Musings by Snehal aka Fearless, a filmmaker with a hankering for technology and science.  

Day 1 of 100 Days of Inventions - HoverCam

We're starting an on-going project to bring you, our good readers, one hundred days of new ideas from the future.  These concepts, thoughts, mulling and hypothesis exist only for your viewing pleasure.  Some might come to pass and others may never see the light of day.  I guess that's up to ALL of us.  

For our first installment, we introduce the hovering film camera.  Cameras that are used for high end film and television production are always built out to be much larger than any other kind of image acquisition system we have.  You have quite a bit of extra bits and pieces added to make it work for the filmmakers: monitors, matte boxes, electronics, measuring devices, tripod, dolly, etc.  

What if this rig can be mounted on a floating platform that can be configured, with the help of add-on devices, to do just about any camera move you can think of.  I know what some of you n00bs are thinking. "Won't cameras just be integrated into tiny drones?"  

Sure, for the small stuff and things like paparazzi photography (which will be completely automated in a dozen years with the use of annoying drones that replace the equally annoying actual human beings), but NEVER for filmmaking.   

You see, for filmmaking, we take pieces of reality and exaggerate them with the use of glass lenses.  These lenses are precision devices that project a certain range of image sizes which has universally been accepted as the size of image we have all come to love when projected.  Physics dictates what type, size and quality glass is needed to create lenses that work for our film (or digital film-style) cameras. Yes, that good ole' glass will determine just how small a rig can be built.  

Another principle of physics that filmmakers exploit is weight.  The heavier the camera rig, the steadier the image.  Even Steadicam setups benefit from hefty cameras.  It's keeps things smooth.  So a floating dolly or platform for the camera would help keep the picture steady.  Small floating devices or drones would not have the same benefits provided by gravity.  You're better off climbing onto the contraption pictured above.