If you’ve ever wondered how cinematographers are able to capture those amazing dynamic shots where the camera is able to smoothly follow an actor as they move through a scene, the answer is often complex camera cranes. They’re usually controlled by an operator, but have sophisticated motor controllers to keep the camera stable. Unfortunately, those are wildly expensive and far out of reach for amateurs — and even many indie filmmakers. That’s why YouTuber Mingul decided to build his own 8-axis camera crane robot.
If that sounds like a lot of movement axes, that’s because it is. This robot is able to ride around on rails attached to Mingul’s workshop ceiling for horizontal movement in any direction and can rotate, raise and lower the camera, and pan, tilt, and roll the camera. There is even motorized focusing and zooming. It would be an understatement to say that this setup requires quite a lot of hardware. Dozens of feet of aluminum extrusion are used just for the the linear rails on the ceiling, and many, many powerful stepper motors are required to move the heavy robot.
Impressively, Mingul used the bare minimum of off-the-shelf hardware. Many of the parts were CNC-milled out of aluminum or 3D-printed. The robot can be remotely controlled, but Mingul doesn’t provide much detail about which electronic components he used for logic or driving the stepper motors. Even so, this is one of the most ambitious DIY photography projects we’ve ever come across. The cost and amount of work that went into this is mind-blowing, but the results speak for themselves and we can only imagine that Mingul will have some of the most cinematic build videos on YouTube.
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Author: Cameron Coward