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Old November 1st, 2002, 08:46 PM   #16
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SkyCrane themselves reinforce what Chris is saying in their "What Others Say" link. One of the reviews has this line
Quote:
I think any college video team or company on a tight budget would find the Skycrane a great enhancement to their productions.
And that's me..."on a tight budget." Let's face it...all beginners like me aspire to making it to the "big time." But unless you crank out some work that "mimics" the quality of big productions, you'll have a heck of a time ever getting noticed enough to get there. So, products like SkyCrane are a godsend in that respect. Maybe you won't see them being used in big productions...but then again, just about any tool can be useful in certain situations.

So, if it were a matter of having only Jimmy Jib as an alternative...you could expect NOT to see any crane shots in any of my projects. No way could I afford that.
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Old November 1st, 2002, 10:57 PM   #17
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SkyCrane Models

Hey, this is the first time I have ever joined a discussion group.

Steven is correct, you probably have never seen the SkyCrane used on CBS, NBC or ABC.

As Chris stated the SkyCrane was developed for the lighter weight mini DV cams and not for the heavier ENG cameras. However, the SkyCrane has been used in numerous ways, including national television affiliates, independent film makers, National Geographic special, surgical suites and the list goes on.

To answer John's question, all of the SkyCrane models are identical in their movement(function). The main differences between the SkyCrane models, with budgets in mind, is the construction materials (aluminum vs powder coated steel). The varying lengths and the optional accessories (such as cable trussing, the new "Friction Drags" and soon to come the SkyPan) allow for configurations specific to the production needs.

If anyone has any further questions regarding the SkyCrane, I would be delighted to answer.
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Old November 2nd, 2002, 11:38 AM   #18
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This is my first time being in a discussion group too Bob and I'm really glad I was directed to it by Tom Smith of Varizoom. (thanks Tom)

As far as "tighter budgets" for productions go...you guys really have a opportunity to showcase your skills by using a piece of gear like the Skycrane. For a "relatively" small amount of money you can possess the gear to make the difference between a "nice shot" and a "great shot". No doubt, it can make a difference in your productions. I can truly attest to the power of the Jib and how it has affected my productions. The point is, if you can afford it and use it when it's called for, you can set your productions apart from all the others.

Something like the Skycrane is nothing more than another tool in your "bag of tricks" just like a star filter or a creative wipe. Part of being a good videographer or director is knowing when to use the right tools at the right time. I don't care if you use a camera on a "stick"...so long as the shot calls for it and you use it in the correct way.

I encourage all shooters to acquire the right tools needed and learn to look for different and unique ways of applying them in different situations. Part of the reason you are in this business is because you ARE creative. This also goes "up the line" to people like Robert Jones who decided something was needed like the Skycrane for people like himself and KNEW that people like you could benefit from a product like the Skycrane, at a price point that would make it affordable. I can't "endorse" his product because I have never used it, but it seems he has put a lot of thought and engineering skill into making his product. (Bob, if you would like for me to review one, I would be happy to))

This goes back to one of my original points. Dealing with a "known" vendor. In "my" world...it's a Stanton and Varizoom products. I can't show up with some "weird" jib or other piece of gear and expect them to hire me. Here, (in the smaller jib arena) you need to look for a product that's well built, flexible and has the right price point for your productions. Look for a vendor that keeps you informed of his changes and new product announcements. Remember....your not just buying a piece of equipment...your buying part of a company. You want someone who will "partner" with you in your discoveries and productions. Someone that is receptive in your needs and future needs. Someone who is dedicated to making your productions the best they can be. Thats why I always suggest you buy direct and not from a "middle man".

Wanna know a "secret"? Sometimes..."just" sometimes...I loose a job because my Jib is too big! It's not easily transported and it takes too long to set up and it's heavy. I have to have power and
then there's the "liability issues...swinging a few hundred pounds of steel over a large crowd at 25 feet in the air above them (if it goes wrong...and it CAN) will not only wipe out your career and checkbook...but might put you in jail too. So don't go thinking it's all "gravy" on my end. For tabletop commercials, smaller studio work and shoots where you need portability, light weight and have no power, this might just be the ticket you needed...I've often thought something like this might be just the thing "I" could use too.
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Old November 2nd, 2002, 12:05 PM   #19
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Howdy from Texas,

<< This goes back to one of my original points. Dealing with a "known" vendor. In "my" world...it's a Stanton and Varizoom products. Remember....your not just buying a piece of equipment...your buying part of a company. You want someone who will "partner" with you in your discoveries and productions. >>

Steve, you've done a terrific job of putting this into words. What you've described is the reasoning behind our sponsorship model here at dvinfo.net -- it's exactly why we're partnered with great companies like VariZoom and SkyCrane, and camera dealers such as Zotz, ZGC and Pro-Tape, because those are the folks that care and who will look after you long after the sale. And their prices are realistic, and competitive with all except the low-ball "rip off" artists out there. Thanks for making such a great statement about the right way to purchase gear for the best value -- I certainly appreciate it!
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Old February 7th, 2003, 12:47 PM   #20
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Types of cranes

Hello!
I am totally confused on the different types of cranes!
What is the difference between a cable and pulley style crane, and the metal parallelogram pushrod "Megacrane" system?? I am looking for one currently, that is especially easy to use. I have not used a jib crane before, and I am looking to use it for an upcoming March shoot.

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Old February 8th, 2003, 02:39 AM   #21
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Ken:

You are, as usual, correct in comparing remote arms to Steadicam in terms of the price and workmanship differential between low end and high end. I have a few colleagues who own both Jimmy Jibs and Steadicams and there is a lot of crossover. I myself considered a Jimmy Jib years ago as a purchase but I couldn't deal with shlepping around that much gear...! I do own a pretty high end remote head with motion control capabilities, and the production ends up renting the arm (usually a 23 ft. Fisher), which saves me the shlep.

Naturally, the bottom line with all this stuff is the almighty dollar, and virtually all readers of this forum would consider paying more than the cost of the camera for any kind of support device ludicrous. My philosophy with low-end gear is that the dividing line between acceptable and not worth it is whether it can deliver satisfactory results if the operating skill is high. For instance, a fluid head is" acceptable" if it can pan and tilt smoothly, even if that requires some attention and specific technique from the operator to overcome minor stickiness. In a perfect world, none is required, but that will probably cost more than the camera (in that same perfect world, that $3500 camera will have 16:9 chips, pressure-sensitive zoom, 24p, etc. etc.) A not-acceptable head creates jerky moves regardless of how experienced the operator is. It all comes down to the end result on screen.

By the same token, if a given crane can produce smooth, vibration-free shots with delicate and responsive control, then it is doing its job. Given the most demanding type of operating, such as swinging the arm from 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock while keeping the camera pointing at 12 o'clock the whole time (i.e. backpanning), I'm sure some of the lower end cranes will not measure up. But for simple boom ups/tilt downs, maybe they will suffice. It really depends on how particular one is.

I will say this: I'm a big fan of really good Jimmy Jib operators. Watching someone operate a complicate move which involves a big arm swing combined with zooming and focusing, all as a one-man band, that's some good stuff. I can certainly respect that because in the film world, those same tasks are split between at least four souls (one grip on each end of the arm, plus an operator and camera assistant). Just panning and tilting through such a move requires so much of my attention, the mind boggles at adding all those other tasks...
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Old February 9th, 2003, 08:16 AM   #22
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Re: Types of cranes

<<<-- Originally posted by Jean King : Hello!
I am totally confused on the different types of cranes!
What is the difference between a cable and pulley style crane, and the metal parallelogram pushrod "Megacrane" system?? I am looking for one currently, that is especially easy to use. I have not used a jib crane before, and I am looking to use it for an upcoming March shoot.

Jean King -->>>

Jean, if you would tell us more about what type of use (shots, locations & restrictions) you need in a crane or jib, I would be happy to go into more detail and try to answer you questions.

You have many options and products to choose from. Having not used one before may or may not be a problem depending on what it is you plan on doing with the gear you need. Price is always a consideration and you didn't seem to indicate anything about that. What is you budget for this equipment? Also, what type and weight of camera do you plan on using? If you would give me more detail I'm sure this forum will answer all your questions.

Here (in this forum) we have some people that even manufacture them and are always glad to assist you in your decisions. Bob Jones is a prefect example. He knows his gear and is always available to answer questions about his products. Chris Hurd is also another one that has seen this question pass through this forum and may have a large knowledge to assist you.

If you find your leaning towards a "larger" type of "jib", I may be able to assist you in that arena.

Glad you came on board and we welcome your questions and hope to assist you in any way we can.
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Old February 9th, 2003, 02:21 PM   #23
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MegaCranes

I anticipate doing mostly indoor shoots, with varing light conditions. I will have a second camera on a standard tripod and a Canon GL2 on the jib arm. My question about the megacrane was brought up, because from the looks of pictures, it looks as though it would be rather easy to use, as opposed to the cable and pulley style. Weight of the actual jib is not a concern, as we will setup once, and not have to move the jib until the shoot is over. In a ballroom the size of the Sheraton hotel, I don't forsee space being a limitation in terms of operation of the jib.

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Old February 9th, 2003, 02:49 PM   #24
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Maybe I'm just out of it, Jean, but you are going to spend maybe well over a thousand dollars on something you have never used and expect to get high quality shots right out of the box? Or even with limited practice? What if the thing doesn't do what you want? Do you know that jib does not have the ability to pan the camera independent of the arm?

Since you appear to live in Atlanta, why not investigate renting a real jib with an experienced operator? You will get someone who knows what they are doing, with gear that actually works. And if you don't like what he is doing, you can get someone else. If you don't like the way the Megacrane works, tough. You're still out the thousand dollars plus.

Check around Atlanta, and I bet you can find someone who will help you out if you are on a limited budget. There is a lot of production in your city.

Just another thought.
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Old February 10th, 2003, 01:28 AM   #25
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Jib Configurations

I totally agree with you Wayne. You don't want to be trying to learn how your system works on your first project with it. You really need to know how it works mechanically for troubleshooting and most importantly safety. It takes quite a bit of practice to learn the feel of this type of gear. I would recommend renting the first time as well and not having an expensive, heavy paper weight sitting there if it doesn't work out. The difference in the tie rod system and the pulley leveling system is just that. Tie rod systems are going to be more rigid and allow for heavier camera systems like film cameras and video cameras with prompters. Tie rod systems are also going to be heavier because of the extra metal in their composition. I bet that tie rod systems carried over from the cranes that also have seats for the operator and assistant. Pulley leveled systems can now carry larger camera systems using heavy duty cables that can be coiled and easily stored and weigh much less. I've never used a tie rod system and can't imagine NOT using a pulley system. It's as easy as connecting each end with a pin and you're done! Next, there are a few small balancing adjustments and leveling fine tuning. I am in the ATL with the jib he needs, holler at me Jean!
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Old May 10th, 2004, 07:32 AM   #26
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<<<-- Originally posted by Ken Tanaka : Steven Wills is a new member of our community (http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...&threadid=4648) and he seems to be quite an expert on jibs. (http://home.insightbb.com/~steventv/) Maybe he'll chime in on this thread. -->>>


Just an update...my web site is www.kyvideoservices.com...the other link isn't alive anymore.
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Old May 10th, 2004, 02:30 PM   #27
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<<<-- Originally posted by Chris Hurd :

SkyCrane is an affordable alternative to the ProMax Cobra Crane. It's a prosumer jib for prosumer camcorders. -->>>

And hopefully a whole lot better. I wish I'd have known about the SkyCrane when I bought the ProMax.

AFAIAC, the SkyCrane is not good enough for the PD150 because it twists in three different places. It is fairly good when I use it with my PC-110.

And the supplier is not a good company with which to do business. If the product isn't satisfactory, tough! No returns (and they don't tell you this until you've bought the product).
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