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Old March 2nd, 2003, 09:36 AM   #16
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I'd love a crane that panned as well! But, I'm paranoid it wouldn't hold. cranes have always been questionable in my eyes. I don't have the money to replace my XL at the snap of my fingers, so I'm wary!

I suppose anyone using a crane should insist on equipment insurance.
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Old March 2nd, 2003, 06:41 PM   #17
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Skycrane

Howdy Everybody,

Bob Jones here.

Are there any questions I can answer about the Skycrane jibs?
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Old March 2nd, 2003, 06:45 PM   #18
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Skycrane

By the way, I neglected to say... Hello Jonh Locke.

Bob
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Old March 2nd, 2003, 07:04 PM   #19
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Hi Bob,

Thanks for jumping in!

Guys, if you have any questions...now's the time to chime in. Bob's the guy that makes SkyCranes.
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Old March 3rd, 2003, 03:04 AM   #20
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Hey Bob,

I had a couple of questions...

You clearly make a good product becuase every1 speaks very highly of the skycrane. One of my concerns was the overall strength and durability of the crane. From the pictures it gives the "appearance" of something kinda light and flimsy. I guess common sense tells me that a two arm construction such as the cobra crane II is going to be a bit "sturdier." Course this may not be the case. The cobra has a price advantage as well so i was wondering if you could give me a couple of reasons of why your product is superior. Im sure that wont be a problem as the skycrane seems to be the crane of choice in this price range (Id just like to know why.)

Also I was wondering about the new model Ive heard a couple of people talking about. Supposed to have tilt and pan capability? This would be a BIG plus and I wouldnt mind waiting too long if this product is going to be ready soon. Will this be a motorized pan and tilt or will it still use the same pully system?? When this product is ready and if it has an affordable price tag, Id say it will definitely put your product over the top as no other crane (in this price range) offers the ability to pan without a very expensive pan head.

Could you give us any heads up on the avialabilty/ pricing of this new model or has that yet to be determined??

Thanx,
Emery
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Old March 3rd, 2003, 10:27 AM   #21
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Hi Bob,

I am also very interested in your answer to Emery, because I have searched around my self for a decent crane. Since I joined this fantastic community, I have learned a lot and got plenty of good advices.

Based on this I have purchased a lot of new equipment, and mostly been very happy with the choice. Considering the fact that your crane have been one of the biggest favorites on the DV Info Net, I have studied the SkyCrane most of all.

But, it is very expensive to import that kind of equipment to Norway, because of the freight, tax and so on. Therefor I need to be certain that I choose the right crane for me. I am also very interested in the new model with pan and tilt head.

Good luck with your new crane!
Best regards
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Old March 3rd, 2003, 11:35 AM   #22
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Skycrane

Hello Emery,

I don't get on these discussion groups often, so let me start by saying thanks to everyone that owns and operates a Skycrane. These are the folks that have made the Skycrane as popular as it is today, not to mention Mr.Chris Hurd.

Gosh,flimsy... I suppose to some folks it may appear flimsy. Gotta say it's the first time I've heard that said about the Skycrane.

Emery,I have to tell you a quick story. Just recently a production commpany out of San Diego, California managed to drop a Skycrane Premiere out of the back of one of their pick up trucks going down the Freeway doing about Sixty five miles per hour...the jib survived, fortunately it wasn't hit by on coming traffic. The amazing part,it was still usable.

I believe all of the available support systems (jibs) offer something for everybody in terms of affordability.

I will say that the Skycrane offers more functions than most of the jibs available in its price range.
On some Skycrane models we offer an internal trim adjustment, this is one of several features that's unique to the Skycrane.
The Skycrane is the only jib, that I'm aware of, that offers multiple 360 degrees of rotation on the tilt axis. Also Emery, the Skycrane does not require a fluid head to be mounted to your tripod, it incorporates its own ballbearing head.

The Pan Head we are developing is strictly PAN, no tilt. Dubbed the SkyPan, it can be used on any jib or tripod that is capable of supporting an eight to ten pound payload.

Emery, in response to your question on SkyPan availability and pricing, that has yet to be determined.
There are rules in terms of advertising on these discussion groups and I'm not going to bend those rules.
I will be keeping Chris Hurd posted as to when and cost.
Emery, if you wish you can drop me an E-mail and I'd be happy to give you that information when it becomes available.
I hope this has answered some of your questions.

The Best to everyone on DVINFO...

Bob Jones
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Old March 3rd, 2003, 02:34 PM   #23
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To Ivan. Seems like the States is a long, expensive way to go to get a jib. Here is a company in the UK that has a good selection: http://www.b-hague.co.uk/camera%20supports%20systems.htm
Why do I call it a jib, rather than a crane?

Cranes have been in use virtually as long as movies have been made. The main components are the "arm" which has a bucket at one end to support the counter weights, and a platform at the other, which supports a turret which is where the camera is mounted, and an operator, and sometimes an assistant sits. (For tv disucussions we will eliminate the assistant) The arm is mounted to the "post" which is more formally known as a "fulcrum," since it is where the arm and all are balanced. The camera end of the arm can be various lengths, but is at least double the length of the bucket end. This means the weight at the bucket end must be at least two times the total weight of the camera end for the arm to be in balance. All of the above items are usually attached to a "base" platform, which is mobile and can be driven around a stage to place the post in the proper position to make the shot. Every movement happens from the post, so it is important that the post be positioned properly. The movement of the arm, in concert with the work of the camera operator, is what creates the magic. For a television show, we have a camera operator, an arm operator, and a driver. Sometimes, with the larger cranes, it is best to have two people on the arm, one who catches, and one who throws.

This is all pretty simple stuff as far as design goes. Until you try to build one yourself. Then you discover that as the arm moves from level, the base the camera is on, wants to tilt up and down. How to keep the camera platform level as the arm moves from low to high, and vice versa? The answer is so simple, yet unique, that it was protected by a patent for many years, which protected the Chapman Company from competition and allowed them to have a lock on motion picture cranes, which they would only rent, not sell. This device was a second arm that moved in tandem and parallel to the main arm, and were joined at the bucket and the front platform. The addition of this second arm allowed the camera platform to remain level at any height, and was the lynchpin of a movie rental business that is still going strong today, although the original patent has long expired. But whether you are designing a full sized crane, or a smaller jib, you must deal with the problem of how to keep the camera mount level.

Cranes were borrowed from the motion picture industry by the television networks for exactly the same reasons they were used in movies: to give a unique movement to the camera that only a crane can provide. They were especially popular in big budget musical/variety shows and specials, since the smooth movement of the crane is perfectly suited to music and dance. Of course, a full crane crew required three people; the operator, the arm man, and the driver, but since this was the only way to achieve these types of shots, the expense was worth it.

Then in the Eighties, motion picture and television cameras became available in smaller, more portable varieties that worked with the same dependability of the full-sized studio cameras. Out of France came a new device that was designed to work with the smaller motion picture cameras: the Louma Crane. Although it was called a "crane" it was quite different from a true crane; the operator sat on the ground at a control box where he worked a "gear head" that electonically controlled the camera's remote pan and tilt head, while he viewed the picture on a tv monitor. His assistant sat next to him with his own remote control device to allow him to focus the camera. The Louma's boom movements were still controlled by a grip (the arm man) who worked out the move together with the operator under the guidance of the director. The advantage of the Louma over standard cranes was primarily the length of the arm, but also since the arm no longer had to support such tremendous weight, the Louma could go places a standard crane was prohibited. This made the Louma very attractive, despite some rather annoying habits, such as a "wobble" at the end of a move. But this was definitely a revolutionary device, and eventually "video" shows began to experiment with the Louma, and a new control box was developed that used a "joy stick" to control pan and tilt, and zoom. This freed up the operator's other hand to control focus, and an assistant was out of a job.

The Louma was effective, but hugely expensive to rent, and some American entrepreneurs were saying, " I can build that cheaper and better." Soon we had a new industry with names such as "CamMate" and "JimmyJib." These devices were shorter than the Louma, but much more dependable and easier to set up. And these manufacturers did something else revolutionary: they sold these devices to individuals, rather than only renting. And to further distance themselves from the "old fashioned" motion picture cranes, they began calling themselves "jibs." So, the main difference between a crane and a jib is; the camera operator rides the crane, and with a jib, only the camera is mounted at the end of the arm. And today, in most situations, the jib operator is a one-man band, taking the place of the arm man, the assistant, and even the driver. You can make of that what you will, but it has allowed tv shows which in the past could never have used a crane becuase of its size, to get the sweeping movement that only this type of device can provide. Of course, it has reached the point of critical mass, where every director "must" have a jib, even though most of them have absolutely no idea how to use it effectively. Even the most mundane talk show suddenly needs a jib to give it a "look." Whatever.

Which is better, a crane or a jib? Neither. They are both tools with specific situations where one is preferred over the other. But a jib without a decent remote head, will always be an incomplete tool, and a compromise. For the most part, your moves will be limited to straight up and down. None of those big sweeping moves you see in rock concerts and award shows. Keep that in mind if you think you would like to buy a jib for use with your dv camera. If you cannot afford a remote head at the present time, you might still buy a jib that will allow you to move up to the remote head in the future. And in the end, it is the artistic sensibilities of the operator that makes these devices really "sing."
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Old March 4th, 2003, 10:47 AM   #24
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Thanks Wayne for your suggestion I certainly will look into it. It was really an interesting reply you posted.

Ivan
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Old May 29th, 2004, 09:44 AM   #25
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Hey on the skycrane site it looked like they were all rated for lighter cameras 10lbs or less. Is there anything that would work for an XL1/mini35/lenses/mattes/hard drive, etc... what would that be- 20lbs-ish
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Old May 31st, 2004, 01:01 PM   #26
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If you are using a small miniDV camcorder (up to DVX-100A), and are looking for something completely different, check out the Cool Cam at CoolCam.US. It is also available in Europe at Boom-Audio.com

This boom allows you to take it off the tripod and wear it on a harness. This opens up many unique creative options.

There are some demo videos on the web sites.
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Old June 2nd, 2004, 11:56 AM   #27
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I'm very interrested in inventions like CoolCam and PoleCam but it seems like everyone is building them from material with too much elasticity. In most shots the camera is jumping up and down like it's sitting on the end of something that's not solid. Why not build the things in aircraft aluminum? The prices on those babys are already so steep that I wouldn't car to pay extra for some descent materials.

I've only shot one thing with the PoleCam and when you rise the camera at any speed faster than really slow you get heavy jumping when you stop the rig/pole. It's completely out of the operators control. 80% of the shot's I see on the demos I can do smoother with my arms and a ladder. The only ones that ad som kind of production value are the ones you can't "fake" like when you boom over a water surface or you shoot straight down.
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