How to Make a DSLR Camera Trap Housing

(gentle music) – Hey guys, thanks for watching our video. This is brought to you by Nature TTL, the best resource online
for nature photographers and today we’re going to learn How to Make a DSLR Camera Trap Housing. So if you’ve seen all the rare photos of jaguars and pumas, armadillos,
all these cool animals or even things that
are more locally common like badgers or foxes
stalking around at night, then chances are they were
taken on a camera trap. (upbeat pop music) So if you’re going to
leave your camera out for days or weeks at a time, you’re going to need some kind of housing to keep it safe from the weather, they’re relatively easy to make, but there are a few things you’re going to need to get first, so let’s take a look at what they are. To ensure this is one
tough, camera trap housing, you’ll need to use a Pelican Case, the 1300 model will do the trick, the Manfrotto 394 Rapid Connect Adaptor with its corresponding plate will allow you to use your
housing with a tripod, an 82 millimetre Ultraviolet Filter will be used as the window, for hardware, you’ll need
an 86 millimetre Hole Saw and Adaptor, I recommend Bosch, Tiger Seal to keep out the moisture, a drill and drill bit set, two roofing bolts and nuts, these should be 25 millimetres in length and between five and seven
millimetres in diameter. (upbeat pop music) So first take out all of the foam and now we’ve got this empty Peli box, so we’re going to cut the
window at the front now, now there are two ways you can do this, you can either have it facing this way with the window at the front and this has the added advantage, that most cameras and most
lens combinations fit, or you can cut the hole here and that gives you the advantage of opening the door to the back and then you can work the LCD screen of the camera really easily, whereas in this direction, you
have to kind of pick it up, work out what you’re doing
and put it back down again. So using this hole saw,
you have the centre point that goes in first and then
the hole gets cut afterwards, so you need to mark on here where you want the diameter of the hole
to be and the centre point, so you know that you’re
not going to go off target. (cheerful acapella music) So I’ve found my central point and I know where I’m going to cut it, but there is no going back from here, so do make sure you’ve got
it right from the word go. (humming and whirring drill) And it’s really just as simple as that. (cheerful acapella music) Okay, so next we’re going
to put on the tripod mount and this is how you
attach it to your tripod in position for camera traffic. Now I like to use this
Manfrotto Quick-Release Plate, it’s pretty big, which means
it’s balanced on the tripod with such a big and heavy contraption and it’s really solid,
they’re really well made, they’re not the cheapest
quick-release plates on the market, but they
are definitely worth it and they come with the added advantage, that there is space to put two bolts in, so you get no slipping. So to get your bolts, you
need to go to any screw shop and take your plate with you and make sure that you get
exactly the right measurement, all plates are different and you don’t have to use this plate, but you need to make
sure the width is right to fit through and you need two points that you can drill through, so we’re going to take this screw, we’re going to put it through here and we’re going to put
another one through there, now we’re going to be drilling the plate onto the bottom of the box, this bit is what gets
screwed onto the tripod and it lets you mount it straight onto it, so make sure you don’t screw
the wrong bit onto the box, you want to make sure this
is pretty central on the box, if it’s not, you could
find that the weight of the box and the camera
tips your tripod over and that’s really not what you want, when you’re leaving the camera
out for weeks on its own, so you need to make sure it’s definitely as stable as possible. Now for this tripod plate,
the bolts go in at the side, so we’re not going to
have, which would be ideal, a straight spread across here, but they’ve actually modified this plate, in a previous camera trap I made, there was space to drill
another bolt through here, but they’ve changed it now, but you can make it work
with just two on one side, because once one side pulls down, the other screw’s pulled against, so it won’t have any slippage anyway, so you’ve really got
nothing to worry about. Now make sure you’ve got a drill bit, that is the same width as your screw, we’re using 25 millimetre long screws and any longer than that, you’ll find that it interferes with the camera itself and you really don’t want that to happen. So once you’ve got it central on the box, you literally just need to mark
where the bolt is going to go and drill straight
through the Pelican Case and then you can put
the bolts through later and bolt them on with a
nut on the other side. (whirring drill) (whirring drill) So this Peli Cases are
pretty tough actually and you do need to put some force on for when you’re drilling the hole here, it’s different to the hole saw, because that’s got a lot more teeth, you need to be a bit
more delicate with that, but this is literally just
punch straight through the box. Now we’ve drilled the
holes for the screws, it’s really easy to bolt this on, simply open up the box and then you put the plate on the back, put the screw through and then you’re just going
to need to bolt it on, so just make sure it’s
going on nice and tight, now there’s no chance of that slipping. It’s already pretty much
immovable with just one bolt in, but we can put another
bolt in just for safety. Now in this case, it only
fits just through the plate, so I’m currently actually
threading the metal of the plate, so that’s not really an issue,
so if it doesn’t fit exactly, just force the screw through, you’re never going to move it out again, so if you damage it a little bit, then that’s not really a problem. So now it’ll just clip
straight onto your tripod, there you go, simple. (cheerful acapella music) There are two ways that you might connect your camera to the flashes, now you could do it wired
or you could do it wireless, if you’re doing it wireless,
then you can ignore this step, but if you are doing it wired like me, then you’ll need to get your
wire and check the diameter, because you’re going to
be drilling some holes through the lid and the
main bit of the box, so that you can fit them out. Now you need the diameter
to be pretty much exact, otherwise you’re going to be losing the weatherproof feature
of the Pelican Case and that is what we’ve chosen it for, when I wire my camera trap,
I’ll be using a splitter, so I’ll have three of these
standard ethernet cables coming out of the top of the camera, as well as a sensor cable, now they come out in front
to the right and the left, so I need to think about that
when I’m making the holes, so I’m going to make three
holes on the left-hand side and we’re making these
between the lid and the box, because if you do it in the box, then it’s really, really fiddly and if you do it in the lid,
then it’s the same problem, but if you do it in between, you can simply slot the cable in and then shut the lid on them and the box will bite down on the cable and you’ll have that weather seal again. Now when you’re drilling these holes, just leave them evenly spaced apart between the two hinges of the box and just drill straight
down this line here and don’t worry too much about
the weatherproof seal inside, because the way it’s closed, the plastic will be pushing
it up out of the way, so you need to drill with it closed, because then you have an even hole through both the lid and the box, because there are two elements that cross each other in the middle. (whirring drill) So there we have it, we’ve got all of the holes
for the wires, one, two, three and then another one on
the back, number four. Now once you’ve drilled the holes, you may find that the plastic doesn’t quite get removed
entirely, so all you need to do is get a little hacksaw and just cut the plastic out. So now I’ve done that, the wires will just fit
perfectly into the box, just put them through there, you’d have your camera inside
and you’d close up the box, so you’ve got the wire
coming straight out here and it bites down on it, so that you’re able to
keep that weather seal. (cheerful acapella music) So now all that we need
to do is put the window in and this is the 82 millimetre filter, that fits into the hole
we cut with the hole saw and you get this to stay in using sealant and that keeps the weather seal as well, so I’m a fan of Tiger Seal, it’s pretty pungent stuff,
but it does do the job. Now you want to keep the
filter safe from the sealant, so all you need to do
is put some paper on it and with a double-sided piece of tape, and keep it on there, once you’ve got your sealant into the gun, it literally is just a case
of steadily putting a circle around the gap between
the window and the filter and pretty much just hoping for the best. So now we’re going to put the filter in, but we’re going to obviously
put some more sealant on once it’s into place. Okay, so it is starting to take shape now, so just put in as much sealant as you can and you’ll need to go
from both sides of the box to make sure it is really in there, so that when you leave
it to dry for some hours, it won’t move. (cheerful acapella music) Now the sealant will start
to go rubbery very quickly, so all you need to do is move it, so you get in the proper position and then make sure there’s no gaps, where you can see light
through the other side. (cheerful acapella music) So there you go, guys, this has been How to Make a DSLR Camera Trap Housing, a video brought to you by Nature TTL, make sure you go and
check out the website, we have heaps more tutorials, loads of cool stuff for you to do, hit Subscribe below and also check the
Description of this video, there’s links to all the
stuff you need to buy, so you can make a housing just like this. So thanks for tuning in
and see you next time. – [Announcer] For more nature
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8 Replies to “How to Make a DSLR Camera Trap Housing”

  1. A metal 50 caliber ammo box is WAY cheaper than a Pelican case. They are as rugged and water proof as a pelican case only they can be had brand new or military surplus for about $13. I built a camera housing out of one 20 years ago. The camera's long gone, but the housing has lived on in my garden for the last 15 years as a WiFi router housing.

  2. Instead of drilling pinch holes for wires, look up ip68 aviation plugs and install those. Neat, simple, waterproof and professional looking. And they don't pinch your wires.

  3. Hi Will. After attaching the plate to the bottom of the housing, how do you then secure the camera inside? Thanks.

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