The ONLY way to get a whole range of Hollywood style hand-held cinematic crane shots with PAN and TILT on a non-Hollywood budget. Read more
This project's funding goal was not reached on December 15, 2012.
About this project
iFly lets your camera soar right along with your imagination.
With it you can:
• Boom from the floor to the ceiling and back
• While walking
• Pass your camera through small openings
• All while panning and tilting the camera to keep your subject in frame.
Just pick it up and say 'ACTION'.
And on a fluid head tripod (not supplied) you can use it to get small crane shots, for instance:
• You can get free form crane shots while tilting and panning if you keep the tripod head loose
• You can get vertical crane shots while tilting and panning just the camera if you lock the tripod's panning function
• You can get horizontal crane shots while only panning the camera if you use the iFly's tilt lock clamp and lock the tripod's vertical function.
• And it's all mechanical, so there's no noisy motors to worry about.
I've been posting bits of test footage to Facebook.com/HandHeldCameraCrane
I'll keep posting odds and ends there.
Lee Wilson, cinematic storyteller on Halo: Reach said this...
“Amazing idea, and great execution. The thing I like about it the most is that its simplicity and construction does not intimidate. All filmmakers need to sketch in their craft and the idea of renting a bunch of equipment from a rental house is always daunting and stops the majority of folks. I love that I can see how it works, even without the demonstration.”
The video below is a walk through from back to front of the working prototype. The production models will be cosmetically superior.
A quick note about me:
Feel free to click these links to my other work.
Features and specs:
• Continuous elevation from the floor to about 10 and half feet high (for me, and I'm 5'10" tall).
• Pan the camera from facing forwards to facing backwards during operation
• Tilt the camera through 180 degrees during operation
• Fits through car windows and similar sized holes
• Suitable for small cameras such as the iPhone, GoPro, Contour etc but I've handled up to 1 lb. (I would LOVE to try it out with the new GoPro HD Hero 3 Black Edition)
• 1/4-20 threaded steel plate for attachment to your quick release tripod mount (tripod not supplied)
• Lightweight: there's no support vest required - just pick it up and go (weighs 10 lbs including my iPhone and 3.5 lbs of counterweights installed - iPhone and counterweights not supplied!)
• Carrying shoulder-strap supplied
• Fully adjustable forearm brace to fit any size forearm
• Works left or right handed
• Counterbalance arm is dropped down and sideways angled to maintain stability (weights and dumb-bell clamps not supplied)
• Quiet operation since it's all mechanical (no motors)
• Intuitive operation - very easy to get the hang of it
• Sprung jib-panning handle for smooth sideways jib arcs when mounted on a fluid head tripod
• Camera tilt clamp to prevent up and down camera movement while panning the camera during side to side tripod mounted jib arcs
• Breaks down quickly and easily into two parts for transport (longest part is 5'3")
• Breaks down quickly and easily into three parts for travel and storage (longest part is 40")
• Attractive, lightweight and durable construction of anodized aluminum, steel, and extremely tough injection molded plastic
• Conical spring washers for vibration damping at all jib arm section connections
• A hook at the back to hang a little extra weight if needed when on the tripod (for hand held operation it's best balanced a little bit front-heavy)
• No fiddly fine balancing - just add enough weight to the back so it stays a little bit front-heavy
• All nuts, bolts, washers, directions etc supplied so you can just assemble and go
• Designed and made in the U.S.A.
Is there a monitor screen to see what you're filming as you shoot?
Perhaps, and if not yet I'm guessing certainly very soon. I anticipate that there will imminently be smart phone to smart phone, or helmet cam to smart phone (or similar) live streaming to monitor what you film as you record video, so I'm putting holes in the jib arm where it would be easy to mount an iPhone or similar.
There are already iPhone mounts available for $8 including shipping on ebay.
Currently the app 'Video Out' uses a VGA cable to connect to an iPad.
It can't be long before a smart phone can monitor live shooting from a helmet cam or other smart phone.
In the meantime, here's how I aim my camera: If I'm using a GoPro, Contour or iPhone's front side camera (which is a wider angle than the back side camera) I can fairly well tell what's in frame by just watching where the camera's facing. After a tiny bit of practice, it's pretty easy.
If I'm using the iPhone's back side camera (narrower angle) I prefer to use an aiming device which looks like an oversized lens hood (a small plastic candy tub with holes cut into it) which I hold to the phone with two small plastic spring clamps from The Home Depot (clamps provided). You can see me pointing it at the bronze bears in the video.
It takes a couple of minutes to make one, and I'll supply the small spring clamps and post a quick 'how to' video.
Why I need your pledges
There's some very complicated plastic parts involved, and the way to get them formed by injecting super tough composite plastic is to get hard molds made in metal from the final CAD models.
Those complicated molds are very expensive.
So I need to make about a thousand units to spread the cost of them out.
The other parts will also need fabricating and precision machining.
There will be some assembly at my end (and some simple assembly at your end - I'll provide instructions and online videos).
I'm anticipating about 12 weeks to assembly from Kickstarter completion, with delivery shortly after that, commencing sometime in March or April.
Here's my anticipated timeline...
I'll be making a few final tweaks based on my testing of the latest prototype of plastic printed parts during this Kickstarter run.
For example, I've decided to buttress some parts way beyond what's needed for the sake of a little toughness overkill.
Maybe you could break it if you ran over it with a truck.
And I'll be making a few cosmetic final tweaks (smoothing corners etc)
Music 'Waking Up' by Dexter Britain
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge is covering the cost of the metal molds used to produce the complex plastic injected parts.
To do that I need to have pre-orders for nearly a thousand units, which explains the high goal I need to reach.
Achieving my funding will take care of that.
I have been fortunate to have rocket scientist and CAD ninja Kip Carver working with me on the parts (he recently gave a speech in front of perhaps the 100 smartest people in the world on the future of plastic printing).
For the forearm braces, counter weight attachment, camera plate etc I have got quotes from precision machine shops and fabricators locally, so they're lined up and I can keep an eye on how things are progressing.
All other components (knobs, handles, clamps, springs, spring washers, etc) have also been sourced, quoted and built in to the cost, so there should be no surprises there.
Once manufacturing/fabricating begins on the specialized parts, I'll be putting together all the other elements in preparation for final boxing (bagging bushings, nuts, bolts, spring washers etc, swaging vinyl coated cables to turnbuckles, that sort of thing)
Once I have the plastic injected parts delivered, and everything else is bagged, fabricated and ready to go, my full time job will be overseeing final assembly, packing and shipping.
Since I'm a self employed storyboard artist in the advertising industry and no job takes longer than about a week I'm free at no longer than a week's notice to carve out as much time as necessary to get the job done.
Depending on volume, I'll either rent a space and hire enough people to do the trickiest part, which is after connecting the moving plastic parts, stringing the derailleur cables and housings so all you have to do at your end is mount them onto the jib arm (as per the included instructions - or follow along with an online video demo) with the bolts and bushings provided, or, I'll work with local bicycle shops to get the derailleur stringing done.
I have got assembly and order fulfillment covered and having taken my sculptures through the many stages of production required to produce them as marketable bronzes so many times before, I'm no stranger to taking the creative impulse through to finished production, and aware of what it takes to box and ship.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
- (40 days)