Jul 9, 2010

Blimp 2.0

Video of my Blimp 2.0

I was recently asked to build a Pelican sound blimp for the Nikon D3 camera. The client wanted me to include a window for viewing the LCD screen. I did not include this in my original design because I was afraid it would take away from the sound proofing. However, most of the sound is emitted from the front of the lens tube anyway! So I included that in this design. As you can hear, including the LCD window had no severe impact on sound dampening quality!

My cut out mockup and the newly cut LCD hole.

I built it around the slightly larger Pelican 1200 Case. Because I don't have a D3 to measure everything to, I had to rely on a 1:1 printed scan. It was printed on thick card stock. I cut out the viewfinder and LCD screen with an exacto knife so I could easily mark them onto the case. I would recommend using this method to place the camera because it is easier and more accurate than holding your camera up to the case when you are marking the case for cutting.

I used tape to outline where I needed to cut for the LCD screen. Be sure to measure thrice before you start cutting. It's especially important to make sure all your angles are at 90ยบ and everything is squared away. This is easier said than done. I measured and remeasured and made sure every angle was exact before I started cutting. I used a Dremel 300 with the Multipurpose Cutting Guide and a metal cutting bit.  With that setup, I just ate away at the edge until it was flush with the tape. Super easy, and the results look great!

I really like the Dremel 300 Kit because the "Multipurpose Cutting Guide" that comes with it makes cutting along edges super easy.

Close-up of the unfinished LCD screen edge.
The edge is almost finished.
The finished edge.

Here you can see the printed out mock-up taped down and prepared for cutting the viewfinder hole. I first drilled a hole in the center, then used my trusty Dremel to shave off the rest.

Finished Viewfinder and LCD hole.
I roughened up the plastic around both holes with some sandpaper to give the glue a better surface to hold on to. Using the correct adhesive is important. You want to make sure that you are using a glue that will adhere to both surfaces. I used this Glass Glue  that is designed to adhere to both glass and plastic. I used a single piece of glass to cover both holes, and glued around the entire edge. Make sure not to overdo the glue. If you add too much glue, you'll end up with an ugly bead of glue visible on the glass. If you want it to be water-tight, I'd recommend adding a caulk to the inside edge of the glass later.

Left is a 4" diameter circle for the lens tube.
Right is a 3" x 5 3/4" piece of glass for the rear LCD and viewfinder.
Reverse angle of Viewfinder and LCD with glass installed.

Back of Blimp with camera inside.

Front of Blimp. Showing the Lens Tube and Shutter Release (under the tape).

Blimp 2.0's lens tube and shutter design are almost identical to Blimp 1.0. It is able to extend with a PVC pipe attachment and fit a telephoto lens just like the original. The only difference is I was able to find black PVC pipe and matching black cap at my local Home Depot in LA. This is much more elegant than my original, where I used white pvc and spray-painted it black (which has since started flaking off). If you can't find the black versions locally, online I found black ABS pipe at Lowes, but you can find it here, and the cap here. (I have not personally bought from this website, it's just a place that carries the parts)


 New vs. Old. You can see the size difference of the Pelican 1200 case v. Pelican 1150.


Anonymous said...

Superbly done.
I bought a $25 wireless remote (ebay, various Hong Kong sellers) which frees me from the need to drill another hole.

I'm also experimenting with cigar boxes sold at Michaels (for painting). They come in different sizes and can be stacked inside each other like a Russian doll. $4.99 each. I plan to use GreenGlue which is a soundproofing glue, works if applied between sheets of wood or such.

Anonymous said...

I have been looking for the ABS adapters and living in the North East they are hard to find. I found a good supplier for them at this website. Very cheap compared to other places i checked. http://www.toolboxsupply.com/SearchResults.aspx?SimpleSearchValue=ABS+fittings

Look forward to getting them and putting this together. Thanks for your post.

SeventyOne said...

well done ! i'm for the moment on a movie set with another stillphotographer using a Jacobson... i've no money for that one but you seem having found the solution for a low budget like mine ;-)

i just do not really understand your trick for the different lenses using the same "grip" (sorry for my bad english) do you have different lenghts of tube? how do you grip the tube for a 70-210 ? do you found a solution for using the zoom during the shoot?

thanks for what you do us :-)