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Thread: Home Made Vertical Cable Cam Ideas?

  1. #1

    Lightbulb Home Made Vertical Cable Cam Ideas?

    I am trying to complete a documentary about large trees and need some shots I don't have the cash to hire a bucket truck for. I was thinking two ropes with pulleys so the camera can not twist side to side, something like clothes line gear? Any thoughts or is there already a rig to do this with a name I can Google for ideas?



    This is the shot I had in mind (until you reach mid canopy):
    Last edited by PinkFloydEffect; 03-30-2011 at 02:09 AM.
    Why am I an editor? ...because I'm a bad filmer!
    ☮ ♫ ☾ ☆ ☼ ☯ ~ Live Long & Prosper

  2. #2
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    Looking at the mechanics it should work, but it will be easier to film top-to-bottom, ie with the camera falling (so you get to catch it on the ground (or attach a stout bungee). There is potential for side-swing(yaw?), unless you go slowly (to avoid natural resonance building up). Editors will reverse the shoot.
    Were you planning to use nylon rope? Unless yr rig is heavy you should try to use the smoothest that has sufficient strength.
    What weight is yr rig, all-up?
    The release mech. - I prefer an electric solution as it's easier to predict (try at home), with a small elec. motor and the rope wound once round a capstan, this should be rubber coated to grip* the cord. By going "down" the motor is only overcoming friction, gravity does the work. If you want it to hoist the rig up, then think big batteries which will add weight too. So this scheme relies on starting at the top and with a constant drive it should come down slowly. If it takes too long, then you'll have to cut some frames, etc. alter the gearingb etc.
    /
    Such motors and "gear kits" come from educational sources/even toyshops - but TEST it, using an equiv weght - NOT valuable stuff.
    Of course you could have a pulley, with you on the ground. Let the rope slip through a gloved hand, but for a tall tree you may find it's difficult to control the descent and if it snagged part-way it might "loose rig bits" on your head...wear a helmet!
    Also if you do a second take, they won't be the same, whereas an elec motor will, - until the battery starts to fade.
    /
    Was this helpful, or pretty darn obvious....?



    * you need to maintain contact between rope and capstan - so a "tightening weight" is needed - you can't leave the rope "free" - that will allow the rig to jerk/jump/ - entire guess . . .. about a quarter of the rig weight will be plenty.....The rope determines the capstan dia - depends on Rig-weight, + faxctor of safety.

    PS
    You suggested clothes-line gear - sure - it's likely to be strong enough . . . but you may find it's not available in long lengths, also it won't dry-out quickly if it rains......arrgh! It will become a weight burden. Over to you.
    Last edited by vidmanners; 03-30-2011 at 06:30 PM.

  3. #3

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    Well, that is a lot to think about. You make an excellent point using an electric motor and using gravity top to bottom. My rig is only a few pounds! haha an HDC-SD9 will work fine.

    I am thinking I may be able to do this with a nice cordless drill and some innovative rigging. Have a spool in the chuck I can wind up cord/cable on, then the other end goes through a pulley back down to the camera (start top to bottom) also use a bungee cord between the camera and cable/cord to make it smoother just as a rubberband on the tripod makes for a better pan.

    I do think though it will twist side to side though...
    The hardest part will be getting a pulley up into the tree!
    Why am I an editor? ...because I'm a bad filmer!
    ☮ ♫ ☾ ☆ ☼ ☯ ~ Live Long & Prosper

  4. #4

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    I'd forget the motor if I was you and go with gravity, the simplest solutions are normally the best. If you pay attention to what's going on in the background you could get a shot that can be played in reverse.

    The mountain bike film makers use pulley systems to track downhill riders, and often through forests, maybe you could get some good advice looking further in that direction.

    David.

  5. #5

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    I suppose that to increase the distance between the cam and the tree; the cord must loop over ever increasingly smaller and bendable branches. Would it be more ideal if the cam and cord were rigged up onto another (nearby and taller) tree?
    Can the swinging (the 'yaw' mentioned above) be reduced by attaching 2 further cords from the cam to the ground - and for the tension to be somehow maintained.
    If the swinging problem can be overcome, how about using a collection of helium baloons instead of a pulley?
    (I laughed when I saw the drawing, it reminded me of a set of images which well known amongst programmers (http://stevemiles70.files.wordpress...._treeswing.jpg. PFE's requirement could herald a wave of extraordinary solutions!)
    I look forward to seeing the results- and shall definately want to see how it was done.

  6. #6

    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by david walsh View Post
    I'd forget the motor if I was you and go with gravity, the simplest solutions are normally the best. If you pay attention to what's going on in the background you could get a shot that can be played in reverse.

    The mountain bike film makers use pulley systems to track downhill riders, and often through forests, maybe you could get some good advice looking further in that direction.

    David.
    What I meant was use the motor/drill to work AGAINST gravity, a weak motor will apply smooth resistance on the way down.

    I was thinking about the cable camera systems but they are horizontal, I might use one through the tree tops as well.


    @Tim- Some trees are in parks with no near by trees, the helium balloon sounds like a thought to toy with. Love the programmers photo haha

    I will be recording a behind the scenes video, you will see it eventually.
    Last edited by PinkFloydEffect; 03-31-2011 at 03:32 PM.
    Why am I an editor? ...because I'm a bad filmer!
    ☮ ♫ ☾ ☆ ☼ ☯ ~ Live Long & Prosper

  7. #7

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    This balloon idea has been picking at me, if I had two people (one on each side) I could keep the camera straight or be able to pan it.

    Why am I an editor? ...because I'm a bad filmer!
    ☮ ♫ ☾ ☆ ☼ ☯ ~ Live Long & Prosper

  8. #8

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    I suggest 4 strings (not two). Attach each string to the 4 edges of the platform.
    Hammer into ground (in a large square) 4 'tent pole' things (with the eyes).
    Run each string from the platform through each 'eye' on the ground.
    Tie together the loose ends of the 4 strings. As you pull each chord by the same amount, the platform will be remain slightly level and a bit wobble free.
    Tears of laughter are already forming in my eyes whilst I envisage it being done.

  9. #9

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    Well for one, you can't do that with the 4th side being against the tree. Two, that sounds like a lot of friction to me in the loop holes. Do you mean tie two corners together so two people walk diagonally out in each direction?
    Why am I an editor? ...because I'm a bad filmer!
    ☮ ♫ ☾ ☆ ☼ ☯ ~ Live Long & Prosper

  10. #10

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    I am sorry. I was not clear.
    This method only requires one person, who 'winds' all the cords together. Because each cord is wound at the same rate, the platform will remain level.

    The following sketch may explain.
    The 'red' rectangle is the platform with cam and balloons.
    The dotted lines (you suggested 2, I suggested 4, the following uses 3) are the cords from the platform to the 'eyes' in the ground.
    The standard lines show the cords after passing through the 'eyes' in the ground; and their eventual meeting up (Wherever you have your spooler or cogs or whatever).
    cable1.jpg

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