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Old March 29th, 2007, 12:46 AM   #1
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Crane Comparisons

Does anyone know of any comparisons between the different cranes and jibs that are available. I see that prices range from 300 to 5000 and then I read that everyone is pretty happy with what they have. The areas that I would like to see reviewed would be:

1. Set up time and difficulty
2. Type of control mechanism
3. Pros & Cons of the different control mechanisms
4. Recommended tripod for each
5. Reviews of the different motorized heads
6. Ease of adding accessories (monitors, etc)
7. Weight and size
8. Recommended use for each crane

If anyone out there has the resources for this it would be greatly appreciated!

Jonathan Schwartz
CA Video Productions
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Old March 30th, 2007, 08:24 PM   #2
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I'm interested too - perhaps after we complile of list of options, we could then put some of the more popular models to a vote.
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Old April 1st, 2007, 12:02 PM   #3
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Jib, Crane, Boom Shootout...

Hello Jonathan & Ted,

Bob Jones here from Nightshift Enterprises / Skycrane.

I try to pop in now and again on "Support Your Local Camera" to see if folks like yourselves need questions answered.

If either of you get back to see this posting, drop me an email at bob@skycrane.com with a good time for you and prehaps Ted to get back and we'll meet here to discuss the topics you've posted.

I think it would be interesting, not to mention informative, to have a shootout with the other jib manufactures and hear the pros and cons of each one. Perhaps at some point that could be arranged.

Until then... Cheers

Bob Jones
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Old April 1st, 2007, 08:23 PM   #4
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While manufactures can answer many of the above posted questions, actual experience from users would be very constructive. As an example, I find that some manufactures understate the actual set up time. If the jib set up includes adding a monitor, AC power for the camera, audio feed, zoom and focus controls and perhaps a pan & tilt head and all of this has to be connected with a wiring harness made for the jib and tested, other than for very basic shots, this information is very useful in determining actual set up time.

I have yet had a manufacture of motors state how loud some of those motors are and how some of the motors like to drift on their own.

With some of the recommended tripods, the operator would have to be on his/her knees to get the maximum elevation out of the tripod.

Jibs are wonderful pieces of machinery to look at and imagine, imagine, imagine.
If you don’t have a plan for the frequent use of it, you might as well spend the money on a pet rock. That plan needs to include all the necessary options needed to put the jib to actual use.

Just a side note. Jonathan and Ted are not the only ones watching this forum.
I think there would be a lot if interest with not only what the manufactures have to say but also what the customers have to say.
Allen W

Last edited by Allen Williams; April 2nd, 2007 at 01:03 AM.
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Old April 2nd, 2007, 02:04 AM   #5
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Going Up?

Well, let me see... where do I start?

Allen, first off, I agree, to have users of all types of homemade or manufactured jibs tell of their experiences, good, bad or indifferent.

Also, glad to hear Jonathan and Ted are not the only folks checking in.

Second, I would hope that most folks that have purchased a jib would have done their homework. I believe that anyone having done their homework will know that it requires additional time to outfit the jib with the various accouterments that can be used on a jib. I do believe the key word here is HOMEWORK. Unfortunately, that's not the case. Believe me, over the years, I've heard of major disappointments on purchases that some folks have made.

I'm sure that most manufactures of jibs are not trying to mislead prospective buyers. I do know for a fact that a bare-bones set-up (camera & controller only) on some jibs can be done in as little as five minutes. I would hope that anyone getting ready to make a jib purchase would do it as diligently as his / hers camera purchase. Back to that word again… HOMEWORK.

I’ll have to disagree with you in terms of your “frequent use of it” statement… In my opinion, besides your camera and editing equipment, a jib is one of the most important piece of gear you can own. One is only limited by his / hers imagination on the shots you’d be able to achieve using a jib. A jib lends itself to tremendous production value. I’ve heard this statement more often than not… I own a jib and I’m looking for excuses to use it… So spend the money on a jib and let some else by the Pet-Rock.


Allen, I’m not being sarcastic here, however, I’d like to understand more about being on your knees to get maximum elevation out of a tripod and loud motors that drift. Please explain.

Looking forward to hear yours and others comments… This can be a learning experience.

Cheers…
Bob Jones / I cut it twice and it’s still to short…
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Old April 3rd, 2007, 09:57 PM   #6
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Hi Bob,
It's nice to start a dialogue here on jibs. Perhaps this dialogue will encourage others to join in with useful information, expectations and experiences.
I'll start with doing "homework". If you compare purchasing a jib with purchasing a new car, or even choosing a doctor, one major factor is missing. That is, talking to others that own a jib so you can a first hand account about the positives and the negatives. You just can't go next door and ask your neighbor. So it's really difficult to complete the homework involved in order to make an informed decision.

When I refer to the frequent use aspect of purchasing a jib, I look at the jib as a financial investment that has to pay for itself. If I spend several thousand dollars for a jib and the options necessary for it to be useful for my purposes and it hasn't been used enough to pay for itself in three years, I consider it more of a pet rock.
It is absolutely correct that one is only limited by his / her imagination on the shots you’d be able to achieve using a jib. But it takes lots of pre-planning and preparation to decide the right jib and equipment necessary for a particular type of job. Rather than looking for excuses to use the jib, one may spend a considerable amount of time figuring out where his/her particular jib is applicable and how to market it.

A jib loaded with a full size camera and attachments and the corresponding counterweights put a considerable load on the tripod. Many video camera tripods cannot safely handle the weight if the legs are extended. The locking mechanism on each leg may allow slippage under such stress. In order to insure safety, the tripod may not be able to be extended. When the camera is raised to an upper position, the operator end and controls may be pretty close to the ground, depending on the length of the arm. Thus the comment about being on your knees to get maximum elevation out of a tripod.
I have seen the electric focus drift as well as the tilt motors. The electric motors on some electric pan & tilt heads are pretty loud. In a noisy atmosphere, not a problem.

Bob, my experience is with full size cameras so in no way does it refer to your jibs. But since the original post is about jibs I think this information would be helpful to all who might consider purchasing or have information to share about their jibs. I hope the information we share adds to the homework being done by prospective buyers.
Allen W
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Old April 4th, 2007, 09:35 PM   #7
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Up, Up & Away

Hey Allen,

Good to hear back from you. I normally don't have a lot of time to sit in on these discussions, however it's rather interesting when I've got the time.

I'll reiterate, that's exactly where I agreed. Discussing pros and cons on the use of a jib as well as discovering which one will fill the bill in terms of quality and price. Gosh... here comes that word again... HOMEWORK

The great part about the mini DV world... you don't have to spend thousands of dollars on a jib, in essence, just several hundred for a jib that will get the job done. In my opinion it is a very inexpensive way to get shots that you cannot achieve otherwise.

Allen, I'll still have to disagree with you and not because I'm a manufacture of jibs.
Having a jib in ones camera gear arsenal is an absolute unadulterated benefit.
By comparison (in the mini DV world) a jib is a small expenditure when considering what a decent camera and editing system will cost. Not to mention when you roll up on a job your looking like a professional.

It’s really up to the agency / producer to convince a client that a jib shot may be more beneficial than say a static shot. If you owned a jib you surely wouldn’t want it to sit and collect dust, the real object of possessing a jib is to produce more revenue. One other consideration is to rent your jib. Many of the folks that I’ve sold to over the years have indeed done that very thing. Needless to say, renting will definitely offset the original cost. However, on the other hand, some folks are very anal about their equipment and they would never consider renting their equipment.

It has been my experience that most clients want to capture their audience’s attention by adding captivating dynamics to their projects. As you know, one way to add dynamics is to move the camera in different or varying ways. Allen, as you also know, a jib will do that very thing.

In terms of a tripod supporting a jib… I think it’s fairly obvious that if one has to be on their knees maneuvering a jib there is something radically wrong. Picking the right tripod is to some degree a fairly simple task. From passed experience, I know that most folks understand that the tripod is the heart & soul for keeping the rig in the air and off the ground. In all the years selling jibs one of the major topics with each and every client is choosing the right tripod. It is absolutely Paramount that one purchases the proper tripod. The one I recommend for use with my jibs is the “Bogen 3051” or equivalent.

Allen, believe me, I don’t think you can mention a tripod that hasn’t been used to support a Skycrane. You know the old adage… you can take a horse to water but………….
I can say, I’ve not heard any horror story using an inferior tripod to support one of my rigs, however that being said, God forbid, that day may come.

Anyway Allen, I’ve got to jump off here and get going.

I’m looking forward to correspond with you again and communicating with folks that want some proper information.

Cheers… Bob


I cut it twice and it’s still to short?
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Old April 5th, 2007, 02:57 PM   #8
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No knee D for this...

Hey howdy again Allen,

An amendment to my last posting...

This thought just crossed my mind while assembling a jib on one of my collapsed "3051 Bogen" tripods. In the collapsed position the 3051 is a great height for assembly work.

Shorting up or collapsing an inferior tripod to gain tripod stability… This is obviously not a recommended procedure. However, an advantage to using the Skycrane with a shortened or collapsed tripod, the operator can rotate the Drive Lever to a position of his / hers choosing, thus the operator can remain in a standing position without having to fall to their knees... Cool Huh…

Cheers
Bob

I cut it twice and it’s still to short…
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Old April 5th, 2007, 03:14 PM   #9
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I must admit I'd not be without my Vinten Dolphin jib. I'd guess this is one of the heaviest pieces of kit for it's size - the flightcase for the lead weights is just liftable on my own! It's a magnificent piece of engineering - silky smooth, with all the parallelogram mechanics enclosed. For me the momentum of such a heavy arm makes movements very steady. The front also swings left to right, all axis have friction adjustments and, I tend to operate from the front, with an extended pan arm, I can work from underneath. I use a vinten conventional head, although I have a cygnet head if I need to do drop shots, and this alows me to underhang the camera. I use it permanently on aheavy duty Vinten tripod with rolling base - easily able to take the weight. The arm can just about be loaded into the van with one person, but two is easier and safer. If anyone want specifics I'll try to provide info. Old now, but an amazing piece of kit.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 05:25 PM   #10
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Heavy lift'n

Hello Paul,

Good of you to stop by and tell of your Vinten Dolphin jib.

I've seen pictures of the Vinten and they do come off as sturdy looking. I've never had the opportunity to get my hands on one or see one in action.

Interesting you mentioning the fact that the jib can be controlled from the front of the jib. As Allen had mentioned in an earlier posting, this is just one of many things that folks that own a jib my not know.

Paul, what camera are you supporting on your Vinten?

It's really good to hear someone say, "I'd not be without my jib"...

I've just this very moment finished delivering a Skycrane Junior to a client using a "BESCOR Pan-Tilt Head"

The "BESCOR” is under slung supporting a Sony PD-150. It looks like a smaller version of a "JIMMY JIB"
The client will be sending me several photos and when I receive them I'll post them for folks to see.

Gotta get back to work...


Cheers...
Bob

I cut it twice and it's still to short...
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Old April 9th, 2007, 12:43 AM   #11
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We have an EZ FX jib at our local community television station. Its being used only in the studio, but I went in and played around with it for a couple of hours. Its seems very well built, and can handle a heavier camera. Action was super smooth and steady, accept for operator error. I'm going to give them a complete check out at NAB this year.
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Old April 9th, 2007, 03:55 AM   #12
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Hi we use a ProAm DVC250 bought of ebay and it's a good strong crane we bought it with the monitor etc..

It's of solid construction and brilliant value for money when you compare it to the others mentioned here I think the total cost was around £420.00 which is a real bargain we had to pay postage from the US to the UK on top of this thought of course..
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Old April 9th, 2007, 08:48 PM   #13
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Pro AM Crane

Andy,

Can you talk a little about the control mechanism on the crane? What tripod do you you use with it? Any pictures would be great! Thanks

Jon Schwartz
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Old April 10th, 2007, 02:27 AM   #14
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a simple loudspeaker stand at less than 50$ will do the job.
I planned to purchase a jib and do my homework.
conclusion was that for a small jib, you can find some around 500$ and this is nice. I wanted a bigger one with a remote pan/tilt head and obviously this a serious step, since you won't find anything under 5 or 6000$ .
So i built it, it is definitely dead easy.
my opinion is somebody should start to rent one or purchase a low cost model and go for the big one only if they can justify the money or the time spend.
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Old April 10th, 2007, 07:19 AM   #15
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Hi Jon the tripod used is as others have said a large speaker stand (I did not know this until we received it) other wise I have bought it locally.

The crane itself is in three sections is of solid construction it's a rectangular box section with a small control bar that runs parallel to it above the main bar. The parts slot together then locking screws tighten it solid.

The crane keeps the camera parallel with the ground unless you pull out a retaining rod then (this is above the tripod mount) then operator can control the angle the camera is directed at. Via a large hand bar at the rear behind the tripod mount section.

We have added a small remote head to the standard angled L bar at the end of the crane which we the put our Canon xm1 on. It's will take a XL2 no problems but the remote head would not be too clever with it. So we leave the smaller camera on it.

At the other end we have a 7" monitor a Lanc remote control for the the camera for zoom and focus and a 2nd remote to pan (360 degrees) and tilt (5-10 degrees maximum) the remote head. With all that on board we need a counter weight of 13 kg for the xm1 and remote head.

The remote head is not the best but I mainly use it to set the camera angle up before we start recording E.G Have the crane on the bank of a river then angle the camera 90 degrees so it's facing up or down stream. Then film once it's set.

I'll try and get some photos for you when I have had time to set it up.
Setup time is about 20 mins I'm sure I'll get that down the more we use it.
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