LineCam – a zip line for your video camera
By Ben Coxworth
April 1, 2013
If you’ve watched much in the way of higher-end mountain biking or snowboarding videos, chances are that you’ve seen shots obtained using a cable cam. Essentially, a cable cam is a small video camera mounted on a gondola-like shuttle that rolls along an elevated cable suspended parallel to the path of the action. The result is smooth, high-angle tracking shots, that look almost as if they were shot using a low-flying helicopter. Oregon-based entrepreneur Nick Braun now hopes that his LineCam system can make such shots possible for a wider variety of action film-makers.
“LineCam Systems was born out of my passion for mountain biking and film making, and my desire to shoot from a different perspective that captured dynamic cinematic movement,” Braun told us. “Our systems are made unique by the fact that they are compact, lightweight, and portable. I can personally load all equipment needed for a 500-ft [152-meter] line into a large backpack, hike to a location, setup the system, and operate it by myself.”
There are two models of LineCam, depending on the needs and bank account of the user – the Glide and the Flow.
The Glide’s 1.75-pound (794-gram) shuttle consists simply of an aluminum camera-mounting plate (known as a cheese grater, because of all its attachment holes) with two overhead hard-anodized aluminum wheels. Using a proprietary locking system, it can be quickly mounted onto its 5-mm accessory cord line. That line is secured at either end of its run using a custom rigging system, that can be ratcheted down to take up the slack.
Once it’s time to film, the camera/shuttle are simply released at the high end of the line, and are carried down to the end by gravity. The slope of the line determines the shuttle speed.
Should users want to control the speed of the shuttle, or even have it travel up the line, they might want to go with the Flow. It features a remote-control motorized shuttle that weighs about five pounds (2.3 kg), and that can travel at speeds up to 60 mph (97 km/h). Its lithium-polymer battery is helped out by a regenerative braking feature, that harvests energy whenever the shuttle’s brakes are applied.
Instead of accessory cord, its line consists of sturdier nylon- and zinc-coated aircraft cable. As with the Glide, the Flow system can support payloads weighing up to 20 pounds (9 kg).
Nick is currently raising production funds for both LineCam models, on Kickstarter. A pledge of US$765 will get you a complete Glide kit – when and if the financial goal is met – while a Flow kit will cost you $5,600.
Footage shot using the LineCam systems can be seen in the pitch video below.