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Climbing up sand dunes is really hard work. For every foot of
progress, there is the never ending slipping backwards, as more
constantly descends, frustrating and impeding all efforts at
maintaining a rapid ascent. This means that it's a good all round
form of general exercise, as it requires
a combination of aerobic
stamina, controlled muscular strength, along with a degree of
but also sheer determination and will power. A sort of scrambling
action on all fours seems to be one of the most effective
This is all very well for those with access to the sort of dunes
prevalent in places like the Sahara Desert, but what about those
want to benefit from climbing up dunes as a supplement to their
regular city gym routines? - enter the Sands Of Dread apparatus.
This piece of equipment mimics the action of climbing up the
slope of a mountainous sand dune. It can do this because it
is a sand dune, albeit one of more diminutive proportions. The
secret lies in its caterpillar mechanism that constantly takes sand
from the bottom of the dune then delivers it to the top where it
proceeds to run downhill, like a perpetual waterfall. Think of a
right angled triangle with sand moving along the base, then up the
back, before tumbling down the hypotenuse.
Contained in its own special heavy perspex box, The Sands Of
must be entered with appropriate warnings, and can only begin to
operate when the door is closed and sealed to prevent the
of its vital sandy contents.
Prospective dune climbers must set the rate of sand movement
with the angle of inclination before beginning their grueling
The exercise can be increased in ferocity by the transportation of
variety of awkwardly shaped heavy objects, along with a wind that
blows the stinging fine particle sand into every sweaty orifice.
Overhead heat lamps can also be activated to add to the punishing
As well as being the ultimate horror fitness device, this apparatus
also enables reenactments to take place of the notorious scenes in
the most excellent 1965 Sidney Lumet film "The Hill", in which
soldiers held in a desert prison camp (including Sean Connery) are
punished by being forced to run and down a pyramid of sand,
carrying their heavy kit bags in the blazing sun.
Nude Bubble Gym of Death
The Sands of Dread would make a welcome break from the Nude Bubble Gym of Death
Perhaps we need a new category: "Sport: Exercise: Equipment: Sisyphean"? [hippo, May 22 2017]
initial tracking shot, showing The Hill in "action" [xenzag, May 22 2017]
(?) The Hill
comprehensive review of a great film [xenzag, May 23 2017]
(??) The Hill
[hippo, May 23 2017]
||// angle of inclination //
||The "angle of repose" as it's correctly known is a constant, depending on grain size, humidity, density and a few other factors.
||Below it, the sand doesn't slide; it just piles up. Above it, the sand will move to achieve equilibrium.
||This is the reason that sand dunes in an area tend to have very regular, consistent profiles - they converge on a specific angle of repose determined by the constituent material.
||Very nice. Although, how will this simulate an
alluring mirage in the far distance?
||I agree with one of the common 'taters in that youtube
clip. I really can't figure out how that tracking shot was
actually shot. Typical Sydney Lumet excellence, though.
||It's a really odd shot as there are no track marks etc,
perhaps a very long boom arm?
||hmm it might be filmed in reverse from an in-coming helicopter so that down-draft is negated.
There are only three or so people in the entire shot who would be having to perform by walking backwards to pull it off, and if you look closely at exactly the 2:02 mark you will see that the guys' cane doesn't really make contact with the ground on that backswing.
||It's been referred to as a crane shot. Must have been a crane with a very long jib, but definitely not helicopter. The reverse shot wouldn't work with the falling sand, so it's not that either.
||From the title I thought this was going to be a beach
resort for rastafarians
||Add some patches of marram grass, too, to make it harder to find a safe way to the top.
||As I was watching it I thought it was a crane shot, but I
started to doubt it. As the shot progressed I wondered if it
was a suspended camera, on wire, pulled on pulleys by
hand. There's the sort of slight camera shake that indicates
that. But then it goes round a corner, and carries on
tracking back, but in a different direction. I really have no
idea how that was done. It could be that the camera was
pulled on string on pulleys overhead, then 'passed' as it
intercepted another pulley arrangement as it changes
direction. Whichever way, mystifying and exceedingly
clever. I don't doubt it took many test runs for just getting
camera tracking (and handover, if I'm correct in that
theory) correctly done (or done at all, each run). The sky is
clear enough to paint out or rotoscope out any evidence of
string, pulleys, rods or whatever, so maybe you'd have seen
that sort of thing on the original film negs.
||I think it was a crane on a truck or bogie. Having watched the bit where it goes past the fence a few times, I'm fairly sure there are no poles or wire on the section it goes through - it's an open gate.
||I find this explanation (see link) quite believable
||It is my estimation that the initial moments are carefully
handheld, and only when the intention is to move the
camera along the trajectory is it 'handed over' (again,
carefully) to whatever will carry it on its way.
||I've watched it over and over again since this was posted. Definitely not reversed.
||I'm thinking hot air balloon on a tether maybe.
||No, a hot air balloon is difficult and expensive - it
must be done how it's explained in the link, from a
crane on a truck. The fence is quickly pulled into
place behind the truck, and there must have been a
guy following the truck with a broom, to erase the
||I wouldn't disagree. The initial moments seem to have some
kind of very gentle and careful 'handover' at the time that
the person is lying on their back, to presumably get it onto
a mount of some kind, high up on the means of transport.
||If it was a vehicle, it is quite handy that there is what
seems to be a wide channel of space for it to go down - the
men exercising are conveniently outside that space. Even
more conveniently, there's quite a lot of them exercising,
which might come in useful if all of them were playing a
small but parallel part to rapidly sweep and clear, then
quickly assume the position of exercising.
||I was trying to ascertain if there were signs of using a zoom
lens at any point, but actually I don't think so - this would
have been a carefully chosen favourite prime.
||Either way, it really is clever, it shows how much
engineering and art are often the same thing, and it is
quite gratifying even now to inwardly chuckle at the fact
that one knows that a vast majority of the audience would
have sat and watched it without even questioning it, and if
you asked, they'd have shrugged in a 'so what' fashion, as if
achieving this sort of shot is perfectly routine.
||// If it was a vehicle, it is quite handy that there is
what seems to be a wide channel of space for it to go
down - the men exercising are conveniently outside
that space. Even more conveniently, there's quite a lot
of them exercising, which might come in useful if all
of them were playing a small but parallel part to
rapidly sweep and clear, then quickly assume the
position of exercising. //
||Would it not be easier for them to assume the
position of exercising in the same place where they
had just swept the tire tracks, thereby improving the
illusion by occupying that space?
||Exactly how does the vehicle cross the barrier with the low
wall and parallel bar type fencing? I think a tower crane
with a long jib that swings as well as allows the hanging
camera to track backwards.