Tag Archives: camera motion research

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A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to test drive the Varavon Wirecam. The Wirecam is a Cable Cam system that flies a camera over a rope tied between two points. Although the affordability and use of drones are increasing for aerial imaging, there are still many instances in which a Drone would either not work, would be illegal, unsafe, or would be just a noisy nuisance.

Varavon Cable Cam Wirecam Gimbal System
Learn-More-sm Varavon Wirecam Remote Control Wireless Cable-Cam System

Unlike most Drones that could only fly for about 20 minutes, the Varavon Wirecam could go for hours at a time. Not to mention if you wanted to fly a larger camera than just a GoPro, you'd need a fairly large Drone. In our example we were able to fly a DJI Ronin-M + GH4 + 12mm Rokinon Lens + Radian Wireless Video System. Now that we've made our point that Drones can't solve everything, here's a quick montage video (below) of us setting up and operating the system.

Operating the Varavon Wirecam was extremely simple to operate as it only moves either left or right and the entire system weighs only about 7lbs (without camera). Of course this is not a tool you should show up with without some type of practice setting it up. You'll want to get a few hours in getting familiar with tying down the line, mounting your camera system, and any other accessories.

Varavon Wirecam Blox Evolution Car show Remote Setup DJI Ronin-M Cable Cam
Setting up Varavon Wirecam Cable-Cam System

The most difficult part about working with the system is finding a good place to attach the rope. Our warehouse project had plently of steel beams, but out in an open area is where you'll need to be creative. When attaching the Rope, you should brush up on your knot tying skills, carry a set of ratcheting tie downs, and I highly suggest using a Manual Come-Along to pull the braided rope tight. These will make life much easier, and you'll find that with a brand new braided rope, the braids will tighten and eventually produce enough slack that you would have to re-adjust 2-3 times before it starts settling in.

manual come-along winch puller
find-price-button Manual Puller Come-Along Winch

You can mount a camera directly under the Wirecam, but a gimbal will help to stabilize the horizon. And If you're using a gimbal like the DJI Ronin-M that comes with a remote, you'll also be able to control Pan + Tilt as the Wirecam flies.

DJI Ronin-M 3 Axis Gimbal StabilizerDJI ronin-m remote control
find-price-button DJI Ronin-M Gimbal Stabilizer for Cameras up to 8 lbs

Of course in order to frame a shot, you'll want to stream the video feed back from the camera. In our setup, we used the Camera Motion Research Radian Pro System. So as one operator controlled the Wirecam, a second operator controlled Pan + Tilt on the DJI Ronin-M Gimbal, and both operators shared a monitor.

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Camera Motion Research Radian Pro Wireless Video Transmitter Receiver

The Varavon Wirecam is a great option for high flying aerials when a drone system just won't cut it. I could see this cable-cam system being used heavily in sports on the sidelines of a field, lap pool, motocross track, or other events in which the camera needs to constantly repeat a forward / back or left /right tracking shot.

Varavon Wirecam over BLOX Evolution Car Show Pier 70

For more information about the Varavon Wirecam vist the product pages at http://varavon.com/products/wirecam.

Varavon Wirecam Cable Cam System
Learn-More-sm Varavon Wirecam Remote Control Wireless Cable-Cam System

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NAB 2014 Rich from Camera Motion Research offers a tour on the iFootage Shark Video Slider. The intertia generated from the weighted flywheel spins as you move the slider and requires for a gradual smooth start / stop.

The iFootage Shark Slider has all of the professional feature sets including adjustable legs / feet, smooth carbon rails, extendable rails, adjustable bearings, and is unique with the counterweight flywheel.

As of this writing Camera Motion Research is the only US retailer carrying the iFootage Shark Video Slider kit sold with an extension rails (for longer runs), and optional flywheel for added inertia. The iFootage Shark Video Slider product is already available and can be found at http://CamotionLLC.com (click here)

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find-price-button Camera Motion Reasearch - iFootage Shark Video Slider Kit

If the iFootage Shark Video Slider was not impressive enough on it's own, the iFootage team had their own NAB booth showing off a new prototype programmable 2-Axis Motion Control Pan / Tilt Head addition for the Shark Video Slider. Each axis is capable of rotating a full 360 degrees. Combined with the slider the complete kit will offer full 3 Axis programmable motion control.

I'm not sure if you can tell, but the microphone wasn't far from the head unit. The unit is fairly silent even as it tracked across for real time video use. Aside from offering very advanced time-lapse photography features that can be programmed into a wireless remote, the head can be programmed for auto panning to keep a subject in frame. Stay tuned about this product.

iFootage Motion Control Head Timelapse Video Slider Shark DSLR

NAB 2014 Coverage Sponsors

Camera Motion Research Came_80x80banner Varavon fvlighting

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Over the past few weeks you've probably seen a few of these MustHD LCD monitors pop in in some of my videos. Here's a closer look at two specific models and what the M-701 (7 inch) and M-501 (5 inch) monitors have to offer.

According to Camera Motion Research "MustHD monitors have a full feature set and great build quality, including the excellent removable folding sun shade, battery plate and battery locking, and HDMI cable locks. Color accuracy out of the box, particularly on the M701 is outstanding. They are the best performing monitors we have found at a very affordable price."

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M-701 Color Accuracy Test

Besides offering a detachable sun hood, an HDMI lock, and HDMI pass through, each monitor can accept three different optional battery plates for Sony, Canon, or Panasonic and share similar software features such as Focus Peaking, False Color, Black and White, Blue Only, Zoom, and more. For an entire specification sheet of each model, check out the http://CamotionLLC.com website (found here).

M501M701
find-price-button MustHD LCD Monitors M-701 & M-501

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There are times when you need to send video back to a monitor or switch, but because most DSLR and Mirrorless cameras only offer HDMI out, you are limited to how far you can position the camera. To exceed the limits of HDMI, this HDMI to SDI Converter will allow you to use SDI cables for longer distances.

Wireless kits with HDMI input, like the Radian Pro Kit from Camera Motion Research allow a camera operator to move freely, but they will still have limitations and can be prone to drop outs if the feed has to be sent through walls, the receiver is too far, or if there is interference. Running an SDI cable with the Wireless HDMI Receiver attached at the end can help you minimize the distance your between your wireless system while still having the entire camera system over 100 feet away.

Radian Pro Wireless Camera Motion Research
find-price-button Radian Pro Wireless HD Video System with HDMI

So if you're looking for a way to get your cameras moved further from where you need to send your feed, these HDMI to SDI (not SDI to HDMI) converters are probably the cheapest you can find. It does require power, or in my case, i'm using an adjustable voltage Tekkeon battery pack. I've also tested this converter with a BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera, and it works if you're looking to send a long video feed from that camera. Check it out via Amazon (click here).

Cheap Budget HDMI to SDI Converter GH3
find-price-button HDMI to SDI Converter Supports 720P/1080P

100 foot ft BJG SDI Cable
find-price-button 100 foot Black BJC 3G HD SDI cable, BNC to BNC

Other Products You May Be Interested In
If you need a cheap SDI to HDMI converter, like when adding an inexpensive EVF to a BlackMagic Cinema Camera, here's the one shown in the video.

Cheap SDI to HDMI Converter
find-price-button USB Powered SDI to HDMI Converter

If you can afford to spend more on a product that converts an HDMI signal to SDI, can be powered for 11+ hours through a Sony NP-series battery, and also adds conversion, check out the more expensive Atomos H2S Converter (here).

964935connect-converter
find-price-button Atomos H2S or S2H Connect Converter

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If you have a need for streaming HD Video wirelessly, the team over at Camera Motion Research want to send you a friendly reminder that the special introductory pricing for Radian Pro Kits will end on 11/20/13. The three Pro Packs now available provide even more value for customers who only need unicast (1 transmitter to 1 receiver) professional wireless HD Video with HDMI.

radian1

Product Specifications:
All Radians are uncompressed HD up to 1080P(60) with 10 bit 4:2:2, latency less than 2 msec., and LOS range over 300 ft. Plug in and Play, operation and battery operation for over 6 hours with Backbones and USB batteries. All Radians use Amimon professional quality chipsets which are NOT in the consumer versions, and include DFS channels which are not included in any of the consumer versions. The DFS channels provide a more robust wireless capability since there are fewer DFS channels in use to cause interference. Radian MC multicast sets can send to up to 4 receivers simultaneously.

Pro Pack #1
find-price-button Pro Pack #1 includes the Radian Pro transmitter and receiver parts, our TX and RX Backbone kits, and two batteries (Save an additional $50)

Pro Pack #2
find-price-button Pro Pack #2 includes the items in Pro Pack #1 and adds the case. (Save an additional $70)

Pro Pack #3
find-price-button Pro Pack #3 includes the items in Pro Pack #1 and adds the monitor yoke. (Save an additional $70)

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It seem like every time I post a video stabilizer review, I often receive the same question - 'How can you adjust focus?'. Typically i'll just answer this question by replying with a text comment, but i'm sure it's still not very clear. Hopefully this article can help visualize a few ways focus can be achieved when a camera is balanced on a stabilizer, thrown on a video crane, or other device where adjusting the lens would be cumbersome or impossible.

One option to adjust focus (without physically touching the lens) can be by use of an electronic follow focus system. In the video below, Vimeo member Nicholas D shares how he's setup his camera on a SteddiePod Stabilizer with a Cinematics USB follow focus [Thanks Nick]. The USB systems will be limited, as they will only work with certain cameras (mostly Canon) and only with compatible auto focus lenses - not manual lenses.

Barber Tech SteddiePod
find-price-button
Barber Tech SteddiePod
Cinematics USB Follow Focus
find-price-button
Cinematics USB Follow Focus

An alternative could be to use dedicated Wired or Wireless electronic follow focus systems attached to the outside lens gear. The benefits to these systems is that they can be used with pretty much any lens that supports manual focus. The throw can be remapped for shorter or longer focus movements at the dial, and higher end systems allow to you store focus points. The full wireless systems are helpful when you need another person to manage focus so that the camera operator can move about freely.

If you plan to work with a Wireless Follow Focus, Camera Motion Research has announced the new Radian Pro kits that will send a Wireless HD Video stream via HDMI to a remote monitor. There are ways to achieve this through a DIY solution, but the Radian Pro claims to use a more commercial version transmitter / receiver that can transmit through a broader range of channels for longer distance, low latency, and clearer image. The Radian Pro is available in both a Unicast or MultiCast version (multiple video streams).

For myself, I may not use a WFF for every project, but I do use Wireless Video when operating on longer cranes/jibs or even just to share a feed for others to view (so they aren't hanging over your shoulder). Add a remote Pan/Tilt head to this combination, and you'll be able to man a camera from a distance away while focusing and zooming. Great when you have to leave a camera somewhere you can't be seen like on stage, or perhaps even at a church during a wedding, or in the middle of a racetrack.

Sorry for the lack of great examples, but hopefully this article is somewhat helpful and gives you ideas of what you can do with such tools. Remember that these are not limited to just these types of Stabilizers (a.k.a Steadicam). These are the same tools that can be used on those amazing Brushless Motor Camera Gimbal Stabilizers everyone has been recently obsessed about.

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find-price-button Camera Motion Research Radian Pro Wireless HD Video Kit via HDMI

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First off, sorry on this one. This little stabilizer was a tough one to talk about. There's so many different features on this stabilizer, it's mind blowing. I had to totally skip any mention about balancing it and just spent several minutes going over the different parts. If you want to learn about balancing, the BlackBird comes with an instructional DVD as well as a full booklet with lots of pretty pictures. It almost doesn't matter where you start by placing your camera, you'll always have more than enough lateral to compensate and center the camera to balance. Weather has been very spotty here and i've been caught up with other projects to really get something good online about this one.

In any case, here's a quick look and a few first time samples. There's no denying the resemblance of the design to other stabilizers on the market, but of the ones I've used (and i've used quite a few), none of them has as many different options or features as this. One thing I mention most on this blog about stabilizers, is that I find stabilizers work best when they are 'loaded up' to their max weight. This stabilizer has even been specifically designed to balance both super light and heavier cameras by adding in the Gimbal extension. Dropping the Gimbal allows the stabilizer to become extremely 'less bottom heavy', thus able to support light weight cameras. The unique 'adjustable friction gimbal' also adds to that same purpose. It's well designed, fairly priced against it's competitors, but definitely the most fully featured of the bunch all similar to this design. You might also want to check out the other video demo in this article: http://cheesycam.com/dslr-video-stabilizer-blackbird/.

You can find more information about the BlackBird Stabilizer at their website: http://www.camotionllc.com/

The BlackBird stabilizer can also be found at B&H below
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find-price-button BlackBird Camera Stabilizer by Camera Motion Research

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There's plenty of stabilizers on the market in all different shapes and sizes, but finding one to support up to 8lbs. of weight narrows the playing field. Now when you're talking about finding a portable lightweight stabilizer + carry 8lbs. the list gets even smaller. The Steadicam Merlin is one of the best performing portable stabilizers i've used, but has specs to support only up to 5lbs for about $800 dollars, the Glidecam 2000 up to 6lbs, and The Glidecam 4000 can support up to 10lbs for about $550.

The Blackbird stabilizer from Camera Motion Research is said to support up to 8lbs, is cheaper in price, and less than half the weight and size (making great for traveling) compared to the Glidecam HD4000. The Gimbal handle design with universal joint is found on other stabilizers, but this is the largest one i've seen. How well does it perform? Well, there's videos of this stabilizer flying a Sony EX1 so any DSLR should be a breeze. Just by looking at the build quality, there's quite a bit of thought placed into every detail about how this thing works. The stage has a quick release system, can be adjusted forward / back, and left / right with fine tuning knobs. The weights on the bottom are mounted to an adjustable post with clear markings for easy repositioning if you have to take the unit apart. (I often use nail polish on my Glidecam posts to make sure I can line things back up) One interesting feature addresses problems with what most people have issues with (stabilizer roll). By adjusting friction into the Gimbal it keeps the stabilizer horizon more consistent.

Here's a great little review from Vimeo member Firewerkz Films

If you understand stabilizers, how they work, this one is clearly made to address all concerns for getting the camera quickly balanced, easy to fly, and travel light. I'll be putting it together and testing it out later this week, but so far it looks like a great little product. I'll have part #2 of this review up soon.

blackbird-stabilizer
find-price-button Camera Motion Research BlackBird Stabilizer

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