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Saturday
Mar012014

GoPro cable cam

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:

DIY GoPro Cable Cam from Maia Media on Vimeo.

 

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:

1. GoPro Tripod Mount

2. RAM Mount handle bar mount with tripod adapter

3. Duct Tape

4. Clothes Line Pulley x 2

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.

6. 200 - 300 feet of paracord

7. Line tensioner

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

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