Monday, December 12, 2011

Work In Progress

I've been in the business of making moving images for the last 20 years or so, be they actually shot or virtual ones. I've also always been interested in building my own stuff, getting by with scarce resources, using DIY and/or consumer equipment wherever it's suitable for the job. I'm not an engineer, but over the years i've built multiple edits, made a few greenscreen stages, written software and also made some minor gear to use on the shoots.

Maybe two or three years ago or so, i started to look deeper into building my own tracks, dollies, jib and other camera gear, with the underlying idea to maybe make those into a real product line one day. The key point was to make the system as affordable and as modular as possible - maybe partly inspired by Red's new Epic and Scarlet cameras. The work-in-progress title for this line of gear is "Halsugrip" - hence the name of this blog. The journey is still underway and i'll try to share a bit of that trip here.

Jib prototype V01 (December 2009)
The main building blocks of the system are aluminum profiles, normally used for making frames for industrial machines, conveyor systems etc. The profiles have multiple benefits: they're mass produced and thus relatively inexpensive, relatively light yet very robust and best of all extremely versatile. They have grooves that run through the whole length, and pretty much anything can be bolted on using standard M8 bolts and nuts. There will be a few standard profiles in various lengths with standard machining (cut to length, drilled, tapped), which can become parts of a jib, track, dolly, poor man's steadycam, motion control system... you name it.

Of course, there will also be custom parts - while i consider myself very much a novice still, i've enjoyed learning a bit about gears, pulleys, bearings, CNC machining aluminium, 3D printing, laser cutting and casting plastic.. and also a little about programming for embedded systems. It seems the options are endless, the number of design decisions simply bewildering.

Also, it's become painfully clear that getting the first somewhat working proof-of-concept prototype is often quick, easy and affordable, but coming up with a really good robust and versatile design that's worthy of showing to others is far from it.

Welcome on board folks, i hope you enjoy the ride.

As a teaser, this trailer was shot (with Red One) using my prototype dolly and track.

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