Download here the pdf sheet


Without the assistance of a video link with the camera, aiming the photographic target is always a problem. This method is a simple step to step way to achieve it. I have used it for years successfully. Of course, due to wind and rig movements, bracketing the rig and camera settings is necessary.

The abacus is an efficient assistant to position the rig in the air and to set the camera orientations for aiming any target.
Are estimated or measured:
        ¤ the distance from target to anchor
        ¤ the angle between wind and target direction
        ¤ the kite line angle to the rig.
Will be determined:
        ¤ the pan angle of the camera
        ¤ the tilt angle of the camera
        ¤ the length of kite line from anchor to the rig.


See and download here the A4 size as pdf sheet of the example.


To use it, better have a small rule and a small protractor.
A pad with clips will help to fix the sheets when on the field.
A transparent plastic board where are drawn  the angle range of the lens of the camera is also very useful.   

Description of the abacus:
There are two lines, AB and A'C perpendicular to the line AA' which are all scaled for distances. The unit is what you want, feet, yards, meters.
The oblique lines starting from A and A' are drawn  each 10°

It is necessary to evaluate the distance from anchoring the line to the photographic target.
The angle between the kite line to the rig and the ground shall be known.
The length of line released from the rig to the anchor must be controlled.

It is worked in 4 steps:

1st step:
Set the angle of the direction of the target AT with the wind/kite line direction (blue arrow).
 Place the sheet horizontally and aim the target and the kite line. Choose either AB or A'C lines as target direction depending if wind is on the right or on the left of this direction. In this example, it is shown on the right at 40°.
Set the distance from anchor A to the target T along the line AB.

2nd step:
Determine the place where the rig should be positioned to shot the picture. This is the place shown as G on the wind direction.
From G, draw the line GT to the target.
Measure the angle AG-GT which is the pan angle of the camera. On the example, this is 105°.

3rd step:
From A', draw the angle ground / kite line to the rig. On the example, it is 50°
Measure the distance AG on the wind line, and draw A'G' equal to AG on the horizontal ground line A' towards A.
From G' draw the perpendicular which cut the kite line at the rig place R.
Measure A'R which gives the length of kite line to release between the rig and the anchor.
On the example, A'R is 110

4th step:
Measure the distance GT; this is 100 on the example.
On the line A'A draw the distance G'T ' equal to GT.
Draw the line RT '.
Measure at R the angle between RT ' and the horizontal line. This is the tilt angle of the camera.
On the example, this is 35°.

This method requires only simple tools.
When known, it needs only 3 minutes to determine the necessary  rig settings.
With the field angle of the lens drawn on a transparent plastic board, a more precise setting of pan and tilt angles lead to a better arrangement of the picture.