View Full Version : Seven Jib
May 27th, 2011, 07:54 PM
I've had my new Seven Jib for a couple weeks and done a number of shoots with 7d, af100 and RED. I'm really digging the speed and portability. I plan to write one of my epic diatribes/reviews on it, so If you have any questions about it or specific photos in mind, please let me know.
June 3rd, 2011, 04:30 PM
Whoah whoah whoah! Get in line people! Lets keep this orderly!
Ok, I'll keep this short. (which, for me is still long)
This first part is all introduction/background. You can skip to the next section for just jib info:
I have a truck filled with lighting and grip gear that I use for my own projects and also hire out with me as grip/gaffer. This means that I need the variety and flexibility to work with a wide variety of cameras and the shooting styles of various DPs, while at the same time I have a personal interest in having gear that works the way I personally want to work.
It comes down to a "bang for buck" equation, mixed with how much room I have in the truck and also the shots I personally want to achieve. A long arm jib/crane sounds sexy but its the rare exception that a really tall rise is what people want. It tends to be called for by account executives playing director rather than actual DPs.
So, for location setups or music videos or shots that need a tremendous amount of camera control, I have a ride-on crane. It takes the camera up to 11 or 12 feet along with the camera operator and even a focus puller too. Its a lot of counterweight and around 15 minutes setup time (with two grips), but gives the ultimate in off-ground camera control.
For versatility and locations up stairs, I bought an advantajib. It has a 10 foot arm with a hydraulically controlled tilt and a wire-pan. Its an amazing piece of kit and works really well, but there are a few drawbacks. For one, its slow to set up. With two of us, i can get it less than 8 minutes, but there are a bunch of little fiddly bits that require care to organize when packing down, so packdown tends to take 10-15. Another issue is that it takes a bit of a learning curve to operate. Its not bad at all, but if i'm freelancing as grip, then the camera op is going to expect to control the camera. If they can't nail shots the first time they get frustrated with the jib. If i'm doing my own shoots all is good, but under time pressure on a shoot with a frustrated camera operator, i really needed a more traditional solution. The last issue is weight. The advantajib rocks for dslr and dv cameras, but can't handle more than a 15 pound rig. If i'm on a shoot with film, cinealta or red, forget it.
So that brought me to needing a third jib/crane. One that I could set up and tear down lighting fast, plop a ball head on the end and let the cam op go nuts. Shoots generally run behind and *any* delay setting up a jib often results in the jib shots being scrubbed.
With that gear and those options at hand, i set out to find the perfect short-arm jib.
When it comes down to it, there are only a handful of fast, strong short jib arms.
my requirements: Very fast to set up. Minimal parts. Obvious setup/teardown process. as compact as possible.
portajib. This one is built like a tank. I really wanted one just to be "industry standard", but the setup video on youtube blew my mind. Its extremely complicated and if I ever left a student to pack it down, i could guarantee something would go wrong.
kessler: A lot of people rave about them, and I dig my cineslider, but I really wanted something beefier and faster.
Vancejib: Very fast, very robust
Seven jib: Very fast, very robust.
I wish i could do a comparison between the vance and seven. I live in rural new zealand, so i had to pick one and cross my fingers. I honestly cannot remember what made my final decision. I think the seven folds down smaller?
The Seven Jib
I'm extremely happy with the Seven. It ticks almost all the boxes.
Lightweight: My 71 year old mom brought it with her while on a visit. Even in its hard case, it came in under the baggage weight limit.
Fast: People are used to some crazy slow jibs. I keep winning on-site bets saying things like "i'll have the jib ready to go before you finish that static lock-down shot". The longest part of the setup is screwing the camera bowl to the jib. By myself, not rushing it takes about 90 seconds from opening the case to being ready for the camera. In a hurry, i've easily cut that in half. 45 seconds from cracking the case to
threading the bowl. With a second grip I have no doubt we could get the jib from the case all the way to counterbalanced and rolling in under a minute. Normally you don't need to surge like that, but still. Its very fast. Threading the jib to the sticks and threading the support rod together are the only things that take any time at all.
strength: I did a commando shoot with the red this last week. We were grabbing b-roll all around the city so fast build/pack was essential. At the same time, we were shooting the red, which weighs quite a bit. My jib-legs are super beefy (i think they are the 528xb manfrotto legs) and handled the load without flenching. I was a little bit worried about how the jib would take all the weight, but it didn't seem to flench. Under the weight of the red, there was flex, but it didn't translate into bounce, just tension across the rig. I was concerned about the hinge that isn't locked down, but as designed, the weight of the camera pulls down on the hinge so its very solid. If you are trying to impress the client, the flex can look like the jib is straining. From a performance and safety issue, I had no issue with it.
I already have small 5kg weights for my advantajib (which cannot use larger weights or they get in the way of operation) so I asked Douglas (the seven jib dude.) to make me a custom extension bar that is also threaded. This allows me to use less weight and to physically get enough weights onto the threaded bar to counterbalance a heavier rig. He made up the part i wanted for an extra $100. The extension means I can counter a red using only 30kg of small weights, or fly a lighter camera with even less. The extension works perfectly and the price was great. I use an extra barbell-spinlock on the jib to spinlock against the threaded extension, just in case it has any desire to unthread itself.
The seven packs down ridiculously compact. The weight bar slides into the body and the nose folds back on itself. The whole rig packs into a shotgun carry case and still only uses about 75% of its length. I can easily toss the hard case in the back of my hatchback.
The one beef my cam ops have had (and everyone has complained about this) is that the jib does not have a pan lock. With a short arm, you often do straight lifts (to minimize the obvious arc movement), but without a pan lock, its easy to drift. Now... i think i understand why there isnt one... By the time you get the jib built and weight on the ends, there is a tremendous amount of torque on the center pivot. On my ride-on the pan lock is more of a suggestion as if you forget its on, you can totally still do a pan, abrading or shearing whatever you were trying to lock/brake with.
Although I can see why they'd choose to not put a pan lock on (something to get broken/ground off), its still something that would be nice. I personally would like to see a single pan lock position where you place a beefy steel pin into a receiver. it would take a bit of robust addition to the jib, and you'd only be able to pan lock in one position (so you'd have to adjust the whole base around until it lined up) but for a series of repeated vertical moves, this would be very good.
For what it is, i think its cheap. I paid around $1700 including domestic shipping and the hard case.
Here are some photos from my guerilla shoot:
The vinten head was a bit under spec for the red, but the 100mm bowl fit right onto the seven.
You can see a bit of the flex in this picture. Most of it seems to come from the two joints, so its not really the steel flexing. In this shot we just needed a tall rise above a hurricane fence. Since we didn't need to adjust anything on the camera we took the sticks up to full height. This allowed the camera to travel up to around 10 feet, which was great for the shot.
The fence is 6' tall, with the camera several feet above that. This illustrates the potential height as well as the limitations of a short jib arm. You *can* do taller shots, but if you go above eye level, you need to grab a ladder in order to pull focus or follow a subject. In this photo the base of tripod bowl is just at my fingertips and i'm 6' tall. (we just controlled the move from the back)
Sorry i didn't get a better picture, but this is the case the seven came in. Its skb, rugged and really quite small compared to other jib solutions.
A student watched me build the jib on a shoot. We were short on time and I was in another room shooting so i asked him to begin tearing it down. I expected he'd at least get the weights put away, but when i came back out it was packed up perfectly. Just from watching the one build, he figured out how it should break down and pack into the case. This would NEVER happen with any other jib i've used. I could actually see dry-hiring this thing out.
Anyways, thats all that comes to mind right now. If you have a flood of questions, please holler. I'm pretty objective with my gear and am happy to be critical. There are no specialty film gear shops on this island, so I'm often at the mercy of dvinfo reviews when I buy gear. To return the favor, when I buy something not covered already, i try to share my honest feedback as well.
June 3rd, 2011, 04:48 PM
Oops. Never showed the custom weight extension bar:
Here's a photo of the bar:
And another shot of the whole jib, cause its nifty:
June 3rd, 2011, 06:17 PM
Got an email challenging my dismissal of kessler cranes for my purpose.
When I say the kesslers are not heavy duty enough, thats exactly what I mean. Its not uncommon for me to have a 40-50lb camera rig on my gear. The 20lb limit of the kessler (and then only in underslung) removes it from consideration for me.
The seven is rated for a 60 pound camera setup and the vance was upgraded to 55 from 35. The portajib i think is rated to fly a 1964 vw beetle. (but you have to use a 1972 beetle with a hippie in the back seat as counterweight)
On looking up the weight limits of the vance, i'm pretty sure thats the reason i opted for the seven. The weight bars on the vance jib weren't able to be extended. This would have required me buying and carrying yet another set of weights.
As it turns out, the vance jib is discontinued anyways, replaced with the "zoom crane", which looks both interesting and terrifying. ha.
June 3rd, 2011, 07:55 PM
I just took a look at their website. It says "60 lbs total capacity", doesn't this mean weight of the camera and counterweights combined? Your Red isn't anywhere near half the supposed weight limit, but the metal beam is already stressed....
June 3rd, 2011, 09:44 PM
The seven is definitely rated for 60 pounds on the camera side, not total. In this configuration with the evf, mount plate, lens, matte/filter box, rails, the red was weighing in around 35 pounds, plus another 8 or so for the vinten head. So... somewhere around 40+ pounds on the camera side.
On the counterbalance side I had 30kg (66lbs) on an extension arm (itself another few pounds).
I saw the same "flex" that you saw, but when i looked closely, it didn't look to me like the metal itself is flexing. (its box steel) The "bend" seems to come from the joins having a little bit of play in them. Like, the weight bar that slides out has a bit of gap around it so you can easily slide it in and out. When you put it under load, that bit of space translates into a change in angle. So the angle change at the extension bar, weight bar join and hinge point does add up to what looks like flex. However, loading up with a 10 pound rig or a 40 pound rig doesn't really change that part.
If the metal in a jib is flexed then you generally get "bounce". Thats not the case at all here.
There are several stories about overloading the seven's limit without any problems. I don't plan to fly any 150mm heads, so I reckon this rig would be closer to the upper limit of one of my shoots, barring extra weight for a beefier 100mm head and a bigger len (which would put me closer to the 50lb mark).
if you search for the vance jib and red, you can see its creator sitting on the end of his jib. Its arcing pretty hard, but thats with a full man on it.
Anyways, its a valid concern, but even as safety paranoida as I am, i don't feel like I'd have any issues flying a 50 pound rig on it. It feels solid.
April 22nd, 2012, 03:58 AM
Did a shoot on an Epic this past week and when they called for a jib shot, we didn't have time to switch heads so i just plunked the 150mm bowl down on the seven. It fit nicely on the ring around the 100mm bowl and we were away shooting in as much time as it took to thread the head and balance..
No real info in this post other than I thought the photo was cool. heh.