range, available in Mini and Maxi models. Both operate one section of a Steadicam arm – isolating vertical motion – and the support specialist suggests matching either with the Iso Dampener. It’s exactly this sort of combination – the best of classic approaches, along with the zenith of new technology – which defines the current zeitgeist. It also seems likely to continue creating fresh, interesting ways to drive cameras through spaces. One thing that’s easy to like about this situation is how innovation doesn’t only influence the highest of high-end shows. Active stabilisation isn’t likely to put a Technocrane on every student short, but it can make attractive camera moves considerably more achievable in cramped locations – or public spaces where permission to set up elaborate rigs is hard to get. That’s a benefit to creatives working at every level.
Time-honoured players in the grip market – companies like Grip Factory Munich – have been building traditional options for some time. The GF-Tube Dolly is a slider so compact, it fits in a carry-on, while the giant GF-16 Crane reaches over 11m. Crucially, though, the company also offers all the hardware an enterprising grip team would need to attach an active stabiliser to a vehicle. While it’s a decidedly advanced topic and involves more than just buying the hardware, GFM has ways to attach cameras to more or less anything that moves. Key among those are mechanical devices designed to take out the worst bumps in the road. The Vibration Isolator helps with the sort of small, but violent lateral forces that give gimbals a workout, while the Iso Dampener calms down two axes of rotation. Both are entirely mechanical devices that will nonetheless help an active stabiliser – gimbal or stabilised remote head – work much less hard, while producing better results. For bigger jolts, GFM offers the Shock Absorber
Arguments abound over what’s a gimbal and a stabilised remote head. But paradoxically, it’s probably those things usually described as gimbals that have democratised the idea of remote control. Outside the realm of CCTV cameras, remote pan and tilt control were tools purely for the high-end broadcast and single-camera drama worlds. Until companies like DJI started offering small gimbals suitable for DSLRs, to which remote control options were quickly added. Purists demand wheels – some of the less-expensive approaches simply involve tilting a smartphone in mid-air – but all are arguably better than trying to operate a shot from what’s effectively a PlayStation joypad on the grip. This is where old dogs can be taught new tricks. The notorious difficulty of operating a fluid head on a slider, without perturbing the move, is made a lot easier if the operator can sit in comfort with a nice big monitor, while someone else moves the slider. Steadicam proponents might tend to resent carrying the camera through a course while someone else points it at things, but full-time grips have long become used to lugging a gimbal from mark to mark.
GERMAN ENGINEERING Grip Factory Munich creates solutions large and small, from GF-16 crane (top) to the Maxi Shock Absorber (below)
Contacts Arri arri.com DJI dji.com Grip Factory Munich gripfactory.com Motion Impossible motion-impossible.com Optical Support opticalsupport.com
63. SEPTEMBER 2022
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