Actobotics Time Lapse Cable Cam




Sometimes it is nice to capture a time lapse sequence using motion with a larger distance than you could get from a slider. I have seen many cable cams that are used in video production, and thought it would be a good idea to make one that went very slow to capture time lapse sequences. The original cable cam was used with dual GoPro cameras attached to servo blocks that could be controlled remotely. However, the final version of this just has a static camera mount on the bottom with a motor speed control to slow the rotation of the gears. I built the entire cable cam using parts from

*** Since this rig only uses a single cable, this rig can only be used outdoors when there is no wind. Otherwise, there is too much swing on the camera.

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Step 1: Parts Parts:
Digital Manual Speed Controller:
12" Aluminum Channel (585454)
2 x 3" Smooth Hub Pulleys (615138)
1 x 1" Smooth Hub Pulley (615130)
2 x Dual Ball Bearing Hub A (545444)
5 x 4.62" Aluminum Beam (585412)
1 x .5 RPM Gear Motor (638142)
1 x Aluminum Motor Mount B (555128)
1 x 16T - 32P Gearmotor Pinion Gear (615242)
1 x 84T - 32P Aluminum Hug Gear (615210)
D-Shaft Tubing
1 x 2.75" (634074)
1 x 1.75" (634066)
2 x 0.777" Set Screw Hubs (545548)
3 x Channel Bracket A (585484)
3 x Small Square Screw Plate (585478)
2 x Dual Screw Plate (585472)
1 x Single Screw Plate (585474)
1 x Vertical Aluminum Mount (SVM275-115)
1 x Standard Hitec Servo Block (637110)
1 x HSR-1425 (Continuous Rotation) Hitec Servo  (31425CR)
3 x 1/4" Flanged Ball Bearings (535044)
1 X 1/4" Aluminum Set Screw Collars (9946K11)
1 x 1/4" to 6mm Set Screw Shaft Coupler (625106)
6-32 Socket Head Machine Screw (various sizes)
2 x 1/4"-20 Round Screw Plate (545468)
2 x 1/4-20 Pan Head Phillips Machine Screw 3/4"
1 x SPDT miniature Snap-Action Micro Switch (605634)
1 x Micro Switch Mount C (605626)
2 x 1/4" Shafting & Tubing Spacers (633104)
Non-ServoCity Parts:
Portable DC 12V 4500mAh Rechargeable Li-ion Battery
2.1mm x 5.5mm Male CCTV Power Plug Adapter
2.1mm x 5.5mm Female CCTV Power Jack Adapter
*Obviously, the GoPro HD Hero and Sony NEX-5 cameras were used, but not included in this list.

Step 2: Rig Set Up & Pictures

I recently upgraded my cable cam to use the ServoCity Digital Manual Speed Controller. This allows me to control the speed of the rig, as well as which direction it moves on the cable. I also used some heat shrink on the hub pulley. The cable that I use is plastic coated, so my thought was that using the heat shrink would give the pulley more grip on the cable. It would probably work without this. The rig moves along the cable at a little less than 10 feet per hour. Swapping out the pinon and hub gear could slow it down even more.

The battery is connected to the rig with Velcro, and is a generic 12V rechargable battery pack from Amazon.

Step 3: Demonstration

These are all sped up to showcase the movement of the cablecam.

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    3 Discussions


    3 years ago

    I liked the servoblock that holds the the 2 gopro's. Nice work.


    3 years ago

    I'm going to make this! I have a 12v intervalometer to drive my Kanova slider. I'll use it with the rest of the SERVOCITY! stuff. Thanks and thanks instructables for the email!

    1 reply