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Getting to grip with it Tracking Systems Stabilizers Jibs & Cranes A stabilizer is a device that allows you to get true floating shots whilst moving with a camera and the most well-known brand in this field is Steadicam. The Steadicam stabilizing systems now range from full size professional body rigs right down to iPhone Steadicams with the price varying considerably depending upon the model you are looking at. Certainly if you are at the professional level with a budget that would facilitate a full steadicam rig then they are a great option but if you are working with a more modest budget there is still plenty of choice available. There are another couple of US based companies that offer stabilizer systems but if you want something a bit closer to home Hague Camera Supports have over the last 10 years become one of the leading brands worldwide for handheld units. They have a few different stabilizers available for different size camera set-ups and certainly their most popular stabilizer has, for many years, been one of the best selling stabilizers around. The most important thing to do before you start shopping for a stabilizer is to get your camera set-up how you are planning to use it, which usually involves a wide-angle lens plus other accessories, and then check the total weight. All stabilizers have a specific weight range that they are suitable for and it is the total weight of your camera setup when fully loaded, not just the camera weight in the manual, which is the important factor to choosing the correct model. Arguably the piece of equipment that will give you the greatest range of movement is a camera jib. Also known as Cranes and Booms these wonderful pieces of equipment allow you to get a vast range of movement including the high crane type shots. When you talk to someone about jibs the natural thought seems to be achieving great height, which is of course possible with certain systems, but it is not all they offer. Smaller jibs and cranes are available which allow you to get smooth movement in more confined spaces, such as an office location, whilst still providing that range of movement. Other jibs are designed to be lightweight and are ideal for taking to more remote shoots and there is the opportunity to customise certain cranes with remote controlled power heads depending upon the set-up you desire. In the UK companies like Hague Camera Supports and Polecam offer a great variety of systems starting from as little as a few hundred pounds through to a few thousand so have a look and see what would meet your requirements and budget best. Having mentioned sliders earlier we will discuss the more conventional tracking systems here. Tracking systems come in several forms from a ride on type system where the cameraman is pulled along whilst concentrating entirely on the shot to small table top dollies which are controlled as you move with them. When trying to buy a tracking system it is important to identify the shots you are looking to achieve and then match that to the most appropriate system. Systems available in the UK now include ride on tracking systems, tripod tracking dollies, table top dollies, mini dollies as well as more mind expanding systems like the Hague Ladder Dolly which will run on a standard ladder. This intriguing bit of kit breaks down smaller enough to fit in your suitcase and with ladders readily available worldwide can easily be taken abroad. Using a ladder supported at each end also allows you to go across uneven or rough terrain. Shoulder Supports There are now so many different shoulder supports and rigs available it is like a minefield of different options. There are so many rigs and supports from different manufacturers such as Zacuto, Manfrotto, Genus, Hague Camera Supports, Redrock and Cambo, to name a few, that I would really suggest deciding what it is you want to do before you start looking. If you want a full DSLR rig with a follow focus type set-up look at those rigs but if you only need a simple shoulder support for your camera I wouldn’t over complicate things. www.cameragrip.co.uk www.haguecamerasupports.com 68 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE TV-BAY074FEB13.indd 68 11/02/2013 16:54