By site editor Dan Chung:
There are plenty of travel jibs around these days. Most will lift a DSLR or small camera, some will even take cameras like the FS700 or Red Epic. But the new Boda jib aims to carry even heavier loads – right up to 25 pounds (15 pounds at full extension).
The dream of Canadian machinist and engineer Jeremy Sawatzky, the Cinetech Industries Boda jib is designed to be incredibly simple in operation, yet highly portable. It weighs just 9 pounds and compacts to a mere 28 inches long. To achieve this Sawatzky has used carbon fibre and CNC cut aluminium. The unique fold out design has a claimed 30 second setup time, which if true will beat just about every other jib out there.
The camera can be attached via a cheese plate mount or an optional 75mm bowl mount. Sawatzky says motion control heads and gimbals can can also be attached.
The jib has a hollow construction to allow easy running of cables inside it. There are mounting points on the base of the jib to mount accessories such as monitor arms.
It has an optional fluid base which should allow for smooth pans without the need for a tripod head below the jib. This attaches to a half-ball or tripod head via a 3/8 screw mount. I’m slightly concerned that this might not be strong enough for large payloads but time will tell.
Sawatzky has turned to Kickstarter to raise funding to put his jib into production. His estimated retail prices are certainly not inexpensive. The expected price for the basic model is $2500 CAD. Right now a pledge of $2099 CAD should reward you with the basic model without 75mm bowl adapter, fluid pan base, padded case or levelling weight. Step up to $2450 and the reward is a full kit with pan base, bag, weight bar, levelling weight and bowl adapter.
I spoke to Sawatzky to find out what inspired him to create the jib, how he got to where he is now, and why he turned to Kickstarter. This is what he had to say:
“My inspiration stemmed from a constant need to tinker and build my own equipment instead of paying for a finished product. I saw a picture of a camera crane, understood the basic principle behind it, and designed my first model in my parents garage using nothing but a drill press and a table saw. It was large, clumsy, heavy and hard to move around but functioned well. I built my second crane that I sold to a friend using a single hinge to fold the crane in half reducing its packed size. He took that crane to Israel, Africa and still uses it today. I took that hinge design and expanded on the idea, building more prototypes until I ended up where I am now. I have shot many small projects over the years, lots to do with cars and short films. I love dramatic sweeping shots and that is why I wanted a jib in the first place.
I built my first prototypes out of aluminum, removing as much unnecessary material as possible to maintain a light product. I could never achieve my lightness and weight capacity goal with aluminum so I decided that carbon fiber would be the perfect candidate. I use a high grade carbon fiber made in the United States. Carbon fiber is immune to the elements and will not rust or degrade. It is very lightweight and stiff. It is bonded to the other components using an extremely high grade epoxy that will not break down over time. It is a difficult material to work with and very expensive hence the high price but the benefits outweigh the downsides.
My price point is determined with simple math, how much does each unit cost to build and how much overhead do I have. I allow enough profit to expand the business and you have the purchase price. Provided I am successful with funding, there are plans for many versions to be built. Cheaper, more capacity, less capacity, shorter, longer, etc. I cannot afford to overwhelm myself with multiple versions. One step at a time. The Kickstarter funds will allow me to make the initial part and carbon fiber orders. Large bulk orders are necessary in order to maintain the price point of the jib.”
As with all Kickstarter projects there is a the risk that the project runs into difficulties and rewards may be delayed – or in some cases never fulfilled. Head over to the Boda jib Kickstarter page for more info.