Tired of those boors with their foam fingers standing up and getting into your shot, or those over energetic campaign supporters who insist on waving their political pickets in front of your lens hoping to get on the evening news or maybe’s it’s the local constabulary wetting on your Cheerios by not allowing you access to something you want to cover?
Well I have the solution, an inflatable 20 foot Will Burt mast with a remote pan and tilt head.
Now weighing in at 122 pounds and requiring a source of compressed air, this isn’t quite something one would buy from B&H and sling over their shoulder, but none the less it will get the job done and with a payload capacity of 100 pounds it can easily support and stabilize any shoulder mounted camcorder and accessories, nor less any HDSLR.
This idea branched out of our need to bring a stable, non-wireless provider Internet connection to remote locations, a task which requires hoisting and holding steady a directional 2.4gHz or 5.8Ghz antenna to establish a point to point connection to the Remote Production Unit (RPU) from where the Internet connection sources from the service providers hardwire interface, be it CATV or Telco or both.
After working out the logistics and a few bugs utilizing the Will Burt mast, my son who is actually going to be utilizing the system commented after we ran it up “it would be cool if I could get a camera up there.”
I agreed and after some digging around found an old, but new in box Pelco commercial CCTV pan and tilt unit, with that in hand I built a rugged mast top bracket for the P&T and equipped it with a nice strong 1/8 inch safety cable, I am not betting the farm on a 1/4 by 20 bolt and the last thing I ever need to hear about what kind of a sound a camcorder makes after hitting the ground from 24 feet up or worse yet “we have a little problem here, I think we just killed someone with a camcorder.”
Now if it looks like that mast is installed in a trailer, that is because it is, the trailer is destined to be a DIY RPU, allowing my son and his partners to tote around their gear somewhat in style versus their current method of schlepping it around in the back seats of their cars and to allow them a solid platform for live video and audio streaming.
Internally it is divided into two parts, the fore cabin which being air conditioned and having it’s own access door can be used as a base for switching, editing and storage of sensitive gear, and the aft area containing a 6.5 Kw LP fired generator, a 12 volt DC compressor and the AC and DC power distribution cabinets. This is where the more rugged gear (lighting, power distribution, cords etc can be stored).
Detailed shot of the dryer regulator and oiler.
12 Volt DC air compressor.
Under the trailer we installed three battery strings supplying 208 amp hours of 12 volt DC power, which can be used to run an inverter for the times where a genset cannot or should not be run.
This is a short video of the mast in operation, I didn’t capture any video from the hoisted camera as the cabling was just slung over the roof for this test and not wired into the fore cabin where the monitors, remote zoom and P&T controller will eventually reside.
I will post more shots as those efforts come to fruitarian over the next couple of weeks.