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Old April 10th, 2007, 07:30 AM   #16
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Loudspeaker stands would work until you have to set up on uneven ground. Then what are you going to do since you cannot adjust the height of the legs separately? A set of heavy duty tripod is much more usable.
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Old April 10th, 2007, 07:32 AM   #17
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Thanks. That was the information I was looking for.
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Old April 10th, 2007, 08:04 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Bill Ball View Post
Loudspeaker stands would work until you have to set up on uneven ground. Then what are you going to do since you cannot adjust the height of the legs separately? A set of heavy duty tripod is much more usable.
Bill we have filmed in forestry and all we do is dig the legs in using a small camping shovel yup a big tripod would be better but there is always the cost / usage equation.
If you were on rocks of course you would need a tripod with adjustable legs, as the digging would be out the window!
We are lucky in the fact where we usually work is on level solid or dig able soft ground. Each one to there own of course depending on your local locations.
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Old April 10th, 2007, 09:44 AM   #19
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I started with a homemade crane (steel closet poles and angle iron) on a surveyor's trpod. It was a fun project and I used it on a couple shorts. The crane was never very steady/precise and I didn't have a way to break it down from 8 feet so a hassle to carry. The surveyor's tripod was a cheap ebay purchase but the legs were too hard to control.

I now have a heavy duty but cheap (like $10) video tripod I got through ebay. I think searching ebay for old tripods with undesirable heads but sturdy legs is a better choice for low budget than speaker stands, especially if you can do local pickup and save the shipping.

I recently bought the Glidecam Glidecrane to replace my homemade setup. I haven't used it on a shoot yet so I can't give it a full review. However I am very happy so far. It does exactly what I want, smooth simple crane work. I especially like the quick conversion from 5.5' to 8'. I will leave it setup in the 5.5' mode for use indoors. I have an old bogen head mounted on the front. On location I will just tighten it down on the legs, add my XH A1 and counter weights and I am ready to go. In this setup I use cranes as a jib, driving them from the pan bar on the front mounted head. A couple of bolts to redo and add remote monitor/lanc controller and I have the full 8' to use outside, driven from the back.
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Old April 10th, 2007, 01:35 PM   #20
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I am the owner of a full size EZFX jib with most of the bells and whistles. I use a full size JVC DV-500 camera. This is my evaluation. With more information like this from other jib owners, comparisions may be made.

1. Set up time and difficulty
The basic jib is four ft and only takes a few minutes to set up. However with the 6ft extension, electric pan and tilt head and heavy duty tripod, I give myself no less than two hours to set up. I built a wiring harness that's permanetly attached to the jib arm. With two people, set up time is less. I carry a step ladder to rest the crane on while assembling.

2. Type of control mechanism
Varizoom broadcast zoom, focus kit.

3. Pros & Cons of the different control mechanisms
I use the Varizoom broadcast zoom, focus kit. The control mechanisms are good but I would prefer a heavier duty zoom control. The return button broke off after the first use.

4. Recommended tripod for each
The Bogen/Monfrotto 3193 tripod works with the four ft version but I would recommend the Bogen superclamps to lock in the legs if extended. I use the heavy duty Pedestal and dolly sold by EZFX. It is expensive but I believe in safety first. It is a solid pedestal that can be extended and has wheels so it can be moved. The wheels are doubled locked in place. Almost everytime I have used my jib, it is passing above people who are seated or standing. I feel very comfortable with this pedestal under these conditions. It takes a few minutes to set up but I wouldn't trade it for any other support.

5. Reviews of the different motorized heads
I use the Varizoom motorized pan & tilt head and broadcast zoom, focus kit. The focus doesn't allow for the full range of the camera focus ring so you have to pre focus for close up or distance shooting. Also I would prefer more resistance in the focus knob. Its too easy to go out of focus. Sometimes the pan motor drifts. If the camera is not perfectly balanced, this can happen.

6. Ease of adding accessories (monitors, etc)
EZFX offers a monitor plate as an option. Set up with a monitor is quick. It would be wise to get it.

7. Weight and size
With the JVC dv-500 combined with the Varizoom MC-100 electric zoom & focus on the 10 ft jib, expect to use in excess of 100 lbs of counterweights. I carry two jib bags, one case for the controls and a tool bag for the accessories. Although I don't know the weight of each, they are light enough for one person to manage and work alone.

8. Recommended use for each crane
I can use my jib in the standard configuration or the extended mode.
I have used my jib for live shows, from church based to school auditoriums to fashion shows. With its 10ft length and 15ft height, the jib, used with a heavy camera, is solid with no bending or bowing and I'm able to complete wide quick pans and come to a smooth stop. It has also been used in a wedding.
I have the EZFX handle for controling the jib from the camera end but have not had any occasion to use it.
I also carry a set of small auto scissor jacks that I use to level the jib on uneven ground outdoors. I place plywood on the ground, put the jacks on top and jack up the dolly and pedestal until the jib is even.

I have used another full size jib but I won't name it since I a not using it. Althouth it performed well, I found its construction disturbing. The arm is cylinder construction with several cylinders interconnected. Each end expanded as a nut was turned to keep the cylinders together. While moving the jib with the camera in the overhead position, with a motorized pan & tilt head, the camera asembly suddenly rotated toward the downward position. Had I not been there to stop the rotation, the camera would most likely have fallen off. A full size camera faling from fifteen ft overhead could do some serious damage.
Upon examination, it was found that the cylinder closest to the tripod slipped despite being fully tightened. Once the camera moved to a certain position, there was no stopping it. I felt there should have been some type of safety pin that could be inserted through the cylinders to prevent acidental failure.

The heavier jib gives me the flexibility to use any size camera.
Because of its construction you need at least six ft of space to carry the EZFX full jib.
Some larger jibs from other manufactures take up less room.
The EZFX head is self leveling, some other brands are not and have to be manually leveled.
The basic jib is fairly inexpensive but if you want more flexibility, be prepared to invest a few dollars. I am very leary when it comes to homemade jibs. How much safety engineering goes into them?
Each jib has its pros & cons. Hopefully this helps.
Allen W
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Old June 5th, 2007, 12:19 PM   #21
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Corinth, NY
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Just used DVC 250

Hi all! New to DVi and have really enjoyed your share knowledge. After doing a lot of head scratching I finally bought a Pro Am DVC 250. Now, before I go any further, I would strongly recomend the Kessler Cranes. I talked with a helpful gent there and I am convinced they are the way to go with a solid crane, especially if you are depending on a live shot. Expect to sink about $1500 with crane and tripod. I am new to craning and after sinking 8 grand into two A1's I was feeling it. So, the next one in my sites was the DVC. Out of the box (with a steady hand and patience to retake the shot) it is a great alternative. Solid enough with their stand. I would emphasize that it is for shots that you can retake and it takes a steady hand. However, I was bold enough to use it at a wedding last weekend and got some very nice shots. So, my contribution to the topic is, if you want a budget crane, DVC 250 ain't bad to get damn close to a semi-pro look. Check it out at this link. Beware that this is unedited footage but also keep in mind this is only the second time I have had the camera in the air. Comments welcomed! Quicktime required.
Many are called...... few are chosen
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