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Cable/Wire mounted cameras - experiences?
  • Glory to those who master octacopters e.t.c. but have any of you guys tried any wire / cable mounts to get long / high camera movement? (and I'm not talking broadcast wire cams)

    In my mind it seems like such a solution could be useful if well thought out, but it would have to be relatively easy to set up and the actual mount / wagon would need to be well designed (not not get undesired movement and to have some control of the framing).

    I've found some attempts at creating such solutions whilst googling but it would be nicer to hear of actual experiences, if you have any?

  • 9 Replies sorted by
  • It is very interesting approach.
    But very hard to properly make all parts.
    You'll always have some slack in wires (most probably thick fishing reel will do for small cameras).

  • Actually controlling the camera is the issue. Just sliding it down a cable is one thing but… Obviously you need to control the camera to get the shot you want. I've been on set ups that had big money behind them and, yeah, to do it right it costs a whack, alright. Four high points, fixed or crane, a truck of spindles and gears with a computer to push and pull the lines to move the camera as you want. Obviously a remote head and lots of people are required. I'm assuming, however, that this is not what you have in mind. It all makes sense when you see it working that that in fact is what you need to get the shot.

    OR a cameraman on a zip line with stir ups for his feet to control his rotation(?) Haven't seen or done it. Wanna! You'd need to be able to smooth out the rough and isolate the camera and…enjoy the ride

  • Just saw VKs reply. Yeah, you don't need cables for the GH2 but controlling it IS the issue. In a 3D space you have to play out and pull in at the same time - smoothly. To do that without a big rig and computer? Only if it's low enough to walk behind operating? Like, say, two 20' wires between two trees that you ratchet tight and slide a forgiving carriage along

  • I have used thin metal wire (2mm) for different suspension applications and that is quite easy to use / tighten.. But I don't know how it would work for this.. Fishing line, unless braided is way too flexible IMO. Braided lines are very though / unflexible and might be pretty useful for such an application - however there are no pre-fab leverage to tighten them up. It would have to be done in a different way (by hand or with some Mcguyver-solution)

    I was thinking of some kind of lever / string control from below, which acts as a balancer (counter-weight) as well as camera control.. As a simple as possible solution. (For higher than human reach) If you are unsure of what I mean, I'm thinking of a pull down to stabilize / control action.

    I've seen remote-controlled 360 degree gimbals that could serve as high end options, however then it needs to be stable by itself.

    Maybe it would be possible to use a cable cart solution like in kids playgrounds (10 / 15mm wire) and have a cameraman on it and an additional traction cable to control speed / work against rotation?

  • Come to think of it, having the cameraman on-board might be a good solution to develop. A custom-made cart for the purpose could help a lot. One man on the ground control the speed. Obviously it wouldn't be a one man show thing (and a bit though to set up/handle), but a simplified way of getting shots that look expensive to make. Unless you live / shoot in Iceland.

  • Thin (1-2mm) stainless steel cable could work. It is sold at big fishing shops. It has a little bit of give, but does'nt stretch any where near the amount plastic fishing line does. It's called "trace" cable and is also used for shark /game fishing.

  • There are two versins of cable cams.

    One hanging on 4 wires witch support the weight AND control the position - not possible without precise control of all 4 wires at the same time. But the cam can move to every position in a 2D plane.

    The other hanging on wires that support the weight and an extra wire to controll position. This one can only move along a line but is much easyer to set up and control. And if you tilt it a bit, only one wire might be enough to move the cam:

  • This is quite old, but looks like Varavon are working on a wire suspension rig

  • @mrbill

    As far as I know it is available (with gimbal) for $7000 already.