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Old December 11th, 2012, 01:36 PM   #1
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SkyCrane

Oh hey there DVinfo!
For the sake of everyone's time I'm going to keep this short and sweet. I am receiving a Skycrane courtesy of Bob Jones (of skycrane fame) within the next few days and plan on shooting a video review of it! What questions do you most want answered about this jib? I plan on purchasing an external monitor and a motorized pan-tilt head for it in the near future if I like the moves I get out of it, but at first it's just going to be myself and the jib. Questions on setup/breakdown time, weight, moves, etc?

To see an example of the Skycrane check out http://www.skycrane.com/

Thanks,
Evan
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Old December 14th, 2012, 09:31 AM   #2
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Re: SkyCrane

Setup time, manpower required, breakdown for storage in the car, max boom range, ability to tilt during a boom.
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Old December 14th, 2012, 03:36 PM   #3
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Re: SkyCrane

The quality of the website, and the videos on it, do not inspire confidence in the product. I initially thought the website consisted of just one page until I realised there were links in white type lurking behind the full white to white over blue gradient. What’s all that about? The main pivot of the Skycrane appears to be made from a big old caster? A clever way to save build dollars, but IME the bearings tend to be on the loose side with casters, so you’d want to pay special attention to that whole area. On the plus side, the pricing looks to be OK, but I can imagine turning up to a job with it, and hearing the client ask, “Hey, did you make that yourself?”.

I feel mean saying this stuff, but that's what I got from the website.
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Old December 14th, 2012, 04:50 PM   #4
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Re: SkyCrane

I would love to hear about max load ratings, flex during abrupt movement changes, servo head mounting points, setup times, and if it can hold its own against a stiff wind.
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Old December 17th, 2012, 10:11 PM   #5
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Re: SkyCrane

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor Dennis View Post
The quality of the website, and the videos on it, do not inspire confidence in the product. I initially thought the website consisted of just one page until I realised there were links in white type lurking behind the full white to white over blue gradient. What’s all that about? The main pivot of the Skycrane appears to be made from a big old caster? A clever way to save build dollars, but IME the bearings tend to be on the loose side with casters, so you’d want to pay special attention to that whole area. On the plus side, the pricing looks to be OK, but I can imagine turning up to a job with it, and hearing the client ask, “Hey, did you make that yourself?”.

I feel mean saying this stuff, but that's what I got from the website.

Hello Trevor,

Bob Jones here, owner and producer of the Skycrane.

Trevor, judging from your comment on the website and the Skycrane it appears as if you find both fairly un-appealing.

I have to confess it was my first attempt at building a new website. I was replacing one that had been on the net for approximately twelve years with very little updating.
I’ll definitely take your comment to heart and in the near future correct both the white over blue gradient and spend more time in putting together more detailed videos...

At the risk of sounding sarcastic...
The casters are not big nor old they are actually some of the best casters bases available, I also offer them in a stainless steel up-grade at a modest additional cost.

Trevor, you actually nailed it (to quote you) “A clever way to save build dollars”.
In the very beginning, having had a fabrication and machinist background, I had drafted a design for a Vector-head, until it dawned on me that I’d just designed a caster rig! This definitely did translate to a lesser cost for the end user.

Again, at the risk of sounding sarcastic...
Trevor, perhaps your knowledge of casters is not on par with mine. If you were to hold a caster in mid-air you will definitely find the bearings in their races are slack and as you put it “on the loose side” you would be absolutely right... That being said, when the ball-bearings are under load they are under compression and consequently there is no slack / loose.

Although the Skycrane Junior has gone thru several modifications and up-grades the price point has not changed one cent in nearly fourteen years. In those fourteen years I’ve not heard one complaint in its construction, function nor criticism of it looking homemade. I’d highly recommend you speak to someone who has owned one and get their opinion.

I do welcome any and all criticism, be it good or bad, it helps me to provide a better product. Please don’t feel like your being mean... I’m old and have big shoulders.

Trevor, if you get the opportunity, please have a look at Testimonials on the Skycrane web-site I’ve only posted a few however I have many if you wish to see them.

Wishing you A Very Merry Christmas / Boxing Day

Respectfully...
Bob Jones
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Old December 17th, 2012, 11:07 PM   #6
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Re: SkyCrane

I never tried SkyCrane (I have a Jimmy Jib) but I'm sure glad these are being made in America and not China!!
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Old December 18th, 2012, 04:51 AM   #7
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Bob, I accept that the castor is a valid cost saver, but is it a good look? Image and perception go a long way when trying to project a degree of professionalism, and anyone recognising the upturned castor for what it is, is going to think DIY. They are not going to think, “Hey, that was a clever way to keep costs down.” Is there some way you could disguise it without making things over complex and pushing up the build cost?

The website was difficult to navigate, and did you no favours, so I am glad you will be addressing the white on white issue.

As to our relative knowledge regarding castors, I started my working life with a tool making apprenticeship, but spent most of my years at Ford’s Product Development Center in the UK as a design engineer designing and building test instrumentation. I always thought I had a big advantage over people who came straight from university, because I knew what was possible and had a good feel for materials. I certainly had a very thorough knowledge of all types of bearings, and even a few castors.

Come to think of it, I actually had an article published in the UK’s Camcorder User magazine many years ago, for a camera crane and tripod I built. (I think I still have the magazine somewhere, so will try and dig it out and scan in some of the article.) Anyway, I am retired now, but my 37 years in engineering has left me sensitive to mechanical design.

Good luck with your Skycrane.
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