For my remote location shooting I needed a very lightweight and portable camera crane that I can carry in a backpack. It needed to be stiff enough to support my Canon 550d (about 1kg with lens). It should also be quick and easy to setup on rough ground.
This is the second camera crane that I have built. Learning from my first design I wanted to make this version simpler and quicker to setup. My first version took around 10 minutes to setup and was very fiddly to get right. This version takes less than 2 minutes from removing from my backpack to having the camera mounted on the crane. It also does not require any tools as I am using thumb screws on all adjustments.
This version also provides a smoother action as I am using ball bearings for the centre pivot (I used a kids scooter wheel). It uses a cable and spring for the action which provides smoother action than fixed rod of the first version. The cost for the parts runs to about $140.00AUD and would have taken about 16 hours to build if I did not stop to film everything.
This film shows the construction of the crane with two sliding extensions to give a range of 1.85m. I have also built a 3rd extension which adds another 850g and 800mm reach (total 5.3kg, 2.65m), which is not shown in this film.
All of the cutting and some of the drilling footage have been sped up to make the video shorter. Don’t try to cut or drill this fast or you are likely to destroy your tools or yourself.
As for the making of this film. It took much longer to make the film that the actual crane, with setting up all the shots between building a component. I did have a lot of fun with the 50mm 1:1.8 lens getting shallow DOF shots. I got inspiration on the edit by watching Kieron Jansch "Kite Making Two" ( vimeo.com/13978777 ). I will have to build his motorised dolly for my next shoot and I can also use to motor to drive the crane for time lapse. Which I now have done here: vimeo.com/17725662
Shot on Canon 550d, Most shots using 50mm 1:1.8 prime lens. Canon EF 75-300mm 1:4-5.6 for close up shots and shots taken on the crane with Canon EFS 15-85mm 1:3.5-5.6. I used my Mountain Bike Ay-Up LED headlights for lighting. Music: Welcome to Lunar Industries by Clint Mansell. Edited in FCP and no colour correction.
My video vimeo.com/14256310 also shows some test shots.
See photos at flickr.com/photos/53188536@N06/