MAKE TAKES: (clockwise from top left) Executive
producer Richard Hudson and John Park talk about
the Pole Cam rig. Director Greg Stiever reviews the
script while Park rehearses his lines. Series producer
Michael Smith inspects the assembled rig. The crew
discusses the build sequence for the Pole Cam.
Bird’s-Eye Hitchcock Moment enough,” worries one of the production assistants.
It’s 8: 45 on Monday morning outside the Como “We’ll just have to try it,” Richard says. An
Park Zoo and Conservatory. There’s a water garden Ultimate Frisbee player shows up and soon three
with lily pads and an incredible plant called a Victoria people are tossing the Frisbee. John steadies an
water platter that’s 3 or 4 feet across. We’re here to HD camera with the stabilizer and he’s running
show the Pole Cam in action at the zoo, and we’ve back and forth after the Frisbee. A cameraman
come before the day’s visitors arrive. follows John. Unfortunately, this part of the park
In the first scene, John will stand in a grassy is inhabited by Canada geese, and their droppings
courtyard and say, “Nothing beats a pole-mounted remain underfoot. At 10: 27, the scene is done
camera,” then he’ll turn around and say, “Hi, I’m John but everyone needs to clean off the bottoms of
Park.” The cameras are shooting him from the top of their shoes.
a two-story building. Time and again, he does it.
The next scene shows the Pole Cam in action,
and John can’t do it alone. So I’m holding the controller while a production assistant holds the pole.
Richard says it’s my “Hitchcock moment” where
I get to appear inconspicuously in the shot.
We wrap up at the zoo and go to the park next
door to shoot a scene for a different project, the $14
makeshift Steadicam that appeared in the first issue
of MAKE. It’s a tripod with a barbell weight used as
a stabilizer. “I don’t know if the five-pounder is good
Drill, Baby, Drill!
At 11: 16, we’re back in the workshop. Bill and
Richard are reviewing the build sequence for the
Pole Cam’s two-piece wooden rig. There’s an upper
frame that must fit inside a lower frame. The camera and one servo are attached to the upper frame,
and another servo is attached to the lower.
Bill reminds Richard that he had to trim a tab
off the servomotor with a knife. “Do we have to
show that?” he asks.
36 Make: Volume