Suspended Camera

OVERVIEW

4Sky is a four cable winch system which enables a suspended camera to dynamically move and view a sports field, arena, or concert stage from nearly anywhere and any angle, moving freely through space, both vertically and horizontally within a defined space.

To deliver its spectacular pictures, the camera has the ability to move both close to the ground and at dizzying height, taking pictures from perspectives that a conventional camera cannot achieve and offer to you a unique view of a sports or other entertainment event.

The most amazing and dynamic camera system available today.

To enhance the coverage of your spectacular events.

Applicable indoors as well as outdoors.

Four motorized cable winches positioned at each corner at the base of the covered area; each one, controls a Kevlar suspension cable that goes over a pulley attached to a mast or to other available fixed points called as an anchor point, such as at the light stanchion in a stadium, and attaches to a gimbal of the Gyro Stabilized Camera System.

The four motorized winches work together by controlling the winding and unwinding of the cables and coordinated controls drive the system, making it fast and agile enabling the 4Sky System to fly or to hold the camera in the desired position throughout the space within the four anchor points.

A dedicated processor controls each winch; the motor-drive is commanded and controlled by a micro-controller which in turn receives commands from a central controlling computer. 

The operator on the controlling computer  instructs and coordinates the actions of the four winches in real time and collects response and safety information, the computer using the system kinematics, estimates the camera position, monitors the sensors and performance based parameters, interprets the operator’s joystick commands, tracks the camera position, converts the operator’s commands into positional coordinates, and synchronizes the action of each winch so that the Gyro Stabilized Camera  performs the proper motion.

The central control computer allows the operators to focus on capturing the action by performing obstacle avoidance.  During the setup, the operator can describes any obstacles in the fly space.  The operator abstracts the obstacles, such as a scoreboard, a column, goal posts, or fan seating, as primitive shapes and enters them into the Omnicam4Sky software. The primitive shapes are the combination of four-point planes called security walls.

When the 4Sky is moving the software prevents the camera and suspension cables from hitting any of the obstacles. The 4Sky software can provide further assistance for the operators beyond obstacle avoidance. The operator can define custom reference points within the flight space to assist navigating and simplify common or repetitive actions.

The controlling computer issues all this commands to each of the winches, based upon the feedback and on the demands requested from the user through a fiber-optic network.

The Omnicam4Sky also uses single-mode fiber optics that run along each Kevlar suspension cable to carry commands to the camera and the remote head, and bring the higher resolution picture quality of camera's high definition signal, back to the Control Station.

Only two people are needed to operate the camera system. While a specially trained operator flies the Omnicam4Sky through space with the aid of two joysticks; the second operates the camera itself by framing and focusing on controlling the camera functions, such as pan, tilt, zoom, iris, and focus. A control monitor with online display provides accurate information about the exact position of the camera at all times.

A spar is the structure that supports the Gyro Stabilized Camera components, which ride the suspension-cable system. The lower section of the spar, houses the remote head which provides pan, tilt and roll movement and includes all the servo remote controls, also houses fiber-optic-communication components, and local processing boards, sensors for stabilizing and controlling the camera. The upper section, houses the power batteries and the lightweight gyroscopic stabilizing mechanics to achieve more stable movement and a steadier image while moving. Balanced at the spar’s center of gravity is the gimbal that forms the heart of the four point cable-suspension and control system.

Safety is of particular importance particularly at public events. For the sake of exciting pictures, the Omnicam4Sky must often fly immediately above the head of the audience. The System has two independent operational circuits; Primary & Secondary. Primary is intendant to be autonomous in control and safety. Second is monitoring every human input and system sensors, providing that if anything not expected happened in operation, or if primary circuit fails, the secondary safety circuit will stop all components at same time quite automatically.

To prepare for a power failure and the consequent possibility that the cables could freely unwind from the winches, each winch has entirely independent automatic brakes. The braking force is applied by steel springs, so that even if the power fails, the brakes will automatically be applied without the need for any external power.

In case of an emergency or a malfunction the security concept will stop the system immediately. This stop is composed of the deactivation of the winches and the activation of all brakes, which brings the system to a halt within milliseconds. A stop can either be initiated manually by pressing one of the "emergency stop" buttons, or automatically by one of the integrated safety protocols.

The entire camera system can be dismantled within a few hours and – depending on circumstances – be reassembled again at a new site within 1–2 days.