DIY Cable Cam – First Test (oops)

One of the things that we've been working on for the past few weeks is a motorized, wirelessly controlled Cable Cam a.k.a. Skycam. These rigs fly a camera seamlessly across any distance using a rope line. Under the Cable Cam is a pan-tilt head to maneuver the camera position. We should have started the test without the camera mounted, and needless to say we've got a few bugs to work out!!

The problem we ran into was using a cheap Traxxas Remote and Receiver (old crystal type). There was too much interference that caused the motor to go out of control. After replacing our remote and receiver with a much more expensive 2.4GHZ version, we were outdoors flying our rig with no problems. Once we have the prototype finalized, we'll get this sucker into production and at the most affordable cost than any other motorized cable cam system on the market. I'm sure this will be something everyone will be excited about....

cable-cam-prototype (1 of 1)
Cable-Cam Prototype (can't show you too much...)

Here's an idea of the type of footage you can achieve with Cable Cam type systems (video below)



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21 thoughts on “DIY Cable Cam – First Test (oops)

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  2. Darnell

    Emm, you've been on a roll as of late. This blog has been a god-send for us amateurs and hopefuls. Glad to see you expand beyond DIY and into the actual manufacturing of affordable, quality products. We're all rooting for you to succeed for your benefit and ours.

  3. On March 31st you wrote "I don’t think it’s up to the same standards or build quality." I think comparing them to Letus, which I took as a negative review of Trusmt. I've been reading good things about both their matte boxes and FF. When you get that cable cam working and if you can deliver it at a reasonable price, I'll be first in line to get one and a buddy of mine too who's also a videographer here in Socal. Hell, no, I'm not telling him about it....:)

  4. Hi Emm!

    All I can say is that building a cable cam is surely an epic journey!

    Take a look at our EagleCam as we call it. We built it all from scratch and we are actually the only compagny renting it in Quebec, Canada!

    here's the video link if you want to share it, or juste get inspired by it!

    http://vimeo.com/29077493
    http://vimeo.com/29783548

    Thanks and good luck with your own cable cam!

  5. Emm

    Post author

    @allen - There's no real blueprint to how these things are made. We've never tackled anything like this before so it's a big learning process. Motor types, RPM, gear ratios, transmitters, receivers, servos, etc. Right now, the chassis is done in CAD and is completely custom. There's still a lot to figure out, and redesign. Once we feel it stable, we'll start to think about how to make each part smaller, lighter, better, and cheaper. The reason why most of these systems are expensive is because of the electronics. You can see how using a cheap remote can get you into trouble, LOL. We have ideas on how to bring this to market, and of course make it the most affordable piece of gear in it's class, but that's all I can say for now.

  6. Emm

    Post author

    @Apostolos - I don't remember slamming TrustMT. The only Matte Box I slammed was the RJ cheap plastic one. TrustMT is actually recommended as a good mattebox. Oh and Cable cam was using the Sony HX9V camera. It lived with no damage. I've updated the article with information on what the issue was. We were still prototyping and used a cheap crystal style wireless remote. The interference in the building caused us to lose control. We've upgraded to a (more expensive) 2.4GHZ wireless remote and have been flying it outdoors. It's awesome! More footage to come soon..

  7. BTW, I just got my first Gini rig and I'm researching FF and matte boxes now. The TrusMT brand comes up a lot and they are usually well reviewed. You slammed them back in March, and from the readers' comments I got the impression that they might have been the Letus outsourcer at one point. What's your opinion of them lately? BTW, when the cable come stops crashing against the shelves I'll be first in line to get one. Did you have a GoPro on it?

  8. Neil

    Emm, you might want to build a crash housing before you build a cable cam...

    Seriously though, great that you're doing this. And even greater that you're having FUN doing this!

  9. Hey Emm, I hope this pico dolly thing works our for you, because I don't think you have a future as a safety expert! Man this was so funny!!!

  10. Ben

    Amazing, I can't wait for you to release this :) please sell internationally at same time as US though, remember there are about 6.4 billion people who aren't American :) will yours be a pan and tilt model?

  11. videoguy2009

    I was just thinking about trying to make a cable cam last night!! I was trying to figure out how I could convert an rc heli motor into powering a camera mount across a wire. I swear, every time I come up with an idea to do something, I go on this site the next day and find out you are already working on it!!! Can't wait for the cable cam rig.

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