"It's a Bird, It's a . . . , It's Flying!"
Duck! It's Superman, swooping down from the sky! Or, is that Peter Pan? Well, whatever it is, it's flying - or at least it looks like it's flying! Moviemakers use specialized machines to allow actors or models to "fly." You can make your own system to simulate flight.
Curious for an answer? Look Behind the Scenes.
- You will need: a broom with a long handle, two chairs, an action figure or a stuffed animal, rubber bands, heavy fishing line or string, a plastic lid (like from a coffee can), a paper punch, drinking straws, a spool or two, tape, and scissors.
- Suspend the broom handle between the two chairs (see illustration). This will hold your flight system.
- Using the rubber bands and string, create a harness for your flying figure. Experiment until your figure hangs in the position you desire.
- Is your figure balanced in the harness? Congratulations, you've discovered its center of gravity. But it may not be in the center! Why did you put the harness where you did?
- Punch holes in the plastic lid. Using string, connect the flying figure to the lid so it hangs below the lid.
- Design a system that will connect the plastic lid to a single string-the main cable.
- Now be creative. Spools and pieces of drinking straws can be used to build a path for the main cable to follow. You want to be able to control the figure out of the view of the camera. Can you design a way to raise and lower the figure?
- Can you design a way to turn the figure? And what about moving the action figure across the scene?
- Would you like to fly? If you were the one in the harness, what would you want to know about the design of the flying apparatus?
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