US 3877041 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Graeter et al.
[111 3,877,041 Apr. 8, 1975 FIRST PERSON CAMERA SYSTEM  Inventors: Vera Jean Graeter; George Ralph Graeter, both of 6515 Blvd. East, West New York, NJ. 07093  Filed: Oct. 19, 1973  Appl. No.2 408,088
Related U.S. Application Data  Continuation-in-part of Ser. No. 262.054. June 12.
1972, abandoned. which is a continuation of Ser. No. 24,483, April 1. 1970, abandoned.
 U.S. CL... 354/75; 355/66  Int. Cl. G03b 29/00  Field of Search 95/11 R, 11 EM, 11 HC,
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2.073.998 3/1937 Raby 95/86 UX 2.326.657 8/1943 Johnston 95/86 2.431.825 12/1947 Pollock 5/11 R 2.545.675 3/1951 Scott 95/1.l 2.990.765 7/1961 Winzenburg.... 95/86 3.372.616 3/1968 Morrison 95/1 Z FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 139.331 3/1903 Germany 95/11 Primary E.\'aminerFred L. Braun Attorney, Agennor Firm-Hammond & Littell  ABSTRACT A first person photographic apparatus employing a system of mirrors for reflecting the image of the subject matter exactly as the performer of the action sees it himself, to one or more cameras or other optical recording instruments without interfering with the vision of the performer or movement of the performer and his subject. The reflecting mirrors and recorders are mounted for movement with the performer and may include a one-way mirror or transparent mirror reflecting through which the performer looks at the subject matter.
7 Claims, 11 Drawing Figures PikTEWED 81975 3,877, 041
2 FIG 3 INVENTORS GEORGE RALPH GRAETER VERA JEAN GRAETER ATTORNEYS PATENTEBAPR'BiQ'YS 3,877,041
sumagfg INV EN'IORS GEORGE RALPH GRA ETER VERA JEAN GRAETER ATTORNEYS v PATH-HEB APR 8 E173 INVENTORS GEORGE RALPH GRAETER VERA JEAN GRAETER ATTORNEYS PATENTEDAPR 8 ms SHEET 4 OF INVENTOHH GEORGE RALPH 'GRAETER VERA JEAN GRAETER ATTORNEYS PMENIEBAPR 1975 877', 041
INVENTORS GEORGE RALPH GRAETER VERA JEAN GRAETER BY jag y; 4 (Jazz;
ATTORNEYS 1 FIRST PERSON CAMERA SYSTEM PRIOR APPLICATIONS This application is a continuation-inpart of our copending, commonly assigned U.S. Pat. application Ser. No. 262,054 filed June 12, 1972 now abandoned which in turn is a continuation of U.S. Pat. application Ser. No. 24.483 filed Apr. 1, 1970, now abandoned.
STATE OF THE ART There are many instances in which it is desirable to photograph in the first person, that is, from the vantage point of a performer. Perhaps the most difficult of all photpgrahic processes is the photographing of a medical operation. In such an operation, the surgeon is working within an area that is usually quite small and may be visuallized by placing a dime in the lower portion of a slightly opened fist while trying to read the date on the dime through a one inch opening at the top of the fist. Such vision is further handicapped by the fact that the surgeon must use instruments within this area and any photography or the like must not interfere with the suregon"s vision. Also, proper lighting for both the surgeon and the photographic instrument presents quite a problem if undesirable shadows are to be eliminated or at least reduced to an inconsequential level. Heretofore, there has been no successful means or method for photographing or recording such subjects.
First person photography has been tried before, for example, with the Shannon et al U.S. Pat. No. 1,973,665, issued Sept. I1, 1934. However, this employs a device that completely blocks the vision of the performer in the preferred embodiment and in any event does not allow the taking of true action motion pictures of a continuously occuring event. That is, the camera and mirror must be reset for each separate still photograph.
THE INVENTION The optical apparatus of the present invention may be employed to photograph or otherwise record optical information relating to action employing an image that changes as the performers vision moves three dimensionally; the image being viewed by the recorder from substantially the same position as the performers eyes so that true first person photography is obtained. The apparatus of the present invention is used with the disclosed method to produce the above results and overcome the above-mentioned disadvantages of the prior art.
An object mirror is placed within the line of sight of the performer to the subject to be photographed in the case of a one-way or transparent mirror or is placed immediately adjacent the line of sight in the case of an opaque mirror. This object mirror reflects the image to one or to a plurality of secondary mirrors that in turn reflect the identical image to corresponding recorders, for example, a movie camera, a still camera, a television camera, and/or light and color temperature meters. The entire optical assembly, including the recorders and mirrors, is mounted for movement concurrently with the performers eyes so that whatever subject is within the line of vision of the performer is recorded in a first person manner.
The performer does not need to physically touch the machine with his body at any time. He is not clamped or attached to the machine in any way. He does not opcrate the machine by any contact, either with his head or his arms.
The operator of the first person camera system is the production director who sits at a control console. He operates the motion of the machine and cues the performer and the cameraman (and the dolly technician, where one is required).
We have eliminated any performer control of the machine because his action must be coordinated with actions of camera and sound personnel, vehicle operator, ete.. requiring over-all control by a production director.
The mounting ,of the optical unit may further include a vehicle for transporting either the optical unit or the performer and the optical unit together. The optical unit may be carried at the end of a boom universally mounted on a tripod, universally carried by a vehicle, or stationarily carried by a ceiling, dependent upon the specific environment within which it is to be used.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Further objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become more clear from the follow ing detailed description of the drawings. wherein:
FIG. 1 is a side elevation view of a handcontrolled. power-propelled vehicle on which there is provision made for the seating and performance of work by aperformer carrying within his hands or adjacent thereto subject matter to be photographed or otherwise recorded according to the present invention;
FIG. 2 shows the arm rest of FIG. I removed from the assembly with its supporting portion folded back out of the way to avoid interference with the performer;
FIG. 3 shows the arm rest of FIG. 2 with both supporting portions folded down for receiving thereon the arms of the performer to steady movement of the performers arms during movement of the optical unit;
FIG. 4 is a partial view of FIG. 3, with the bridge assembly locked in a rotated position;
FIG. 5 is a somewhat schematic representation of the arm rest of the FIG. 1 device used in steadying the performers hands in the position of FIG. 1;
FIG. 6 is a schematic representation similar to FIG. 5, shown with the arm rests moved to an upper position where they will steady the hands of the performer as he holds the subject matter nearer to his eye level;
FIG. 7 shows another embodiment of the means for raising and lowering the optical unit of FIG. 1',
FIG. 8 is a schematic representation of the optical unit according to the present invention;
FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the optical unit of the present invention mounted on the end of a movable boom supported by a tripod for recording precision work, for example, a surgical operation;
FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the optical unit according to the present invention mounted as an overhead or ceiling fixture; and
FIG. 11 is a side elevation view of the optical unit mounted at the end of a movable boom carried by a movable vehicle as, for use in movie making.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS As shown in FIG. 1, the optical unit 1 is mounted on a cantilevered boom 2 for pivotal movement about axis 3, which axis substantially corresponds to the axis of rotation in the vertical plane of the'head of the performer 4. The weight of the optical unit 1 is counterbalanced by the hydraulic piston-cylinder system 5 of the motor-driven chain drive system of FIG. 7 that produces an upward force sufficient that the moment produced thereby substantially equals to moment produced by the optical unit 1 with respect to the axis 3.
The arms of the performer 4 rest upon the bridging portion of generally L-shaped supports 6, which have upwardly extending arms fixed at their upper ends to boom 2 for movement with the boom about the axis 3. These arms of the support 6 are integral with the cantilevered boom 2 so that movement of the performers arms in the vertical plane of FIG. 1 will correspond to and follow movement of the optical unit 1: this has the results that as the optical unit 1 is moved by a director or other person different from the performer. the arm rests will correspondingly move so that the performers arms may rest thereon in the new position of the optical unit.
The optical unit 1 has an object mirror 8 that intercepts the line of sight 7 to direct the image of the subject to the optical system (FIG. 8). As shown in dashed lines, the angularity of the object mirror 8 may be adjusted to accommodate various performers so that the image will initially be reflected into the recorder. The above-described arm support mechanism will assure that the image will be reflected into the recorder thereafter even if the arms of the performer are raised so that the L-shaped supports 6 extend in a horizontal direction. instead of the illustrated vertical direction. The object mirror 8 is preferably a one-way or transparent mirror so that the vision of the performer is not interrupted even though the mirror 8 is within the line of 1 sight 7.
While seated in the illustrated position, the performer 4 may rotate about a vertical axis 10 carrying with him the entire optical unit 1, L-shaped supports 6 and associated mechanisms by the provision of an anchor foot 11 that engages the supporting floor or the structure 12 and is provided bearings so that the frame 13 may rotate about the vertical axis 10 while being partially supported and balanced by universally mounted wheels 14. This vertical axis 10 intersects the normal vertical axis of rotation of the performer's head, again to simulate first person action for the optical unit 1.
When it is desired to have the performer 4 move horizontally with respect to the floor 12, the anchor foot 11 is raised clear of the floor 12 so that the entire weight of the frame 13 is carried by the wheels 14 and the handle 15 may be used to move the entire illustrated assembly to anew desired position or to move it while the recorders are in operation and recording the environment as seen by the performer 4 as it moves past. Suitable controls 16 are provided on or adjacent the handle 15 to provide a brake for the wheels 14, vertically adjust the anchor ll, control the steering and power supply of self-powering unit 17 suitably drivingly connected to at least one of the wheels 14, move the illustrated seat 18 from its operative full line position to an inoperative position, as indicated in the dashed lines, wherein it is out of the performers way or any other manipulations desired.
It is thus seen that the performer may operate quite satisfactorily in the performance of a variety of tasks desired to be recorded without substantial hinderance from the recording instruments. That is, the filming or other recording of the following hypothetical situation may occur. In a movie. or the like, the performer may be a jeweler seated at his work table working upon a piece of jewelry within his hands when a customer walks through the door to the front and side of the performer 4. The optical boom rises to assume a nearly vertical position while an assistant rotates the frame 13 to align the performer with the incoming customer; the scene recorded at 9 will be continuous and the same as would be seen by a real-life jeweler in the same circumstances. ln this position the approach of the customer will be recorded as will be the transfer of a watch to be repaired from the customer to the jeweler to the illustrated position of FIG. 1 where work upon the watch may be commenced. The above is illustrative of the manner in which the present unit may be employed to record a variety of tasks and situations.
Suitable vertical adjustments may be provided for the frame 13, L-shaped supports 6, seat 18 or the like to fit a particular performer 4, or accommodate his various movements. To assist in the recording, a monitor 19 is placed on the frame 13 for providing a properly oriented visual indication of the quality of the recording for the performer. so that the performer may adjust his movements and actions accordingly. Such a feedback monitor could also be placed in the position 20. In addition. suitable controls could be provided for the performer for powering the wheels 14 to provide rotation of the frame 13 about the axis 10, horizontal translation of the frame 13 or any other function of the unit.
As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the L-shaped supports 6 are subdivided into a pair of parallel arms 21, which have mounting holes 22 for rigid mounting on and movement with the optical unit 1. These arms 21 integrally depend from the cantilevered boom 2 (not shown) as previously mentioned and carry at their bottom end respective support portions 23 pivotally mounted by means of hinges. With this arrangement. the support portions may be retracted into the position shown in FIG. 2 to prevent interference with the performers arms, or extended in the position of FIG. 3 wherein they may be used to support and provide a steadying link with the performer's arms. In addition, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, a bridging portion 24 may be provided to interconnect the adjacent supporting portions 23, by means of interengaging coupling pins 25 which are received in bores in the adjacent ends of the portions 23 to permit rotation and fixation of the bridge in a horizontal position at any boom level. The bridging portion 24 may be locked in any position to which it is rotated by the set screws 26. When it is desired to remove the bridging portion 24, the withdrawing finger grips 27 are slid to move the pins 25 against their springs for retracting the pins 25 from the corresponding bores.
The arm supporting portions 23 (without the bridge) will serve either arm individually or both arms simultaneously, depending upon whether one or both are in their extended positions. These supporting portions will reduce to a minimum the inherent tremor of the human hand and the wavering action created by the arms when they are required to move in space without support. This annoying and disturbing motion is enormously exaggerated when magnified one hundred fold on the motion picture screen. When the hands of the performer are in the normal or lowered position, the hands and other objects in the camera field are both centered and in focus. As the hands are guided upwardly and downwardly by the arm supports, all subject matter remains centered and in perfect focus throughout all the action.
Also, when the arms ride the arm supports, they travel at a fixed predetermined speed which permits panning of the camers without hazard of foreground or background aberration. For example, if a wall or shelving is in front of the performer as he lifts his subject to eye level, too rapid speed in rising with the subject would blur the shelving background. This desired rate of speed is exactly ratioed by the hydraulic unit 5 or the alternate drive of FIG. 7 and is under complete control of the director or other person other than the performer. Thus, the movement of the arm supports is not determined by the performer, but rather will determine the movement of the performers arms if they are rested thereon.
The bridging portion 24 may be inserted as mentioned above to join the individual arm supporting portions 23. The bridge does not in itself perform as an arm support but it is accessory to the arm rest. The bridging portion is an elevated platform upon which an object can be placed while being worked upon or demonstrated at a level above the table top. It is rotatably mounted and may be faced in any position by the set screws 26.
FIGS. 5 and 6 show the arm supporting portions 23 as they function to steady the hands of the performer in a lower position and in an upper position. respectivcly.
As shown in FIG. 7 a mechanical drive may be used instead of the hydraulic power cylinder 5 of the FIG. 1 device. With such an arrangement, a low speed electric motor 50, for example, a 50 rpm. reversible motor, carries a sprocket 51 on its shaft 52 for driving engagement with a chain 53, which chain engages a gear 54. Through the intermediary of the countershaft 55, the gear 54 drives a disc 56 having an eccentric journal 57 carried thereby. One end ofa crankshaft 58 is pivotally mounted on the eccentric journal 57, and the other end of the crankshaft 58 is pivotally mounted to the boom 2 for selectively pivoting the boom 2 in the manner previously described with respect to the hydraulic drive 5.
The motor driven chain and crank drive provides a powerful and smooth source of power that starts, stops and reverses the optical boom 2 with no perceptible jerking. The gear ratios are chosen to be ideal for pan photography, so that they will cause no shutter aberration or distortion while filming. Thus, the action will appear normal.
The optical unit of the FIG. 1 apparatus is schematically shown in FIG. 8 it being understood that suitable braces and housings are provided as would be obvious to a person having ordinary skill in the art to produce a functional and commercially acceptable unit, illustrated in its entirety in FIG. 1.
As shown in FIG. 8, the object mirror 8 is interposed in the line of sight 7 between the performer 4 and the subject S, which is to be recorded. This object mirror 8 is a one-way or transparent mirror so that the vision of the performer will not be interrupted with respect to the subject S. Alternatively, in the case of an opaque mirror, the mirror 8 may be placed slightly to one side of, or above or below, the line of sight 7, but closely adjacent thereto.
Preferably, the mirrors are front surface mirrors in which a thin film or mercury is vacuum deposited on the surface of glass which does away with distortions that occur with normal mirrors which are silvered on the backside or rear surface.
When the mirror 8 is a transparent mirror. it is preferred to provide a shielding means to prevent images from behind the mirror from appearing in the final film. This may be effected with a split shield with a space provided for the line of sight. The upper portion of the shield is directly adjacent to the mirror while the lower portion is spaced a short distance from the mirror.
As shown by the dashed optical lines, the image S is reflected by the object mirror 8 to each of the secondary mirrors 28, 29, 30 and 31. Each secondary mirror respectively reflects the image to its associated recorder, namely a television camera 32, a light meter 33, a still camera 34, and a movie camera 35, whose positions may be interchanged. A color temperature meter 36, not requiring orientation of image, takes its reading directly from the object mirror 8. It is seen that with a provision of two mirrors for each light path between the subject and recorder the image reaches the recorder in true form, that is, the inversion produced by the first mirror is compensated for by the serially arranged second mirror. It is contemplated that one, two or any number of recorders and corresponding secondary mirrors may be employed to produced the desired results according to the present invention.
The apparatus and method illustrated according to FIGS. 1 to 6, provide for universal mounting of the optical unit which automatically simulates natural human movement, which is followed by the performer. and records the subject matter seen by the performer along his line of sight. Such first person photography or other recording according to the present invention may take many alternate forms according to the broader aspects of the present invention, for example. as illustrated and described in the flllowing figures and text.
As shown in FIG. 9, the cantilevered boom 2 is subdivided so that the optical unit 1 is carried substantially in center of gravity for rotation about the axis 36. the boom is suitably universally mounted at 37 on a conventional tripod 38, as illustrated, so that it may be swung to various positions according to the movement of the performer. It is understood, however, that the actual movement of the optical unit 1 is about the pivot 36, or an additional pivot at right angles thereto. A plurality of lights 39 is mounted on the optical unit closely adjacent the line of sight 7 to provide suitable lighting for the subject S in the embodiment of FIG. 9, and similar lights may be provided in any of the other embodiments.
The present invention is employed in an operating room according to FIG. 9, or according to FIG. 10, supported either by a tripod 38 or an overhead mount 40. The lights 39 would employ lamps that are pyrex, shatterproof and explosion proof. Each lamp is provided with heat absorption lenses to keep the high wattage light cool' to prevent damage to delicate tissue.
Where a great deal of action is encountered by the performer, for example during the filming of a movie, it may be beneficial to provide even more mobility than that afforded by the device illustrated in FIG. 1. For this purpose, in FIG. 11 a movable vehicle 41 is provided with wheels 42 and a driven tread 43 so that it may be moved over substantially any terrain at various speeds and in any direction in a conventional manner. A boom 44 is carried by the vehicle 41 in a manner similar to that of the movable boom of a crane so that it may be moved in any of a plurality of manners by suitable controls 45 under the direction of a vehicle operator 46. At the free end of the boom 44 there is carried the optical unit 1, which has been described previously. This optical unit 1 can be directed to follow the performers line of sight to record the image actually seen by the performer as has been previously described, which operation would be by a director or other person, not the performer.
Although several quite advantageous environments have been shown for the optical unit according to the present invention, it is seen that the uses and variety are numerous according to their broader aspects of the in vention.
1. An apparatus for recording an optical image substantially as it is seen by a performer involved in the action having therein the subject comprising: recorder means responsive to a light input for producing an intelligible different output; reflective means for intercepting the image of the subject along the normal line of sight of the performer to the subject and reflecting the image to said recorder means; said reflective means including a first mirror means at least closely adjacent to the normal line of sight at the subject and which reflects a substantial portion ofimage light away from the normal line of sight to the recorder means through a second mirror means; means for mounting and moving said recorder means and said reflective means for concurrent movement and means integral with the mounting and moving means for coordinating the performers line-of-sight movement with movement of the recorder means and reflective means.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the means for coordinating of the line-of-sight movement with the recorder means is a rest means for the performers arms.
3. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein said rest means is subdivided into two spaced and parallel arms, two arm support portions respectively pivotally mounted on the lower end of the said arms for movement from a position parallel with said arms to a position extending inwardly at right angles to said arms, and a bridging portion having means for selectively mounting it between said arm support portions in their second mentioned position.
4. An apparatus for recording an optical image substantially as it is seen by a performer involved in the action having therein the subject comprising: recorder means responsive to a light input for producing an intelligible different output; a reflective means for intercepting the image of the subject along the normal line of sight of the performer to the subject and reflecting the image to said recorder means; said reflective means including a first mirror means transparent when looking therethrough along the normal line of sight at the subject and which simultaneously reflects a substantial portion of image light away from the normal line of sight to the recorder means through a second mirror means; means for mounting said recorder means and said reflective means for concurrent movement; and means integral with the mounting means for coordinating the performer's line-of-sight movement with movement of the recorder means.
5. Apparatus for recording an optical image substantially as the subject is seen by a performer involved in the action having therein the subject, comprising: re-
corder means responsive to a light input for producing an intelligible different output; reflective means for receiving the image of the subject in a first mirror means at least closely adjacent to the normal line of sight of the performer to the subject and reflecting it to said recorder means through a second mirror means; means mounting said recorder means and said reflective means for concurrent movement with movement of the performer to maintain the image in said recording means, means securing said recorder means and said reflective means as a single unit for selective movement to follow movement of the subject; said mounting means being provided with two parallel arms depending from said single unit, an arm supporting portion hingedly attached respectively to each of the lower ends of said arms for movement between a position parallel with said arms and a position aligned with each other and perpendicular to said arms, said arm supporting portions having bores aligned and facing each other in their second mentioned postion. a bridging portion between said arms in said second-mentioned position and having spring urged pins mounted at its opposite ends received within said bores. said pins and bores constituting means for pivotally mounting said bridging portion with respect to said arm supporting portions, set screw means threaded into said arm supporting portions for engagement selectively with said pins. respectively, for locking said bridging portion in a selected rotated position, and finger-engaging slide means for respectively withdrawing said pins against the bias of their associated springs from their corresponding bores.
6. Apparatus for recording an optical image substantially as it is seen by a performer involved in the action having therein the subject, comprising: recorder means responsive to a light input for producing an intelligible different output; reflective means for intercepting the image of the subject along the normal line of sight of the performer to the subject and reflecting the image to said recorder means; said reflective means including a first mirror means at least closely adjacent to the normal line of sight at the subject and which reflects a substantial portion of image light away from the normal line of sight to the recorder means through a second mirror means; and mounting means having a cantilevered boom mounting said recorder means and said reflective means for concurrent movement at its unsupported end.
7. Apparatus for recording an optical image substantially as it is seen by a performer involved in the action having therein the subject, comprising: recorder means responsive to a light input for producing an intelligible different output; reflective means for intercepting the image of the subject along the normal line of sight of the performer to the subject and reflecting the image to said recorder means; said reflective means including a first mirror means at least closely adjacent to the normal line of sight at the subject and which reflects a substantial portion of image light away from the normal line of sight to the recorder means through a second mirror means; means for directing light from a position adjacent to said normal line of sight of the performer toward the subject, and means mounting said light means for concurrent movement with said recorder means and said reflective means.