How To Make A Car Camera Mount  

by Matt Hawkins, 01/07/2007
Categories : Tutorials & Guides

The following is a brief guide to how I made the car camera mount which I used to film the external car footage for Hollow Point using my Panasonic GS5 camcorder. It should be noted that it is far from perfect and there are many other ways I could have built it. This is why the following information should be treated as a guide rather than a tutorial. Hopefully the information here will enable you build your own camera mount even if you change or improve the design I used.

Another important point to consider is that I made this mount specifically for my camcorder. Other camcorders would require a slightly modified design with different dimensions. Please check the size of your camcorder before copying any of the dimensions I quote later on. They are for guidance only !

Please refer to the example photographs in the Photo Gallery.


The mount consisted of a number of main components.

1) The back plate which made contact with the car door.
2) The base plate which attached to the back plate at right angles using metal brackets. The base plate provided a platform on which the camera box could be attached.
3) The camera box which contained the camcorder. It had a glass window in one side and held the camera in place with blocks of foam (sponge).
4) 2 strong luggage straps to hold the mount against the car door. The straps had metal buckles. They were the same straps I used for securing items on my roof rack.

Materials Check List

I used a selection of materials to make the mount and here is a check list :

1) A selection of MDF (Medium Density Fibre board) sheets
2) Car sponges
3) 4mm metal bolts with matching nuts
4) A couple of 4mm 'wingnut' nuts
5) A couple of metal hinges
6) A piece of clear perspex
7) A set of luggage straps with metal buckles
8) A length of foam pipe insulation

I chose the above materials because they were easy to obtain and did what I needed them to do. You may need to use alternatives depending on what you have available.

The back Plate

The back plate consisted of a single rectangular piece of MDF approximately x by x mm. Two lengths of foam pipe insulation were bolted to the top and bottom of the plate to prevent damage to the car's paint work.

The Base Plate

The base plate consisted of a single rectangular piece of MDF approximately x by x mm. This was bolted to the back plate using 2 metal brackets.

The Camera Box

The camera box is a simply a box with a hinged lid. It has a clear window in one side that protects the camera lens from flying debris such as stones, mud etc. The box itself is constructed from sections of MDF held together with metal angle brackets and bolts. The camera sat in the box and was held in place with blocks of sponge. The sponge made it easy to fit the camera without having to bolt it in place but also helped protect the camera against vibration and shock. The back wall of my camera box had small section of wood removed to allow the camera to be turned on and off without having to unpack all the foam inside. The box is attached to the base plate with a single bolt, secured with a wingnut making it easy to tighten or remove by hand. This bolt allows the box to be swiveled into the required position before being secured in place by tightening the wingnut.

Construction Techniques

The MDF sections were cut using a standard jigsaw but could be done by hand if required. MDF is easy to cut but the dust produced can damage your lungs so please take precautions when cutting especially if using power tools (ie wear a dust mask).

All bolt holes were drilled using a standard power drill and a 4mm drill bit.

The strap slots were cut by drilling 2 8mm holes close together and then finishing the slot with a round file.

The piece of perspex was obtained from a cheap picture 'clip' frame. The camera box dimensions were chosen so that the perspex did not require any cutting.

The sponge and foam was cut to shape using kitchen scissors.

Filming Tips & Safety

It is vital to remind yourself when driving with the car mount to leave adequate space between passing objects such as lamp posts, people, dogs, cars, cops, buses etc. It is easy to forget and smash your camera mount off your car by hitting another vehicle.

Before each take check the perspex is free from dirt, smears, finger prints etc. I didn't check and occasionally the footage shows little flecks of road dirt. This can be minimised with a little bit of extra effort.

My camera could be put into record mode using a remote control so I used that to start the film rolling once the camera was in place and the lid to the camera box was secure. If your camera can not be operated remotely you will need to make sure you have some access to it via a hole in the camera box.

On a few of my film runs there is a slight reflection in the perspex of the camera itself. It is not very noticeable unless you know what to look for. I minimised this effect by inserting a piece of black paper/card in between the perspex and the camera, with a suitable hole for the camera lens. This reduced the amount of light reflecting off the perspex from the silver camcorder and yellow sponge.


I was extremely pleased with the results from my camera mount. It does exactly what I expected it to do. If I built another one there are few things I would change. These would include :

1) Hold the lid of the camera box in place with elastic bands to make removing it easier and quicker.
2) Only use 2 luggage straps. I originally cut slots for 3 but didn't really need to.
3) Drill holes in the camera box to make it lighter. As long as the camera is protected from stones etc it doesn't need to be as bulky as the box I ended up with.

Do some experimentation before attempting to film your blockbuster footage. There will be little tricks and tips to master and mistakes to be made. As with all things it is best to get them out the way first.

It take a while to make but once it is finished you will be able to use it in any future film projects. It will then become just another piece of equipment in your film making tool box along side your tripod etc.

Author : Matt Hawkins  Last Edit By : Matt Hawkins
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