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Super FlyCam Available Worldwide Through Top Hat Productions


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#1 Tim Tyler

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 11:07 AM

The world?s lightest, cable-suspended, ?flying? 35mm camera system, SuperFlyCam ?, was recently introduced at the New York Cine Equipment Show. Designed and developed by Garrett Brown to capture stunning shots for motion pictures, commercials, and music videos, SuperFlyCam weighs-in at a mere 39 pounds, including the camera and lens supplied with the system. In fact, SuperFlyCam is so much lighter than any other cable-suspended, flying 35mm camera system that it is in a class by itself. Brown?s breakthrough in ultra-lightweight design makes SuperFlyCam the only 35mm system that flies on a low-tension cable. The SuperFlyCam SM system offers faster and more economical set-ups as well as an inherently smoother ?flight? than heavy, special effects cameras that ?fly? on high-tension rigging. Company president, Ben Semanoff, explains it this way: ?If a cinematographer?s principal objective for using a cable-suspended camera is to create powerful and engaging shots, then SuperFlyCam is the logical and economical choice.?

SuperFlyCam?s ultra-lightweight design and simplified set-up is due, in part, to Brown?s ingenious system for maintaining balance and camera stabilization. Even while SuperFlyCam traverses up to 3500 feet of cable, at speeds up to 50 mph, and simultaneously responds to wireless operation of the pan and tilt head, zoom, focus, and iris, the image remains steady? isolated from any bounce, shake, or jitter. Brown, who won an Oscar for his invention of Steadicam, combines high-concept and high technology stabilization into the uniquely elegant and efficient SuperFlyCam system. So, while cumbersome, complex, and heavy special effects camera systems incorporate an array of gyros and related gadgetry to maintain camera and image stability, the SuperFlyCam system achieves this objective, in many locations, without the need for even a single such device.

Says company president, Ben Semanoff: ?Other 35mm cable-suspended systems run on high tension cables. That requires special installations or modification and reinforcement of existing structures in order to rig the lines. This is where a lot of time and money get consumed. Because SuperFlyCam is so light, it runs on low-tension lines, and we can often use existing structures at a location as ?natural? anchor points. That saves a lot of time and money.? Furthermore, a cable that is pulled to a few hundred pounds of low tension for SuperFlyCam is inherently a lot safer to work with - and to work near - than cables that are tensioned at several thousand pounds for other systems.

Semanoff adds ?Only when we are ?flying? the system outdoors and need to contend with the dynamics of wind, do we feel compelled to add one or two gyros. Even then, the weight of the entire SuperFlyCam system is still less than 45 pounds, and that includes the SL-35 Camera, Century Optics zoom lens, and a load of film.?

SuperFlyCam is equipped with a pair of custom Preston MDR-ll Units to provide wireless control of the remote head?s 360 degree continuous pan and 270 degree tilt, plus control of all lens functions. A Preston FX box is included in the package for remote monitoring, adjustment, and ramping of frame rate (speed/aperture), as well as continuous metering of exposed footage. Image monitoring is accomplished via Modulus or Microwave transmission.

Semanoff?s company, Top Hat Productions, is just now introducing SuperFlyCam to the industry. Anyone who regularly watches NFL games or similar sporting events has probably seen SuperFlyCam?s older brother as it traverses the stadium and ?flies? up into the stands. Both systems are the creative ?offspring? of renowned inventor, Garrett Brown. However, the system you see at sporting events is a video-only system, whereas the newly introduced SuperFlyCam is a 35mm system. In creating SuperFlyCam, Brown?s triumph is that he mastered the nuances of balancing and stabilizing a cable-suspended, flying 35mm camera in such an elegant way that the combined weight of the entire system, including camera and lens, is less than forty pounds. This ?elegance of design? has resulted in a budget-friendly system that is less complex and less costly to rig and operate than cable-suspended, special effects systems.

?SuperFlyCam was only one of several projects that Garrett was working on at the time.? explains Semanoff in reference to SuperFlyCam?s evolution and his own participation in its refinement during 2004. ?It took some time to work its way through Garrett?s invention mill. So, by early 2005, various versions of SuperFlyCam had already been used in several motion pictures.? With three films being released in 2005 in which SuperFlyCam technology played a part (Glory Road, The Brothers Grimm, and Stay), Brown decided it was time to push SuperFlyCam out of the nest.

Semanoff tells it this way: ?In June of 2005 Garrett asked me if I would be interested in acquiring all rights to SuperFlyCam and bringing it to market worldwide. Based on my first-hand experience with SuperFlyCam and the motion picture industry?s respect for Garrett?s ingenuity, intuition, and remarkable track record of success, I was honored to accept his offer. Now, my company, Top Hat Productions, has the privilege of marketing, promoting, and renting the SuperFlyCam 35mm camera system worldwide for use in motion pictures, commercials, and music videos.?

TECHNICAL INFORMATION

Camera (supplied):
SL Cine SL-35 (Arri IIC) with Panavision, Super-35 Panavision, or PL-mount. Three 200' Magazines.


Pre-balanced Lenses:
17 - 35 mm Century Optics zoom (supplied). Panavision Lightweight Zoom 27 - 68 mm (available). Lightweight primes or anamorphics (available, and balanced to order).


Wireless Controls:
Wireless zoom, focus, iris & camera-run via custom MDR-II Preston, supplied. Preston FX Unit (speed/aperture control) supplied. Wireless pan & tilt by wheel control via velocity-modified Preston. PAL or NTSC video assist via Modulus transmitter or GMS microwave video transmission system.


Specifications:
? Speed Parameters: Analog 25 mph winch system (supplied)
? Digital Auto-Stop 50 mph motor (available)
? Kuper motion-control, ultra-flat or ultra-long deployment (available)
? Vertical high speed crane simulation (available)
? Weight - 39 lbs total, 48 lbs including skate

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