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Phil holding the preview monitor as I operate the crane

This has been the month of movie tools!  First we were using the Steadicam, and over the weekend, we wrapped up with two days of shooting with the Eazyjib crane.

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Rabbit and Phil the Intern dial in the counter weights

Fridays shoot day was focused on shooting “B” roll for our on going film series Called Investigator Profiles for our client The Research Lab of Electronics.

Investigator Profile Series for RLE

Investigator Profile Series for RLE

We were using the Eazyjib, which is a simple counter weighted light duty film crane.  The crane is split into three basic parts.  The head, the arm, and the tripod.   This system is fairly easy to break down and move around from scene to scene with two or three people.

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Rabbit runs cables for the video feed

The key to make the system really mobile is the Magliner cart by Filmtools.  This allows us to roll all our gear, and lay the arm of the crane across the top so we can roll from shot to shot.

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Operating the camea movements is very easy

In a nutshell, you put the camera on one end, and use regular plate weights on the other end in order to counter balance the weight of the camera and head.

On Friday, Rabbit and I had the help of Phil the intern.  His help really made the day go smoothly.  Thanks Phil!  (Phil is almost finished with his semester.  We will miss his help when he is done!)

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The crane allows for some really cool camera movement

There are of course some down sides to using this crane.  The biggest problem is that the head is not gimbeld so the camera does not lock on to a target and pan with the crane movement.  This makes it pretty much usless if you want to shoot a close-up, and limits you to wide shots.  For us, this wanst really a problem becuase we were just shooting “B” roll.  It did what we needed it to do.  Furthermore, it is a perfect economical solution.  The crane is inexpensive to rent, and gives budget minded projects the ability to have a different look/feel.

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Magliner cart by Filmtools

The second downside to the crane is the way the monitor is positioned.  In a perfect world, the monitor (an LCD) is hard mounted to the operating end.  What this means is that as you operate a full camera movement from low to high, or vise versa, you loose the ability to see the screen and watch your shot.  For this reason, when we use this crane, I always have an assistant hold the monitor and constantly point it at me so I can watch the full movement.

It is a pain, but again, for the price of the crane, it is worth the headache.

Rabbit is going to cut together a couple of clips from the day when he gets a second so you can check out the look.

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Packed and ready to roll

You can read the last post on using the crane here.

Below you can watch some past crane footage along with some time lapse.

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