Phoenix-based photographer Dan Tabár sometimes shoots on sound stages, sets, and quiet studios — locations where a loud camera would either cause problems or cause angry glares and murderous thoughts. Needing a way to surpress the shutter sound of his Nikon D800 — he says the “quiet mode is a joke” — Tabár decided to create his own DIY sound blimp.
After poking around, he came across tutorials on how to build a sound blimp using a Pelican camera case. The DIY sound blimp includes removable extension tubes so that you can use lenses of various lengths.
Want to build your own? Tabár has create a helpful step-by-step tutorial on how you can do so. The first step is to buy yourself a hard camera case and some other components from your local hardware store:
First, you’ll want to cut a hole in the foam to have your camera and wireless transmitter rest snugly inside the blimp. A printout of the camera you use can help with this:
Find out exactly where the center of your lens tube should go, cut a hole in the camera case, and attach the lens tube housing to the outside of the case. Fix it in place with epoxy and then seal it with silicone:
Next, you’ll want to punch holes on the other side of the case of your viewfinder and LCD screen:
Use a transparent sheet to make the holes soundproof. Tabár used a Lexan polycarbonate sheet and silicone sealant.
Make sure that the lens is nicely centered in the main lens housing:
Build your own lens housing extensions using PVC pipe pieces. Be sure to use silicone sealant between pieces if you’d like to make them soundproof:
Here’s what the camera looks like when an extension tube is used for a 70-200mm telephoto lens:
Create a foam ring to pad the inside of the lens housing tube, which blocks sound and prevents any part of the camera from touching the blimp:
Voila! You’re done! Here’s a video showing the blimp in action and demonstrating how much it can reduce the sound of your camera:
Image credits: Photographs by Dan Tabár and used with permission