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Crane Questions!


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#1 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 06 March 2007 - 07:23 PM

I've got a pretty high budget music video coming up where the camera needs to be 25-30 feet up looking down on someone then continuously crane down and pull back (both slowly) to a medium frontal shot.
Some ?'s:
What are the type of crane/dolly rigs that can accomplish this?
Must this be a remote head or can the camera operator and 1st AC be up there?
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#2 Frank DiBugnara

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Posted 06 March 2007 - 09:53 PM

Well, obviously the Techno comes to mind first:

www.supertechno.com

The advantages is that when you get to the second half of you move, you don't have to physically move the base as far away from the subject. Beware it is often a three-person job (one person booming, one telescoping, and one on crank wheels). Not always easy to get a perfect move coordinating the three people who don't usually work together without much rehersal. You can also put the Techno on a track to get even more lateral movement or to get a super fast tracking shot (when you telescope and move the base on a track in the same direction at the same time).

But that shot can be achieved with a non-telescoping arm on a track:

www.jimmyjib.com

One person can do this move (I did it once....kind of a pain) but it might be better to have one boom and pan tilt, another move the base, and a third rack focus.

Obviously, wide lenses are usually the choice for this shot: move is more dramatic, focus is easier, and you might find that your starting position does not need to be as high as you think it needs to be.
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#3 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 03:04 AM

So when does one use a crane instead of a jib?
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#4 Stephen Williams

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 03:31 AM

But that shot can be achieved with a non-telescoping arm on a track:

www.jimmyjib.com


Hi,

I had a fairly inexperianced crew last week, they were able to use a jimmyjib with arm length from 2-9 meters without any problems.

Stephen
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#5 Michael Nash

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 03:48 AM

I think the distinction between "crane" and "jib" has gotten kind of blurred. You just figure how long you need the arm (boom) to be, what kind of weight it needs to support, and the kind of movement you need. Then you find the tool that allows that. These days remote heads are far more common than cranes with operators sitting atop, at least here in the US.

You might try a triangle jib: http://www.jimmyjib.com/triangle.html

Think about it though; how does a camera start 25-30 feet away from a person and then pull back to a medium? It's more likely that the camera will need to travel a steep arc from 25 feet above to 10 feet in front. I'm not just nit-picking your choice of words; you have to be specific about how the camera exactly needs to move in order to build the right rig.
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#6 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 08:29 AM

The camera will be looking down at the top of his head and lots of other people and then end up in a medium frontal shot of him.
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#7 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 08:33 AM

Maybe he just means that the shot has to end in a medium. The only disadvantage of the Technocrane is its weight; it's a beast. But, hey the DP's not the one pulling it off the truck. On the opposite end of the "beast" spectrum is the Fischer 23 jib. I don't know if that's exactly the right model number; basically it Fischer's "Jib in a Box." All the parts come in a big rolling case, complete w/ fairly sensible instructions, and it fits on to a Fisher 10 dolly. It's a really nice piece of equipment.

On the other hand, I get the sense that you want to eliminate the arc of the crane both in coming down, and swinging back. With a fixed length arm, you would have to crane down in line w/ the track and then pull back. The Techno will give you more options w/ swinging the arm.

Bon Chance!
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#8 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 08:44 AM

We need to go about 25-30 ft. high in several locations quickly.
Is there a truck mounted system that can do this?
I've heard about the Shotmaker, anyone?
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#9 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 10:15 AM

Chapman has both vehicle mounted cranes and telescoping cranes, as well as fixed length cranes with their own base. But doing a slow move with the vehicle mounted crane would probably be pretty tough. You say you need to be 30 feet high....that's pretty high. A Jimmy Jib only gets like 36 feet long, so it won't be 30 feet high since it doesn't go straight up. A Strada crane has plenty of height (it's 100 feet long), but is probably too big and long for what you need. A Lenny II arm goes to about 40 feet I think, so it may be high enough, but it takes a little while to build. Actually, I think you're going to have a tough time finding a crane that's long enough for what you need, but quick enough to build and break down to be able to move from one location to the next quickly. I think your best bet is a SuperTechno since it travels basically in one piece, except for the remote head. It's probably the most expensive, but it may be the only crane that does what you need. I think there is a techno that is 50 feet, which should work height wise for you. I think most techno's only go out with a tech, and you'll have a remote gear head from which to operate, so make sure you're good with the wheels if you're going to get this crane. I don't think there is any kind of joystick or any other way to operate it besides wheels.
I hope that's helpful.
Good luck.
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#10 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 10:24 AM

Thanks a bunch Brad! In terms of trucks like the Shotmaker what do you figure the maximum height would be. I supposed if I had a bit less height I could go with a shorter focal length but I have to think about the end mid shot and I want to stick with primes on this.
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#11 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 01:52 PM

How do you propose to several crane shots in different locations "quickly?" Are the locations close enough so you can roll the crane? If not, the Chapman Titan is probably the quickest big crane around. Balancing it is just a question of flipping a switch. Isn't 25' awfully high, anyway? I've always been surprised by the apparent hieght of relatively short arms.
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#12 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 07:18 PM

Thanks a bunch Brad! In terms of trucks like the Shotmaker what do you figure the maximum height would be.

The shotmaker is just a camera car. You can put a crane on it, but it's a whole new set of rigging challenges. I doubt it would be fast. If you really wanted to, you could probably get a techno and put it on a camera car, or flatbed truck, for easy transport and just park the truck where you need it and shoot from off of the back of it. That actually might work really well. In theory you would just have to set the crane up once at the beginning of the day and take the camera off when you move the crane to the next location. Also, the height of the platform (for example, a flatbed) would be raised and you would get more height that way. I've used a techno off the back of a flatbed before and it worked quite well, but that was for driving shots, not stationary. Stationary should be easier in theory.
Shotmaker is a company based in Los Angeles, so if you're shooting somewhere else it may be prohibitively expensive.
Of course, all of this depends on your locations. If you can't physically drive the truck to the spot you need it, then you're stuck, but if you can, the techno/flatbed combo may be a good solution.
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#13 Daniel Madsen

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 08:22 AM

If you can't physically drive the truck to the spot you need it, then you're stuck, but if you can, the techno/flatbed combo may be a good solution.


Shotmaker has camera cars that accept the technocrane.


Premier Plus Camera Cars
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#14 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 12:58 PM

Thank you all for the input. The project will be shot in New York, an import detail I neglected to mention when posting originally.
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#15 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 03:20 PM

Well, there is definitely a titan, and a few techno's here. New York is very busy, though; reserve early!
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#16 Michael Collier

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 03:29 PM

theres a lot of talk about techno-cranes or fixed arms with moving bases....it could be because my low budgets prevent me from getting anything bigger than a 10ft arm with no possibility of base movement, but couldn't you line the base up 90degrees to the persons face (so if theyre looking at their mark, the base would be far left or far right)

then you can boom down while panning the crane and using a remote head to compensate. there would be a small sign of the cranes arc in there, but with the right length, it could start the shot off directly overhead and end with them framed looking just off camera, since the arc would pull the cameras angle to the base side. I hope that makes sense.

I don't know what your going for, just an idea. Its what I would do given my low budgets and low gear availibility where I am at. The base wouldn't move and you can use a fairly cheap crane with a good remote head. Might be easier to work with too.
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#17 Michael Nash

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 05:34 PM

but couldn't you line the base up 90degrees to the persons face (so if theyre looking at their mark, the base would be far left or far right)

then you can boom down while panning the crane and using a remote head to compensate. there would be a small sign of the cranes arc in there, but with the right length, it could start the shot off directly overhead and end with them framed looking just off camera, since the arc would pull the cameras angle to the base side.


That's generally the way it's done. And the longer the arm, the less visible arc there is when it swings. But you have to have a space big enough to put the jib in that orientation, and make sure there are no shadow problems.
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#18 Evan Pierre

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 11:48 PM

Does it really need to be 35 feet up? That is REALLY high!!!

maybe you could get away with 20 neh? :blink:
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#19 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 05:00 AM

Any contact suggestions for technocranes on a truck in New York?
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#20 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 06:39 AM

Any contact suggestions for technocranes on a truck in New York?

I believe Panavision has them. I'd talk to your Key Grip first before deciding on which truck to get.
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