Anatomy of a KAP Rig: Pan Mechanism

    (noun) acronym for kite aerial photography rig. Refers to the rig or cradle wherein the camera used for kite aerial photography is mounted.

   to photograph or televise while rotating a camera on its vertical or horizontal axis in order to kepp a moving person of object in view or allow the file to record a panorama; to pan from one end of the playing field to the other during the opening of the football game.

   The pan mechanism is normally located at the upper portion of the KAP rig it is usually connected to the picavet suspension or in some cases to the pendulum, which in turn is attached to the kite line. The panning motion of the camera is caused by a servo which is connected to a receiver that receives commands from the kite aerial photographer's transmitter in the ground. But it can also be done, with a few servo tinkering, that the panning mechanism rotates continually in one direction.

   It is common to see KAP rigs leaving out the hover/change-the camera orientation mechanism and the tilt(up and down) mechanism out while retaining the pan mechanism and shutter mechanism. 

   In constructing the pan mechanism there are a few to things to keep in mind:

 That the servo has a limit in it's angle of turn. So it is necessary to install gears to enable the pan mechanism to turn the camera 360 degrees around.
  1. That it is safer to not directly connect the pan mechanism to the picavet suspension or pendulum because it is a moving part and moving parts tend to fail and break from time to time.
  2. That servos have a certain "lifting" capacity. Heavier cameras like DSLRs will require heavy duty/ metal-geared/ high-torque servos which are more expensive but are more capable at moving a heavy camera. On the other hand, standard nylon geared servos are sufficient for lighter cameras like point-and-shoot cameras and interchangeable lens digital cameras.

   Apart from allowing you to direct to where the camera is pointed, the pan mechanism also gives you the possibility of shooting multiple photographs that can later be stitched in a panorama.

Disqus for Gerome Soriano