Inter BEE 2014: Cinemax spiral slider dolly with lift, swivel and forward and backwards motion

By Technical Editor Matt Allard:

Japanese company Cinemax have shown what they are calling “The World’s first high performance dolly with lift, swivel and forward and backwards motion.” Designed to use a small footprint the Katana allows the operator to get crane shots as well as letting the camera either move forward or backwards creating a sense of depth.

Katana Spiral Slider Dolly

Katana Spiral Slider Dolly

The Katana is an interesting concept and it would be interesting to see how it performs on location. Equipped with V-groove bearings it was very smooth and easy to operate from the limited time I had using it. It can also be used as a Cross Slider Dolly by being placed on optional leg attachments or on two tripods.

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The Katana weighs in at 12kg and has a range of motion of 90cm vertically and 64cm horizontally. The maximum load is 7kg making it suitable for a wide variety of cameras. The Katana kit does not include a tripod, fluid head or counter weights. They are sold separately.

You can find out more at Cinemax

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Posted on November 28th, 2014 by Matthew Allard | Category: Camera support systems, Dollies, Interbee, Jibs and Cranes, SIiders, Tripods and monopods | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kinogrip offers wooden handgrip with IR trigger solution for Sony a7S

By site editor Dan Chung:


We have previously featured the lovely Kinogrip wooden handgrips on Newsshooter. Styled like the handgrips of yesteryear, they are handmade in the USA by Ray Thomas and come in different styles to fit a range of cameras.

The IR box and wooden handgrip on an a7S rig

The IR box and wooden handgrip on an a7S rig

The Sony a7S has become an overnight success story and many shooters have started to rig the diminutive camera to be used on the shoulder. To allow the use of their wooden handgrips with the a7S Kinogrip have come out with an IR adapter that controls the trigger of the a7S. It is housed in a small box that can be attached to a rig by means of a 15mm rod clamp or 1/4-20 thread. The IR adapter is powered by a single CR2032 button battery and I’m told that once set up it should function as reliably as a wired trigger.

The rear of the IR box showing the 15mm spud with 1/4 20 thread for mounting

The rear of the IR box showing the 15mm spud with 1/4 20 thread for mounting

I asked Ray to explain how it works and also why he went for an IR solution over one that uses Sony’s dedicated Multi connector:

“A little info on the A7S trigger box and why I went with an IR solution rather than a hard wired one. First is cost. The IR box was an existing design that was easily adapted to the A7S. This allows me to keep the cable cost down. A built from scratch wired option would have put individual cable cost close to $200 (about $85 of that for the raw Sony Multi connector). Second is reliability. Normally I would prefer a hard wired solution but the Multi connector is basically a mini-USB (with some extra pins added by Sony) and IMHO is not the most robust of connections. In my testing I found the IR receiver on the A7S to be wonderfully sensitive and I tried several positions for the IR transmitter box – it was dead reliable. Never failed to fire. I had a similar setup on a Canon DSLR and it was finicky about transmitter placement.


“The IR transmitter is a simple piece of kit. It’s just a 1.25″ X 1″ X .5″ black box with a 2.5mm cable port. A short pigtail cable plugs from the grip to the box. Standard cable length will be 8″ but the customer can specify longer or shorter lengths if needed (at no extra charge). The box has an attached 15mm spud to make mounting easy. I use an off the shelf 90 deg. rod clamp to attach it to my rig. It also has a 1/4-20 tapped hole if one prefers to mount it that way. The box can be left on the rig permanently. The 2.5mm plug is much more durable than the Multi connector for repeated plugging and unplugging. Once set up it works just like a wired connection. Everything is powered by a user replaceable CR2032 button battery. The battery should provide thousands of actuations before needing replacement.”

The new walnut version of the Grenoble handgrip

The new walnut version of the Grenoble handgrip

Also new from Kinogrip is a new walnut version of their Grenoble grip which we have featured previously. It is modelled on the old Aaton handgrip and looks very nice.

Pricing will be $120 for an individual a7S IR box with pigtail cable and $499 as part of a grip package. For more details visit the Kinogrip website.

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Posted on November 14th, 2014 by Dan Chung | Category: Camera support systems, Sony a7S | Permalink | Comments (0)

Zacuto’s Next Gen Recoil rigs get officially launched – perfect balance for your camera

By site editor Dan Chung:


Zacuto’s Next Gen Recoil Rigs – Teaser from Zacuto on Vimeo.

Zacuto this week officially launched their next generation Recoil rig system – versions of which we previously covered at the IBC show in Amsterdam. It is designed to bring greater comfort and better camera movement to your camera by ensuring it is correctly balanced on the shoulder – like an old ENG camera. I have been wanting someone to implement this concept since the dawn of the large sensor video.

The next gen Recoil is modular and Zacuto are keen to point out that with the same core components from the system you can rig almost any large sensor camera out there on the market.

My good friend and top DP Rodney Charters shoots a project in Beijing with my next gen Recoil equipped C300

My good friend and top DP Rodney Charters shoots a project in Beijing with my C300 and next gen Recoil

Steve Weiss of Zacuto is constantly telling me that the correct balance point for most camera setups is somewhere close to where the camera body meets the lens, not toward the rear of the camera – he’s right about that. Most rigs I have used to date have a shoulder pad that is simply too far back and the result is usually a front heavy setup which require biceps of steel to support for any length of time (or a serious amount of counter-weight at the rear to balance out the camera). The position of the EVF or monitor is also key – these are often mounted at strange angles that strain your neck and make viewing harder. The Recoil system addresses both these issues.

Zacuto’s Next Generation Recoil from Zacuto on Vimeo.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have been using a next gen Recoil rig for a several weeks and they are exactly what I’ve been looking for – nicely made with lots of attention to detail. The VCT Universal baseplate/shoulder pad at the core of the system is designed to rapidly attach to a regular broadcast quick release plate of the VCT standard. These VCT plates are sturdier than other quick release systems but if you do want to use a Kessler or Manfrotto style plate you can attach one to the VCT baseplate as well.

My Sony F5 nicely balanced with the Zacuto VCT baseplate, F5/55 top plate and Axis Sony kit

My Sony F5 nicely balanced with the Zacuto VCT baseplate, F5/55 top plate and Axis Sony kit

The baseplate has a nicely padded gel shoulder pad and works well on my Sony F5, F3, FS7, Canon C300, 100 and even with smaller cameras like my a7S. The trick is that it has a slot along its centre line that is over seven inches long. The camera can be mounted at any point along this slot and this is what allows it to balance anything from DSLRs to Arri ALEXA. On my F5 the VCT baseplate has a much larger range of motion than any other comparable quick release plate such as those from Vocas, Movcam or Tilta. Having just 0.75 inches between the camera base and the shoulder pad it also brings the camera’s centre of gravity as low on the shoulder as possible to ensure that the camera doesn’t swing around unduly.

The VCT Universal baseplate has front and optional rear 15mm rods that are height adjustable via a rod riser so you can add any accessory that fits. For very large cine lenses you add battery plates and the like to the rear if needs be.

The newest version of the Axis EVF mount is a refined version of the previous model. It attaches to one of the new Zacuto top handles and allows you to mount most popular EVFs in a forward position so that the balance point of the shoulder pad can be where you want it to be. They make a very nice little adapter that allows you to use the EVFs for Sony’s F5 and F55 on the end of the Axis if you own those cameras. There is also a version designed to work with the upcoming Gratical HD EVF which should ship soon.

A new version of the Half Cage fits via a NATO rail onto the side of the VCT. It can be moved forward or back and adds a lovely wooden handgrip to DSLR-based systems. The Half Cage itself has a NATO compatible bar on the top for mounting of a Zacuto handle or any number of other accessories from different manufacturers.

Handles, grip relocators and the Tornado with Z-Drive follow focus can be mounted onto the rods of the VCT baseplate and provide a good grip at the right position. The Tornado/Z-Drive combo is clever as it allows you to focus the lens without losing balance – your hand remains connected to the rig the whole time.

There are a couple of minor downsides I have found with the Next Gen Recoil, but I think the advantages far outweigh them. If you use short ultra wide stills lenses like the Tokina 11-16mm handheld then you do run the risk of having the EVF come into shot – on a tripod it is less of an issue as you can simply swing the EVF out of the way. The solution is to move the camera forward on the plate but this does take time. For my purposes I find it easier to run a balanced rig if I do need an ultra wide, then use a tripod or dolly.

Short prime lenses can be hard to fit a follow focus to unless again you move the camera forward. My solution to this has been to fit top rods and run the follow focus inverted off that instead.

Since reviewing the earlier Recoil setup for my C300 just a few months ago, the system has come on leaps and bounds. It is now easily my favourite setup for the F5 and C300. The versatility and the ability to fit such a wide range of cameras make it unique and worth the investment.

Full disclosure: This site is a affiliate partner of Zacuto

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Posted on November 6th, 2014 by Dan Chung | Category: Camera support systems | Permalink | Comments (4)

New Infinity arm – a stronger Noga arm for cine cameras?

By site editor Dan Chung:


The Infinity arm in use

The Infinity arm in use

Most shooters I know have some kind of Noga or similar rosette arm in their kit bag. Useful for rigging monitors, lights and other small accessories they can hold moderate weights quite easily.

But imagine an arm that is so strong that it can hold a Sony F55 in place. That is exactly what 27 Notch, a camera rental/production company based in Los Angeles, have set out to do. Their new Infinity arm is not only claimed to be super strong, it also has the unique feature of being able to switch out accessories mounted on its ball ends.

One proposed use of the arm is as a super sturdy GoPro mounts. To show just how strong it is the company made the video below:

Using the Infinity arm to mount a GoPro

Using the Infinity arm to mount a GoPro

27 Notch plan to launch the product on Kickstarter in the upcoming days. Their website is here.

This from 27 Notch:
“We have just developed a new cinema arm set to be released into the market early next year called the Infinity Arm, and we would love to have other camera enthusiasts and filmmakers learn about it.”

“We believe that our cinema arm is the strongest, most versatile product right now. It is the only quick-connecting, quick-adjusting rosette arm that aims to give you security when you need it while also allowing you to easily switch accessories with the click of a button. You can check out our website at”

“We want to produce the best kind of product possible, and a project like this requires time, effort, and unfortunately, money. We are planning to launch a Kickstarter campaign on October 10th, and will let everyone who signs up on our LaunchRock page know about it.”

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Posted on October 1st, 2014 by Dan Chung | Category: Camera support systems, Uncategorized | Permalink | Comments (0)

IBC 2014 video: Alphatron EVF Mic Mount for AJA Cion

By contributor Clinton Harn:

At IBC in Amsterdam Alphatron were showing an elegant combination EVF and mic mount solution for the upcoming AJA Cion camera. It mounts directly to the popular Alphatron EVF and give a wide range of movement for proper alignment when on the shoulder, or on a tripod. This is one of the nicest solutions we have seen so far for the Cion, which does not have its own EVF and relies on third party devices.

You can see more on the Alphatron range on their website.

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Posted on September 27th, 2014 by Clinton Harn | Category: AJA Cion, Camera support systems, IBC show | Permalink | Comments (0)

IBC 2014 video: Varavon Wirecam flies through the air for $7000

By contributor Clinton Harn:

Motorised remote control cable cams used to cost big money and were strictly limited to big movies, commercials and sports productions. Some budget limited shooters resorted to DIY solutions in the past with varying degrees of success. Now there are several lower cost commercial options that not only move the camera through the air, but also stabilise the camera by adding a brushless gimbal head to the setup.


Korean maker Varavon, best known for its sliders and camera cages, have ventured into the cable cam market with their $7000 Wirecam Cam setup. Wirecam was first seen in prototype form a year ago at IBC but is now much closer to being a finished product. It is remote controllable and uses Varavon’s Birdy Cam brushless gimbal as a remote head. The results looked impressive. Check out the video to see it working.

As the prices come down and these setups make it onto the shelves of rental companies I can see this technology being used more in documentary and events shooting to get that one off shot.

The Wirecam is slated to be available from November at a cost of around $7000. You can see more details on the Varavon website.

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Posted on September 20th, 2014 by Clinton Harn | Category: Brushless gimbals, Camera stabilsation systems, Camera support systems, IBC show | Permalink | Comments (0)

IBC live show replay: Robo Op? L’Aigle exoskeleton allows easy carrying of brushless gimbals

By site editor Dan Chung:

One of the stand out innovations at IBC this year was the mechanical exoskeleton from french manufacturer L’Aigle The contraption is essentially two iso-elastic stabilising arms strapped to your body and also your arms. The exoskeleton allows the large weights to be lifted with virtually no strain placed on the biceps. All the weight is transferred to the hips and legs via the vest.

Newsshooter team member Simon Glass tries out the Exoskeleton with a heay case

Newsshooter team member Simon Glass tries out the Exoskeleton to carry a heavy case

The exoskeleton allows operators of brushless gimbals to hold and move with their rigs for long periods without fatiguing. Another advantage is that the exoskeleton stabilises the vertical movement of the gimbal – reducing the effect of footfall on the rig when walking.

The downsides are that the exoskeleton has a limited range of movement (although it covers all the usual ways a gimbal would be held) and also adds width to your body – making it harder to get through doors.

These limitations are a small price to pay though if you are planning to spend long hours shooting with a gimbal. The version we saw is still a prototype and improvements will surely come.

The exoskeleton makes an interesting alternative to options like the Flowcine Serene/Easyrig combination where the rig is suspended from above the operator via a bar attached to a vest. It will be interesting to see which of these becomes the more favoured approach for gimbal operators in the future.

Projected price for the Exoskeleton is a reasonable 2000 Euros.

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Posted on September 19th, 2014 by Dan Chung | Category: Brushless gimbals, Camera stabilsation systems, Camera support systems, IBC show | Permalink | Comments (0)

IBC 2014 video: Walimex Aptaris cage adds new options

By site editor Dan Chung:

We first saw the Walimex Aptaris cage at NAB earlier this year. Since then the system has evolved and is now more complete. The beauty of this cage is that it not only fits a range of DSLRs and Compact system cameras, it can also be fitted to cameras like Sony’s FS100 and even the Canon C300. To give added flexibility there is now an extension piece that allows the top plate to move even further from the baseplate for very tall cameras.

It is nice to see manufacturers trying to build in as much future proof-ness as possible to their products. One thing to note though is that, like most other cages, the Aptaris doesn’t permit the fitting of new Sony XLR-K2M audio backpack fitted to the top of the a7S.

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Posted on September 17th, 2014 by Dan Chung | Category: Camera support systems | Permalink | Comments (0)

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