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Old November 17th, 2006, 06:49 PM   #1
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Porta-Jib Traveller?

Hi all:

I have rented many of the jibs out there and have various types of results. So far, my best results have been with the Losmandy Porta-Jib. I have also rented or borrowed the Glidecam jib, the Focus MicroJib, The Kesseler Crane and the EZFX. I have never tried or been able to rent the Hollywood MicroJib.

Anyone own the Porta Jib? I would like a small, light, but high quality jib. I usually shoot with the HVX-200 but on occasion, the Varicam or the HDX-900 so I need a real jib that can support 20lb plus cameras but can still work with the small, light HVX.

I do a lot of tabletop, on occasion I shoot panel discussions and I use the jibs to shoot location b-roll on film and television sets (big shows like 24 where the set is huge and crowded) so I need a small, light jib. I operate mainly from the camera end of things so the ability to do pans and moves from the front end is better than trying to operate from the rear of the jib for me. I am thinking of the optional scissor arm to allow me to do compound moves. I also like the fact that will easily be able to expand the Traveller by adding the Losmandy Spider dolly for not that much more money and that the two integrate well.

Any feedback or advice? I once worked with a DP who told me that his Traveller paired with his Spider had eliminated his need for using his Steadicam in about 90% of situations. This sounds appealing to me. Small, light gear that is very flexible. On the rare occasions where I need more reach, I would tend to just rent a longer Jib.

Thanks,

Dan

Last edited by Dan Brockett; November 18th, 2006 at 04:01 PM.
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Old November 23rd, 2006, 12:47 PM   #2
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Hi all:

Well, I guess nobody who posts on here has much experience with the PortaJib Traveller?

I will be the guinea pig, I ordered one last week from Birns and Sawyer in Hollywood. I will be taking the jib on a 10 day road trip across Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, shooting scenes with the HVX-200 in locations where some of the most famous westerns were shot, often doing angle for angle re-creations.

I have rented and used this jib several times and have good experiences with it. I was very tempted to get the AdvantaJib instead but the fact that the product is built and serviced in Canada versus right down the street in Hollywood for the PortaJib was a major factor for me. The PortaJib is also rated for up to a 40lb camera whereas the AdvantaJib can only hold a 10lb camera, meaning I could never use the Varicam on the AdvantaJib. I will be occasionally using the Varicam on my PortaJib.

I also like the idea of operating the camera from the front of the jib by hand versus trying to rely on a system of cables and pullies to operate it from the rear of the jib.

The PortaJib Traveller I bought will soon be joined to a Losmandy Spider Dolly I will add to the kit in January/February. I feel that the integration between the PortaJibs and Losmandy's Spider Dolly is much superior to any other combinations I could put together with the AdvantaJib. Using a short jib with a dolly will add a LOT of production value for less money and less schooling and skill than purchasing a Steadicam Flyer.

I still may go for a Flyer at some point but the combination of the Traveller and the Spider Dolly will let me get plenty of moves that are not even possible with the Flyer.

Will report back mid December after the cross country shooting fest is completed.

All the best,

Dan
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Old December 4th, 2006, 12:25 PM   #3
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Western locales

Hey Dan--

Just saw your posts today, and just curious if your travels will take you to Monument Valley with the jib?

I am completely new to the "jib arena" and would love to learn more. Will certainly be excited to learn of your shooting results out in the southwest!

Best,

--JA
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Old December 4th, 2006, 03:13 PM   #4
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Hi Dan,
I have done a few things with the Traveler. It's been a while. My recollection was that the head movement was limited and mainly that it is awkward for one person to assemble. I had a few pinched fingers with that rig, but it worked. And I was using it on the standard sticks I had for the camera, not a tripod just for the jib. It was a little heavy for a one-man-band but then it can handle standard broadcast cameras.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 09:40 AM   #5
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Hi Jeff:

I am actually in Tucson, Santa Fe and Colorado for this trip. So far, the only place it would have made sense to use the jib was at Old Tucson Studios, where I shot earlier this week. Unfortunately the wind was out of control which made trying to use a jib arm pretty much pointless, it was impossible to get smooth moves with anything and even the camera on beefy sticks was blowing around on lockoffs.

Still have Colorado to go but as you know, using the jib only makes sense if you have some foreground objects and a lot of what I am shooting on this trip are landscapes where specific films were shot so probably not a lot more opportunities to use the Traveller on this trip.

When I get back next week, I am using the Traveller on a reunion where I am getting together the cast and director for a famous John Wayne film, I will be using the Traveller for the center camera, then two more HVX's on sticks flanking the Traveller setup for a total of three cameras. Will let you know how it works out.

Best,

Dan
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Old December 7th, 2006, 09:44 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary L Childress
Hi Dan,
My recollection was that the head movement was limited and mainly that it is awkward for one person to assemble. I had a few pinched fingers with that rig, but it worked.
Hi:

I experienced the same things the first time I used it. Fortunately PortaJib has posted some assembly tutorial QuickTimes on their site that help out immensely. Once you watch the video a few times and practice assembling it a few times, it goes amazingly smooth and quick, I can do it in less than five minutes now. But it is not an intuitive process, they do things their own way as far as engineering and assembly workflow.

Best,

Dan
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Old December 8th, 2006, 11:06 PM   #7
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Hey Dan--

Sorry to hear about the winds in Tucson; sounded like you had a hell of a time shooting. (We shot in Santa Fe back in October; it wasn't as windy, but, man it was cold!)

We're planning to shoot in Monument Valley in late Jan., early Feb. for a short documentary for Goulding's Lodge. As it would be nice to have a jib, we'd mostly get landscape shots. Maybe a dolly would be better?

What's the title of the John Wayne film? Let us know how your shoot goes!

Best,

--JA
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Old December 13th, 2006, 10:36 AM   #8
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Hi Jeff:

Funny, I actually shot at Gouldings Lodge last year at this time for a doc I produced called, "Monument Valley: John Ford Country" that is on the Fort Apache DVD released in the John Wayne/John Ford box set earlier this year.

The trading post at Gouldings is the natural focus point, just beware, it is very tight inside, especially upstairs. I did bring a jib arm to Monument Valley but to be honest, unless you have the budget for a crane of at least 20-30 feet, you might as well shoot on a tripod there, there are very few foreground objects to work with so with a jib arm, you really don't see much of the move.

The trip that I just took went well, it was about 15 degrees most of the time on Santa Fe. Sorry, can't say which title I am shooting for until after it's released but it's a great John Wayne classic.

All the best,

Dan
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Old December 15th, 2006, 05:45 AM   #9
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I helped John Wayne build his darkroom in Dover Shores (Newport Beach CA) in 1975-76. We became friends before his deathe .A friend of mine Buddy Ebsen (yes Beverly Hillbillys) told me about the "Gouldings" and Fords love of the place. I filmed there in 1991 with PBS. Just a little note. It is a great place to film...
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Old December 16th, 2006, 01:54 PM   #10
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Hi John:

Wow, great experience that must have been. I have been lucky enough to have interviewed Peter Bogdanovich, Mark Rydell, Bob Shelton (the original owner of Old Tucson Studios) as well as several others who knew Wayne for this project.

He really was a very underrated actor and a larger than life man. It has been a joy to create docs for many of his films.

All the best,

Dan
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Old December 17th, 2006, 01:14 PM   #11
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There was alot of history at the old tucson studios. Sad when the origianl burned down.
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Old December 19th, 2006, 11:55 AM   #12
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Hey Dan--

I'll check out the re-release of Fort Apache and check out your doc,"Monument Valley: John Ford Country."

We're currently here in Monument Valley, spending some of the holidays with family (then taking another trip to California to visit the rest of the family!). It snowed last night, and shot some wonderful vista and beauty shots. No crane or jib though; just our tripod and XL2. Wonderful images nonetheless!

Dan, I'd love to pick your brain about shooting docs; would you mind if I send you a personal email? Thanks!

Hey John--

Would love to hear more of your experience with John Wayne, and shooting out here in Monument Valley!

Thanks, y'all!

--JA
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Old December 20th, 2006, 12:15 PM   #13
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Email me I can tell you some great stuff about my old friend. I will never forget helping him build his darkroom in Newport beach in 1975 or so. So funny to be working side by side with him...no toupe'!
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Old December 23rd, 2006, 07:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Anselmo
Dan, I'd love to pick your brain about shooting docs; would you mind if I send you a personal email? Thanks!
--JA
Sure, I'll keep an eye out for an e-mail from you.

blfilms@mac.com

Dan
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Old December 28th, 2006, 10:42 PM   #15
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Dan, for those of us on a budget; what did you think of the Kessler Crane?

Thanks, Larry
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