Coasters and Cameras...problems ahead?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 4:04 PM

As a frequent youtube viewer, I often do a quick search for 'coaster pov' or something like it just to see what I can find. Over the past year alone, the number of videos I've found has grown enormously. How long will it be before there is a big time 'ride incident' involving a camera?

Although a lot of the videos are of teenagers being stupid, there are also quite a view by parents filming their child's first ride on coaster X. Either way, it seems like just a matter of time until someone drops the camera. Could a camera do some damage if it went underneath a train? What can parks do to enforce the policy of no cameras?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 4:31 PM

Of course it could do some damage, but unlike most of the comments that come with those videos it would be nowhere near Final Destination. At most it would probably stop the train and ruin the underside of the train and a piece or two of the track.

As to when it will happen, the fact that there are a lot more of these videos showing up now makes the chance of an accident occurring just that much greater.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 4:49 PM

I don't think it would do significant damage to a train and it seems incredibly unlikely to create a situation where it did.

What I'm worried about is the people sitting behind the camera holder. On Goliath MM, on the air hill I got hit by a water bottle that had come loose and it hurt like a beyotch. I can't imagine a camera making impact with a head (and the lawsuit that would follow).

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 6:03 PM

I can hold the camera securely with my wrist strap so I don't follow the rules.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009 7:04 PM

On Colossus in February, I saw a man using a video camera which had a wrist strap.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 7:04 PM

I'm thinking that, most of the videos your seeing on You Tube anymore are being taken with cell phones. Obviously these are considerably smaller devices, and easier to sneak onto a coaster; I think that they would do far less damage(If any), to the ride, or another person, then a vidoe camera would. Am I being foolish to think this way?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 7:09 PM

No, I think you're right that the damage would be less. But take your cell phone and whip it at the head of your closest friend and see if they remain your friend after. ;) Then imagine that experience at 60 to 70 mph. :)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 7:20 PM

Hey! At 41, I would like to think that I've reached the point of reasonable thought, and would leave the cell phone in the car.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 7:51 PM

Neuski said:
I can hold the camera securely with my wrist strap so I don't follow the rules.


This is one of the reasons you party on a boat.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 9:19 PM

Why single out cameras?

I mean, think about it. My video camera, for instance, even though it is now obsolete, represents a significant investment on my part. Furthermore, it is designed to be held, even in difficult conditions. I normally have the hand strap cranked down on it so that removing it is actually difficult when I *don't* have my fingers wrapped around it. It is compact, it is lightweight, it is virtually impossible to drop, and if I'm going to have anything in hand while riding, I can't think of anything that would be *safer*. On top of that, I have a vested interest in *not* smashing the darned thing.

And yet, cameras are singled out for special treatment, while literally everything else, particularly (in no particular order) souvenir mugs, cell phones, hats, walkie talkies, and small stuffed animals go flying off of rides all over. Mostly stuff that is a lot less valuable...but also a lot harder to hang on to by its very design. Which item is the 'loose article' here? And why the pathological fear of cameras? I remember in one park which shall remain nameless, I was questioned about the bag that was hanging from my belt. Because it contained a computer, it was OK, but if it had been the same bag containing a camera, even if I didn't intend to..,.in fact, couldn't possibly...pull it out during the ride, it would have been prohibited. Does that even make sense?

Now, I'm no advocate for rule breaking. If the park says no shooting, then I don't shoot. But given the state of imaging technology, the reality is that it's impossible to detect a lot of cameras, and not at all dangerous to have them on board. Everyone involved needs to understand that today's gear has basically only one thing in common with the gigantic VHS rig I carried on the Screechin' Eagle back in 1991: it makes pictures. Other than that, there are really a lot worse things we ought to be worried about than whether someone managed to smuggle a camera on board.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 9:36 PM

Coasterphan, you don't think you might need the phone when in the park sometime?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 10:30 PM

I still don't get why people don't put their cell phones AWAY while they are on a coaster or any ride. I mean cell phone cams are s*** quality anyway. If you have to email a pic to your friends then do it while NOT riding. I also have no interest in seeing someone text message or taking pics in front of me while I am on a coaster. That's HIGHLY annoying. I am a text addict at times but I know WHEN to put it down!

In other words I don't want to be smacked in the head by an irresponsible a**hole who can't leave his or her cell for 1 second. People can wait to talk about it to their friends AFTER they ride!

Put the cell phones AWAY for a few minutes for crying out loud! The same thing goes with video cameras, especially when they are not authorized. I did it a few times (long before it was taboo and banned) but even then I found it difficult to ride and film at the same time. I gave it up FAST! I don't need to risk the value of the camera!

And besides, there are tons of better quality footage out there that was approved. Don't get me wrong, I like to see quality amatuer footage but I don't condone it.


Last edited by coasterqueenTRN, Tuesday, March 31, 2009 10:42 PM
Tuesday, March 31, 2009 11:29 PM

The way I see it: people do crazy things to put my life in danger all the time, what's another coaster ride gonna hurt?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 12:10 AM

If you ask anyone that does track walks on these rides, you know how many smashed cameras end up there. Most people are idiots, Dave, not like you. People do really stupid things. You can't expect the parks to differentiate between people like you with common sense a great deal of care and idiots.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 12:19 AM

Just to give some examples....

Blatant camera usage in the station.

I'm not sure how he holds onto the camera in this one.

Cameras can cause personal injury.

Some people don't just want to shoot video...

...and sometimes justice is served.

Last edited by Pagoda Gift Shop, Wednesday, April 1, 2009 12:20 AM
Wednesday, April 1, 2009 12:24 AM

Pagoda Gift Shop said:
What can parks do to enforce the policy of no cameras?

They aren't strict about it enough at some parks. Dorney for example if they catch you with a camera they stop the train on the lift hill and take the camera. But they don't throw you out of the park. On Thunderhawk once they made the announcment if you take a camera out on the ride, you aren't allowed to ride Thunderhawk the rest of the day. Not much of a punishment.

Some (all?) Six Flags parks claim you will be thrown out of the park if you take out a phone or camera on a coaster yet tons still get away with it as I see it all the time and never saw anyone get caught.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 12:29 AM

On my last trip to KBF, they stopped the GhostRider train on the lift hill, because a guy took out his camera and started taking pictures while the train was leaving the station. Some of the other people on the ride yelled out that he should have waited to use it, until the train went down the first drop. Then I yelled out that he should have followed the rules instead.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 3:19 AM

Fact is, the safest place for a "loose article" is in your hand. In my years of being a ride op, I'd say that 99% of all people that lose items on a ride had it in a loose-fitting pocket. You get very used to the sight of people getting up and out of their seat, patting themselves down to feel inside their pockets with that "oh, s...." look on their face. I wish more parks would just let people hold on to their crap.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 11:13 AM

I don't know about that, Dusa65, I think it depends on the object being held. That's certainly true of my video camera, which is very hard to put down, and it's true of certain small items often carried in pockets. And certainly some pockets are more secure than others. But the counterexample to your claim is probably eyeglasses: in every case I have ever seen where someone has lost a pair of glasses it was because the person took them off and tried to hold on to them.

I'm of the opinion that anything carried aboard a ride needs to be secure in some way, and that holding on, in and of itself is not necessarily secure. Especially if it is an unfamiliar ride: you may decide, without thinking, that you need to use that hand to grab on to something, meaning that you'll let go of whatever you're holding before you remember you were holding it.

Jeff, clearly people are idiots. That can't be helped. My question, though, is why should photography equipment be singled out for special attention? Stuff carried on a ride is either secure or it isn't, and it shouldn't make any difference whether it is a camera or a stuffed polar bear. Going back to my earlier example, not even considering on-board video...consider, for example, a B&M inverted coaster. I've got a little bag around my waist and it tucks in under the arm rest. It's completely encapsulated by the seat, and once the shoulder bar is down, it is totally inaccessible. Why is it okay to carry UNLESS it happens to contain a camera?

I also have to question the handling of incidents where people bring their cameras aboard. Just what is the relative risk of E-stopping the ride and going after that person compared to the actual danger posed by that person's action? Because a rider does something which might pose a risk of injury to himself or to others, but which in fact poses the *greatest* risk of damage to his personal property, is that a good reason to place an employee into a hazardous condition, or to risk injury to everyone on the ride as a result of the unplanned cessation and subsequent restart?

I'm not trying to defend idiots, nor do I want to encourage improper riding practice. The point is, I am calling the priorities into question.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 11:36 AM

I guess I'm thinking cameras were singled out in this thread because Pagoda noticed the volume of videos that are being posted on youtube.

I don't think cameras are better or worse than other items that can be held onto. But cameras leave a trail of evidence of the transgression. ;)


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