Camera cranes used to be expensive, complicated and bulky. Only film studios could afford them and aspiring videographers could only dream of using them to get “the shot”.
Today, they are a staple of even the most modest studio toolkits. Modern camera cranes, also known as camera jibs or booms, are lightweight, affordable and allow a single operator to capture shots showcasing the subject or scene and giving the videographer many dramatic and creative ways to take highly professional shots.
Simply incorporating a great shot from a camera crane into your production can add incredible value to the finished product. An inexpensive and easy to use piece of equipment, the camera crane gives you the best bang for your buck. With a reach of 8-12 feet, a camera crane can capture an overhead shot in a studio setting, or position the camera over the crowd at a sporting event. The ability to pan and zoom allows for dramatic opening shots that sweep across a scene. This is ideal for shooting a play where you need a camera crane’s height to be at the same elevation as the actors and then be able to shoot from an overhead position as well. Other powerful shots are possible like starting behind the subject, panning up and over to see the subject’s focus. This could be a couple cutting a cake, a family dinner, an athlete’s winning moment or the scene of a crime. With a camera crane you can “fly” the camera from a height of 12 feet down to ground level. You can “hover” over a shot and create dramatic footage and even create an “out of body” experience for the audience. This versatile tool allows the camera to be driven by the imagination of the director or camera operator and gives the artistic freedom to produce shots that make a lasting impression.
The quality of the work produced in high school video studios today is impressive. The reduced cost of superior video equipment puts “Hollywood” tools in the hands of a generation who grew up with digital media is generating a wave of creativity. The camera crane is a key part of the tools today’s videographers need to get “the shot”. High school video studios can give their students an enriched experience and a professional advantage using this tool. The motions are simple to do, and in a short time you can familiarize yourself with the dynamics of a camera crane.
There are some basic shots that are worth discussing for getting “the shot”. Tilting shots are most often done with the camera pointed up from a low, near ground position. As the camera crane body is raised, the camera tilts downward keeping the same focal point. This shot can also reversed with the camera starting high and finishing low. Another good shot that adds dimension is the Wide Panning shot. This shot is done with the camera staying level and the camera crane swoops from one side to the other. These shots can be combined to produce striking results. It is easy to master the motions with a little practice.
A quality camera crane is a tool well within reach of most high school studios and the results produced by high school filmmakers has been impressive. “The feedback from teachers has been very rewarding” said Rene Kropf, President of CCUSA which distributes CobraCrane camera crane systems in the
For information on CCUSA’s education discount program you can visit the educational section of the website. The portion of the site has information on how to qualify for educational discounts on their camera crane kits and their complete line including SteadyTracker camera stabilizers, tripods and more.
“When we visit a school and meet with the students producing video we enjoy seeing what they are up to with our gear”. “Students naturally use the camera crane for shooting above and over the crowds at sporting events. But they are also grabbing shots at near ground level for action shots they could not have imagined without a camera crane. The same is true for action shots at school plays and concerts; a camera crane can “fly” on stage and capture shots that inspire and teach at the same time” continued Mr. Kropf.
Students and teachers are encouraged view the demos and tutorials included in this article. By investing a few minutes you can see how this great tool can make a difference. Like any tool, skills grow over time and proficiency comes with experience.
The affordability of a complete camera crane kit means that today’s high school videographers are learning to use the tools that will prepare them for careers in today’s filmmaker world. This provides real-life experience crucial to success as videographers and as producers. By knowing what is possible one can create what appears to be the impossible. This is what it takes to nurture creativity is the fast-changing world of video arts.
There are several established lightweight camera cranes on the market today. For over fourteen years one of the leaders in the market, CobraCrane www.CobraCraneUSA.com offers both a complete kit for simplification of use and educational pricing that supports the company’s commitment to the future of students learning video production and ensuring they get “the shot” that makes their work stand out.
Cobra Camera Cranes begin at $289 with Complete Filmmaker Kits beginning at $699.95.
Each Film Maker kit contains everything you need to get great shots: CobraCrane, LNC-50 LANC Controller, 12' LANC Extension cable. CCUSA Universal LCD Super Clamp, CCUSA 7" LCD Monitor Complete Studio Kit with choice of Battery Adapter, plus the connectors and adapters you are most likely to need, all ready to go on location with your CobraCrane padded carry bag.
For information on educational discounts email CobraCraneUSA