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Old March 15th, 2012, 11:34 AM   #1
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Crane for DSLR use with motorized head... any experiences?

Looking for some insight on a crane system to be used with a DSLR, and it is a requirement that I can have a motorized head with it that I can control remotely.

Budget is in the range of 2000-2500 for one, 2500 being the absolute limit, but anything in between being fine.

It will be used with automotive work, and will eventually be rigged up on a truck bed for rolling shots, but the first concern is to get it working in tripod mounted form! Are there any motorized heads I should watch out for that won't be conducive to mounting a DSLR?

I see proaim has a package for 1500 dollars on ebay, but I am wary of the build and tripod/mount quality for the price but it does offer a motorized head. Where else could I be looking? A lot of the options on B&H go above 2500 without a motorized head, but this is a requirement of the project. A kessler crane head would be great, but at 1900 bucks, its taking a large chunk out of the budget fast... Any insight is appreciated...
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Old March 15th, 2012, 03:13 PM   #2
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Re: Crane for DSLR use with motorized head... any experiences?

Instead of buying you could rent one, I am in Montreal, I have a great 10-12 feet jib and recently I lended it to a crew that put a 60D on it. Give me a shout by email if your are interested

phil at production24fps.com
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Old March 15th, 2012, 03:45 PM   #3
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Re: Crane for DSLR use with motorized head... any experiences?

Well, it would be inconvenient to keep renting it over and over again as I will have to take it with me on long trips in the US for months at a time when I go around shooting during the summer. Thanks for offering though - if it comes down to a one time use situation I will let you know.

I have found that a Kessler crane trimmed out the way I need (12/8 with extended weight back + control center for the head controls and monitor mount) plus the ProAim Jr head with a monitor comes out to be around ~2800 dollars... unfortunately thats a bit high and I am looking to bring it down a little more
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Old March 15th, 2012, 11:52 PM   #4
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Re: Crane for DSLR use with motorized head... any experiences?

fro DSLR size senna works well and should fit your budget;
One Minute Crane by Senna.mp4 - YouTube
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Old March 16th, 2012, 12:08 AM   #5
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Re: Crane for DSLR use with motorized head... any experiences?

I use a Kessler rig with the oracle and revolution. It's fantastic but not cheap. Even though the DSLR is relatively light, don't skimp on the robustness of the crane and tripod. Every shake and bump will show up! The Kessler is butter smooth and weighs enough to not move in a breeze!

But here's my question. Just curious how you will keep things in focus with the DSLR needing manual adjustment. A remote follow focus is extremely expensive and would add another person to the crew. Other than that you could use a closed up aperture to increase DOF but that's not the look everyone covets. I use an XF300 on my crane and glidecam for the rock solid face detection and auto focus. I have tracked an actor walking through a parking lot while having the camera move from 18' in the air down to eye level.
If you have another suggestion I'd love to hear it.
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Old March 16th, 2012, 07:06 AM   #6
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Re: Crane for DSLR use with motorized head... any experiences?

Well, the idea for most of it would be to stick an UWA on it, and stop it down to f/8. I will have the ability to set up my shots, and it won't be as intricate as following an actor around at f/2 through a crowd.

I do have a small chip camcorder I can use, but this will mainly be DSLR useage. Im not a die hard DOF fanatic and use it when necessary, but I understand that when using a jib, im going to need to be a bit selective. This will be set up to shoot stationary cars so even if I was shooting at f/2.8, I could use it as needed such as pulling the in focus area across surfaces by moving the crane instead of focus pulling since there will be no tracking involved.
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Old March 17th, 2012, 12:37 AM   #7
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Re: Crane for DSLR use with motorized head... any experiences?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Molush View Post
I see proaim has a package for 1500 dollars on ebay, but I am wary of the build and tripod/mount quality for the price but it does offer a motorized head. Where else could I be looking? A lot of the options on B&H go above 2500 without a motorized head, but this is a requirement of the project. A kessler crane head would be great, but at 1900 bucks, its taking a large chunk out of the budget fast... Any insight is appreciated...
If you've ever taken advice from anyone on the internet, take it now.

DO NOT BUY ANY GEAR FROM INDIA.

Proaim Jib Crane review DSLR and Video Gear Reviews From The Battlefield

Those jibs are junk. The remote heads are worse that junk. Absolute terrible quality. DO NOT BUY.

Rent one if you have to, at least it'll last all the way through your shoot. How many days are you going to use it anyway?

Camera Turret makes some low cost stuff. Proaim ripped them off. It ain't great, but its lightyears better than Proaim.
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Old March 17th, 2012, 09:14 AM   #8
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Re: Crane for DSLR use with motorized head... any experiences?

After doing a lot of searching, I am definitely not going with the proaim jib, but it will be the Kessler KC12/8.

Unfortunately, the only way to keep it within budget is to get the proaim head - the PT20 head is much too expensive. I guess I am going to have to see if I can get a bigger budget...
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Old March 19th, 2012, 12:14 PM   #9
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Re: Crane for DSLR use with motorized head... any experiences?

Justin... Pretend I am grabbing you by your ears and screaming into your face...

!!!DO NOT BUY THE PROAIM REMOTE HEAD!!!

Indian electronics are not world renowned for their quality... there's a reason why.

If you need a remote head, rent one. Trust me on this.
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Old March 19th, 2012, 02:33 PM   #10
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Re: Crane for DSLR use with motorized head... any experiences?

Alright! I'll still have to lobby for a bigger budget since the boss wishes to own and use this for quite a while (well, me use it for him obviously). It would make more sense to own since I would be renting this about 10-12 times a year and Im sure that would bring us close to the price of a PT20 anyway.

I won't be getting the proaim, no worries haha
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Old March 19th, 2012, 03:17 PM   #11
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Re: Crane for DSLR use with motorized head... any experiences?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Molush View Post
Well, the idea for most of it would be to stick an UWA on it, and stop it down to f/8. I will have the ability to set up my shots, and it won't be as intricate as following an actor around at f/2 through a crowd.

I do have a small chip camcorder I can use, but this will mainly be DSLR useage. Im not a die hard DOF fanatic and use it when necessary, but I understand that when using a jib, im going to need to be a bit selective. This will be set up to shoot stationary cars so even if I was shooting at f/2.8, I could use it as needed such as pulling the in focus area across surfaces by moving the crane instead of focus pulling since there will be no tracking involved.
That's kinda what I figured. Until I invent the affordable remote follow focus unit! HaHA!
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Old March 19th, 2012, 08:25 PM   #12
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Re: Crane for DSLR use with motorized head... any experiences?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Buba Kastorski View Post
fro DSLR size senna works well and should fit your budget;
One Minute Crane by Senna.mp4 - YouTube
Looks like a Merlin telescope mount on it?
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Old March 20th, 2012, 08:37 AM   #13
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Re: Crane for DSLR use with motorized head... any experiences?

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Originally Posted by Skip Marshall View Post
Looks like a Merlin telescope mount on it?
oh my man, why didn't you tell me this earlier?
thank you!
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Old March 20th, 2012, 10:30 AM   #14
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Re: Crane for DSLR use with motorized head... any experiences?

Hello Justin,

Bob Jones here from SKYCRANE.

The link below you can view a "Bescor Pan / Tilt head on the Skycrane... Scrool down to view the set-up.
A very inexpensive set-up.

?WHAT OWNERS SAY?

Bescor Pan / Tilt head around $120.00... I believe it will support cameras up to four or five pounds...
Hope this helps.

Best Regards...
Bob Jones
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Old March 20th, 2012, 12:22 PM   #15
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Re: Crane for DSLR use with motorized head... any experiences?

I've used many, many remote heads over the years, from the top-of-the-line gyro stabilized ones down to completely kludgy homebuilds (the most memorable used hydraulic fluid to transmit pan and tilt; I had to push and pull separate levers to operate--totally baffling and hilarious). If you are looking to set a locked off frame up in the air, many inexpensive heads will do the job of positioning the camera like a security camera. If you want to make creative and controlled moves, it is imperative to get a head that is responsive to variable pressure, i.e. full joystick control. Backpanning a camera through the swing of a jib is not the easiest skill but a great deal depends on the refinement and response of the controls. Prices keep dropping as technology improves, so there may well be something out there at this point that will work in your pricepoint--I'd be curious to see what else is recommended for you. Remember though: it's not a deal if it stops working mid-shot.
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