PhotoShip One has developed a patent pending “cable cam” system we call the “FlyLine”. We saw a need for a point to point zipline type cable cam system that is self powered and easy to setup and operate. Most professional cable cam systems require tremendous amount of work to setup on location and require heavy expensive equipment that can take a box truck to haul. We knew there was nothing that existed for film makers on a budget.
FlyLine has been in use by our customers worldwide for a few years. Over the course of that time we’ve taken in feedback from our user base and made revisions to the Flyline product. As of February 2015 there are over 85 FlyLine systems in operation globally.
We have finished design and testing of what we feel is the best evolution of FlyLine to date, FlyLine Ultra. Ultra has fully adjustable and improved cable pulleys and patent pending drive system as well as capability to mount up to four Kenyon KS4 stabilizing gyros for rock solid smooth footage. In most cases however, only one or two Kenyon gyros are required.
These systems are point to point (AB) zip line type cable cam systems which use a single cable anchored between two points. They require no heavy expensive and energy hungry ground based winches. The FlyLine systems employ a DC motor on the trolley to “drive” along the cable. They are able to drive up a slope of slightly over 15 degrees at weight of around 30lb. They can travel on a level slope at up to 50lb all up weight. Power is provided by on-board lithium polymer battery packs. It is possible to reach speeds of up to 45mph (65kph) on an unsloped cable or move as slow as 18″ per minute (0.5m per minute) for smooth slow motions. *
Braking is done electrically and is known as a Asynchronous Regenerative Braking (ARB). ARB is accomplished with our industrial robot motor driver which means you’re putting power back into the battery when you decelerate or apply the brakes. Much like newer electric automobiles now do. The results with ARB are staggering. Putting as much as 50% of the power back into the battery for each acceleration/deceleration pair. The benefit is of course is greater duration/distance from a set of charged batteries.
FlyLine zipline cablecam is able to be controlled wirelessly via a joystick controller with a range of 1km (far greater than you’ll run a Flyline). The camera can also be connected to a wireless video system to send and display camera video feed in real time to an LCD at the camera operator station.
The FlyLine system is strung along a rope/cable between two anchor points. The anchors are generally trees or other strong points. A manual ‘come-along’ type winch is used at one end to tension the rope/cable.
A common question we get is ‘How long can it run on a battery?’. The answer is not so simple. You must consider the FlyLine like you would an electric car. The top concern with electric cars is not how long they last, but rather what is the maximum distance it can travel on a charged battery. The same is true with the Flyline. It is possible to run a distance of 3-7 miles on a single charge. Doubling the batteries on board can extend to 15+ miles. This is of course assuming a level cable and moderate accelerations.
The FlyLine can accommodate a Canon 5D/7D, Canon C300, Sony FS100/700, Red Epic or similar in size camera when equipped with a DJI Ronin camera gimbal. The system is controlled via RC airplane/helicopter type wireless 2.4ghz controllers. One controller is used by a trolley drive operator and one controller is used by the camera operator for composing the shots. We also have the ability to mount a Freefly MoVi to FlyLine. The FlyLine cablecam mated with the DJI Ronin or MoVI is one AMAZING combination!
A Kenyon KS4 gyro is recommended for extremely smooth wobble free video. We are an authorized Kenyon dealer and can supply these gyros.
Recommended cable is 8mm Dyneema climbing rope. The 8mm Dyneema is rated at 13,700lb breaking strength. When stretched out to 100m and the FlyLine hung on the Dyneema expected tension on the rope shall be less than 1,500lb leaving a safety factor of just over 9.0. We can include optionally a 200m (660′) spool of Dyneema rope as well as rope protectors and high strength carabiners for rope rigging. We have tested the Flyline on a maximum length of 500m with no troubles.
Large trees and very strong scaffolding and light poles or other firmly fixed objects can be used to anchor to provided the objects can withstand 300-1,500lb of pulling tension at the rope connection point (depending on cable length). The longer the cable length the higher the tension on the cable must be. At a length of 200m it should be tensioned up to 1000lb. Of course it is REQUIRED that a qualified rigger calculate the cable and attachment loads and rig as required.
For more information on calculating cable loads please review this page which explains the method of load calculation.
A wireless microwave video transmitter can be added to allow live viewing of the camera from the operators station.
We build these system to order. Cost varies but averages around $5,000 for a complete system (without optional gyro or accessories) up to $13,000 for a fully loaded system with gyro and all accessories. Flyline systems can be configured and sold as trolley only or a complete system with everything included. The option is yours.
Beginning January 2013 we have begun renting a complete FlyLine system on a per day/week basis. Contact us for more information.
* Ultra version 2 when equipped with the 3hp direct drive motor option and 6 cell lithium batteries. Max speed & power consumption only recommended for duty cycle less than 50%.
The Flyline cable traversing camera system is Patent Pending.