GEAR | STAB I L I SED SUPPORTS
Alister Chapman demonstrated that the ENG layout is a classic for a reason. It’s an idea that shows no sign of waning popularity. STEADICAM AND EASY RIG Before modern gimbals came Steadicam in the seventies and Easy Rig in 1993. The latter suspends the camera on a line that runs to a backpack. Imitations and variations of backpack-mounted suspension devices have appeared since, but as the name suggests, they’re probably more about easing the weight than about stabilisation. Of course, any operator admits that fatigue leads to drunken horizons, and there’s a suspension effect that smooths out the position, if not the framing. Both Steadicam and Easy Rig have been used to support active levelling devices and full gimbals. Despite common assumptions, a Steadicam relies solely on inertia and doesn’t involve any gyroscopic components. It’s possible to add a gyro to a Steadicam as a clamp-on accessory, but they’re noisy, power hungry, time-consuming to start and stop, and used only in situations where maintaining a precise level is important. In 2021, it’s probably easier to put a gimbal on top, as with Arri’s Trinity.
stabilisation to a Steadicam-style inertial stabiliser predates Arri’s development. Possibly the biggest challenge with Steadicam-style stabilisers is keeping a level horizon. Placing the camera inside a cage that automatically rolls level eases this process and makes it possible to go from underslung to overslung in a single shot. Add a full gimbal and it’s a stabiliser that can place a camera in a lot of strange places. It’s as if it has somehow become weightless, even though it handles cameras up to 30kg – if you can find someone capable of carrying it while also remaining an effective operator. An Argentinian manufacturer, Basson Steady, is keen to push its (unusually named) Endless 3 stabiliser, which supports an Alexa Mini and functions in a similar way to Trinity for less than a quarter of the price. The payload is lower, at 12.5kg, but practical limits might restrict that anyway. For an even smaller, lighter option at an indie- filmmaker price tag, Tiffen offers a Steadimate-S – depending on the required camera weight handling. That’s compatible with a DJI Ronin-S or Zhiyun Crane gimbal. It’s a DSLR-scale sort of arrangement, but in a world where Blackmagic has developed a 6K pocket camera, great things are possible. STEADICAM VOLT Tiffen has not been idle while gimbals have flourished. Since 1975,
LEFT Arri’s hybrid support, Trinity, is the first to combine mechanical with electronic stabilisation
A STABILISER ON YOUR STABILISER
Trinity is a high-end piece of kit, though the idea of adding active
16 DEF I N I T ION | FEBRUARY 202 1
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