Polecam enable Cinematic Technology for Videographers with disability
Polecam enable Cinematic Technology for Videographers with disability
Polecam enable Cinematic Technology for Videographers with disability
Polecam enable Cinematic Technology for Videographers with disability
2010-07-27
Polecam enable Cinematic Technology for Videographers with disability

Vancouver - A new device developed at the University of Victoria in British Columbia enables videographers with disabilities to shoot professional-quality content using the industry-standard Polecam transportable video production jib. Thanks to the CanAssist Polecam Power Chair, a physically-challenged cameraman can keep pace with people and objects in motion. The easy-to-operate system is suitable for recording activities such as documentaries and sporting events.

"We embarked on this project after being approached in 2009 by Vancouver film-maker Joe Moulins," explained Darcy Lane, hardware manager at CanAssist. "Our engineers equipped a motorised wheelchair with an eight-foot Polecam boom arm and pan-tilt head." Steven Cayer, a 17-year-old undergraduate with cerebral palsy, became one of the first to use the CanAssist Polecam Power Chair when he produced a video report on the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. He continued this activity covering the Paralympics.

Cayer controlled the chair's movement with his right hand, while manipulating a joystick that adjusts the camera's angle with his left, and changed the camera's height by blowing into a sip-and-puff device that raises and lowers the boom arm.

A Toshiba 1080i HD camera attached to the Polecam rig could be elevated from ground level to a height of six feet. A high-definition LCD monitor attached to the Polecam Power Chair gives the operator a live view of the shoot. The camera control unit, custom electrical control box and a 1080i flash-ram recorder are mounted at the rear of the chair.

"Joe Moulins contacted us at an early stage in this project," said Polecam founder and managing director Steffan Hewitt. "I thought it was a great idea and was very happy to donate one of our carbon-fibre booms, a pan-tilt head, joystick-based control unit and HD monitor. I also rang a camcorder manufacturer, who was happy to donate one of their Compact Flash systems and Toshiba who kindly donated an HD camera."

"CanAssist integrated the elements into a practical system. Polecam rigs have been attached to many forms of transport over water, ice, snow, dry land, to aircraft and even to the basket of a balloon but this is the first time a rig has been coupled to a wheelchair," Hewitt added.

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