Welcome the first of many gear reviews.My background is corporate training films, Short films with mates, DIY gear building and spending too much money on unnecessary expensive bespoke gear.
Cranes or Jibs are used for obvious purposes but can also be useful for giving an organic feel to your corporate PTC shoot. My very good friend and Gaffer, Colin ‘Willy’ Williams once told me to ‘get the camera off the sticks, the shot looks stale’ so I tried a dollie but found that that caused too much tracking movement and required a focus puller so I looked into using my Glidecam HD400 but that was no good, especially when you’re trying to hold a 7d and a teleprompter for any length of time, so I thought why not use a jib to give some mild movement that keeps the audience engaged but doesn’t make them feel sick.
The other advantage I found was that with some clients being on camera for the first time we (the crew) were able to sit way back and allow them the space they needed. I mean no one likes cameras, lights and crew all staring at you, especially when you’ve never been on camera before.
These 2 units were both a good size, length and weight and similarly priced at $739 and $895 but very different in design.
The Protog version (Varavon MiniJIB T2) had the tripod mount and camera mount located on the side in an L shape design and was able to be tilted via the tripod fluid head.
The Dragon Image version (G-Ka DV Jib) had it’s mount directly over the centre of the tripod and the camera was the same with a bowl mount for a tripod head.
My concern with Protog’s jib is that it’s mount is similar to the Kesller crane KC-lite which I used recently on a corporate shoot with my Canon 7D and Telepromter. I found the L shaped mount tended to twist and make my shot skewed. I’d tried beforehand to make my own jib from Bunnings parts but found the same issue.
I think the G-Ka DV Jib would work a lot better by eliminating the skewing of your frame.
The G-Ka DV Jib has it’s limitations such as only a bowl and no camera mount, no tilt adjustment and appears better built but heavier than the Protog Jib.
I think I’d rather use the G-Ka DV Jib over the Protog simply because I don’t want to have skewing issues eating into my shoot time especially when my clients are the ones in front of the camera and aren’t familiar with the film process and get quite anxious quite quickly if no shooting is happening.
For the jobs that I do it’s all about get in and get out but being prepared for the unexpected. On my last shoot along with my skew issues and us (the crew) all running around trying fix it, the client’s product consultant hadn’t reviewed the autocue script and wanted to change it on shoot day adding to my stress as the producer but hey, that’s the world of corporate filmmaking so it’s very important to ensure that all your gear works well before the shoot.
HIRE or BUY
This is where the question comes in. hire a Jib or buy one. The KC lite was $66 to hire from Lemac or $800 to buy. I hire a lot of my gear but when it comes to supports and rigs I’ve been stung with dodgy dollies and skewing Jibs so I would say that buying a jib at the Protog and Dragon Image prices would be a good choice, you could simply grab 4 mates which works out to be $200 each for a solid piece of kit that benefits everyone and ensures the client is going to get a great finished product with very little post production nightmares for your editor/you.
So I think I’ve just persuaded myself to buy one…just need some friends.
Photos supplied by Vidi Chandra – concentriccircles.com.au