Mirror, Mirror on the Tripod, Who’s the Fairest of them All?

This week, I’ll show my mirror assembly to reverse the image “in hardware” for the lightboard.

If you can mirror the image in post-production, some cameras can’t do it either (and in Zoom, it seems that mirror image is only for your display only, not the image you send, and therefore is perfectly useless), so you need a bit of help. What you want is a simple mirror:

I built a rack with two sliding windows and a t-nut (apparently, that’s what they’re called). Cameras (all types it seems) use ¼”-20 screws (¼” of an inch diameter, 20 turns per inch), and they’re easy to get in any lengths from your favorite hardware store (I merely rummaged in my miscellaneous screw box to find a few). What’s harder to find in a misc. box are the t-nuts:

The t-nut will be use to screw the camera tripod onto the rail (maybe by replacing the usually very short default screw by a longer one). The teeth go on the opposite side so that as you fasten the screw, it holds the block of wood. Pretty much everything else is bits of scrap wood, wood glue, and generic black spray paint.

So There are three holes: one for the t-nut that will fasten the whole thing onto the camera tripod; and two for adjustments for the camera and the mirror block. In principle, you would not need a slot for the camera, because you could measure everything exactly. But if you change the camera, or measure wrong, you’re … screwed. So a slot. Same for the mirror, which could also be glued in optimal position, but, here also, a slot. Slots are done by drilling at both ends a single ¼” inch hole, and then the wood in between is cut away with a chisel. Two small blocks are placed to raise the camera a bit: they are merely glued in place.

The mirror is glued to a 2×4 block (scraps from the scrap box). The mirror itself is a cut-off from some larger mirror, but you could use a mirror from a dollar-store handheld mirror. The hole in the block is smaller than ¼” so that the screw actually stay screwed (3/16″).

The finished product:

Once you’re happy with the setup and the glue is dried, time for paint. That’s just generic black spray paint. Once the paint is very dry, you can add some felt on the block so that when screwed in, the camera won’t stick to the paint. You can see the felt in red, if you look closely:

Finally, the block being mobile, you can adjust the mirror whenever you setup your lightboard at home. A still from the camera, seen through the mirror:

* *

This post pretty much conclude my series on the lightboard. In these three posts, we’ve seen how to build the lightboard itself, how to setup the studio, and now how to build the mirror assembly. So, all’s left to do is actually use it!

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