DIY Canon MKII bungee body mount

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Here’s a really simple way to rig your dSLR to your body for those high-action, POV-type shots (think skiing, biking, motocross, etc). No expensive helmet-cam rigging required.  All you need is a bungee cord.

Check it:
Most cameras come standard with a neck strap. You’ll need to make sure this is attached. Next, hang the camera from your neck. Good, now you look like a tourist. Chances are your camera is hanging somewhere near your stomach. You’ll probably want to shorten up the camera strap so that the camera hangs over your chest. Unless your tummy is sporting a six pack (I’ve got a six pack IN my tummy), you’ll find it much easier to wear the camera higher so it’s pushing against your chest rather than gut. To accomplish this, I had to shorten my camera strap by tying a knot in it. Your mileage may vary.

Next, attach the bungee cord, hook facing out, to one side of the strap near the body of the camera. Wrap the bungee around your back and hook it to the other side of the camera strap. Done. That’s it. If the bungee is the right size, you should feel the pull of the bungee holding the camera tight against your body. Notice as you move, the camera moves with your body. Now your hands are free to hang on to the handle bars, ski poles, or dog sled(?)

A couple things to note:
* You should be ‘slightly’ uncomfortable. In order to hold the camera tight against your body, you’ve got to get the bungee cord relatively tight. If your torso goes numb and you can’t feel your legs, it’s too tight. 
* Try to find a bungee cord with plastic hooks. Plastic is less likely to scratch your camera and less likely to poke you in the sides. Do not attempt this mount if you are ticklish.
* This method holds the camera tight for most lateral forces, but the camera is still free to bounce a little up and down. For jarring activities like running or pogo sticks you might want to add a vertical strap as well. Let me know if you find something that works.

Here’s a clip of me on my trusty lil’ Suzuki 450GS. This was shot with a Canon MKII and a 17-40mm f/4. The POV riding shots were accomplished with the bungee-mount method.

19 Comments

  1. Lucas Mobley says: August 10, 2009 at 1:32 pmReply

    Nice. Video quality looks great. So much so that I might need to get a bike.

  2. pablo korona says: August 11, 2009 at 7:25 amReply

    http://www.complex.com/blogs/2008/03/19/modern-amusements-ironic-tourist-t-shirt/

    You should wear this shirt with it.

  3. Dan says: August 12, 2009 at 11:00 amReply

    Great idea with the bungee cord! So how do you feel the video/sound quality is on the 5d Mk2? I have the first 5D, but i’m not sure if an upgrade is worth it… any thoughts?

  4. Ernie says: August 21, 2009 at 8:04 pmReply

    Jesse, for your chest DIY clip. How were you able to get video from a still camera?

    this may be a stupid question, but im fairly new to the world of cinematography.

    I love the cart film btw.

  5. jesse says: August 21, 2009 at 9:19 pmReply

    Ernie, many new dSLR cameras now also shoot video. Check out the Canon 5D MKII, Nikon D90, and Panasonic GH1 for starters.

  6. Gregor Erdmann says: October 17, 2009 at 4:16 pmReply

    Oh man that is awesome! I have a compact camera and I want to do the same thing. Gives me ideas.

    But the footage and the rumble of the bike is soo cool!!!

    BLISS!

  7. Gregor Erdmann says: October 17, 2009 at 4:20 pmReply

    Its not the sound of your bike though is it? Sounds like a looped track of a Harley.. fooled me at first.

    Doesn’t detract from the clip though

  8. jesse says: October 17, 2009 at 5:39 pmReply

    All I got for audio from the camera was WOOSH of wind noise. Good ear, it was sweetened with some sound from a harley.

  9. matt says: April 5, 2010 at 2:28 pmReply

    You just solved my problem! Big thanks and nice bike. I want to see a no hander!

  10. mark says: July 9, 2010 at 2:43 amReply

    Hi there, ¿have you ever try a First Person View acting with this bungee body mount?

    Best regards from spain!

    Mrk!

  11. David Boring says: April 25, 2012 at 9:42 amReply

    You are an genius. After two days of messing with complicated, expensive, goofy, crappy methods of mounting a camera, this is exactly what I needed.

    Thanks, man!

  12. Barbara Eberly says: June 24, 2012 at 6:00 pmReply

    I tried the diy mount made from bike reflector bracket, etc. I tried the tripod bungee corded to bike stem (not handlebars, too jiggly). Still got jiggle (I hope it’s not me!).
    I just put my Panasonic dig cam inside my iphone case and used rubber bands to hold it there, then some carabiners connected to the rubber bands, then connect camera strap to carabiners. Will test tomorrow on my bicycle, but TS Debbie has us Florida people inside…. You’re funny..

  13. Joseph Chen says: June 25, 2012 at 10:17 pmReply

    This is genius! It resembles the GoPro’s torso harness, but obviously that isn’t compatible with a full-size dSLR. So, thank you! It’ll help me with a tree-top walk/zipline that’s at a local zoo.

    I also figured out a fix for the issue with vertical bounce: I have a 1/4″-20 bolt drilled through a PVC flat end-cap that also has two holes on the sides for a second bungee cord. This bolt is screwed to the tripod mount of the camera and then the second bungee cord is wrapped lower against the torso. This limits almost all vertical bounce since this counteracts upward bounce and downward bounce is limited by the camera strap’s position.

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