The Wiral LITE is a portable cable cam kit. It’s small, lightweight, versatile, affordable, and strong enough to carry my mirrorless camera and pro lens. This may be a videographer’s dream.
I came across this product at The Photography Show in Birmingham, UK last month. Avoiding most of the bigger displays, I was more interested in the unusual and exciting things others had to offer. One that caught my attention was the Wiral LITE. I had a chat with the friendly team on the display stand and got a hands-on demonstration of this amazing device that took me by surprise.
What Is a Wiral LITE?
The system comprises a cable on a spool, and a remote-controlled, motorized camera mount that moves along the cable. Its journey and variable speed are either controlled manually or pre-programmed using a wireless handset. Alternatively, controlling it from the Wiral LITE app, available for both iOS and Android, gives more versatility. That includes being able to change speed along a single run.
The cable supplied in the kit is a 164 ft (50 meter) rope, and this can be upgraded to double that length. It’s mounted on an ingenious rewindable spool, called a Quick Reel™, which saves the rope from becoming tangled. That comes with tightening straps, and carabiners for attaching the rope at either end. Using pulleys, the motorized camera mount, called the Main Unit, can travel along that rope whether it is unwound to a few feet, or its entire length.
It’s quick to set up. You secure either end of the cable to solid supports, such as trees, vehicles, scaffolding, or lampposts. Then, you attach a camera to the Main Unit. For this, you can use either the supplied ball joint mount, or the smartphone or action cam mounts (supplied separately) onto the ¼“ camera screw mount. Next, you clip the Main Unit onto the rope, and you are ready to go.
The kit is just as simple to pack away as it is to set up. It can store neatly in a small, rugged Premium Travel Case, which is also available separately.
How the Wiral LITE Performs
The speed of the main unit is completely variable from 0 to 9.5 meters/second. That’s over 21 mph at top speed, so fast enough to keep up with runners, skateboarders, gymnasts, and mountain bikers. It can also travel slowly for capturing time-lapse movies, thus making bulky motorized slider tracks, that are limited in their length, redundant. Depending upon the weight of the camera, the system can cope with ascending a 30-degree incline.
Who Is the Wiral LITE for?
We’ve seen a democratization of content creation the last 20 years. Gear that makes it possible to create high quality content is available for everyone, making the hobby filmmakers catch up to the professionals. This also has an effect on the content that we see, and the market we as a brand are operating within.
I can see videographers using the Wiral LITE as an alternative to drones in no-fly zones, and circumstances where there is too little room to maneuver, such as through forests.
It’s particularly useful where drones are not welcome. The demo video shows footage from a camera traveling over a band performing live on stage. It could be similarly used for recording parades or horse show jumping events. Filmmakers could set them up to record rollercoaster rides, or alongside runways at air shows, or at racetracks. Bird photographers could follow geese as they take to the air, and I can even envisage it being used by specialists observing how people and animals walk or run.
Furthermore, the 3-hour life of the rechargeable battery certainly gives it an edge over a drone. It’s also a more flexible and portable alternative to a motorized slider.
Photographers will probably find this useful too, especially if they are interested in creating time-lapse shoots. I can also see it appealing to vloggers, especially those to film outdoor.
What Cameras are Suited to the Wiral LITE?
The joy of this kit is its size, weight, and portability, and I think that lends itself particularly well to the Micro Four Thirds system and action cams, such as GoPros. It maintains the convenience and manageability that is important to their users.
Indeed, the Wiral LITE will easily carry a top-of-the-range Olympus or Panasonic Micro Four Thirds camera, with their high-end pro lenses. The system can carry up to 1.5 kg, so it can take my Olympus OM-D E-M1 with the 12-40 mm f/2.8 Pro lens, and still have 500g (approximately 1.1 lbs) to spare.
This means that high-quality video is achievable using this device.
I would probably be more inclined to use it with the even lighter E-M5 Mark III, especially if I am carrying kit deep into the great outdoors. However, It will even work with some full frame cameras, such as the Sony a7III, Nikon Z 7 II, Canon R5, or Panasonic DC-S5, but only if fitted with lightweight lenses. However, these heavier setups would reduce its ability to climb steep angles.
I’ve also seen some remarkable footage shot with a 360-degree camera too.
What I Do and Don’t Like
It’s a simple idea, and it’s those that are game-changers. I think this is a significant piece of kit and I can envisage dozens of uses for it. From my short time with the Wiral LITE, I couldn’t find anything I didn’t like. It’s well-designed, robust, and versatile.
This machine can zoom along the cable at over 20 mph, or crawl slowly at 0.79 inches per minute (2cm/minute, or 0.3mm/second), that’s more than slow enough for Olympus’s in-body image stabilization to cope with. This also includes custom speed settings for Automatic (Ping Pong) Mode and Time-lapse Mode.
This is a super tool with a host of applications. At $399, it’s an affordable product that will take your videography to the next level. You can read more about it on the Wiral LITE website.
I’m certainly looking forward to owning one soon. (Dear Santa…)