Drones may indeed allow film makers to get great tracking shots, but there are many situations in which it's just too risky – if not outright illegal – to fly them. It was with this in mind that Wiral LITE was created. It's a simple, compact and relatively inexpensive cable camera system designed to work with smartphones, actioncams and mirrorless cameras weighing up to 3.3 lb (1.5 kg).
To use Wiral, you start by stringing its rope between a starting point and an end point – perhaps two trees or poles – then tightening the rope up using an included cinch strap. You then mount your camera or phone on the cable cam unit, extend that unit's two wheel arms (they fold down for transport), and loop it onto the rope. The whole process reportedly only takes a few minutes.
From there, it's just a matter of turning the cable cam unit on, and using its wireless remote to send it motoring along the rope. The remote has a maximum range of 656 ft (200 m), and the speed can be set anywhere from 0.006 mph (0.01 km/h) for timelapse shots, all the way up to 28 mph (45 km/h).
Unlike a drone, it can safely be used indoors and over crowds, plus it can easily pass through narrow spaces such as gaps between trees. Additionally, because the cable cam unit isn't constantly working to stay airborne, its battery life is much longer than that of a drone – it can apparently go for three hours per charge.
If you're interested in getting a system, it's currently the subject of a very successful Kickstarter campaign. A pledge of US$199 will get you a setup, when and if it reaches production. The planned retail price is $399.
You can see footage shot with Wiral LITE, in the video below.