Will Strauss gets a grip!


Will Strauss# TV-Bay Magazine
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By Will Strauss
Of all the many areas of television technology that tv-bay Magazine covers, you might think that camera support is the one that appears, on the surface at least, to move the slowest.
Take the tripod for example. Fundamentally, the design hasn’t changed for a hundred years. Or how about the dolly? The wheels and track device that Alfred Hitchcock utilized in 1958 for the now legendary dolly zoom (or ‘push pull’) effect in Vertigo is much the same as the one used today (give or take the odd bit of lightweight aluminium I imagine).
At the same time, if you ask a dolly grip what his/her most important tools are the answer is unlikely to be software-related or a magic digital device of some nature. Such is the hugely practical nature of camera support there is a good chance that he (or she) will say a tape measure, chalk, a spirit level and some wooden board.
However, if you think that the pace of camera support technology is slow. You’d be wrong. Very wrong. In fact, if anything, when it comes to camera-related innovation, support is one of the areas where inventions are plentiful whether you’re talking cranes, jibs, dollies and track, fluid heads, steadicam, shoulder mounts or whatever.
Innovations can be as small as a pistol grip for a video-enabled DSLR camera or as big as a 100 ft SuperTechno crane.
Sometimes it’s ergonomic improvements to how the camera is mounted; sometimes it’s where you can stick it (so to speak); while on other occasions it’s simply about providing a faster and less fiddly set-up.
As a result, camera support is very much a hybrid world where ‘homemade’ (or perhaps, ‘set-made’) devices for steadying, moving, mounting, adjusting and relocating the position of the camera exist happily alongside expensively R&D’d innovations from major manufacturers and products developed by small independent practitioners as a solution to a long-term vocational frustration.
The dolly, for one, has been improved, enhanced and tweaked countless times. Some have seats. Some don’t. Some have three legs, some four. The Wally Dolly is good for uneven surfaces for example. The Spider Dolly has floating wheels and can ride on rubber track while the Indie Dolly has a pretty much silent motion and the Microdolly is famed for its quick set-up. And so on.
Which reminds me. As an aside, it is worth noting that camera support and the world of grip often uses the most ridiculous names for its bits of kit. I’m going to list some for you. Are you sitting comfortably?
Cheese plates, Low Boys, Spigots, The Elemack Spyder (aka The Octopus), Apple Boxes, Half Apples, Pancakes, C-Clamps, Baby Pins, Bazookas, Vibration Isolators, Scrims, Mufflers and my own personal favourite the Rolling Beefy Baby.
I haven’t made any of these up. They are all real. Admittedly, some of these things are lighting related (and only the US includes lighting under the heading of 'grip') but you get the idea. Don’t be surprised if they turn up as a question on BBC comedy quiz QI at some point.
Silly naming conventions aside, where is camera support in 2013? Good question.
Here are eleven recent advances that caught my eye:
Zip Shooter – portable surface dolly
Serving as a linear dolly, a curved dolly or an under-sling dolly this tiny wheeled device can hold an iPhone, a DSLR or other camera up to 20lbs in weight and fits in a shoulder bag. The development of ZipShooter was crowd-funded through Kickstarter.

Miller Skyline 70 - levelling fluid head
Developed specifically for lightweight sports, field production and OB rigs this leveling fluid head uses a brand new counterbalance system that provides eight positions of adjustment to enable payloads from 10lbs (4.5kg) to 83lbs (37.5kg) at 125mm C of G (Centre of Gravity) to achieve “perfect balance”.
Dougmon - handheld camera-support system
Developed by camera operator Doug Monroe, the Dougmon reduces wrist and arm fatigue while still allowing smooth, steady shots with DSLRs and small video cameras (up to 5.5 lbs). Unlike shoulder rigs it allows cameras to go wherever your arm can go by utilizing an adjustable friction ball head system centered in the palm of the hand.
Spirit – underwater dolly
Created by Deep Vision, Spirit is a robotic motion control underwater dolly. It can store positions, velocity, acceleration and deceleration using a motion-memory digital remote, negating the need for a manual operator.
Vinten blue5 – fluid head
The Vision blue5 pan and tilt head and tripod system has a higher carrying capacity of 12lbs (5.5kg) to 26lbs (12kg) than the original blue system, making it suitable for larger professional cameras. Also features LF drag technology to enable improved control of the camera at any level of movement.
L’il Mule – motion control dolly
Another innovation brought to market via Kickstarter, the L’il Mule is a motorized trackless dolly developed by Warren Herndon, the man behind the Omni-Tracker video dolly. It can handle a Red Epic and is designed for creating arced or linear camera moves when shooting time lapse or video.

Betz-tools Universal Camera Shoulder Support
A "QuickLock" plate, the Betz-tools Universal Camera Shoulder Support allows the user to safely and speedily change from handheld camera operation to tripod or Steadicam.

Cartoni Jibo – lightweight jib
A portable three-section jib, the Cartoni Jibo can carry up to 33lbs (15kg) and fits into a lightweight wheeled case. Its developers say that it can be put together or taken apart in under three minutes.
Movietech Scooter Dolly
The Scooter Dolly supports high-end cameras (up to the Arri Alexa) over narrow-gauge tracks made of specially profiled, extruded aluminium. Its key selling point is that it allows the user to easily switch between different cameras.
Libec LX10
Debuted at BVE, the LX10 is a 100mm ball tripod with a maximum payload of 35lbs (16kg). Its USP is that it is 13cm (five inches) taller than its predecessor while retaining its rigidity.

Intel-A-Jib Lite
A successor to the Intel-A-Jib, Matthews Studio Equipment’s Intel-A-Jib Lite is for cameras that weight up to 20lbs (9kg). It has been developed for small spaces and remote places that other jibs cannot reach (and carry weight becomes a factor).
Polecam Starter Pack: PSP
The Polecam system uses Carbon Fibre tubes that slot together to create a reach from 1.5m (5’) to 8m (26’). Whether you want to shoot from the back of a car, on a boat or the edge of a Mountain, the Polecam System gets into tight spots where a traditional crane would be out of the question.
The list goes on.
Granted none of these inventions are likely to win a Nobel Prize. But in their own small way these tweaks and advances (combined with chalk, wood and spirit levels) are between them helping to ensure that camera support technology keeps moving forward (and backwards, and up, and down, and…)

Tags: iss074 | will strauss | grip | camera | tripods | review | guide | buying | libec LX10 | Betz-tools universal shoulder support | vinten blue5 | spirit underwater dolly | dougmon | cartoni jibo | zip shooter | movietech scooter dolly | polecam starter pack | miller skyline 70 | lil mule | review | Will Strauss#
Contributing Author Will Strauss#

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  • ERA - Cloud Services - at BVE 2015

    ERA - Cloud Services - at BVE 2015

  • PhotonBeard - HMI Blonde - at BVE 2015

    PhotonBeard - HMI Blonde - at BVE 2015

  • TMD at BVE 2015

    TMD at BVE 2015

  • Glensound at BVE 2015

    Glensound at BVE 2015

  • Portaprompt at BVE 2015

    Portaprompt at BVE 2015

  • AVIWEST at BVE 2015

    AVIWEST at BVE 2015

  • Tiger Technology at BVE 2015

    Tiger Technology at BVE 2015

  • Guntermann and Drunck at BVE 2015

    Guntermann and Drunck at BVE 2015

  • PhotonBeard - LED Redhead - at BVE 2015

    PhotonBeard - LED Redhead - at BVE 2015

  • ERA - Adobe Anywhere - at BVE 2015

    ERA - Adobe Anywhere - at BVE 2015

  • Brainstorm Multimedia at BVE 2015

    Brainstorm Multimedia at BVE 2015

  • BeyondHD - Exoskeleton - at BVE 2015

    BeyondHD - Exoskeleton - at BVE 2015

  • EditShare at BVE 2015

    EditShare at BVE 2015

  • Cavena Image Products at BVE 2015

    Cavena Image Products at BVE 2015

  • Autocue at BVE 2015

    Autocue at BVE 2015

  • NETIA at BVE 2015

    NETIA at BVE 2015

  • Movidiam at BVE 2015

    Movidiam at BVE 2015

  • AntonBauer at BVE 2015

    AntonBauer at BVE 2015

  • Rosco at BVE 2015

    Rosco at BVE 2015

  • PlayBox at BVE 2015

    PlayBox at BVE 2015

  • NUGEN Audio at BVE 2015

    NUGEN Audio at BVE 2015

  • Philip Blooms recommendations at IBC 2014

    Philip Blooms recommendations at IBC 2014

  • Polecam Antelope Pico at IBC 2014

    Polecam Antelope Pico at IBC 2014

  • BroadStream ARMADA at IBC 2014

    BroadStream ARMADA at IBC 2014

  • BroadStream OASYS at IBC 2014

    BroadStream OASYS at IBC 2014

  • BroadStream CURRENT at IBC 2014

    BroadStream CURRENT at IBC 2014

  • BroadStream HARBOR at IBC 2014

    BroadStream HARBOR at IBC 2014

  • Panasonic show VariCam at IBC 2014

    Panasonic show VariCam at IBC 2014

  • Thomson Broadcast at IBC 2014

    Thomson Broadcast at IBC 2014

  • Dalet at IBC 2014

    Dalet at IBC 2014

  • Glensound Dante at IBC 2014

    Glensound Dante at IBC 2014

  • Tedial at IBC 2014

    Tedial at IBC 2014

  • NOA Archive Solutions at IBC 2014

    NOA Archive Solutions at IBC 2014

  • Phabrix RX series at IBC 2014

    Phabrix RX series at IBC 2014

  • Forscene at IBC 2014

    Forscene at IBC 2014

  • RTW at IBC 2014

    RTW at IBC 2014

  • Tektronix at IBC 2014

    Tektronix at IBC 2014

  • Clear-Com LinQ at IBC 2014

    Clear-Com LinQ at IBC 2014

  • Clear-Com FreeSpeak II at IBC 2014

    Clear-Com FreeSpeak II at IBC 2014

  • Ross Video Acuity at IBC 2014

    Ross Video Acuity at IBC 2014

  • openTruck from Ross Video at IBC 2014

    openTruck from Ross Video at IBC 2014

  • WohlerGateway at IBC 2014

    WohlerGateway at IBC 2014

  • Wohler MPEG Monitoring Series at IBC 2014

    Wohler MPEG Monitoring Series at IBC 2014

  • Hive Lighting Wasp Plasma Par at IBC 2014

    Hive Lighting Wasp Plasma Par at IBC 2014

  • Cooke Optics technology at IBC 2014

    Cooke Optics technology at IBC 2014

  • Cooke Optics talk anamorphic at IBC 2014

    Cooke Optics talk anamorphic at IBC 2014

  • Photon Beard Platinum Blonde at IBC 2014

    Photon Beard Platinum Blonde at IBC 2014

  • Photon Beard Photon Beam at IBC 2014

    Photon Beard Photon Beam at IBC 2014

  • Dejeros products at IBC 2014

    Dejeros products at IBC 2014

  • Zylight Fresnel updates at IBC 2014

    Zylight Fresnel updates at IBC 2014

  • Pronology at IBC 2014

    Pronology at IBC 2014

  • TMD summarises their work this year at IBC 2014

    TMD summarises their work this year at IBC 2014

  • Thomson Video Networks at IBC 2014

    Thomson Video Networks at IBC 2014

  • BBright at IBC 2014

    BBright at IBC 2014

  • WORK Microwave at IBC 2014

    WORK Microwave at IBC 2014

  • EBS at IBC 2014

    EBS at IBC 2014

  • Visual Unity at IBC 2014

    Visual Unity at IBC 2014

  • Gearhouse Broadcast OBLite at IBC 2014

    Gearhouse Broadcast OBLite at IBC 2014

  • KITPLUS at IBC 2014

    KITPLUS at IBC 2014

  • Comigo at IBC 2014

    Comigo at IBC 2014

  • AVIWEST at IBC 2014

    AVIWEST at IBC 2014

  • Viaccess-Orca at IBC 2014

    Viaccess-Orca at IBC 2014

  • Harmonic at IBC 2014

    Harmonic at IBC 2014

  • Guntermann and Drunck DP-HR range at IBC 2014

    Guntermann and Drunck DP-HR range at IBC 2014

  • Ateme at IBC 2014

    Ateme at IBC 2014

  • SIS LIVE ManPak and LoStow at IBC 2014

    SIS LIVE ManPak and LoStow at IBC 2014

  • Cobham satellite EXPLORER products at IBC 2014

    Cobham satellite EXPLORER products at IBC 2014

  • Cobham new receiver at IBC 2014

    Cobham new receiver at IBC 2014

  • Fibrenetix with StorageDNA at IBC 2014

    Fibrenetix with StorageDNA at IBC 2014

  • Cinegy at IBC 2014

    Cinegy at IBC 2014

  • Quantel LiveTouch at IBC 2014

    Quantel LiveTouch at IBC 2014

  • Quantel deal with AFP at IBC 2014

    Quantel deal with AFP at IBC 2014

  • Front Porch Digital at IBC 2014

    Front Porch Digital at IBC 2014

  • TMD Mediaflex at IBC 2014

    TMD Mediaflex at IBC 2014

  • TMD at IBC 2014

    TMD at IBC 2014

  • Pixel Power Buzz at IBC 2014

    Pixel Power Buzz at IBC 2014

  • Matrox at IBC 2014

    Matrox at IBC 2014

  • Blackmagic MultiView at IBC 2014

    Blackmagic MultiView at IBC 2014

  • Snell Kahuna Production Switcher at IBC 2014

    Snell Kahuna Production Switcher at IBC 2014

  • Telestream Wirecast and Switch at IBC 2014

    Telestream Wirecast and Switch at IBC 2014

  • Telestream Vantage support for DPP at IBC 2014

    Telestream Vantage support for DPP at IBC 2014

  • Facilis at IBC 2014

    Facilis at IBC 2014

  • Fibrenetix with Quadrus at IBC 2014

    Fibrenetix with Quadrus at IBC 2014

  • Sonnet Technologies Thunderbolt Chassis at IBC 2014

    Sonnet Technologies Thunderbolt Chassis at IBC 2014

  • Volicon Products at IBC 2014

    Volicon Products at IBC 2014

  • Volicon at IBC 2014

    Volicon at IBC 2014

  • Blackmagic and Fusion at IBC 2014

    Blackmagic and Fusion at IBC 2014

  • Metus at IBC 2014

    Metus at IBC 2014

  • ChyronHego Metacast at IBC 2014

    ChyronHego Metacast at IBC 2014

  • ChyronHego Lyric PRO at IBC 2014

    ChyronHego Lyric PRO at IBC 2014

  • Tally Technologies at BVE 2014

    Tally Technologies at BVE 2014

  • Autoscript at IBC2011

    Autoscript at IBC2011

  • Guided Tour of the Polecam Stand at BVE 2016

    Guided Tour of the Polecam Stand at BVE 2016

  • Guided tour of the Global Distribution Stand at BVE 2016

    Guided tour of the Global Distribution Stand at BVE 2016

  • Guided tour of the Holdan Stand at BVE 2016

    Guided tour of the Holdan Stand at BVE 2016

  • TMD talk workflow on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    TMD talk workflow on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Triveni Digital at NAB 2012

    Triveni Digital at NAB 2012

  • Polecam at BVE North 2011

    Polecam at BVE North 2011


Related Shows
  • PTZ Cameras at BVE

    PTZ Cameras at BVE


Articles
The Biggest Toy Shop in the World
Emma Morrison When Nigel Woodford started his career at BBC Wood Norton in 1962, television was black and white and BBC Two had not yet been launched. In 2018 Nigel will retire, and Richmond Film Services, the pro-audio equipment rental company set up by Nigel in 1973, can count numerous contributions to iconic moments in British cultural, sporting and film history over this time.
Tags: iss133 | richmond film services | audio rental | auction | liquidity | go-dove | Emma Morrison
Contributing Author Emma Morrison Click to read or download PDF
OB999 Accelerates Hill Climb Broadcast
Nick Collier Over the last century, The Shelsley Walsh Speed Hill Climb has been attempted by some of the world’s most accomplished racing drivers striving to be the fastest up the 1,000 yard, 1 in 6 gradient track.
Tags: iss133 | ob999 | blackmagic | atem | multicam | videohub | cleanswitch | premiere pro | hyperdeck | Nick Collier
Contributing Author Nick Collier Click to read or download PDF
IBC in a post Brexit world
Peter Savage 2 Cast your mind forward and we are not in 2018 but next year and, yes, it’s you and me walking to the departure lounge to catch the plane to IBC just as I, and perhaps also you, have done for the last 25 years. (By the way, where is my long service award – and perhaps a new pair of shoes as I must, surely, have walked the equivalent of five Caminos covering the 12 halls in the Rai). We are at the gate and my imagination kicks in as I hypothesize on what the trip might look like next year. I leave it to you to decide which is closest to what might be to come.
Tags: iss133 | azule | brexit | ibc | finance | Peter Savage 2
Contributing Author Peter Savage 2 Click to read or download PDF
Ruth Matos Interview - A Career Unfolds
Ruth Matos We first met Ruth when we employed her as a student to help with our live studio at BVE in 2013. We were struck by her determination, passion and ‘I’ll do anything to help’ attitude. We became friends of Facebook and have since seen her career in the industry develop and unfold. We thought it was about time to catch up and share her inspiring story of where she is now, how she got there and the challenges she has faced along the way.
Tags: iss133 | interview | filmming | career | education | Ruth Matos
Contributing Author Ruth Matos Click to read or download PDF
Live audio contribution over wireless networks
Pablo Rodrigues Altmann Wireless “live” contribution from anywhere at any time, this is the ultimate goal for most news reporters. The old favorite of using ISDN is becoming harder and much more expensive to access easily. Today most of us use wireless daily, in particular Wifi and HSPA/LTE 4G networks. These are now mature technologies and widely used for many applications in the home and whilst out and about. However there are still some professionals who prefer to persevere with the traditional, costly and limited ISDN communication technology before jumping into the wireless era.
Tags: iss133 | adrl | wireless audio | isdn | cellular audio | Pablo Rodrigues Altmann
Contributing Author Pablo Rodrigues Altmann Click to read or download PDF