Electric motor tilt for bullet camera "pole cam"

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Firehawk
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Electric motor tilt for bullet camera "pole cam"

Post by Firehawk » Fri Apr 25, 2008 5:43 am

Hi, I am good with video production but terrible at electronics/robotics.
I am trying to make a remote tilt motor for the end of a 16ft boom pole to attach a bullet camera to. (In case you don't know, a bullet camera is also known as a micro or lipstick camera because it's similar in size and shape to a tube of lipstick).

Basically, I need the camera on the top end of the pole to be able to rotate up and down slowly/smoothly by means of a toggle switch on the bottom end of the pole where my hands are. The battery pack would also need to be at the bottom end as well because it is important to keep the top end as light as possible since I use this thing on moving vehicles and wind is brutal.

Why do I need this, you might ask? Because using such a setup I can shoot aerial looking shots of cars and vehicles that virtually no one but Hollywood even tries. The "pole cam" is already constructed and works well but to get the really good jib/crane-like shots I need to figure out how to give it remote tilt and this is where I am lost.

Can someone direct me where to even start to find what would be needed to make a motor that can do this? I have no idea what would be required or how much it would cost.
Thank you in advance for any help or advice.

Bigglez
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Re: Electric motor tilt for bullet camera "pole cam&

Post by Bigglez » Fri Apr 25, 2008 8:29 am

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Engineer1138
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Post by Engineer1138 » Fri Apr 25, 2008 11:08 am

Actually, just this morning I was looking at a site that has kits for pan/tilt frames that use R/C servos because I have wanted to build one for a long time (add another project to the stack!).

I don't remember the site, but if you google "pan tilt RC" it should come up in the Search results. The modules were around $100 or so and included the motors.

Since you only need a single axis of rotation, if you are handy with tools it's pretty simple to build a platform attached to a gearmotor that can be controlled with a switch and no electronics. www.mpja.com would be a good source of motors & switches.

I have hacked standard RC servos to use as gearmotors and they can easily be controlled with a DPDT switch to change direction.

Let us know if you need more help getting started.

Firehawk
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Post by Firehawk » Sat Apr 26, 2008 4:40 am

Thank you for the replies thus far. Yes, pan & tilt would be perfect but given my very limited ability with this type stuff I am just hoping for the ability to tilt which actually alone would still allow for some very impressive shots. I am currently reading on the links you have supplied to try to learn more.

Engineer1138
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Post by Engineer1138 » Sat Apr 26, 2008 2:10 pm

After thinking about it some more, it occurs to me that mass is going to be very important if this pole is handheld, so a gearmotor is probably not such a hot idea.
How much does the camera weigh? If it's just a few ounces then an R/C servo is a better choice.

Firehawk
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Post by Firehawk » Mon Apr 28, 2008 5:32 am

Top end mass is indeed very important. I can give specific examples of how this is to be used:
Shooting a moving vehicle from a moving vehicle. Pole camera is in back of pickup and extended to shoot the "star car" which is driving in front of, beside, and behind the pickup. Wind quickly becomes a major problem and the more weight is on top the more stress is placed on the pole and the harder it is to brace/hold/use.
Shooting from a boat. The pole cam is extended to get various shots of a skier.
Shooting from shore or bridge, extended over a river as a Canoe, etc.. passes under the camera.
Shooting over a cliff to capture a rock climber.

Another (less difficult) scenario I would also love to be able to do would be to use the same setup except mount it to my vehicle camera mount instead of the pole so I could get pan or tilt shots with it..like when mounted on the roof, window, or side of a car.

Bigglez
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Post by Bigglez » Mon Apr 28, 2008 8:58 am

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Ryobiguy
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Post by Ryobiguy » Mon Apr 28, 2008 10:16 pm

Does it necessarily have to use electric motors? I'm thinking of some relatively simple mechanical setup...

Two ideas come to mind. First is to use the guts of a bicycle brake system, the hand controls and cables, and somehow rig them so it moves your camera in each axis you need. Might be a good way to keep a firm and steady grip on it, too, I wonder if you could reuse the whole bicycle handlebar setup, and set the end of the pole in a harness so the weight's on your shoulders.

The second idea is to put a shaft in the pole with a hand grip at the bottom. The controls would be to push the shaft in or out of the pole tube, and the other axis would be to twist the hand grip.
The camera end might get a little complicated. Perhaps pushing in to the pole would make it tilt down (away from the end of the pole,) and rotating would make the whole camera mount + pivot assembly swivel 360 degress around the axis of the pole.
You'd probably also need additionally to keep the camera's up pointing to the real up, all I can imagine is suspending the camera from a bearing and putting a weight on the bottom of it.

Firehawk
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Post by Firehawk » Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:49 am

Hmmm...Good ideas here.
I wish I were more mechanically and electronically inclined because there are several things I would like to create....including a car mounted jib for a full size camera

MrRoboto
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Good Post

Post by MrRoboto » Sat Jul 12, 2008 7:24 am

Engineer1138 had a great idea. So did Ryobiguy with the pulley system. At any rate this is my first post and I'm trying to do the same thing. Although my purpose is for weather observation and astronomy. Did you find out how to connect the gears and motors? If so please let me know. I plan on attaching mine to the chimney on my roof. Nick :grin:

Firehawk
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Post by Firehawk » Mon Jul 14, 2008 6:47 am

Yes, some good ideas indeed. An engineer here has agreed to help me with this.

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