My former setup for video recording using small table top tripods. 

I love PVC pipe! When you think you need wood, think PVC. I have made many contraptions out of PVC pipe. Some I've designed myself to meet a specific need, like the one I just made, others I've made from someone else's design. I use many of those "contraptions," but some became obsolete. Such as the huge structure I made to hold a reflector which I don't use anymore. As result, I have a lot of extra pieces of PVC pipe in varying lengths. So, when I had the idea for a shelf-like setup to hold my iPhone and mic when I record my Video Update videos, I thought PVC pipe!

Early "prototype"

I wanted to make this "shelf" on the wall against which I have a small table in my basement studio. The wall is brick and I don't want to drill holes in the brick, because I may decide in the future to change the studio space around and that wall might end up being a background. The ceiling joists are exposed in the studio room so I had the idea of attaching 2x4s to two joists and using them to hold the shelf. Since this shelf was only for holding the brace for my iPhone and one of two microphones plus, possibly, small LED lights, I thought an 8" wide piece of wood would be overkill. That's when I thought of all the PVC pipe I had available. In addition, I had already made many 1/4" - 20 holders using PVC pipe.

It's times like this when the drafting skills I acquired in high school kick in! So, I pulled out a pencil (remember those?) and a clean sheet of paper and began planning the design of my shelf. My drafting teacher would not be happy with my drawing, but it works for me. From a previous PVC project I had pieces of pipe that were already the lengths I needed to get the "shelf" started. For the others I had my trusty PVC pipe cutter.(Note: if you ever plan to build something with PVC pipe, buy a cutter! Best $15 investment I ever made!) Following my paper design, the "shelf" began to take shape. However, as I sat and looked at what I had, I came up with alternative ideas and changed the design.

I had a finished and, I thought, workable shelf, but I still had to attach the uprights to the joists. Attaching each PVC pipe piece that would hold the "shelf" above my table desk wasn't the problem - I would use two screws in each so they'd be secure. No, the problem would be getting it level and at the correct height. As I looked around the studio, I found what I was looking for: a small box just the right height! I placed it on the table and put my "shelf" contraption on top of it. I then sat down at the table as I do when recording and with my iPhone placed in its holder on the PVC pipe, checked to see if the height was correct. No, needs to be higher. Hmmm? OK, a piece of 2x4 came to the rescue. I marked the wall and began the process of securing the uprights to the joists.

Hanging and secure! Two "Ts" on sides of front pipe will hold small LED lights once I bolt the shelf to the vertical supports. 

All finished - well, almost. I still need to put bolts where uprights join with the shelf so the shelf won't fall out if it gets heavy when I add LED lights. I rarely use PVC glue because I like the flexibility of being able to change things.

I got the shelf finished enough to use it to record an episode of Video Update last Friday and it worked great. The beauty of this setup and the reason I wanted to make the shelf is that it's always there and ready to use. I no longer have to fiddle with the small tripods I've used in the past to get set up to record. I need only attach my iPhone to the holder and start! I love it when something I've dreamed up and actually made works as I planned!