  document camera (visualiser).

Much can be done by telephone and video conference. However, occasionally it is necessary to show a client something. For this it is useful to have a document camera. This has a plate which sits on the desk, where you put a document (or small object). There is an arm to hold a camera above, and a light. Audio visual equipment is in short supply, but you can make a document camera out of a web camera and items around the home.

There are numerous articles online about how to make a document camera. I made a prototype from the surplus parts from a drawer unit. You need something for the base: I used the side off a modular basket drawer unit. You need an arm: I used a spare metal rod from the drawer unit (the rod is long enough to balance the weight of the camera on one end). You need a camera: I used a web camera which had a tilt and swivel mount which makes adjustments easier. The components are held togehter with zip ties, but rubber bands, or gaffer tape could be used. So far I haven't needed a light.

No specialized software is needed. If you have two web cameras, then use the one pointed at you first, so the client can see you. Then switch to the document camera, using the setting in your video conference software. When finished with the document, switch back to the other camera.

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