I had the opportunity to spend a week shooting with the cable cam in the beautiful fall weather of Utah.
I decided to share with you my thoughts on the product. (originally posted on Reduser.net)
The cable cam was quite a unique and useful tool. With the ability to carry 15lbs, it made it great for shooting with the Epic. For stabilization we ran a Ronin M with a bare bones Epic Set Up. We used Leica R lenses converted to canon, specifically the 28mm 2.8 and 90mm f2.
For video feed we used the Connex HD.
The first thing i noticed was you can pack the whole setup into two relatively small bags. I was able to fit two reds with with 4 bricks (MX and Dragon), lenses (Lieca R) and the gimbal (Ronin M) in one large pack.
Then the Highsight Trolly, 1200ft cable, monitor, controller and batteries in one smaller pack. Between two of us we packed this out on bikes a few miles to our shooting location.
The set up time was much shorter than i imagined. In about 15 minutes we were set up and ready to shoot. We did run into some longer set up times due to poor planing. Its important to make sure you have clear path for the cable before you begin setting up a line. Its also important to make sure you take into account the tension of the line. When you are running a long line you get a tremendous amount sag when the camera is in the middle. We ran into some issues with this and found ourselves setting up lines twice because of this.
Working with the unit is as easy as it gets. With one controller you are able to control speed, direction and pan and tilt of the gimbal. This makes it great for single operator use.
The BIGGEST thing i found that made this product unique was the well designed "in and out points"
The Highsight has a sensor in it knowing exactly where it is on the line. When you start up the system you tell the cable cam where the beginning of your line is and where the end of the line is. This makes it so when it approaches then end of the cable it slowly comes to a stop, removing the risk of crashing the camera. This was huge when shooting, you were no longer worried about stopping it before you run into the tree you anchored to. Leaving you able just focus on framing the shot. When the unit approached the end of the cable it smoothly slowed to a stop.
Having the "in and out points" not only gave us the assurance that we were not going to crash,
it allowed us to be more creative.
For one of the shots we were able to follow the biker ripping through the trees and keep up with his movements, even we he took a 180 degree turn and changed his direction. This was only possible because we had "in and out points" allowing us to smoothly stop and change directs without out having to lift a finger. (This shot is at :24)
The Highsight is very simple and clean design. It is very rugged, made mostly of ligh wieght metal. The unit is small and compact offering great packability. This last winter i used Highsight's smaller cable cam in Japan shooting skiing. It held very well even in snowy wet conditions.
We powered the unit using lipo batteries. The cable cam has a velcro mounting point for these batteries. I dont really like having velcro holding my equipment on. I would much prefer a clip for the batterie or some other similar way of mounting. Velcro to me seems a little "janky".
Overall i was very impressed with the Cable Cam. Its definitely going to be a big part of kit, allowing me to be more creative. Its light and easy to pack into the backcountry, making it practical for almost any shoot.
I thought i would share this with you guys my thoughts on this product. Its worth checking out for anyone in need of cable cam style shots.