Budget Crane Upgrade to Custom Crane

budget-crane (1 of 1)

Sorry guys, holidays are keeping me busy, so i'll have to leave a Cliff hanger on this one. As many of you have seen, there's already a Crane in the studio. I wasn't very happy with the build or the movements, so instead of DIY'ing my own, I shopped around for a few weeks and grabbed a solid cheap one to upgrade. This crane I purchased was a total of $125 shipped, and it's got a lot of nice features. Right out of the box I was very pleased. A better build than the 'other' crane in the studio and comes with nylon washers and spacers on every moving part (less friction smoother movements). The crane folds in half for easy transport and with it's minimal design, is pretty lightweight. Don't get me wrong, this thing works great right out of the box. Next week i'm going to start a project about why I chose this crane, a few crane shooting tips, and of course add just a few more surprises minor things to really make it my own.... I'll have more tips on how it gets done after XMAS.

find-price-button Affordable DSLR Video Crane

51 thoughts on “Budget Crane Upgrade to Custom Crane

  1. Pingback:

    Budget Crane – Basic Movements » CheesyCam

  2. Hey Emm,

    Do you know where I can purchase a good quality but fairly inexpensive 10 ft. HDMI to Mini HDMI cable from? This will be used for my 668 Lilliput 7" LCD Screen to Canon 7D. Thanks...

  3. Pingback:

    Budget Crane Review and Tips » CheesyCam

  4. John


    The Allen bolt, stop nut and 2 washers. some girl names Rachel said she was sending them out on 1/14, today is 1/30 and there's no sign of these pieces. I guess the SNOW STORM must be still going strong over there...LOL...
    Are you in Seattle? Do you mind if I come by to look at how you set up yours? Please email me if that's ok... jhc2228 at hotmail.com. I wanna do video for cars...:) Thank you, Kelly!


  5. @John
    Really? What bolts were missing? I must have gotten really lucky cuz my customer service was good with diamon*dolly. I finished making a product review showing off the new crane with 360 panning bearing mount, and 668GL Lilliput monitor on L-bracket. Will post soon!

  6. John

    Upon receipt of my crane, some bolts were missing. I emailed them and she told me she would send me the bolts right away. 10 days have passed and still nothing. I also asked for a diagram or some illustration to show how to mount the crane and got no reply. I left a negative review for them on Ebay...

  7. Mr. Y

    scratch that, i seemed to have gotten that mixed up, it was talking about the column not that screw, think i might get this, thanks for the suggestion kelly

  8. Mr. Y

    @Kelly - will that pan mount the crane? it says its a 3/4 thread and the screw on the u-bracket is 1/4. Did you have to get anything else to mount the crane to your velbon besides the pan head?

  9. Aberz

    not related to the quality of the product, but something to keep in mind.

    This seller give me totally INCORRECT dimension of the crane. Before I purchased, I asked for the size since I may need to carry it on international airplane trip with me. I was given the folded length of 31 inches for travel and storage. it turned out to be 52 inches, which is over size for airplane check in. I would not mind pay them extra to ship to destination country ( $85 shipping total ). Now it gives me a lot of hassle ( and shipping fee ) to have the crane shipped.

    In addition with the service tardiness, this seller will tell you anything to make the sale and some extra bucks. The product quality may be not bad, but I would not deal with this seller again.

  10. Aberz

    @ Kelly Thanks 😀
    But I ordered the crane stand, so I wont need this :D. Nice find tho, I just have to remove the pan disc and put on my beefiest leg... done !
    The rest is just to find a heavy duty ( 40 lbs load ) but medium weight leg. Carbon fiber gonna cost me a fortune, but hey, at least I find the solution for "one tripod to rule them all"

    Look like both the crane and the stand will be here today, hopefully I everything is working perfectly because I have less than a week to prepare for the out of country trip.

    P/s you have really come after the seller and ask for tracking number to make sure there is no tardiness.

  11. Aberz

    @ Emm
    I already ordered the stand from ProAm for the crane. For studio work its perfect, but for destination solo work, I try to limit the amount of equipment I have to carry. Thats why I was looking for a "One tripod to rule them all" solution for camera, crane, slider. Tripod, light stand, crane stand ... just too much for a slim Asian guy to handle

    Beside that, I just wonder how smooth can the crane stand pan. Adding a pan head ( cuz as you said ball head is not optimal for this ) will give me more control over pan movement.

  12. Emm

    Post author

    @Aberz - I wouldn't recommend that for the crane. You'd be better off just getting a dedicated crane stand.

  13. Aberz

    Oh god.
    I need the crane by the 29, at least. They used the same reason ( snow storm ) to suggest me paying them extra $30 for expedite service ( not shipping ) and they will throw in a free LCD mount. Expedite service mean they will ship out on Jan 18 instead of Jan 21. Today is Jan 19 and according to tracking number

    Holiday then snowstorm, dont know what else they will excuse for delaying shipment. If it not here on time, I will be pissed.

    Back to the topic, I found this head. 40 pounds seem about right to support crane + camera + LCD + counter weight.

  14. @Mr. Y I bought mine on the 5th and I still haven't received mine. when I bought it, they said that it would arrive between the 11th - 18th ... and now they are saying due to the snow storms it hasn't been shipped out yet, but they received my payment on the 5th and the snowstorms didn't hit 'till the 9th ... i kinda feel like they are giving me the run around ...

  15. I just used this crane for a wedding yesterday and all I can say that it was worth every penny I spent! It's solid! Moves very smoothly! Its a bitch to break down, but its amazing! I mounted my lilliput to an L-bracket and swivel mount. It is true about mounting this crane on a more beefy tripod. For me, I took the head off of my Velbon dv7000 and attached a 360 swivel bearing mount so I could pan with the crane. It is possible to pan without the swivel mount but I would try that at yer own risk as it could loosen the nut holding the crane to the tripod. I bought (2) 10lb weights to balance it with the 7d and tokina 11-16mm and it is exactly PERFECT! I can leave it angled in any position and it'll stay balanced. Both monitor bracket and swivel mount were both purchased at http://www.bargain-camera.com

  16. Aberz

    Well, it wont be here till the 28th. Early Feb is Luna Newyear and Ill be busy, so not sure if I can have it up and running soon. Hopefully other members here will post their set up, cuz Im curious too.

    this is from their info
    Our U-Bracket will mount on any standard tripod heads using 1/4" or 5/16" or 3/8" inch thread

    You should be able to mount it on your tripod.

  17. John

    Thank you for the info., Aberz. Please feel free to post your set up shot of this on your tripod if you have it up and running. I'm curious how to mount this on the tripod actually..that hole on the U bracket doesn't look like it's for tripod's screw... hopefully we'll see some videos of Emm setting up and using this thing one day, thanks!

  18. Aberz

    Im also curious about that tripod, but Im pretty sure its a super heavy duty type.
    Beside the tripod, the head also need to be strong enough to support the weight, thats why they design Hercules head for Kessler crane.
    This is from a friend of mine : If you have a heavy duty tripod, use the minimum height for the most spread of the leg ( lower to the ground ) , that would give you some more support. My advice : Dont try this on your own tripod 😀

    FYI, I really need the crane so I paid another $30 bucks for expedite service ( not shipping ), so they can ship out 3,4 days earlier. However, they also throw in for me a monitor mount bracket with 1/4 screw. Its not a bad deal, I guess 🙂

  19. John

    Thank you, Aberz! The reason I thought a tripod would work is because that's how it's shown on the very first pic on top of the page... I will check out these Ebay options you listed.

    Thank you!


  20. Aberz

    @ John
    I doubt you can mount it on that tripod. Its max load is about 13 pounds, the crane it self is 17 pounds, then camera, monitor, and counter weight. You need a crane stand(tripod ) to support at least 50 pounds load.

    You need something like this
    Or you can go to home depot, buy a heavy duty tripod then figure out a way to hack in a mount for that U shpae bracket.

    For LCD mount, there is a quick solution, which gonna cost you $20.

    Or you can drill in a 1/4x20 screw, weld a 1/4" shoe on to that U shape bracket, then mount a Hot shoe adapter on it. That way you can use your existing hot shoe support system like the power arm or the U shape flash bracket in the A.S.S implant article.

  21. John

    Got the crane..but does anyone know how to mount this crane on a tripod? I have a bogen 3021BPRO...I believe the head is 3/8"...thanks.

    Also if someone could please take a diagram of how they mount their LCD on the crane, it would be awesome. Thank you.

  22. Aberz

    Im about to leave the country (30th this month ) and considering this crane to go with me on the airplane. Do you know how fast do they ship ? Anyone have experience with this crane can give me some quick review ?

    Thanks !

  23. Mr. Y

    has anyone received theirs yet? They told me because of the holidays there was a slight delay. The tracking number just says the label was created and I still have not received it. Just wondering if anyone has got the run around from this seller or if anyone has received theirs. this certainly is quite the cliff hanger

  24. @Kelly...thanks for the info. One more question were you able to hook it up to your jib yet? And if so where did you buy your HDMI to mini HDMI cable from? Can't find one over 3 feet? Any suggestions?

  25. @Princeton
    I absolutely love the 668GL on my 7d. It's got the battery built into so I don't have to fumble with any extra bulk or extra wires. Now, If I can just calibrate the damn thing! Anybody else know any easy ways to calibrate an external monitor?

  26. Emm I'm still on the fence on whether to get this one or the PROAM one from bargain camera. I know you are super super busy but do you think you could post a sample video up? If you find the time but definitely understand how busy you are brotha! Thank you!!!

  27. Mr. Y

    i'm still cliff hangin...still waiting for it to arrive. cant wait to see more on this project!

  28. Emm

    Post author

    @duncan - Sorry, been back logged with random stuff. I'm off to CES this week too. It works fine right out of the box, I was going to add a few more touches to it (eventually). I might be shooting something tonight with it, and could throw up a sample.

  29. duncan

    Is the video review still coming? I actually bought one of these just before you did, and I am trying to wait patiently for the rest of your review.


  30. @Kelly....How do you like your 7″ Lilliput 668GL external monitor? Does it work with the Canon 7D? Thinking of getting one for my crane as well. Thanks...

  31. Dang I'm stumped! Emm, what kinda of attachment should I get to attach my 7" Lilliput 668GL external monitor to this crane. It came with a threaded 5/16" nut welded on the side of the U-Bracket.

  32. BAM!! Just bought one! Needing a crane for an engagement shoot next month so hopefully this wont take long to ship to WA. Lookin forward to the crane tips and mod posts next week!

  33. Hi Emm,

    You're such a bad influence on my wallet. They have a few of the $125 dollar cranes up on Ebay and I just grabbed one.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours,



  34. Tina

    I purchased one! I am always checking your website out for things you recommend, and was looking for a jib for future projects. Thanks for the heads up!

  35. John

    Can't believe I missed the opportunity again!!! Please keep us posted (or you could email me the link, too..lol), thanks, Emm!

  36. William

    Got it. It just looks like that tilt handle would be hard to reach when the camera is at floor height.

    BTW. Thanks for the Flycam Nano reco. It rocks and works really well moded to fit the arm brace!

  37. Emm

    Post author

    @ william - That is the way this crane is designed and comes fully assembled too. it has a way to fold in half also. one of the reasons why i went with this crane.

  38. John

    Wow...can't wait to see the video and full reivew! The link you posted takes me to something else besides the crank itself. Could you tell us the made and model of the crank??? Thanks, Emm!

  39. That's great. I've been looking for something for a while now but couldn't really find anything with trustworthy and consistent reviews. For how much I will be using this for it would be perfect. Can't wait for the full review.

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