How These Filmmakers Built a DIY Cable Cam in the Middle of the Rainforest

It’s always inspiring for us to learn how our customers solve problems.

When filmmaker Mat Howes had an idea for a cable cam shot over a waterfall, he didn’t let the fact that he was in the middle of the Borneo jungle, or that he didn’t have a cable cam, stop him. Matt used a lot of fishing line, a bamboo fish trap, and the Morpheus Dolly to create a very cool cable cam shot. The footage that was captured has not yet been edited, and will eventually be added to a larger promotional feature for release in late 2016.

A bamboo fish trap to catch the GoPro and Morpheus Dolly

The following excerpt was provided by one of the fillmakers that set up the shot along side Mat…

A small family company, UKhammocks is the only manufacturer of specialist jungle equipment in the world, as far as I’m aware, and sends a team out every year to test new designs in the jungles of Borneo.

We wanted to capture some footage of UKhammocks equipment in development, and also some footage for hillpeoplegear.com, a small company based in the USA who manufacture expedition packs, and have a close working relationship with us.

The jungle eats electronic equipment, especially cameras. The only camera we can rely on to survive is the GoPro in its waterproof housing, filled with silica crystals to prevent misting. We wanted stabilized shots, but couldn’t use anything which relied on electronics. It also needed to be robust, lightweight and packable. We found the Morpheus on Kickstarter and it ticked all the boxes, so we backed it.

When we struck upon the idea for a dramatic cable cam shot over a waterfall, we realized the potential of the Morpheus to function as a cable cam, and set off on a spare day to try and get the shot. We had never used the Morpheus before, and simply set off stopping to buy 300-400m of fishing line in a remote farm shop, before driving into the jungle. We then made up a bamboo fish trap to act as a catching device on location.

Here’s an early test (note the shadow of the camera)…

And here’s the final clip…

And here’s the behind the scenes…

If you have a story about how you solved a problem on set, we’d love to hear it. Please email us at showcase@cinevate.com 🙂


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