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SkyHook Mini brings pro-level camera movements to action cams

If you regularly watch sports on TV, or attend live matches in stadiums, you may have noticed cameras suspended above the playing field that capture the action from above. Usually, operators can move these cameras in at least two directions, so they can follow the match from either end of the field. The SkyHook is a camera mounting solution that provides the same kind of suspended flexibility to professional filmmakers, and now its makers are working on a smaller version for hobbyist videographers.

Currently being crowdfunded at Kickstarter, the SkyHook Mini from CandyCam is a smaller version of the original SkyHook, made to be used mainly with action cams such as those from GoPro and video cameras weighing less than 18 ounces. Unlike those TV cameras used at sports matches, the SkyHook and SkyHook Mini aren’t limited to film a scene from above – they can be positioned at any height in order to capture the action from above, below, or in-between.

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The SkyHook Mini is suspended by eight cables via four anchor points, which allow it to be moved to any position within a two-dimensional space measuring up to 60 x 60 feet. Within that space, the camera positioning robot can be moved at what its developers call “jogging speeds.” Its movements can be programmed, so a particular shot can be planned up ahead and the camera movements can be executed automatically. For extra smooth action and three-axis motion control, SkyHook Mini comes with a robotic gimbal attached to its base.

The SkyHook Mini Kickstarter campaign has two more weeks to go, with about $2,300 of the $30,000 goal raised so far. Backers can choose to pledge from $1 and upward, with $350 being the lowest pledge that gets you a one-week rental of the SkyHook Mini. For $1,900, early backers can get the full SkyHook Mini kit, including the robotic gimbal. For the larger SkyHook Pro that takes heavier cameras, you’ll need to shell out a minimum of $10,000.

If everything goes well and the campaign reaches its financing goal, first SkyHook Minis should be available by November 2014. More information is available on the project’s Kickstarter page.