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Suggestions for an overhead catwalk
Old 09-16-2004, 06:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I am in the final process of designing an overhead catwalk for my studio. Being a Civil Engineer, the structure is no problem and I'm using some leftover material from a worksite so it will cost me almost nothing . The design is to have a 600mm wide walkway with handrails, suspended 3m above the shoot area. ( 2ft wide and 10ft up for those non metricated) My design is simple ,and will take me a weekend to put up.

The primary function is to enable me to take photos from directly overhead, and to be able to adjust the boom arms without standing on the top rung of my stepladder. I was wondering what other things I should be looking at adding before I put it up ( it's much easier to fabricate things on the ground)

What would be the things you would like to have overhead system, and if anyone has photos of a walkway, overhead track system please send them or put them up on the forum.

Thansks

Iain
www.sensual-image.com

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Re: Suggestions for an overhead catwalk
Old 09-16-2004, 07:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You might wanna add piping along the railing (outside edge) that will allow you to "hang" hot lights, as if it were on stage. Also, include some electrical, which, in addition to the hot lights, will allow you to put a slave strobe up there without having to run the slave cord up to it.

The piping should be whatever is used on a stage, which can accept a C-clamp type of stage light.

Something else to consider: if you plan on shooting over the railing, you may want to incorporate a trap door in the floor of the canopy. This will allow you to shoot "through the floor" as it were. We had one at the studio I used to shoot at in Hollywood, over the white cyclorama. The trap door simply opens like a door in the floor of a stage, exposing the scenery below you. Door sizes should be as you may need to have equipment stand over the open door. For example, a tripod with legs spread flat, and the camera mount reversed so that the camera hangs BETWEEN the legs of the tripod sitting over the open door.

Some thoughts...

-Ian
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Re: Suggestions for an overhead catwalk
Old 09-16-2004, 07:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the response Ian, I have a few lengths of 40mm steel pipe - I'll mount that to the C channel. I have some Manfrotto superclamps - they grip quite nicely to the pipe.

Love the idea about the trapdoor - I put in three of them - opposite the post for the handrails over the shoot area, and use my superclamps on a bar across between the posts to act like a camera stand, much better than leaning over the side - and safer.

I have two C-Channels 3.6m apart down the side of the shoot area, to provide lateral support to the catwalk (so it doesn't swing like a rope bridge) - I'll extend them out about 2m in front of the catwalk as well - and I'll make a "trolley" to hang in each of them, and connect them together with another bar, that will give me a means of suspending anything underneath the catwalk in any position up to 6m from the back wall, and to about 1.5m either side of the shoot area.

Iain
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