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Autopoles - worth owning?


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#1 JD Hartman

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 02:16 PM

I've been seeing a lot of used Bogen Autopoles for sale. Many of them were probably used for display fixtures and sign holders in retail stores here in the U.S. (Macy's, Sears/Kmart). Before someone repeats the obvious, I know that they are designed be used vertically, they aren't a wall spreader. Does anyone have much experience with using them in interiors to mount fixtures? I was thinking that in many locations, they would be less obtrusive than a stand (no legs to hide) and two of them, with some speedrail would make a quick temporary lighting truss.
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#2 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 02:27 PM

I believe these are the same products that Arri rebrands and sells. They're pretty well made, but I wouldn't put anything larger than a 1k on them, particularly the longer poles.
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#3 Walter Graff

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 03:51 PM

I use them all the time both professionally, in teaching, and in my educational videos for everything from hanging lights to green screen backgrounds. Owning two is certainly worth it if you want an easy way of doing set ups. You can use them horizontally but of course not with an incredible amount of weight for safety reasons. I often use them to make grids in bathroom/dining room scenarios where space is small. No simpler way to hang a green screen.
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#4 Patrick Nuse

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 04:54 AM

I've been seeing a lot of used Bogen Autopoles for sale. Many of them were probably used for display fixtures and sign holders in retail stores here in the U.S. (Macy's, Sears/Kmart). Before someone repeats the obvious, I know that they are designed be used vertically, they aren't a wall spreader. Does anyone have much experience with using them in interiors to mount fixtures? I was thinking that in many locations, they would be less obtrusive than a stand (no legs to hide) and two of them, with some speedrail would make a quick temporary lighting truss.

I got one to light a small room that had no room for stands. wedged between opposing walls. Just be shure to use a stud finder though!
I last used it to suspend a pinata in my livingroom for my neighbors daughters B-day. she beat the crap out of it and it held up just fine.
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#5 David Auner aac

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 05:10 AM

Does anyone have much experience with using them in interiors to mount fixtures? I was thinking that in many locations, they would be less obtrusive than a stand (no legs to hide) and two of them, with some speedrail would make a quick temporary lighting truss.


We used poles quite extensively when shooting a reality TV show in people's flats. It much easier to maneuver around a single vertical pole in a tiny bathroom than it is to move around even a small tripod. The tripod soon becomes a trippod. The lights we used were small Lowel Omnis & Totas, but I also used one to mount a 1k redhead. And it held up nicely. When you use the horizontally I think it's more of a gamble. What I did here was to wedge the pole in over 2 door frame which were used as additional support to prevent the whole from sliding down.
I'm planning on adding one or two to my current WIP light equipment. A friend once told me that some hardware store sells a type of pole very similar to those sold by Manfrotto but at a fraction of the price. I forget the brand name, but I could always ask him.

Cheers, Dave
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#6 Rupe Whiteman

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 07:21 AM

... I'd say they were a pretty essential part of any location/doco kit. 'Very useful for hanging smaller lights and backdrops too. I've used them to carry heavier units but always with a good upright stand at either end. It's so useful to be able to hang a light/bounce a light from above and out of the way of the camera/subject...
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#7 JD Hartman

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 01:09 PM

I believe these are the same products that Arri rebrands and sells. They're pretty well made, but I wouldn't put anything larger than a 1k on them, particularly the longer poles.



Curious, why wouldn't you put anything larger than a 1k on them? When used as designed, vertically, most of the weight is carried in a downward direction, very little stress horizontally. As I had stated in my post, they aren't "wall spreaders" and are supposed to be used vertically. But commen sense would dictate that, in any location, you attempt to position it between a ceiling joist and the floor and/or use a piece or cribbing to distribute the stress on the plaster/sheetrock, to prevent its cracking. Just as you (should) use cribbing with a wall spreader.
Yes, these are made by Manfrotto, sold under the Bogen brand here in the states.
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#8 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 02:00 PM

Vertically, yes, they'll take a lot more weight. But most people use them horizontally in my experience, and it was that usage I was referring to. I should have been more clear....
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#9 Ryan Barton-Grimley

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 09:59 PM

Curious, why wouldn't you put anything larger than a 1k on them? When used as designed, vertically, most of the weight is carried in a downward direction, very little stress horizontally. As I had stated in my post, they aren't "wall spreaders" and are supposed to be used vertically. But commen sense would dictate that, in any location, you attempt to position it between a ceiling joist and the floor and/or use a piece or cribbing to distribute the stress on the plaster/sheetrock, to prevent its cracking. Just as you (should) use cribbing with a wall spreader.
Yes, these are made by Manfrotto, sold under the Bogen brand here in the states.


With a heavier fixture, the clamp will usually impact the actual pole, being that they're aluminum. And even though the weight is designed to go downward, with the heavier fixtures it seems to go laterally as well making it less stable. I've seena vertically rigged Auto pole with a Leko slip. Thank god nobody got hurt.
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#10 Walter Graff

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 10:15 PM

Curious, why wouldn't you put anything larger than a 1k on them? When used as designed, vertically, most of the weight is carried in a downward direction, very little stress horizontally. As I had stated in my post, they aren't "wall spreaders" and are supposed to be used vertically.


Actually the manufacture lists them as being able to be used both horz and vertically. I use them both as grids for wall to wall and floor to ceiling with great results. But they are rather thin aluminum so putting a lot of weight on them is not a great idea. And it depends on how you clamp to it. I would suggest the maffer type clamps that are flat and coated with rubber which grabs a larger area of the pole. And they actually sell two types, regular and one with a more adjustable tension for stronger grip.
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