OMG Evan’s back too?! Yes my dear readers. Search now works again (oops) and I’ve tuned up the website’s inner workings. Oh and I have an awesome project to share!
One of my big wedding responsibilities was to make a photobooth. We did a lot of research into DIY vs rent. Rentals were quite expensive (around $600-$1200) and DIY range from $0 on up depending on how much you already have. On the easy side there was: setup your computer with its web cam and use some photobooth like app. On the hard side there were custom circuitry with fancy triggers and printers etc. I knew I could not live with myself (being an engineer and IT nerd) if I went with a computer that you pressed the spacebar on. But I also knew time would be limited and I could not delve too far into coding and wiring.
So I came up with my own in between. Most digital cameras now have some sort of digital output (usually micro HDMI). When hooked up to a monitor the camera can display pictures that have been taken, or (and more interestingly for this project) it can show whatever the camera is seeing! On my camera the HDMI out was hidden on the bottom near the batter (that top port in the picture below).
The best part of a photobooth is people seeing themselves before the photo and being silly! Since my camera has that output all I needed to do was point the camera one way, have a monitor facing the same way, then throw in a remote and watch the chaos. And there was literally chaos. You’ll see in the end (though that was mainly the props’ fault, not my photobooth). In order to make everything pretty though I had to build a box to hide the technology. Went to Home Depot and bought 2 pieces of plywood and found some spare 2×4’s in the attic. Found a flush mount monitor kit on amazon and a spare computer monitor in a closet. I started with the main front face (where the monitor would be attached facing the photo-takers).
Added 2x4s to the back of the front face for structural support (you can see where I screwed them in along each side in the photo below). Then started to attach my monitor mount.
I had to add some 2x4s on the back for the mount to attach to.
Dropped the monitor in for a fit test. So far so good!
I wanted the camera to be above the monitor because pictures from above are more attractive (or so my wife tells me). I bought a little swivel that I could mount into the wood, so I put another 2×4 at the right height for that. Here is where my previously unmentioned planning came into play. I actually did measure my monitor and camera to make sure everything would fit on the front panel. From there it was a bit of improv as the project went on though :P For this build I had the overall shape in my head but determining all the lengths, angles, heights etc ahead of time didn’t seem necessary for something that would most likely be used a few tines. I would add each element off of the previous and measure everything to fit together as I went.
I wanted the whole back panel to open on hinges so that the camera would be easily accessible and the whole thing would be easy to assemble and break down. A quick trip to Home Depot and we found these cabinet hinges that worked out well.
Also note in the picture below, my handheld cordless screwdriver. It is amazing and I totally recommend it to any DIYers out there that work with wood/ hang curtains/ assemble things/ etc/ basically every DIY project lol.
For the sides I just pressed a sheet of plywood against it’s current shape. Traced the lines. Measured in by the width of the sheet, then cut!
To cut the hole I needed for my camera lens, I used my Milwaukee hole cutting set. A bit on the pricey side but they are AMAZING! Plus I love the case as I’m a have-a-place-for-it-or-loose-it guy. Except Katelyn helps a ton with that :)
Peek a boo! Eye see you.
Basic setup from the inside:
For a more finished look we used our favorite Minwax dark walnut wood stain. Super easy way to unite all the wood in a piece and make it look a lot more finished. Of course we didn’t get pictures of this though :P But I use an old rag or t-shirt and wipe the stain on and off and it is super fast. I also usually wear rubber gloves too bc that stain works on skin too.
We tested out the height that it assembled at and with the table we were going to use we thought it was better to be a little higher up (tested the increased height with an improvised booster), so I whipped up a quick stand to raise it up (then we stained that too!).
Almost all finished, but moving it around was a little troublesome. No grips on the sides.
Another Home Depot trip fixed that though:
Dropped a power strip in the back and ended up tying everything down and organizing it but this will get the idea across:
In this picture you can also see the hole I cut in the middle to feed out the power and video cables to the monitor.
Of course during this we had to take a whole bunch of pictures. Thankfully google plus stitched some together into a gif for us.
The little black thing you can kinda see in my hand was the bluetooth remote. Below Katelyn is holding it after we secured it to the booth with some baker’s twine.
We ended up getting over 500 pictures from the booth at our wedding!
Remember that aforementioned chaos? Something about photo booths. And when you throw in props and the ability to fit in so many people? Extra chaos. But the good kind :)