Sometimes I have the craziest ideas, and they don't always pan out very well. Here's one i'm quite excited about, but i'm not sure how others would feel. For the past few months i've had the idea of working on a 'DIY Crane Kit'. I went through the process of building a few Jibs myself and found that while you can save quite a bit of money, the hardest part to tackle is the mounting brackets.
So after a few designs, I've been working on a cost effective way to have special Jib brackets made that will allow you to make your own cranes / jibs. These brackets will be made from solid steel (very strong and durable), and will be perfectly aligned for smooth crane operation and modular so you can build your cranes to various lengths.
It will be so easy to assemble that today you could have a very small 4ft crane for an indoor shoot, and tomorrow you could have and 8ft., 9ft.,12ft. crane. There's also stuff i've been working on to show you guys how to make telescoping cranes with all off the shelf parts. Who knows what configurations people will have, and once you see these brackets, it will make more sense. I'm not going to go too much into details, but what you see in the box (above) will be pretty much all you'll need to get your DIY Jib started along with a set of instructions (and a video to follow). Oh and of course it will look very professional. Let me know what you guys think? Good idea or not?
A crane is not a video tool you drag with you everywhere, especially if you're a one man band. But the times when you DO bring out a crane, you'll always come back excited about reviewing the camera movements that are hard to replicate in any other way. I thought about DIY'ing my own crane, but after finding this one for just over $100 dollars, it made sense to start with that and modify it as I go. Unfortunately, they aren't available any longer.
When working with a Crane, make sure you have the correct amount of balance (right down to the ounce). Having perfect balance will allow the camera to move effortlessly. I also mounted this setup on a (discontinued) Manfrotto 503 fluid head with a beefy Manfrotto tripod. I used a Manfrotto tripod dolly to make repositioning easy just by rolling the crane around. This portion of the build is a bit more expensive, but there's other options for Crane stands.
Manfrotto 503 Fluid Head
We had so much fun getting extremely low shots, to very smooth vertical camera movements, i'm looking to either build or buy a smaller 4ft. Crane. It might seem short, but it's also based on Tripod height. If the tripod is set higher, then the POV will be higher. There is one Bargain brand that seems to have a small faithful following with excellent feedback that I might consider - called ProAm. The ProAm crane can be used in either 8ft. or 12ft. lengths and broken down into (3) 4ft. sections for traveling. Lots of other Crane options, Crane accessories, Crane stands, and LCD monitoring are also available from Bargain Camera's lineup. All found below.
Bargain Camera Cranes and Accessories