I went to Vung Tau over the three-day weekend and had a chance to try out my new cine hand jib, an adjustable hand crane from the folks at Cinecity. It’ll take a lot of practice to steady the gizmo, but I’ll be able to get some shots I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. The jib fits (barely) in a backpack, and it doesn’t weigh much. I’ve been using the Panasonic entirely in manual mode lately – manual exposure, manual white balance, manual focus – with much better results. I’ve also been using the YouTube uploader rather than uploading directly from QuickTime, as the latter restricts videos to 720p.
I recently added a new tool to my arsenal – a handheld stabilizer that goes simply by the name of Hand Held. I have no idea where it’s manufactured. The Freefly MōVI it is not, but then again, it doesn’t carry a $15,000 price tag either. It’s elegantly crafted from brushed aluminum (no plastic!), with leather for the shoulder rest and on the lower arm where it rests on the user’s stomach. A snazzy red handle completes the package. No counterbalance, no digitally regulated motors, and no batteries to worry about! I’ve only been using the device for a couple of days, so I’m not sure just how effective it is yet. But for shots where the camera must absolutely be steady, nothing beats a tripod. One thing’s for sure though – when I leave the house with this contraption under my arm, I get lots of curious looks from passersby. Incidentally, I’ve been using the Panasonic strictly on manual focus lately, and the pictures are turning out to be significantly sharper than on Auto.