Engineering student Chandrakanth M. has designed and developed several unique tools for filmmaking
Chandrakanth M. seems to be no different from his classmates in the final year class of Applied Electronics at the College of Engineering, Trivandrum. This 21-year-old has single-handedly designed and developed several tools for filmmaking, including a proprietary ‘Body cam 360’ (a 360 degree rotating steadicam fitted on the actor’s body) and a ‘Spidey cam’ (a camera mount with appendages that could be used to fix the camera on grills or rods), which have gathered him accolades from across the country. Chandrakanth’s innovations have been used in mainstream Malayalam and Tamil movies, including Arun Kumar Aravind’s Ee Adutha Kaalathu, T.K. Rajeev Kumar’s Up and Down and Rajesh Nair’s Annum Innum Ennum, to name a few.
“I was always interested in building contraptions on my own,” says Chandrakanth. “As a child, I was amazed by mechanics who built multi-purpose tools using scrap and similar second-hand material. This, coupled with my passion for filmmaking helped me build my first gadget – a film projector, when I was in class six,” he remembers. Since then he has made a plethora of such objects, but did not exactly tom-tom his achievements. It was only on the compulsion of his friends that Chandrakanth decided to showcase one of his inventions, the ‘Nanojib’ (a flexible crane), at an exhibition in his college. “It was the first time that an invention of mine was revealed to a large audience. I got a lot of compliments for ‘Nanojib’. This motivated me to build more gadgets along the same lines,” he adds.
This young inventor is known for his ‘Body cam 360’, which also has received a lot of attention. “The platform of ‘Body cam 360’ was made entirely using scrap such as a used bicycle rim, pulleys, a set of springs and iron rods. The device is fixed on to the actor’s body using belts. The camera (directed towards the actor) can be attached to one arm which extends to one side from the platform. It can be rotated manually, even as the actor remains steady,” explains Chandrakanth. One may feel that such a complex device, which took almost seven months to conceptualise and build, would come with a huge price tag. But no! Chandrakanth says that the device cost him hardly Rs. 5,000 to develop.
Similar low-cost devices have also been put together by Chadrakanth. ‘Vacuum Grip’ is a device used to affix the camera on cars, buses and similar moving objects. ‘Nanojib’ is essentially a crane used to mount the camera for medium-height shots while ‘Bike mount’, as the name suggests, is a camera-mount which could be fixed on motorcycles. Chandrakanth’s unique ‘camera stabiliser’ ensures that the camera does not have any noticeable movements while the filming is on. He has also built a clamp which is used to attach the camera on moving objects. It was employed in Ee Adutha Kalathu.
What keeps Chandrakanth going? “Films are undoubtedly my first love. My passion for films is the sole reason why I ventured into building gadgets for the film industry. My ambition is to be known as a cinematographer,” he says. Chandrakanth feels that innovation is in short supply in these days. “Innovation is the need of the day. One should have the courage to think different. But mere thinking is not enough. Everybody has the power to think, but only a few implement their thoughts,” he says. Does he have wise words for like-minded innovators? “Keep those fires of ideas burning , no matter what. Of course, you will be facing gargantuan odds in the process. But that’s the way life is. Learn to fight them. You might fail in the beginning, but at the end of the day, the victory shall be yours,” he believes.