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Lightweight Crane


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#1 James Ewen

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 07:28 AM

I need a lightweight crane for a job overseas. It should be light enough to be carried by 1 or max 2 people into remote locations on foot. It should have a long reach. It should have a cable driven hothead (not big batteries) and it should be able to take an F900 rig.

Any ideas out there? The ABC 100 is good but is heavy to transport, the Microdolly also looks good, has anyone ever used their cable driven powerhead.

Thanks in advance,

James
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#2 Daniel Wallens

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 04:36 PM

It should have a long reach.


This is not specific. A "long reach" varies depending on who you talk to and the application it is needed for.

Also, the longer the reach, the more metal there is, and the heavier the whole system is going to be to transport. Hence your problem with the ABC jib.

That being said, check out the jib options from EZFX, with their MC100 head. It can be built in different configurations, has an optional extension kit, and is EXTREMELY easy to put together. You can get the whole thing with the remote head for under 5K, I believe.


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#3 Michael Collier

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 09:29 PM

well your first problem will be what the ratio is on the jib in question. If its a short jib with a 1:2 weight ratio, then your carrying maybe 60lbs of lead to ballance it. If the jib has a 12:1 then your looking at something like 360lbs. Without even considering the weight of the jib.

How big do you need, because thats going to determine what ratio jibs are available to you.
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#4 James Ewen

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 01:24 AM

I was not specific enough. I want something with a minimum 12' reach but as stated, the bigger it is the heavier it is. Previously for me 'ballast' was not normally an issue with the smaller jibs (Losmandy, Camcrane 200), I tend to fill canvas bags on site with sand, earth, rocks, whatever is there... obviously when you are talking about ABC cranes and 360lbs it's much harder. Now I need something longer, this is why the Microdolly kit looks good as it can be configured with a weight cage on the back end.

I will have a look at the EZFX jib, if it takes the payload then it could certainly be an option.

Thanks
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#5 Jake Kerber

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 11:49 AM

James, I took the Microdolly around the world for about six months. We were working in extreme heat, humidity and cold; sand, dirt, mud, etc.--it held up extremely well.

As you know, balancing using the crate is ideal for remote locations. My A.C. became extremely accurate at predicting the proper amount of sand and/or rocks to use. The bag that is included in the kit ripped pretty early on (that's the only piece in the kit that failed), so we substituted it with a dry bag, which was bomber the entire shoot.

If you plan on using the jib with standard sticks or legs, make sure they are a beefy set.

I hadn't used a cable driven head before this jib. Obviously it's not the best compared to a Power Pod, Scorpio or other fully remote electronic head, but it got the job done. We weren't doing extremely complex shots with it. It looks like the new head that Microdolly sends out now has a power option.
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#6 Bob Hayes

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 09:35 PM

I think you have set some pretty tough goals for yourself. I have a Losmandy Porta Jib with an extension and it reaches out about 9’ add the height of the legs and you have 12’. And it sounds like you have worked with it before. I have a remote head and you need one to get that high. You could probably break the unassembled crane into two separate packages that two people could carry. Then you have the sticks which need to be heavy duty and the head. That is a third person. Then you are stuck with the need to load rocks in a basket to counter balance it. I think I’m throwing 250 lbs to counter balance an F900. That’s a lot of rocks. If you find a lighter more portable system I’d love to hear it.
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#7 James Ewen

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 12:02 PM

Thanks Bob and Jake,

Jake what rig were you using on the Microdolly cable head? Could you use the cable drive with a F900/HJ11 combination? I guess this is around 17lbs/8kgs.

James
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#8 Jake Kerber

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 01:58 PM

I was using a Varicam stripped down as much as possible--no viewfinder, no down convertor, used an extra AB plate with extension cables to power camera (so battery was not on camera), no matte box if possible, etc.

They rate the head at having a 45lb capacity. This might be true, but I think the performance and precision of the head diminishes as you near
that limit. I'd keep your camera as light as possible.

-----------------------
Michael Jacob Kerber
D.P. / L.A.
mjkerber.com
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