Title:
Hands Free Camera Carrier
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A hands free camera carrier includes a shoulder harness, a camera platform with an upper platform rotatably attached to a lower platform, and a coupler that attaches the shoulder harness to the camera platform.



Inventors:
Robinson, Charles E. (Kansas City, MO, US)
Application Number:
11/951322
Publication Date:
07/24/2008
Filing Date:
12/05/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45F3/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LANDOLFI, JR., STEVEN M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Andrew F. Bodendorf (Alexandria, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A hands free camera carrier, comprising: a shoulder harness; a camera platform with an upper platform rotatably attached to a lower platform; and a coupler that attaches the shoulder harness to the camera platform.

2. The camera carrier of claim 1, wherein the shoulder harness further comprises: a first and a second U-shaped shoulder support; and an upper and lower front cross bar and an upper and lower rear cross bar, each cross bar attached between the first and second shoulder support.

3. The camera carrier of claim 1, wherein the camera platform comprises: a lower platform; an upper platform rotatably attached to the lower platform.

4. The camera carrier of claim 3, wherein the camera platform further comprises a hinge that rotateably attaches the upper platform to the lower platform.

5. The camera carrier of claim 3, wherein the camera platform further comprises a camera mount attached to the upper platform to attach a camera to the camera platform.

6. The camera carrier of claim 5, wherein the camera mount comprises a quick release mechanism to attach a camera to the camera platform.

7. The camera carrier of claim 1, wherein the coupler comprises a turnbuckle.

8. The camera carrier of claim 1, further comprising: a set of adjustable belts to fix the shoulder harness to the torso of a user.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This utility patent application claims priority to U.S. provisional patent application Ser. Nos. 60/868,568 filed on Dec. 5, 2006 and U.S. utility patent application Ser. No. 11/859,717 filed on Sep. 21, 2007, which are incorporated by reference herein.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The invention relates to video camera support devices.

BACKGROUND

The consumer electronics industry has brought the ability to record sound motion pictures into the financial reach of many consumers. The video camera, which records both sound and images on economical cassettes or other magnetic media, has reduced substantially cost of audiovisual filming by eliminating, in large part, the need for expensive acetate film and film processing. As video cameras have become more available and lighter in weight, many individuals have sought ways to make them easier to carry and use.

Because the user needs to hold the video camera steady while performing other tasks, special shoulder mounts have been developed to position the camera and reduce the photographer's fatigue. Previous designs do not have the requisite stability for true hands-free operation, coupled with a further ability to support the weight of the camera over a substantial length of time.

There is a need for camera support which is adjustable for a large range of body sizes, positions the camera with the viewfinder in close relationship to the photographer's eye, provides prolonged weight-bearing capability, frees the photographer's hands for other tasks during use, and yields a stable platform for producing satisfactory audiovisual works in either film or magnetic media such as videocassette format.

SUMMARY

These and other objectives have largely been met by the camera harness of the present invention. The camera harness hereof is stable, properly positions a consumer-sized camera with the eyepiece in proximity to the photographer, is adjustable for a range of body sizes, is stable in use, permits substantially hands-free operation, and in addition is lightweight and comfortable to wear.

In one general aspect, a camera harness includes a camera platform, an upper support bracket, a pair of upper arms rotateably attached between the camera platform and the upper support bracket, a lower support bracket and a lower arm rotateably attached between the camera platform and the lower support bracket.

Embodiments may include one or more of the following features. For example, the lower and upper arms may be telescoping arms having adjustable lengths. In addition, a first set of adjustable straps may be attached to the upper support bracket. The first set of adjustable straps can be configured to be looped around a user's shoulders.

As another feature, a second adjustable strap is attached to the lower support bracket. The second adjustable strap is configured to be worn around the waste of a user.

A pair of swivel hinges that provide 360 degrees of rotation may attach the camera platform to the upper arms. Another pair of hinges may attach the upper arms to the upper bracket. A swivel hinge may also attach the camera platform to the lower arm and another hinge attaches the lower arm to the lower bracket.

In another general aspect, a hands free camera carrier includes a shoulder harness, a camera platform with an upper platform rotatably attached to a lower platform, and a coupler that attaches the shoulder harness to the camera platform. Embodiments may include one or more of the above or following features.

For example, the shoulder harness may have a first and a second U-shaped shoulder support and an upper and lower front cross bar and an upper and lower rear cross bar, each cross bar attached between the first and second shoulder support.

The camera platform may include a lower platform and an upper platform rotatably attached to the lower platform. The camera platform may have a hinge that rotateably attaches the upper platform to the lower platform. The camera platform may also have a camera mount attached to the upper platform to attach a camera to the camera platform. In addition, the camera mount may have a quick release mechanism to attach a camera to the camera platform.

As another feature the coupler may include a turnbuckle.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a camera harness.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the camera harness worn by a user.

FIG. 3 shows an adjustable camera platform.

FIG. 4 shows another embodiment of a hands free camera carrier.

FIG. 5 shows a camera platform for the hands free camera carrier.

FIG. 6 shows a camera operator in a prone position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to FIG. 1, the camera harness includes a platform 10 that is supported by a pair of upper arms 12 and a lower arm 14. The upper arms 12 are attached to an upper bracket 16 and the lower arm 14 is attached to a lower bracket 18. The upper arms 12 and lower arm 14 have telescoping segments so that their length can be adjusted.

A first pair of straps 20 and strap connectors 22 are attached to the upper bracket 16. A second set of straps 24, 26 are attached to the lower bracket. As shown in FIG. 2, the first pair of straps 20, 22 are configured to be looped around the shoulders of the user. The second pair of straps 24, 26 wraps around the waste of the user.

The lower arm 14 attaches to the camera platform by a swivel hinge 28 that allows 360 degrees of motion of the platform 10 relative to the lower arm 14. A hinge 30 attaches the other end of the lower arm 14 to the lower bracket 18. Hinges 32, 34 are also used to attached the upper arms to the platform 10 and the upper bracket 16.

The camera platform 10 attached to a camera adjustment mechanism 40 that allows adjustment of the camera relative to the platform 10. A lever 42 projects from the mechanism to provide a vertical adjustment of the camera while a tension knob 44 provides a horizontal adjustment. An upper telescoping tube 46 has a knob 48 that allows adjustment of the height of the camera relative to the platform 10. A camera mounting device 50 projects from the top of the adjustment mechanism 40.

FIG. 4 shows an embodiment of a hands-free camera carrier 10 to support a camera, such as a video camera 412. The hands-free camera carrier 10 includes a shoulder harness 418, a camera platform 420, and a coupler 422 which connects the camera platform 420 to the shoulder harness for hands-free operation. The shoulder harness 418 includes a first shoulder support 424 and a second shoulder support 426 interconnected in spaced-apart, parallel relationship by a front securement or cross bars and rear securement or cross bars which are explained in more detail below.

Both the first shoulder support 424 and second shoulder support 426 are configured in an inverted U-shape in the orientation of typical use. First shoulder support 424 presents a back region 432 configured to engage the back of the camera operator 416, a front region 434 configured to engage the chest of the camera operator, and an intermediate connecting section 436 adapted to rest on the shoulder of the camera operator.

Second shoulder support 426 is similarly configured, presenting a back region 438 configured to engage the back of the camera operator 416, a front region configured to engage the chest of the camera operator, and an intermediate section adapted to rest on the other shoulder of the camera operator. Each of the shoulder supports 424 and 426 and other members are covered with padding of foam rubber, quilted material, or other fabric or synthetic resin.

The shoulder supports 424 and 426 are positioned in substantially parallel, vertical orientation by a pair of upper and lower front cross bars and upper and lower rear cross bars 440, 442. An upper belt 460 and a lower belt 470 are provided for assisting and maintaining the hands-free camera carrier 410 in position on the shoulders 414 of the camera operator 416 during use. Upper belt 460 and lower belt 470 are connected to the back region 432 of the first and second shoulder 424, 426. The belts 460, 470 pass beneath the arms of the camera operator 416 to thereby operatively interconnect the front region to the back region of each of the first and second shoulder supports 424, 426. Belts 460, 470 which are made of nylon webbing and are attached by clasps 472, 474 for releasing the harness.

Camera platform 420 attaches to a turnbuckle 494 which is pivotably connected to first hinge bracket 496 attached to front region 434 beneath hinge 490, and to second hinge bracket 498 attached to the underside of the camera platform 420.

Referring to FIG. 5, the camera platform 420 includes a lower platform 450 and an upper platform 452. The lower and upper platform 450, 452 are attached by a hinge 454 allowing the upper platform 452 to rotate upward relative to the lower platform 450. A camera mount 456 with a quick release is attached to the upper platform 452. The quick release is configured to rapidly mount and remove the camera.

In use, the camera operator 416 places the hands-free camera carrier on his or her shoulders with his neck located between first shoulder support 424 and second shoulder support 426. The belts are then secured. The camera is then mounted to the camera mount 456.

Referring to FIG. 6, the camera operator can tilt the upper platform to raise the camera to a horizontal position in order to film even if he or she is lying in a prone position. So, for example, even if the camera operator is taking cover in a war zone or while covering a police emergency, the camera may still be operated. With the camera properly positioned, the camera operator may begin filming. If desired, the camera may be locked in the filming mode, whereby the camera operator's hands may be freed from the necessity of holding the camera until filming is to be discontinued. This substantially reduces fatigue on the camera operator, as the weight of the camera remains borne entirely by the camera operator's shoulders 414 rather than his or her arms.