Thread: Jib/Crane

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    Jib/Crane
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    Senior Member Peter C.'s Avatar
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    I've got a new project where the client bought a crane. He wanted to use it to add interest and film higher sections of static objects that are up to 15' tall. The main issue is the crane is so long (15') that I find is very difficult to get smooth shots. The slightest touch can cause it to shake horizontally. Whether it's ramping up or down the speed, or keeping the motion consistent, without a side to side wobble is very difficult. When you get to your desired end point it takes a minute for it to come to a full rest without any shake. I've suggested shorting the arm, the tripod its on is decent, its just such a massive setup, and it's not a high end crane. I can practice with it to try to get better results... Frustrating.

    I've have a slider and have used that to create more variety. In general I find being able to pull off professional motion broll difficult and time consuming. Anyone here have crane/jib experience?


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    You have a poorly designed head on the crane. A proper crane design won't have that problem. It doesn't matter how long the crane is, weight on the end of a head, when coming to a stop, is going to want to keep going. If the head isn't solid with good bearings and tight tolerances, it's going to flop around.

    Someone posted a crane product here that actually had a design that made the problem you describe as almost on purpose. They designed a floppy head. They thought it would make the head stay level, but all it did was make it floppy.

    Or maybe you are talking about the entire crane. Still, bad design. To stop the lateral movement, it either needs big, heavy square tubes like a Chapman or it needs lateral cables and struts to keep it stiff.
    Last edited by Paul F; 10-14-2020 at 02:12 PM.


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    Senior Member Peter C.'s Avatar
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    The head that comes with it doesn't look like what would consider a normal tripod head. It's basically a disc to allow the arm to rotate or pan. The issue is there is only a small locking friction base knob diameter of a quarter. The tripod looks decent but seems no match for leverage of a 15' arm with 3lb camera on the end. It's sturdy enough that its not going to tip over. I can't tell if the movement is caused by the head, tripod legs flexing or both, all I know is if you touch the arm it introduces side to side motion.
    Last edited by Peter C.; 10-14-2020 at 02:09 PM.


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    I built a 16' crane. It was very lightweight, but still needed 40-50 lbs of counterbalance. I don't know how heavy the total rig was, but it could be in the range of 60-65 lbs. That's a lot of weight to move around and not have it wobble. I used two lateral guys and one top guy wire.

    For the tilt and pan on the tripod that held the boom, I used 1" bearings. For the camera head on the end of the boom, I tried using 1/4" rods and bearings for the pan but it was no good. I ended up with a 1" bearing for the X (pan) axis. The the tilt can get away with 1/4" shafts and bearings. I used a survey tripod.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter C. View Post
    The head that comes with it doesn't look like what would consider a normal tripod head. It's basically a disc to allow the arm to rotate or pan. The issue is there is only a small locking friction base knob diameter of a quarter. The tripod looks decent but seems no match for leverage of a 15' arm with 3lb camera on the end. It's sturdy enough that its not going to tip over. I can't tell if the movement is caused by the head, tripod legs flexing or both, all I know is if you touch the arm it introduces side to side motion.
    A full minute to come to a complete stop? That's terrible. I don't think you should be the scapegoat for poor results just because someone else made a bad purchase.

    Using a jib for static shots would get old quickly. For static shots, if you're using a small camera, you can mount a gimbal like a ronin s to a light stand then send it up and make adjustments from the ground.

    Re movement, you might be better off using different equipment or rethinking the shots so you can use what you know works. Can you use a drone instead?

    Shortening the arm is fine but I thought you need the height? What are the objects you'll be shooting?

    Do you have a link to the jib?


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    Moderator Alex H.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob norton View Post
    Do you have a link to the jib?
    I have the same question.

    I’ve worked with all sorts of jibs over the years, from high-end to cheap-o. The one thing that the cheap-o versions most often have in common, and the reason they have so much wobble, is that they use weak aluminum tubing for the arms. This design simply isn’t robust enough to keep itself from bouncing as it moves, and especially as it tries to stop against the inertia of its payload.
    Knoxville-based location sound mixer.

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    Senior Member Peter C.'s Avatar
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    Since it's a current project I'm using discretion. I'm filming a collection of automated organ/pianos with a video of each playing a song in a way that adds interest. I had a quick look today. The jib arm is fine, the tripod is the weak link causing the instability. It isn't horrible, but not ideal for close up broll type work. Looks like it's a ProAm Orion 12' https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...roduction.html

    My plan is to limit it's use and concentrate on producing rest of the videos as efficiently as possible. Hopefully I can increase my skills and make some use of it.
    Last edited by Peter C.; 10-14-2020 at 08:34 PM.


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    All difficult to understand you descriptions but I think it is possible to operate well. Operate like flowing through butter.

    Simply a couple of engineering things inertia, resonant frequency.

    firstly dont use a brake or lock screw (resonance)

    get it perfectly balanced so it sits at the height of your shot end

    consider a lower mass camera load

    operate from right next to the pivot point (like a steadicam op holds the post by the gimbal)

    keep it moving slowly instead of pure stationary shots

    avoid wind


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    Senior Member Grug's Avatar
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    Can you shoot the shots in high framerates? That'll at least take some of the messiness out of the motion.


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    Do you have a beefy tripod to put under the pivot? If that is the weakest part, seems like an easy fix if you have something stronger.

    Does it have 1 cable or two on the top? The few that I've worked with had 2 cables on top at roughly 30 degree offsets to give support not just to the weight, but also keep the boom from flexing side to side because it forms a triangle. That might be a quick and cheap mod if your jib only has a single cable on the top.


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