Just bought a Pro Am 12' crane/review at DVinfo.net

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Old February 23rd, 2006, 04:50 PM   #1
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Just bought a Pro Am 12' crane/review


Yesterday my new 12' ProAm crane w/ tripod and 6.5" LCD monitor was delivered.
I've been researching HBS type cranes, jibs, and all the other cranes on the market for lightweight cameras (I use an XL2) and after several days of agonizing I decided on purchasing this one.
The main reason was twofold: simplicity in design and cost. I didn't quite see spending many hundreds of dollars on a crane that probably won't see but 20-30 shoots and I don't have the access to drill presses, vises, saws and miscellaneous tools that others do to build theirs. I"m not the construction type anyway.
So I unpacked it quickly and put it together in about 10 minutes.(that included the unpacking)!! Let's see pop it on the tripod--that's a total no brainer. Section 2 fits on section 1 by sliding the channel together and inserting 2 bolts with wing nuts------2 minutes. The camera tilt plate is mechanically activated by connecting another plate bar with 2 other screws that runs down the length of the crane----2 more minutes....
Attach camera-2 more minutes, weights----2 more minutes.
Wow.....I was done.

The crane actually handles fairly well.....it's smooth, it's really easy to use. The heavy duty tripod I ordered with the crane raises up an additional 4 holes for another 3 feet of heigth for the cameras perspective. As long as the operator DID NOT get in a hurry to swing thru on shots, there was minimal vibration and sway on stopping or starting.
My main problem? Releasing the stay pin so that the camera could be manually tilted while the crane was in operation.............WHOA........!!! Talk about nose heavy with the 20X lens on there!!

So here's some of the things I did to make the little jib more manageable:
1. Added a "T" brace to the camera platform so that my camera sled can be balanced front to back and also to incorporate using 2 screws to the plate for less 'sway'.
2. Re-drilled and reattached the LCD monitor bracket farther back on the fulcrum so that the operator won't be "craning" their necks to look up to see the monitor. Now when they jib high with the weights touching the floor, the monitor will be right in front of their face.
3. Re-positioned the weight bar(s) so that the weights are loaded from 'both sides' on the jib/weight/bar instead of just one. Now I have somewhere to clamp my Varizoom focus/zoom control too along with excess cable, the monitor, com box, shot list, light and other misc. stuff.

The monitor while not top of the line is fine for what I need it for----to help me frame and focus the shots......Its not fancy at all........

Did I get my moneys worth and would I suggest it to others to look into?
You bet......for those who DON'T want to spend HUNDREDS on a small crane and don't have the time, tools or inclination to build one of their own.
Just thought I'd throw that in. Pat
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