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ABC Products
Hollywood Lite

New Rigs 2003

by Christina Fox  and David Fox

There are a wide range of Steadicam alternatives, with new hand-held and full-vest varieties on offer from ABC Products, MK-V, Hollywood Lite, Glidecam, Sachtler, CamMate - oh yes, and Steadicam too.

Steadicam Ultra seriesSTEADICAM

The Steadicam Ultra series is the only stabilisation system to have a motorised stage, claims Frank Rush, Steadicam's sales and marketing manager. "You can adjust balance immediately on the fly using a remote control by the user's thumb. So, if the talent has to go up stairs, you can change the balance as you go and the change is transparent." Also unique is a single 24v battery for film applications. "The Arri 35 takes a lot of power. On old rigs, and on the competition's rigs, you need three batteries. With the new rig, that's replaced by the single battery."

The patented iso-elastic arm enables the operator to float a 20-45 lb (9-20kg) camera in any position throughout the arm's complete range. The vest plate and security straps have also been improved and there is now a compact vest for women and the smaller man. It requires no tools to set up and adjust the vest, arm or sled. Plus, all the clamps have been colour coded for quick operation.

For prosumer cameras there is the redesigned Steadicam Jr. "It is made from totally reformulated carbon fibre to make it more robust and has an improved gimbal. For cameras without a flip out screen there is a colour backlit TFT monitor," explains Rush.

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ABC Products Clip and GoABC Products

ABC Products has a new, small balancing system, Clip & Go, which folds to a small size and takes seconds to set up. The ¤100, aluminium system works with cameras weighing from 0.5 to 3.5kg, and comes in many colours. " I can direct it without touching it, something other systems don't do," claims ABC's sales director, Kenneth Shore (pictured right).

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Daniel Sauve Designs vestMK-V

MK-V has a new Steadicam and Pro compatible sled. The deluxe version has a four-stage telescopic post with a lens height of up to 3m and down 50cm below foot level. It costs 22,250 Euros.

If your old rig is causing backache there is a new ergonomic vest from Daniel Sauve Designs. "It is completely different, because it is back mounted. That way it is mounted on to your bones rather than muscle so you can wear it longer," states MK-V's Howard Smith. The vest is made from a carbon fibre shell, orthopaedic foam and a lower-back air bladder system. Each vest is custom fitted and hand-made for the user. Available as part of an MK-V package for $9,000.

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Hollywood Lite has two new stabiliser products. The Ultra-Lite is a lightweight, hand-held aluminium stabiliser for cameras weighing under 3.2kg (7lbs). It is quick and simple to set up with no tools, and the counter-balance is achieved by rotating the weight at the bottom of the system.

The new Pro-Lite "is a fully armed system. It has a vest and a double articulated arm," says Garry Tull, Hollywood Lite's president, who claims it is about one-third the price of rival systems. "Our main goal is to make it so the average videographer can afford a stabiliser."

The spring loaded Iso-Arm takes cameras weighing between 2.7kg and 5.4kg and has an increased vertical range (60 cm) and a bigger LCD monitor (14.5 cm) than previous models, plus a standard Anton/Bauer battery mount.

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Thomas Howie, Glidecam's marketing manager, 
        demonstrating their new systemGLIDECAM

Glidecam's new Gold Series camera stabilisation system, for 35mm, HD, 16mm, and video cameras and camcorders, costs $19,000. The lightweight Gold Arm has six titanium springs, to handle a 6kg to 17.5kg camera. Its Hyper-Extension Hinges allow the arm more freedom of movement. For strength and durability the vest connectors are also titanium.

The Gold Sled has a three NP-1 style battery system, delivering 12 volts to the base (for the monitor) and either 12 or 24 volts (switchable) to the head for use with video or film cameras. The base has a BNC Video out connector, 12/24 volt power switch, three circuit breakers and two 4-pin "Lemo" style OB304 video/12 volt power out connectors. The monitor mounting bracket can be rotated 180 degrees, with no-tools adjustment so the monitor is viewable during low mode operation. An optional Anton/Bauer-style base is due soon.

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For the smaller camera CamMate has a new Steady-Shot system. With the now familiar vest, arm and sled, its lightweight system costs $5,000 and accommodates cameras from 2.5kg to 10kg.

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Sachtler has two new versions of its stabilising systems. The modular Artemis Cine/HD is designed for HD camcorders and large film cameras with a choice of four sleds: Cine, Cine HD, EFP and EFP HD. Features include: a built-in Tally system, three video lines for HD cameras, dual dynamic balance, and a self-centering gimbal. For lightweight cameras, up to 2.5 kg, there is the bow-shaped Artemis DV.

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    Christina Fox and David Fox

    April 2003