UniGeezer: "High Strung"

Ok here’s my second “Uni-Cablecam” video I just finished. It was filmed in parks rather than trails, with the exception of the first three clips, which are from my very first “test” runs filmed last week, with short cable lengths of just 75 feet or less.

Then it jumps to the present day with the fourth “Catalina” clip, where the cable length extends to 190 feet! The 36er speed runs at the end take the camera a full 11 seconds to reach the end of the line! You can hear it zipping down the line like a bat outta He##, haha!

I plan to incorporate riding with more technical terrain in upcoming videos, and urban stuff like stair jumps, etc.

Hope you enjoy. Please rate and comment. :slight_smile:

The cablecam is so cool. I nearly can’t wait to see you do some street and trials with it. I would be really cool if you could put it up in your garden, and film trials with it. :slight_smile:

First of all, great job. Since it’s so good, I feel free to offer some suggestions and comments.

Two minor suggestions: While the technical aspect is good, the filming and editing is not so great – partly, I gather, because you’re showing off the technique. But you should cut the initial and final segments of each run so the shot looks more like it’s capturing a piece of the action rather than a staged run. Additionally, you need to resist the obviously strong temptation to look at the camera and just trust that some runs will come out fine.

Some technical ideas: To add turns to your runs, try guiding the cable through curved guiding tubes that are temporarily attached to trees. I’m picturing tubes with flared ends; and the attachment on the camera to the line should be relatively long for stability. Also, since you’re getting into technical filming, have you thought about trying to collect a dozen or so digital cameras from craigslist and setting up a matrix shot at, for example, the bottom of a drop?

Great job Terry! I’m just impressed with the innovation and creativity that you are using - it also looks so much fun! Looking forward to seeing how it develops.

Your setup is really cool. If you want to keep using your hv30 you should just buy one of those hard waterproof casings to put it in, so it can’t get damaged. Or you could probably just make a clear plexiglass shell to put in and pad the inside. Anyway really good job.

This is really cool Terry! but sometimes the camera is “wobling” alot, but I like it, I think in trials it would be hard to do that, espetialy on hard trials line, It would be cool in some speed trials:)

Good one. Keep it up! :slight_smile:


Thanks Sigurd! Yeah I’m just having the time of my life developing this awesome filming technique!

Thanks for your feedback and interesting ideas! I’ll quote the same thing I just posted in my other vid thread about the corners, etc:

Thanks Geoff! Yeah I’ll be shooting all new footage with SUPER high “flyovers” and also a special 36er/bridge/freeway/traffic uni0cable-cam thing! Can’t say more but it will be CRAZY! :slight_smile:

Haha I guess I should take that as a compliment, but the footage was shot with my little sony still cam, using the video mode! I didn’t want to use my HV30 just yet, plus it’s really a lot heavier and the line would need much more tension to prevent sagging. I did use it once, but I don’t want to damage it haha.

Thanks yeah the wobbling happened when I let the tow line go and I pulled on it too much, or the rig may have hit a branch or something. Otherwise it’s really smooth. And the trials line would have to be pretty long, otherwise the shot is over too fast. In trials and street, you would also really want to have a motor on the rig with someone controlling the speed and panning. Thge rig I use is gravity controlled and won’t stop and wait while you do tricks, lol! But for my purpose it’s great!

Thanks Benjamin! The real elaborate setups where the camera is going through trees and you see the foliage so close in the shots; those take way longer to ser up since you have to go off the trail and clear all the weeds and brush so the rig won’t get snagged. But on average the setup time isn’t too long. :slight_smile:

Awesome idea! The speed runs at the end were incredible. Just curious, have you ever had anyone trip/run into the wire that you have set up?

Thanks! No mishaps with people so far, and I usually warn them if the line is in their path, but it usually is above their heads or off the trail or in the speed run clip, it was off the walk/bike path. :slight_smile:

Doesn’t your camera crash into trees? What do you have to protect it?

Nice video, very entertaining. I might try this one day.

I realized that the really high angled runs would require something to slow the rig to a gentle stop, so I use two soft tubular foam handlebar grips! I simply feed them onto the end of the line and have them about a foot away from the tree. When the rig comes in contact, even at high speeds, the foam bumpers are pushed maybe 4-8" as they absorb the impact of the rig, and it comes to a soft stop. Works very well! :slight_smile:

The other little idea I had so the rope i use for the line would not rib on the rough tree bark while pulling it tight, I run the line through a short piece of garden hose, and that goes against the back of the tree so when I pull the line around the tree, it just slides through the section of hose, preventing premature wear on the rope!

Speaking of rope, I’ve been experimenting with a few types; 1/4" polypropylene, which is your everyday type used for laundry lines. That was quite heavy and 200 feet of it took up a lot of room in my backpack. I tried 3/16th" solid core nylon and I though it might be too stretchy, but when pulled tight any further strecth is not really noticeable.

It’s SUPER strong, has a very high breaking strength of nearly 1,000 pounds, and it’s way lighter and takes up much less room. I am thinking of buying “Spectra” brand cord. It’s has virtually zero stretch and is incredibly strong. But it’s also pricey! 200 feet would cost more than $150! So for now, I’m happy with what I have.:o


I have been trying to work out how to achieve this technique for a while now. Ever since I saw this. How is the camera fixed to the cable? Do you have a roller mechanism?

Nice work Terry.


The way I am doing it is I have a pulley and a set of driven wheels. The two rubber wheels clamp to the line and power the cart and the pulley just adds stability. From that I have a highly geared motor which acts to pan the camera and then another motor which tilts the camera up and down. I have all the components but just havnt finished putting it all together.

You can get spectra kite line that is 200lb strength for way less than that. It’d be narrow, so I don’t know how your pulley arrangement would work on it though - I think when people run things on it they just use loops of string or metal rings, it is very slippery. If you could work it with kite line, 200 foot takes up very little space (even 500 foot isn’t that big a reel).


Haha, a guy on a zipline shooting the action as he slides along the line! Talk about a complicated setup! Conversely, my system is quite simple, but gets the job done very well! It’s very efficient in design and functionality and ultra portable. Uses two pulleys in line.

Sounds pretty complex! Please post a video of it in action as soon as you can!

Hmm, I don’t think I’d feel very confident with such a fine kite line, and even the 400lb size would not be enough. Especially when you’re using 200’ lengths that have to support the rig–even though it’s only a few pounds including the camera–the tension required is increased a lot, compared to much shorter lengths. I will probably end up with something from this page.

I was thinking about doing something like this, using kite lines… because they are strong and take up next to no space. I might try and make a rig up for my camera, although not as complicated as sp4rky-m4rky’s one. I was thinking about using some sort of spring attached to the wheels that would slow it down and maybe keep it at a reasonable speed.
can you post a pic of your set up terry?

Those kite lines are really strong. Just take a look at power kite vids.

Ive heard that one of those lines while the kite is flying in strong winds can cut into you easily, and cut through other kites lines. they are pretty strong.

While making another Uni-cablecam video today (My best yet I think!)
I got into a “race” with the rig as it was hurtling from 15’ high down to near ground level, and 200 feet long!

I was going as fast as I could to try to beat the camera to the end, where I had to make a crazy sharp right turn down this drop, and try to “duck” under the line, before the rig passed me! Suffice it to say it took a few takes, and some wicked bails! I just finished editing about 7 hours of video, down to a lean &y mean 4 minutes! I’ll post a thread sometime soon!