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Old September 19th, 2005, 06:04 AM   #1
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Jib Questions

Hi All,
First time poster here. I've been doing some amateur filming and editing of a fitness video. The first one came out very nicely using a Sony TRV950 and an old cheap Panasonic for a 2 cam production. Just had them sitting on Tripods.

This was my first attempt at this... and my TV watching hasn't been the same since... I am now starting to understand all the different camera moves used to create depth and drama. Never noticed 'em before.

I would like to spice up my next video with some jib and dolly moves. Thinking I'll rent equipment for the first few times before settling on a (relatively) inexpensive unit to own.

My requirements: smooth results, easy/fast to setup, easy to use, less than $3k.

Looking at the Skycrane (spoke with Bob Jones, actually, one of the nicest guys I've ever met), the EZ FX, and the Microdolly stuff.

3 questions:
1) Can anyone compare/contrast/review any of these three?
2) What other options would you suggest?
3) One shot I particularly would like to get is with the boom pivoting while the camera pans... could almost mimic a dolly shoot zooming in on the subject. I see there are expensive controlable "heads" that can spin the cam anywhere, but I'm unclear if these jibs also have a simple mechanical option that gets you most of the way there? Could you set me straight?

Thanks!
Jeff
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Old October 14th, 2005, 06:55 PM   #2
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1) Can anyone compare/contrast/review any of these three?

Well, I can tell you that ours is probably the most expensive. The trade off for the others that you mentioned is that they weigh more and don't carry as much weight. Or you can't expand them or add-on accessories. Also, a lot of Jib companies charge extra for a case or a way to mount the camera - ours comes with everything you need out of the box.

I bought my MICRODOLLY Jib before I came to work for the company because it was the lightest, most portable, and sturdiest that I saw on the market. Plus, it was expandable, so it could grow with my needs. If you've got the funds, check it out:

http://www.microdolly.com/micro_3.html

2) What other options would you suggest?

If I were going to purchase one of the less expensive Jibs, I'd look at the Seven Jib XL:
http://longvalleyequip.com/

Or the Porta-Jib:
http://www.porta-jib.com/portajib.htm
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Old October 15th, 2005, 02:58 AM   #3
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Fitness Video Demo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Clark
1) Can anyone compare/contrast/review any of these three?
Well, I can tell you that ours is probably the most expensive.

Also, a lot of Jib companies charge extra for a case or a way to mount the camera - ours comes with everything you need out of the box.
How much is your jib system? I'm not trying to get into a contest, but I wouldn't say that it's the most expensive unless you're only comparing it to the others mentioned. As far as not charging extra for the case or mounting hardware, it may not be listed as extra but it is included in the overall price because nothing is free. Whenever a kit says it includes this and that, it means you get it and pay for it whether you want it or not. I do agree that for overall portability and versatility, your jib is a great product. I personally think that a Jimmy Jib is the most affordable, versatile (up to 40ft), full size system available. It is definitely NOT the most portable or convenient as far as moving it quickly to an entirely different location in a short amount of time though.

I shot a fitness video demo a while back that was a test for a bigger project. Below are links to that demo video. To achieve that move with accurate, smooth pan correction as you move the arm, you are going to have to have a geared remote head with electronics to control the constant, even speed. You could attempt to do it by hand while walking the head left or right with a typical tripod head attached to just about any arm but you will not be able to maintain a long, constant, even move manually.


Fitness Demo
http://161.58.78.36/asx/dvinfo/fitne...SSDEMO300K.asx


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www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=5867

Last edited by James Emory; October 15th, 2005 at 03:49 AM.
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Old October 15th, 2005, 09:46 AM   #4
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I have to disagree with James just a bit. I think with some practice you can get some nice, even moves with a fluid head on the end of a short jib. I often work this way; controlling the jib and dolly from the camera end. But it does take practice! That's the big advantage of owning your own equipment over renting: practice time!

Dan
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Old October 15th, 2005, 02:30 PM   #5
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I totally agree that with ALOT of practice anyone can do just about anything. I had to Mcgiver things for years and work with what I had before I could afford or start using pro gear. In fact, I think that coming from a manual background makes you even better with the pro gear because of all of the finessing that you learn with making manual moves look near perfect. Have you ever used a jib with a remote head? If not, you need to do it and compare it to manual control. You'll never go back! Also, what happens when you suddenly want to go from inches or a couple of feet from the ground, such as in the demo, to 25 ft high not to mention in the same move? Well, you're not going to do that with a manual head as far as correcting for the height as it rises or falls. These manual jibs are great for simple moves of a few feet, side to side or up and down and I would say that it is overkill to use a jib with a remote head for such moves if that's mostly what you use it for. But, if I am going to have a jib, I want the ability to perform all moves, simple and complex, with precision and versatility and I will be able to do that with a jib with a remote head.

A variety of remote head kits (electronics & controls) can be purchased today for less than $5000 to work with any arm whether you build it or buy it. Just make sure the arm is rated to carry the load that you want to put on it. My full size jib with remote head was only $6000 for the entire basic kit, the 6'-18' arm, electronics/controls, head/gears and tripod! I have accessorized it with a 4 wheel dolly, etc. and my investment has doubled but that was my choice and with that came even more versatility. That base price is incredibly affordable considering the beautiful shots that can be achieved with it.

We are also talking about two different applications here. Table top work and product shots are very different from the application being discussed. A short or long manually operated jib for this type of project is not going to get the same results as a jib with a remote head.
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Old October 15th, 2005, 08:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Have you ever used a jib with a remote head? If not, you need to do it and compare it to manual control. You'll never go back!
Yes, I think the first time was 1981. Gone back and forth plenty depending on the budget! What I assumed what Jeff was talking about, and I'm probably wrong here because I tend to jump to conclusions, was a short jib combined with a dolly, similar to a fisher dolly with a boom attached when working in close quarters with Actors and not booming up much above the eye-line. Of course moving up 25 feet requires different equipment depending on the shot. Could be a static mount would be fine. It just depends on the needs of the shot and the budget. Most of the time we end up re-thinking that shot because $6000 is a bit too far out for the amount of time the crane will be used in the end. Having said all that, there will be plans for a motorized pan/tilt in Volume 2 of my book, but people will still have to weigh the cost and building time against their true needs.

Dan
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Old October 15th, 2005, 10:36 PM   #7
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Yes, I understand about budgets. They can be quite frustrating. Ones that can operate both jibs, like yourself, are that much more valuable as operators. He didn't mention changing the height but I figured that would be another angle to choose from to vary it up. The $6000 is not relevant if you rent the jib for around $500-$600 per day to get the job done. Just do a few of those, then buy your own jib.
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Old October 17th, 2005, 08:35 PM   #8
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Thanks Guys. For the time being I decided to invest in Dan's Killer Camera Rigs that you can Build and am hapily staring at a pile o stuff from home depot in the corner!

Ultimately, I decided it would be not only fun, but very educational to build my own. I'll get a very good sense for what's important-- to what degree portability will matter-- and as mentioned above, the ability to practice and be very good at the manual moves before moving to more pro equipment down the road.

I think just adding some short jib elements with no pan/tilt control will certainly take me up a bunch of notches over static tripods.

I'll be sure to share some clips in a month or two.

Best,
Jeff
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Old October 18th, 2005, 10:23 AM   #9
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Hi Jeff,

Thanks for getting the book! I think you'll love the dolly combined with the "Killer's Kiss Crane". Not only are they super easy to build, but are designed to work together. They are the rigs we use the most around here by far. They've pretty much replaced using a tripod for me.

Once you have the dolly and jib, I'd recommend the "Hollywood Camera Work" DVD series. It will really help you get the dolly/boom moves chops down. You can read a review of it on my links page:

http://dvcamerarigs.com/links.html

Scroll down to the "Books I Like" section. It's a little pricey, but a great series.

Dan
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Old October 18th, 2005, 11:58 AM   #10
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Jeff, have fun with your building! I'm a sucker for projects and video has lots of potential! I'm glad you bought Dan's book. He's been a great help and encouragement to me on my projects...and I haven't bought his book! You can check out my JIB and DOLLY for some ideas. They're a combination of ideas from the different forums.
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Old October 18th, 2005, 12:21 PM   #11
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Dennis, what is the reach of your jib. That move up into the trees was very smooth. The actual move looked longer than the length could provide. It just kept going up, up and up. Were you using a wide angle?

It looks like you're on your way with reproducing the spider.
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Old October 18th, 2005, 06:27 PM   #12
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James, the crane itself has a reach of about 10 feet. On my fully extending Bogen 028s, about 16 feet vertical. There was a Raynox .66 WA on the cam. I've since taken apart the pan bearing and "re-engineered" it with zero play...so the crane is even tighter now. The 16 or so bearings make it silky smooth. I also made a change in the azimuth lock to allow the cam to drop to the ground, so it has about 3 feet more range now.
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