Jonathan Labby, out of Houston, Texas, provided us with some great insight into why the Feather Camera Crane is a very valuable asset to solo shooters who strive to not only satisfy their clients, but to blow them away. Thanks Jonathan for the feedback!
I wanted to let you know how amazing the Feather Camera Crane has been for me. I had been looking for a portable crane solution that I could easily take on video shoots, whether I was in my home town or in another country. Before purchasing a smaller 4k cinema camera, I had only operated large ENG news cameras and therefore, I always highly scrutinized the support gear I purchased to use with those heavy beasts. The gear needed to be robust! It needed to be dependable and rugged, regardless of the climate I was shooting in. Most importantly, I needed to have the confidence to know that the quality of my gear would allow me to effectively achieve the shots I was looking for, every time.
With the industries I work in, I don’t always have the ability to bring lots of cool production toys on jobs, mainly because the toys are too big and take too long to setup, even with my newer smaller camera. I have found myself in many situations, wishing I could have a dolly shot or a crane shot, to help document my story in a creative way. It’s always a great feeling when you have the time to shoot really dynamic shots that put smiles on a client’s face and draws your audience into the moment.
For awhile now, I have been looking for a portable solution that I could feel confident about bringing on a job and having enough time to actually utilize it. I have seen lots of jibs and cranes on the market but nothing that really stood out as something I could trust. Lots of jibs say they are portable but you still need to travel with a stack of gym weights and extra cases to your location. Between the initial crane setup, balancing a camera and attaching a monitor and video cable, you can easily spend 20 minutes or more setting up something that ultimately gets used for only one shot. Why only one shot? When you have a limited time to shoot a video on locations such as oil rigs, fabrication warehouses, busy office buildings, and time-sensitive situations like sunrises and sunsets, you learn to prioritize the overall value that production toys have in capturing critical moments.
"Sure, I would love to have five dolly or crane shots in my video but I still have 3 scenes to shoot and only today to get it finished" I had to be realistic in what shots I could devote giving extra glamour to.
As an artist, the last thing I want, is to be limited to only a few tools at my disposal to paint the perfect picture. If I want multiple crane shots in a factory, in a busy office building where setup, shoot, and break-down times can be very limited, or if I need to rush to a final location at the end of a busy production day to shoot a client’s product against an amazing sunset, I want to know that I can really deliver my vision to a client and know that my equipment will always perform flawlessly and in a timely manner.
With all of that said, the Feather Camera Crane has been put through a number of situations, where these aspects have been tested. I can truly say that I stand behind this product whole-heartedly! First of all, is it truly portable? Without question! I have seen all the photos of this crane strapped to backpacks on climbers and hikers. I have seen the many locations it has been setup in. Lots of those locations would be very difficult to get a camera crane of this quality in. On a recent shoot, I was able to pack a full size tripod, camera stabilizer, 2 wireless audio kits and the entire Feather Camera Crane with 3 GoPro cameras, into one Pelican 1650 case. That was incredible for me. All of my toys, along with my essential tripod, in one portable and discreet package. That was a huge selling point for me because my clients don’t always have the budget to pay for lots of gear boxes being shipped to locations.
On one particular shoot, when I got to my final location of the day, the “Magic Hour” sunset shot, I only had a very short time to setup the tripod and camera before the sun was gone. But I also had my Feather Camera Crane so I knew I could deliver the client an even better shot than they had originally hoped for. I had the entire crane setup, including video monitor, in less than 6 minutes. NOTE: I do recommend prepping your gear ahead of time before any shoot. You never want to go into a production without knowing exactly how your equipment goes together, and in my case, I also knew exactly how many water bottles and camera batteries it would take to properly balance my crane with my cameras. At the end of the day, I was so happy that I got the amazing shots and I owe it to the quality and craftsmanship that went into building such a lightweight, portable and rugged crane. I even had time to change cameras to my GoPro Hero4 , fully extend the crane to its massive 7 foot reach, remove just enough weight from the weight bag and get one last shot of a vehicle driving into the sunset while kicking up lots of dust, which eventually filled the camera frame for an awesome closing shot. The portability, the price, and the craftsmanship. A true game changer!
Once again, thanks so much to Lite Pro Gear for creating such a great production tool that really is in a league of its own. I can’t wait to see what you will come up with next.