2013 NAB Product Review: Camera Support

Logan Steinfeld gives a demonstration of the eMotimo TB3, a 3-axis motion control for video and DSLRs.

Camera support vendors on the NAB Show floor introduced new products for smaller and larger cameras, and made some moves ahead in robotic camera technology. The use of smartphones and tablets continues to grow, both as teleprompter displays and for control purposes.

premiered its Magnum pan-and-tilt head, designed to support fully decked studio and OB cameras equipped with long boxed lenses, 7-inch viewfinder or large teleprompter. The compact head incorporates a patented counterbalance system, as well as an advanced fluid damping module. Payload range is 12–176 pounds.

eMotimo showcased its TB3, a 3-axis pan and tilt motion control head that sits between the tripod and DSLR or video camera. A configurable I/O port means that the TB3 is open source and platform agnostic.

Libec introduced its RSP-850 (floor spreader) and RSP-850M (mid-level spreader) tripod systems. Both are designed for payloads up to 85 pounds, and feature Libec’s fast balancing system and long sliding plate, which allow a camera package to be precisely balanced within a few seconds.

Manfrotto introduced its 500 lightweight pan-and-tilt head, which features a wider platform for HDSLR bodies and a sliding plate designed with enough travel to balance interchangeable lens cameras. It provides smooth shots and precise control for camera payloads up to 11 pounds. It replaces the Manfrotto 701HDV.

Miller Camera Support showed an upgrade to its Solo tripod, the SOLO DV 3-Stage 75mm Carbon Fiber Tripod. It features tubular legs and a spreaderless design that allows low-boy operation at 9 inches, and a maximum height of 73 inches. Also new was the Skyline 70, for payloads 10–82 pounds.

Gregger Jones (L), host of ProductionMeeting.com gets a hands-on look at the Sachtler ACE L tripod system as Tobias Keuthen with Vitec looks on. OConnor presented its fluid head solution for the heaviest camera payloads, the 120EX. With its stepless counterbalance system, in the EX mode, the head can be operated with a camera package of up to 240 pounds. The company also showcased its 1030D and 1030Ds heads with features from its larger heads.

Sachtler introduced the Ace L tripod system, providing a seven-step counterbalance to handle camera payloads from 0–13 pounds, the camera package range for DSLR and small video cameras. The Ace L features Sachtler’s patented SA drag (Synchronized Actuated Drag) damping, with three vertical and three horizontal grades of drag (+0).

Shotoku showcased its SG900 manual pan-and-tilt head, designed to provide vibration-free performance for payloads up to 198 pounds. It incorporates the VISCAM ultimate fluid drag and REULAUX perfect balance system. Also new from Shotoku is the SX-300 pan-and-tilt fluid head for payloads up to 83 pounds.

Vinten introduced the Vision blue3 pan-and-tilt head, designed for camera balances payloads of between 6.6–14.6 pounds. The company also unveiled Vision bluebridge, which extends the payloads on any of the Vision blue series pan-and-tilt heads.

Matthews Studio Equipment
introduced its Intel-A-Jib Lite, which provides a sturdy, lightweight, high-performance jib arm. The beam is built from extruded X-Box aluminum, which offers superior anti-deflection and anti-torsion properties.

Redrock Micro premiered its One Man Crew, a motorized parabolic motion system that keeps the subject centered in the shot and in focus without operator intervention while moving across the track.

introduced iGlide, a lightweight handheld stabilizer designed to allow smooth movement of a smartphone or camcorder weighing up to 14 ounces.

Sachtler showcased its revised artemis Cine HD Pro stabilizer system, which combines the traditional functions of the previous Cine and Cine HD systems with the modern equipment of the artemis EFP HD Special Edition.

Steadicam debuted Steadicam Curve, a stabilizer designed specifically for GoPro Hero cameras. The Curve is compact enough to fit in a back pocket, and weighs half a pound.

Dave Mydlo with Cable 14-TV Hamilton tries out the Vinten Vision blue3 tripod with blueBridge small camera adapter. ROBOTIC EQUIPMENT
Camera Corps demonstrated its Q-Ball HD/SD pan-and-tilt camera system, with a built in 10x optical zoom in a small, 4.5-inch spherical form factor. The company also introduced its new Universal RCP remote control panel, which can control as many as six separate remote cameras.

Ross Video demonstrated its robotic camera products together with its graphics, switchers, robotics and automation technology as a fully integrated virtual studio production and augmented reality system. It showed a new Furio Robo VR-600 robotic head, designed for larger camera payloads. The CamBot line showed its roaming robotic pedestal system.

Shotoku unveiled its VR Dolly Crane System, designed to provide reliable and accurate VR positional information including pan/tilt, zoom, focus and X/Y camera data, without the need for infrared sensors or targets on the ceiling, floors or walls. The company also demonstrated its Gemini Pan Bar Control System (PBCS).

Telemetrics introduced its RCCP-1 Robotic Camera Control Panel, designed to provide a flexible control architecture for a range of networked or standalone camera automation applications.

Vinten Radamec launched the CP4 control solution, designed to provide entry-level robotic camera control. The CP4 control panel has a Windows-based touchscreen user interface. Also new is APS (Absolute Positioning System) technology, which relies on a scanning laser-based measurement system.

Autocue unveiled its iPad Mini and iPad Mini Lite teleprompters, redesigns of its existing iPad and iPad Lite prompters incorporating the iPad Mini.

Autoscript introduced its E.P.I.C. (Enhanced Prompting Information Center), an all-in-one prompter display. By combining the bracketing for both the 17-inch prompting screen and mirror with the 17-inch full HD-SDI On-Air monitor, weight is reduced about 6 pounds.

Listec introduced its PromPTZ teleprompting systems, designed to mount with a camera on a tripod, as well as to a wall in a studio where space is at a premium. It provides versatile mounting options for wall mounting and a 100mm ballhead for tripod mounting.

Mirror Image introduced its new IP-10 tablet teleprompter, a prompter kit that includes a fully adjustable camera and tripod mount. It utilizes a wide-angle trapezoid beamsplitter mirror and is easily readable to 12 feet.

Grant Monk with Tiny Hero takes Freefly Systems' Movi stabilized gimbal out for a spin.Prompter/People introduced its RoboPrompter, designed specifically to work with robotic pan-and-tilt heads. It features a 24-inch wide 60/40 reflecting glass and a 22-inch 16:9 LCD screen viewable up to 33 degrees off axis.

ARRI introduced a range of professional camera accessories for popular digital cinematography cameras such as the Sony PMW F5/F55, ARRI ALEXA, Canon EOS C100/C300/C500, Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera and Nikon D4. The kits provide for handheld and shouldermount shooting, as well as interfacing with the thousands of accessories for cine-style shooting.

Element Technica was purchased by RED from 3ality Technica, and will now be branded RED Element. The company showed its range of professional camera accessories for popular digital cinematography cameras including the RED EPIC, Sony PMW F5/F55 and the Canon C300/C500.

Freefly Systems
showcased its CineStar line of multi-rotor helicopters, Synapse intelligent flight controller and Mōvi camera gimbals.

introduced “The Shark,” an antenna mount designed to easily mount log periodic antennas known as shark fin antennas, any wireless receiver antennas, IFB antennas, microphones or video receiver antennas. The two models have multiple 3/8x16 threaded studs that are moveable along aluminum tubes.

OConnor debuted Universal Rings for its O-Box WM mattebox system. The new rings are made of a seamless, high-tech material so a single ring can flex over a variety of lens diameters from 150mm–55mm.

Vocas showcased a new base plate with shoulder piece that enables Sony F5 and F55 Cine Alta cameras to be operated from the shoulder. By building in a Sony VCT14 locking mechanism, the camera can be changed from tripod mount to shouldermount within seconds.

Cinebags premiered its Lens Smuggler case, designed to allow lenses to be securely and delicately packed into a soft-sided case that can be carried on an airliner. Cinebags also introduced its CBIO Cinematographer bag.

Kata premiered its Pro-Light FlyBy-77 and 75, rolling soft-sided cases featuring low-profile on-board professional organizers.

Petrol Bags introduced its Deca Airflow Camera Backpack, which features a rainbow shape to allow air flowthrough for comfort while carrying it as a backpack. It is designed for cameras up to the Sony PMW-200 size, and provides space for a 17-inch laptop and accessories. Petrol also debuted its Deca Large Lightweight Audio Bag, sized for carrying the Sound Devices 664 Field Production Mixer.

Portabrace introduced its RIG Cases, designed to transport an HDSLR or cine-style camera rig without disassembling it. They are constructed of rigid-frame 1000-denier Cordura for camera protection, and can be purchased as empty shell cases or as part of a RIG Camera Case Kit.