How to build your own soundproof “Sound Blimp” SLR case for under $100
posted Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 12:29 PM EST
If you're shooting in a very quiet environment, or trying to be as surreptitious as possible for a candid shot, the click of an SLR shutter can be as loud as a gunshot. So what do you do? You can use a quiet mode if your camera has one, but those don't always make much of a difference, or you can spend a fortune on a muffling rig. Or, with a bit of know-how, you can build your own.
Photographer Dan Tabar was faced with just that dilemma as he tried to shoot on sets and sound stages without disrupting people at work. So he set about building his own version of a Sound Blimp. Based roughly on an existing tutorial, he used a modified Pelican case and basic hardware supplies to create his own setup for less than $100.
Tabar wrote up the project here, and goes into a lot of what makes this work so well. The padding in the Pelican case serves to muzzle the shutter noise, and since none of the camera's exterior is in direct contact with the hard shell of the case, the sound doesn't get transmitted. By using a wireless shutter control, Tabar is also able to potentially render the case waterproof, and to be able to control it from a distance. He also developed a modular extension system which allowed him to switch out lenses. You can see just how well it does at keeping things quiet in the video test below.
The one problem that Tabar mentions is what to use as a front element. You need something affordable, tough, and of high enough optical quality that it won't render otherwise excellent images mediocre. And that's not an easy problem to solve.