I've decided I'm going to try and compile a bunch of footage this summer from all the mountain bike trips I go on and at the end of the season put together a killer riding video. With that being the plan, I wanted to make sure that I get some interesting shots and plan out the video a bit so it turns out better than my typical head cam videos do. One of the shots I'm really eager to try is a cable cam shot through the forest on a long a trail. You'll often see these super long shots following a rider in mountain bike videos and I think they are rad. Anyway, I started Googleing around and found tons of examples of cable cams. One that caught my eye was from this Vimeo video:
I really liked the use of the RAM mounts because I find them to be very stout and easy to move into various positions, both of which are useful in a cable cam (I think... :) ). Anyway, I also had the RAM mount stuff, so I just went over to Lowes and walked around looking for stuff to use. Here is the list of things I ended up using for my cable cam:
List of items used:
3. Duct Tape
5. 1/2 in threaded rod - 1 foot - Can't find a link to just one foot. You could shop around or cut a longer one down.
8. A few locking nuts to match your threaded rod
I ended up having all the RAM mounts and GoPro tripod mount already from mounting my GPS on my motorcycle and mounting the GoPro on a tripod. I picked up the rest of the stuff at Jax and Lowes near my house. I just walked around Lowes until something came to mind, and then went over to Jax to get the paracord and ended up getting the line tensioner while I was there.
Here is the stuff I picked up at Lowes:
And here is what I got from Jax:
And the tensioner:
There's not really much to explain about what I came up with:
I just found a 12 inch length of rod and wouldn't you know it, right above it was two pulleys that had a hole that perfectly matched the rode. I just screwed a pulley on each side after a locking nut (which is totally optional IMO) and then I tried to attached the handle bar RAM mount in the middle. The handle bar mount turned out to be a bit too big, so I just wrapped maybe twenty wraps of duct tape around the rod first. I already had some paracord in my box of stuff, so I tested out the dolly with my wife in the living room and the camera rolls nicely along the cord. Here is some video I took after the weather got nice enough to go outside and play. This is maybe an 80' run from a tree to a post near my house. I think 200' of cord will be perfect for the long forest shot.
The way I attach the cord between two objects is like so:
1. I take the end of the long cord and tie it around an object (tree, fence post, etc) with a bow line knot. This is a great anchor knot and it unties very easily. Here's a video showing how to tie one:
2. Then I took about a 6 foot length of paracord and tied multiple overhand knots along the cord. I can now wrap this cord around a stationary object and then use the cord tensioner to attach to two of the overhand knots and tighten up the cable portion of the setup:
After I had the line rigged up I had some concerns about how to stop th camera at the end of the line. I didn't want it just bashing into the object it was tied to as I figured it wouldn't be long before I broke a pulley. I ended up laying my jacket over the line like so:
This worked like a charm bringing the camera to a gentle stop and had the collateral effect of dampening vibration on the line.
Feel free to shoot me any questions/suggestions in the comments.
- - Rob