The Designer, Tim Desbois, was for many years a Film Location Manager, but it is unusual that he is also a professional Helicopter Pilot. It was this mix of skills that allowed the design of the compass.
Much film work is planned to take place months in advance at dawn and dusk, it was this need that led to the creation of this specialist compass.
Eight years ago, we designed a photographer's and movie maker's version of this compass that has gone on to become an industry standard piece of equipment, having sold over 20,000 units (including 2000 to Panavision in Hollywood).
Contrary to popular parlance, the sun does not rise in the east and set in the west, so much as easterly and westerly directions. Finding those exact directions is the root of the problem.
One answer comes in the form of the Photographer's Sun Compass, which gives all sunrise and sunset positions throughout the year.
Pre plan a shoot
How does it work?
Simply line the compass with the North. The months of the year are indicated on the base and you can see where the sun rises and sets.
The instruction leaflet has a table with the hours of daylight throughout the year. This enables you to plot the course of the sun throughout the day. To determine where the shadows will form, the compass can show you where the maximum height of the sun will reach throughout the year.
The instructions and month indicators on the compass side of the unit are optimised around latitude 50 degrees, i.e. London England, but are usable for all areas between latitudes 45 degrees and 55 degrees.
On the back of the compass is a simple to use data table that allows the compass to predict the Sunrise/set positions anywhere on Earth between 60degrees North down to 50 degrees South.