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Rising to the occasion
A review of the iFootage Mini Crane
by Kevin Cook
I must admit I wasn’t
really in the market
for a camera crane
until I set eyes on the
iFootage M1 Mini Crane.
Sure, I love seeing craning shots in a
film - and I understand perfectly how
these types of shots give the viewer an
additional and otherwise unavailable
perspective to A scene – but it all
seemed like a lot of aggravation and
a very cumbersome piece of grip to
cart around with you. Most solutions
I’ve used in the past were extremely
heavy and tricky to set up and, more
importantly, often took more than one
operator to get them ready for action.
Added to all this they would all be a
little bit overkill for use with my DSLR.
The iFootage M1 Mini Crane has
changed all this.
I don’t think I really need to explain
what a moving crane shot will add to
your productions other than what’s
already been said in my DVUser article
and blog (www.video-artisan.com/
varavon-camera-slider/) on sliders and
68 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 83 NOVEMBER 2013
adding Temporal Parallax to your productions. Cranes do pretty much the same
thing but on a vertical plane. However, the other thing that cranes can give you
is a very different and often privileged point of view of a subject.
At the lower end of the scale a crane will enable you to position the camera at
floor level – even lower than you can get when using some tripods and at any
angle to your subject. At the higher end a crane will enable you to get a bird’s
eye view of the subject or scene – which is often a very impressive shot and a
great was to establish a new scene. Whilst the extent of this bird’s eye view is
obviously limited by the crane’s length, as proven by my experience so far with
the iFootage unit, you don’t have to go much beyond the height of a regular
tripod in order to create some quite impressive shots and sequences that will
give your audience an otherwise impossible and privileged point of view.
Also linking back to my previous article on sliders, the iFootage unit is actually
light enough to use in conjunction with a slider to generate some quite awesome
camera moves and effects. I can’t honestly say I’ve tried this out as yet but I’m
gagging to find a situation where I can put the two together and prove the point.
iFootage M1 Mini Crane
The deal-maker for me on this crane is just how lightweight it is and how
compact it becomes when packed down. Measuring just 75cm and weighing
a little more than a bag of sugar, this is about as transportable as you are ever
likely to get for a crane with a fully extended length of 2 metres and a payload of
up to 5Kg. At £315.00 (ex vat) it’s also extremely good value for money and the
most cost effective carbon fibre crane on the market.
There’s no doubt that this unit has been designed with the DSLR and compact
camera shooter in mind. I’m often on shoots in Central London these days
and go as light as possible so I can take the tube where possible. Whilst this