Budget Crane – Basic Movements

A crane is not a video tool you drag with you everywhere, especially if you're a one man band. But the times when you DO bring out a crane, you'll always come back excited about reviewing the camera movements that are hard to replicate in any other way. I thought about DIY'ing my own crane, but after finding this one for just over $100 dollars, it made sense to start with that and modify it as I go. Unfortunately, they aren't available any longer.

When working with a Crane, make sure you have the correct amount of balance (right down to the ounce). Having perfect balance will allow the camera to move effortlessly. I also mounted this setup on a (discontinued) Manfrotto 503 fluid head with a beefy Manfrotto tripod. I used a Manfrotto tripod dolly to make repositioning easy just by rolling the crane around. This portion of the build is a bit more expensive, but there's other options for Crane stands.

find-price-button Manfrotto 503 Fluid Head

We had so much fun getting extremely low shots, to very smooth vertical camera movements, i'm looking to either build or buy a smaller 4ft. Crane. It might seem short, but it's also based on Tripod height. If the tripod is set higher, then the POV will be higher. There is one Bargain brand that seems to have a small faithful following with excellent feedback that I might consider - called ProAm. The ProAm crane can be used in either 8ft. or 12ft. lengths and broken down into (3) 4ft. sections for traveling. Lots of other Crane options, Crane accessories, Crane stands, and LCD monitoring are also available from Bargain Camera's lineup. All found below.

find-price-button Bargain Camera Cranes and Accessories

34 thoughts on “Budget Crane – Basic Movements

  1. Grace

    @Emm--would be able to recommend a quick release adapter that i could use with the glideshot for DSLR and HMC150/Ex1?? Thanks!!

  2. Cam Roden

    Wow, really need to start reading the descriptions! lol. Sorry, I was referring to the plate the attaches the crane to the tri pod. I think a trip to Home Depot is in order. Thanks!

  3. Cam roden

    Hey Emm,
    just flipping through some old posts and had always had a question about your U plate that you have on this. Just wondering where you picked that up? I looked but never found one - this plate would make my set up much more convenient to lug around!

  4. Grace

    So...to mount a camera on the end of the glideshot....DSLR and/or HD Cam --can I use any quick release plate? I have the 501? Or...can i use a fluid head on it like the weifeng 717? Or do you just put it on the jib?

  5. Emm

    Post author

    @Kelly - Did not drill a hole. I purchased a new bolt from the hardware store to run through the QR plate and still fit the U bracket. I got a bolt with a very very flat head.

  6. Hey Emm, did you drill a hole into that quick release plate to replace the shorter stock screw with a longer one so you could attach it to the crane's U-Bracket??

  7. I am going to pick up up the proam dvc 250. Does anyone have any recommendations of an LCD monitor to use with this? Is the Proam monitor any good or is there a superior one out there for a lower price?

  8. Emm

    Post author

    @zOMBie - My solution was for a cheap Jib stand. I was looking for a cheap sturdy tripod + Fluid head and I think i've found one.

  9. Emm, hopefully your solution is well worth the wait... I'm dying of anticipation. On that note I will let you know that my Jib problem has been taken care of. I emailed a representative of the company and they let me know that I will be receiving my Jib in the next week or so. Everybody listen! Their new shipment of Jibs arrives on Thursday which is April the 1st I believe... not sure the price on those but if you're serious about getting a jib you might want to check them out https://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=190511614598&ssPageName=ADME:X:AAQ:US:1123 unless Emm's solution is better.

  10. Emm

    Post author

    @zOMBie - I might have something interesting to post very very soon that would help out with these small Jibs and Cranes. Something that was tough to find, but now looks like an awesome solution. I'll work on something tomorrow.

  11. After watching the video and reading the post above, I followed the ebay link and bought this Jib: https://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=190511614598&ssPageName=ADME:X:AAQ:US:1123

    I ordered my Jib the 14th of March, USPS received the Electronic Shipping Info the very next day. My email confirmed my purchase and my estimated delivery date was March 18th - 26th. I've been waiting patiently by the mail box since then. I thought my package would be here by the 18th and when it didn't show up it was heartbreaking, the next day... nothing? and the day after that... nothing again. I was starting to get worried, I made a few calls and found out that USPS had not recieved the package from the seller yet. Yesterday morning I sent and email to hollywood_ife, the ebay seller, asking if they had any info on my package. Later that afternoon I got a reply back

    The post office returned your item to me due to damage to the property while in shipment. We do not currently have any more of these in stock.
    I'm not sure what went wrong but I will be filing a claim with them.

    I apologize for this mishap and would like to offer you a full refund plus an additional $20 for your trouble. If this is okay please let me know and I will have this paid to you immediately.

    Once again, I sincerely do apologize."

    I don't want a refund, I WANT MY JIB!

    I've already done some more searching online for other jibs and I have to say the deal I originally got was the best. I plan to talk to the seller and hold out, I don't really care about 20 dollars when compared to a Jib that cost me 200 and some change total, hopefully they can send me my jib when they get a new shipment back in stock.

    For now my heart is broken and my head hangs low wondering if I can ever get over the JIB debacle of 2011. Wish me luck Gents. I hope one day I can chime in and let everyone know the results of the outcome. Hopefully we can all live happily ever after.

  12. spaceflows

    @ John - Thanks, I was considering the tripod and 360 panning mount you recommended.

    As far as the whole on the U-bracket... Yeah, I talked to the folks at diamonddolly about that and they confirmed that ALL their tapped wholes are 5/16". Weird, considering the industry standard is 3/8" or 1/4". Anyway, I will be tapping a larger whole on the U-bracket as you did once I've got all the good together.

  13. John

    i bought this tripod and it works great:
    don't forget to pick up the 360 panning mount as well and the dolly for it so you could pan and roll it around.

    as far as this crane goes, i have to make the holes on the tripod mounting point and the camera mounting point bigger (to size 3/8"). not sure what size it is on this crane originally but it's weird...

  14. spaceflows

    I have this crane/jib myself (thanks to Emm's listing of kellyhuffaker's video about it). Haven't broken it out yet, but this video is really inspiring too!

    Can anyone recommend a cost-effective/sturdy tripod for this set-up?

  15. SkunkWorks

    Emm, so how does the camera self leveling work on this? Do you preset the angle for low and then for high and then it just self adjusts between the two depending on height?

  16. Serge

    Yes please get them I got he chills jus watching you swing that baby around with a baby walking around in the background. Plus the will prevent the weights from wobbling.

    Also what lens did you use, everything is so crisp sharp and focused.

  17. Emm

    Post author

    @Serge - For sure I need those clamps! This was so last minute we decided to drag it out. I haven't had time to really modify this crane like I wanted.

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