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NAB 2015 Camera Support Review

Camera support equipment manufacturers provide products that add production value and smooth camera movement. There was no shortage of new products and innovations in this sector at the 2015 NAB Show.

showed its Q3 compact robotic camera, which features the spherical form factor of the company’s Q-Ball remote camera, but doubles the zoom range to 20x and has a new higher sensitivity imager. Its motor system enables remote operators to match the precise acceleration and deceleration of much larger remote heads.

Gus Harilaou demonstrates Miller Camera Support’s fluid head to Axxion Consulting’s Rick Fernandez.EGRIPMENT unveiled its new 205/D digital remote head for smaller cine and ENG cameras. It’s a more compact version of the company’s 306/D digital and encoded remote camera heads and systems, and is ideal for virtual/augmented reality production.

KESSLER CRANE debuted its Cine- Drive joystick controller and jogwheel that provides control of zoom, focus, iris, pan/tilt operations while the camera package is traveling along a track or crane. It accommodates recording of multiple events with variable durations. Also premiering was the Shuttle Dolly with a Mitchell mount handling large payloads.

MANFROTTO showed off its Digital Director system, which allows control of cameras and monitoring via an iPad. The touchpad system supports both photo and video modes.

RUSHWORKS introduced a pair of unmanned robotic camera systems. The STAGEROVER is a Sony Action Cam device on monster wheels that’s radio controlled, optical image-stabilized and can wirelessly transmit full HD video. The DOUBLESHOT is a Bluetooth network-controlled rolling wireless HD stage “camerabot” that’s operated from an iPad.

SHOTOKU highlighted its new SmartTrack system, a fully integrated robotic product that was created on the track-based technology of MAT, Germany. The system provides reliable remotely-controlled robotic camera performance and can be mounted on floors or ceilings.

SYRP showed a prototype of its Slingshot motion control system that’s designed to provide very slow and smooth camera movements. The “slingshot” name is derived from the way a pair of cords is attached between two mounting points. The company’s Genie or Genie Mini travels between them.

Win Productions’ Jeff Kelly (L) demonstrates the Sachtler Ace Shoulder Rig and Matte Box with Vitec Group’s Barbara Jaumann.TELEMETRICS added another member to its TeleGlide camera track system with the introduction of the TG4M. It incorporates a newly designed streamlined trolley and track to minimize space requirements and deliver reliable and stable operation with minimal maintenance.

VINTEN RADAMEC showcased its range of height movement camera pedestals, including the FE-55 that’s designed for smaller studios wishing to add on-air height movement to their remote pan/tilt/zoom control. Also shown was the FE-165, which offers a full broadcast integrated height system and is operated through standard IP networks.

demo-ed its Devin Graham Signature Series handheld camera stabilizer, which combines many of the features of the Glidecam HD-Series and includes high-end professional features from more elaborate body-mounted systems. The camera balance platform (X-Y head or top-stage) incorporates a quick-release, no-tools, slide-in dovetail camera plate, a brass alignment pin, and either a spring-loaded quick release plate lock or push button quick release.

HELIX featured the Helix Jr., a downsized version of its multi-axis camera stabilizer system. It offers a narrower handle width to make it even more compact and nonintrusive than the full size device. It also provides better vibration absorption and can be flow, mounted to a crane, slider, skateboard or other objects.

PROPROMPTER displayed its line of mobile accessories, including the SmartGrip Mobile, a pistol-grip mount for iPhones and Smartphones. Also shown was the Pro- Prompter U-Mounts system for mobile device used for off-lens prompting. It accommodates devices up to 9.5x7.3-inches.

TIFFEN showed off its Steadicam stabilizer line, introducing the Steadicam Solo for DSLRs and lightweight camcorders. It features a three-axis gimbal stabilizing system and packs into a compact case, yet offers the durability of larger professional-grade Steadicam models.

demonstrated its heavy-duty Magnum fluid head that accommodates big box cameras with big lenses, and provides stability through zooms of 400 to 500 feet. The head tilt ±65 degrees while carrying a payload of more than 200 pounds.

MILLER CAMERA SUPPORT showcased its Cineline 70 tripod system, a heavyduty HD Mitchell base single-stage model featuring a high-capacity leg-lock system that uses turn-lock levers with rapid lock and release. It offers an 82.7 pound payload capacity and is designed to pair with the company’s Cineline 70 Fluid Head.

Michael Accardi runs through CueScript’s teleprompter systems for On Air Prompting’s Sharon Ruiz.SACHTLER showed its SpeedLevel Clamp, which is a standard part of the company’s Video 18 system package. The clamp allows the head to be leveled quickly and consistently in all conditions. The clamp is compatible with all Sachtler 100 mm heads.

SHOTOKU debutedt the TP500 camera pedestal, engineered to handle camera payloads up to 121 pounds and providing pedestal heights of 26.2 to 58.5 inches. It’s designed for use in OB, studio and event production.

TIFFEN’s Davis & Sanford brand premiered a 64-inch monopod with a 12-pound capacity and a folding aluminum leg base for extra support. The base can be removed and used as a tabletop tripod.

VINTEN displayed its large camera pan and tilt heads, with emphasis on its Vector 75. Demonstrations emphasized the smoothness and weightlessness the head provides the operator for covering large venue events in 4K.

introduced a modular 5-in-1 dolly system that comes with accessories for quickly configuring the dolly into five different modes. The system fits into three luggage-sized cases for protection and convenience of transportation.

EZFX debuted its Skinny Jib-Arm as part of its repertoire of camera support equipment. The company’s recently introduced a 24-foot EZ Crane that handles a 25-pound payload. Its simple modular connection system allows deployment at five different lengths and has cutouts to reduce the wind effects. There are also left and right ports for mounting a pair of monitors.

LIBEC USA has expanded its slider line to three models, with each system providing a 75 mm base for mounting on a tripod or pair of tripods. The modular system allows mixing and matching of components to satisfy operator preferences and situational requirements.

Vitec Group’s Philip Dalgoutte demonstrates the OConnor 120EX heavy-duty pan and tilt head to assistant camera operator student Ben Smith.PROMPTERS
demonstrated a range of prompting solutions, including its Starter Series—a one-box answer for independent content creators. The company also showed a DSLR iPad prompter mounted to a standard set of 15 mm rails, along with a 17-inch Starter Series prompter that provides four systems in one package.

CUESCRIPT unveiled its CueiT software in three levels: CueiT Premier, Cueit Production and CueiT News. The software will run on any OS platform, and provides the ability to edit the script while it is being prompted, allowing for last minute text changes without interrupting a live production.

LISTEC unveiled its first Ethernet teleprompter, which uses CAT-type cabling to bring data and power to a prompter screen. Multiple prompters can be run from the same Ethernet switch, and only one power supply is needed.

MIRROR IMAGE introduced its pan/tilt robotic teleprompter assembly that’s designed specifically for all-in-one robotic cameras. It features a wide HD trapezoid mirror with special fabric hood to pans and tilts. The company has also added HDMI inputs along with built-in reverse/mirroring to its Signature Series of prompter screens. These are available in standard or high brightness models.

added a new “king-of-the-hill” to its Super Vator heavy-duty light stand family, the Vator III, a cranking stand that’s designed for reliability, robustness and strength. It has an extension range of 2 to 15 feet.

OCONNOR unveiled its new O-Rig 15mm rod support system, which is engineered to be camera and lens agnostic, while providing maximum flexibility. Kits includes an OGrips handgrip system, an infinitely adjustable offset adaptor for easily repositioning camera viewfinders, along with a leather shoulder pad.