I’ve had the privilege of watching the latest innovation from CPM Camera Rigs evolve over the past two years. The vision was to bring a low cost, lightweight geared head to the market for small cameras. With a MSRP of $2500, CPM has succeeded. While some will see $2.5K for a video head as expensive, it is important to note the the lowest costing alternative is over $7K. Geared heads offer incredible control over pans and tilts seen in the demo video below. Take a look on the next major motion picture set you come across and notice what the camera up is using.
For a limited time you can get the DSLR Geared Head for under $2K. More details here.
Seems really uncomfortable and awkward to use. No?
Do they really use these exclusively in major films?
I remember hearing about another affordable geared head a while back on the Red Centre podcast (It was actually ep #62) I don’t recall the price but I think it was in the ball park of this one. The show was in 2010 but I guess the actual head will be released in 2 weeks, might be worth checking out. http://www.cinetoys.net/
2010 would be the $7500.00 dollar head tony mentioned. I think the countdown for the big reveal is the new powered add-on mentioned at last years NAB.
Once operators get the experience they are outstanding heads to use. The handles become second nature to good operators. Who can use the viewfinder and both handles without actually thinkng about the adjustments they make. Yes they are used on big features and no not ‘exclusively’ on majors but on hundreds if not thousands of projects, even small ones.
An old skool test of a good operator was to tape a pen / pencil to the head and get the operator to write his / her name on a sheet of paper using only the handles!
Operators are frequently required to hold absolutely still for minutes at a time. Â A geared head makes this much easier.Â
Dolly moves are frequently much easier on a gear head since the operator’s body movements as he or she moves around the camera during the shot aren’t transmitted to the head. Â The opposite is true with a fluid head. Â Precise, repeatable moves are much easier with a geared head.
Following fast moving, unrehearsed action is more difficult.
Grips prefer lightweight “free” heads, since they have to move that stuff around all day. : )
Also, I’ve never seen anybody sign their name, but lots of operators practice by making figure eights.