Ever filmed video on a rollercoaster?

Ever filmed video on a rollercoaster?

Not pictured above: a Make: television cameraman (or John Park for that matter). Why would we ever expect any camerman in his/her right mind to risk life, limb, or most importantly, expensive video recording equipment for the sake of some jumpy footage of a roller coaster in action?

In this week’s Maker Workshop segment of Make: television, John Park uses an Arduino microcontroller and a hacked Wii controller to make a Personal Flight Recorder… which is, of course, perfect for measuring the stomach-churning G forces of roller coasters like the one pictured above.

Fortunately, this slightly less frightening roller coaster also expels a healthy amount of G forces. And thanks to the steady hands of our camerman Mike Phillips (seated on the coaster conveniently right under the big yellow arrow), we have a very watchable, non-stomach-churning Maker Workshop segment to prove it.


Visit makezine.tv this Saturday, 2/28 to see Episode 9 featuring CCRMA‘s Computer Making Music and the Personal Flight Recorder.

Check out all of the previous episodes at www.makezine.tv/episodes

10 thoughts on “Ever filmed video on a rollercoaster?

  1. cb says:

    With that camera in the front car, it might have been safer not having anyone else on the ride!

  2. Erik Meinke says:

    This will be awesome for when I go to Cedar Point in May for my Physics class. I’ve always wanted to make something to show the forces during a roller-coaster ride! My teacher will probably get a kick out of it too!

  3. Make: television says:

    @Erik, We’ll of course post PDF of full instructions on how to build the Personal Flight Recorder this weekend.

    Don’t forget to take a camera along on your field trip in May. We’d love to see pictures and/or hear any stories!

  4. Dan says:


  5. RocketGuy says:

    It wasn’t easy, we ended up having my stepfather push me against the side of the seat so I didn’t have to hang on, and I had to use both arms to control the camera. It was the Giant Dipper at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

    It worked out pretty good actually, but I dunno if we have a copy of it any more. Dang.

    Well, nothing for it, gotta do it again!


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