Anyone seen or used the "Aimcrane" aiming system? at DVinfo.net

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Old July 30th, 2012, 12:38 PM   #1
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Anyone seen or used the "Aimcrane" aiming system?

hi,

i use a 12' Kessler crane with their Revolution/Oracle motorized head. the "Aimcrane" package gets adapted to your already existing jib & motor head. it basically locks the location of the crane arm and head...remembers it so you can then do any moves you want up down left right diagonals zooming etc and your subject (location) thats locked in memory will stay framed accordingly. the demo looked impressive to me.
AimCrane | Home

demo video: the first part show the system in a studio then at around 3:35 they show examples using it out on a location.

the company has been very responsive so far with quite a few back and forth emails. i plan to call them soon as well.
the company is in Croatia. anyone here having any pro or cons as to this product or the company in general?

thanks
david
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Old July 30th, 2012, 08:19 PM   #2
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Re: Anyone seen or used the "Aimcrane" aiming system?

I would think the major con would be a company based on Croatia--long way to go if and when you have problems with your system.

Nice feature set, all of which has appeared in various high-end remote heads but I imagine this is a much more affordable package.

The advantages of a tracking system are well-demonstrated in the studio footage, but I feel it works against this in the exterior scene with the actors. That's a scenario in which it would be better to have full control over composition--the shot they made seems "off" in many ways. A very fast boom down maintaining headroom on a subject, a fast left to right wraparound--these are shots that are quite challenging and technical to pull off that a tracking system can improve upon. Not so much making a narrative-style shot around an organic environment of actors.
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Old July 31st, 2012, 02:17 AM   #3
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Re: Anyone seen or used the "Aimcrane" aiming system?

hi charles,

i appreciate your input and make some very good points. being in Croatia has me concerned especially if i would have problems down the road and it is a pretty techie piece of kit that could very well be finicky possibly.

i was hoping to run into someone that could at least vouche for this company but as slick as this rig is i cant find too much stuff on the net. maybe its just more regional? wish i could get a better read on this.

i hear what your saying about composition and that it could be a bit too stiff at times. im at a point with my 12' Kessler crane / Revolution motor head...that i find it hard to execute more complex type compound moves successfully short of having to do them sometimes quite a few times to get usable stuff. im sure if i worked with it 24/7 i could get to a point of consistency but honestly i dont have a call for it enough to put that much time into it and i concede to a point im far from a professional crane operator but rather a part timer that gets by "ok". i like what i get much of the time but its how long it takes me sometimes to acquire those shots. the aimcrane seemed like a way to get much better/higher % of keepers with much less takes.

im also looking into the Advantia-jib. here though id probably get rid of my whole Kessler and Revolution head. many people have stated that working the Advanta-jibs hydrolic pan and tilt arm is very intuitive and natural vs a motor head with a joystick especially when doing more complex moves. im hoping to gather more info from users here as well.

thanks for your input.
david
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Old July 31st, 2012, 10:32 AM   #4
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Re: Anyone seen or used the "Aimcrane" aiming system?

When I first got my Kessler rig, I used it on gigs weekly. I got pretty good but it's a skill that has to be maintained.
This certainly would ease the work on more complex moves. Something tells me it's not that inexpensive though. Have to contact for pricing.

I think Eric and the gang at Kessler need to add this functionality to the Oracle/Revolution system. It could carry over to the ShuttlePod and sliders too! I'd happily pay for that upgrade!
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Old July 31st, 2012, 02:52 PM   #5
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Re: Anyone seen or used the "Aimcrane" aiming system?

hi robert,

the price for the aimcrane kit comes out to roughly 3.000. this is assuming you already have your crane, motor head & tripod. 3.600 if you send them your crane for them to retrofit their stuff on your crane. if im correct 3.000 comes out to about $4,400.00 US. doesnt seem to band considering what it can do. still would like to get some more info on this company and kit.

i also agree that it would be great if Kessler offered something like this.

david
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Old July 31st, 2012, 05:26 PM   #6
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Re: Anyone seen or used the "Aimcrane" aiming system?

Thanks David!
That would be more than the price of the whole Kessler rig! But if it's a primary tool that's not bad. So are you gonna pull the trigger on one? ;)
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Old August 2nd, 2012, 02:57 AM   #7
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status report...

hi robert,

if this was an american company id probably already have ordered it. im really needing a few people out there in internet land to throw me a few bones as to the company's reliability and support that i could expect to get.

i havent ordered many items in my life that dont at least have a distribution channel in the USA. this seems to be a fairly complex system in the way that it works and get calibrated from what i researched. id like to know that the company would be solid if there were to be problems down the road.

so far the contact (email only) has been an A+ in responding to every question ive had so far. im very soon going to have a conversation but was hoping to get more tangible feedback from this site to help me develop better questions.

also, putting a few pieces of the puzzle together it seems "aimcrane" & "stype" are one in the same....(?) also "Senna" enters into it somehow too. im thinking the control system (aimcrane/stype/sniper) is sold to a variety of crane companies but is also sold ala cart (like im looking at) too.

so far i just cant find the motherload of info on the web although what ive seen appears pretty solid although for the amount of money involved i need more assurance.

it was a lot easier ordering my Kessler 12' /Revolution / Oracle because its mentioned in just about every jib thread along with Porta-jib & EZjib.

anyone have the slightest bone to throw this way please do.

thanks,
david
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Old August 2nd, 2012, 04:40 AM   #8
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Re: Anyone seen or used the "Aimcrane" aiming system?

I took a look at the sample video, and saw some "overcorrection" in the pans and tilts which bothered me. This head does well centering an object perfectly, but in the real world I think a human is better at calculating look space and headroom. By the time proper look space and headroom is programmed into the head, a human could have already finished 3 or 4 takes.
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Old August 2nd, 2012, 12:43 PM   #9
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Re: Anyone seen or used the "Aimcrane" aiming system?

I forgot to mention that I've never used a Kessler, only a Jimmy Jib so I don't know how well the Oracle performs. The Jimmy Jib feels like butter and does compound moves very well, even in live event coverage. The aimcrane looks good for product or commercial work, but maybe not so much for live events?
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Old August 4th, 2012, 09:15 AM   #10
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Re: Anyone seen or used the "Aimcrane" aiming system?

hi warren,

you and charles have similar comments about the aimcrane's framing in certain scenarios and they are artistically important points. still, i feel like i could get a lots of cool shots out of this. you are also able to override the aiming point on the fly (tweak main focal point) which seems it would help getting more desired composition with a tweak. just dont know how tricky that would be to do in realtime.

im still searching for more information.

been doing emails back and forth with the contact from the company. the guy im talking to has been very responsive so im not giving up yet but just going to take my time.

thanks!
david

p.s here is another clip all shot in RT. Stype i believe is some part of aimcrane because some of the literature ive recieved also displays the Stype controller. im thinking its a different model vs the Sniper on the one ive been talking about.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=XKTlSl2Ajqk
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Old August 4th, 2012, 10:29 AM   #11
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Re: Anyone seen or used the "Aimcrane" aiming system?

This is slightly off topic but maybe not.

Over the years I have worked with a number of Jimmy Jib operators in situations where budget has dictated that versus a comparable arm with remote head for features, episodic etc. In most of those instances, it ended being anywhere from a disappointment to a disaster. Not necessarily because of the gear, but mostly because of the background and discipline of the operator.

The typical use of a Jimmy Jib is for event shooting, like concerts. While a good operator can design a nice audience sweep and be able to execute it with reasonable repeatability, the demands of narrative production are such that they need to be able to take notes such as "slow down the first part--start booming earlier--land a little lower and decelerate a bit later" and be able to implement. It's a different mind-set and I have rarely seen a Jimmy Jib operator who can function that way, take after take. In a standard production environment, there will be at least two grips operating the jib with the camera operator doing his thing (and the AC minding focus and possibly zoom), so it's easier to parcel out the various notes. The most successful Jimmy Jib setup I've seen came with a Hot Gears control console so I was able to take care of the camera operation (I've never been much for joysticks), and the jib owner worked the arm.

Anyway, bottom line is that I have seen very few people who can operate a jib in a one-man mode and nail the kind of precision required for narrative-style shooting. So I can see that the aiming technology indicated here would be a nice tool for, say, swinging the arm past a singer on a stage, but as seen in their own demo video, it's not a great fit for storytelling.
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Old August 4th, 2012, 08:03 PM   #12
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Re: Anyone seen or used the "Aimcrane" aiming system?

hi charles,

i dont do narrative type work. this is why getting those very specific / choreographed type of shots like you mention doesnt concern me much. another way to put it...i dont go out with my crane for hire. only gets used where i can "sprinkle" in some variety to a production im doing. same with my Steadicam work...i fill in the holes and try to get a little more production value with variety of types of shots.

mostly i only take out my crane when i either have ample time to get the shot (no matter how many tries it takes me or...2) i can execute stuff that "isnt as complicated" and can get it done fairly quick. im realistic about my abilities and i dont expect to become to the level of a for hire kind of guy.

here are a couple samples of typical things that i do.
this is 95% kessler with motor head with a few 5DmkII shots. i had pretty good chunk of the day to get the crane shots without the talent and about 3 hours to get the shots with the talent. it was a forgiving shooting enviroment and no one breahting down my neck. if i would have had to execute this whole shoot in 2 -3 hours i wouldnt have taken the gig.

finished promo

this is a collection of quite a few of the "selects" from the facility minus the talent. a lot of these are pans and sweeps where im not sure the aiming option would even help. its hard to know.

there is absolutely no way i could have gotten this stuff in 1 or 2 passes. i needed time. certain jobs i just wouldnt do where i would have had to execute with quickness.

here is a very typical thing that i do a fair amount of. band promo videos. this is a tribute band. on this paticular gig there was only 2 shooters. my son and i. i did 2 passes of each song during the day 2 cameras each pass (no audience). one i did steadicam and the other i did shoulder rig mkII. my son was on the side by the keyboard shooting in from an angle. got a close side view of the drummer by himself then 2 camera being operated at night (with crowd) and one static camera on tripod wide shot. audio from the night performance is what was used in final. with so few passes of each song (each song was performed only 3 times) i didnt feel like i could afford to use the crane because i know i wouldnt get enough keepers. this is the kind of thing im thinking the aimcrane would do a pretty good job with.

tribute band promo

without being able to test this rig out im only making a best guess of how useful and complimentary i could be. your points about not so good for narrative are well taken. since narrative is not really my thing could you see the aimcrane working in these kind of situations?

thanks!
david
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Old August 4th, 2012, 08:32 PM   #13
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Re: Anyone seen or used the "Aimcrane" aiming system?

The spa clip was very nice. Good tool for the job and the shots were varied and interesting.

I can't really say any more about the Aimcrane until I'd have a chance to play with it. Mostly, as stated, I'd be concerned about a new piece of gear from another country. Let other people be the guinea pigs and wait until their customer service is well-proven. No matter how good it is or isn't, it's not worth it if you can't get it serviced.
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Old August 4th, 2012, 11:03 PM   #14
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Re: Anyone seen or used the "Aimcrane" aiming system?

thanks charles on the spa clip.

im going to let nature take its course with this thing a bit. hopefully something will evolve in a positive way.

thanks,
david
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Old August 7th, 2012, 01:25 PM   #15
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Re: Anyone seen or used the "Aimcrane" aiming system?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Over the years I have worked with a number of Jimmy Jib operators in situations where budget has dictated that versus a comparable arm with remote head for features, episodic etc. In most of those instances, it ended being anywhere from a disappointment to a disaster. Not necessarily because of the gear, but mostly because of the background and discipline of the operator.
Very true! Equipment/personnel for doing features/narratives are leagues beyond anything here on dvinfo. I would never attempt a feature, nor would I claim that I have enough experience. I do know that others would jump at the chance if given, and like you said, fail.

David, that second demo of the flowers floating in the creek looks better!
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