Season is almost over and we have been spending our last moments on snow in Tamok, Norway. Few weeks ago it was still powder but now snow has turned to slush. Rumors say that there is still some good snow left on the hard-to-access couloirs up in the tops if you are willing to hike. We did, for hours and hours but it was worth it almost every time.
I got an idea one day of combining my tripod, videohead and monopod to make up a simple video crane. I can not hike around lugging crane in my backbag so I have never felt need for one. I have found ways to overcome or just decided to get different types of shots. Some overhead shots, raises and long sideways movements are just not possible without it so this got me thinking of making one from the stuff I always carry around.
After getting initial idea of such thing I was trying to figure out how to attach monopod to videohead and remembered that I bought Manfrotto Nano Clamp last year, and it just lies in my backbag for occasional use when clamping cameras onto trees or something. Super small, yet sturdy clamp was like made for this. Attaching triangular shaped Manfrotto 390 monopod to it was easy.
This whole setup is made from things that I always carry in my backpack while filming so there is no extra weight to get it to work. No need for building, no need for any tricks, just combine the different camera supports and you get working crane in couple of minutes. It works best for overhead types of things or when you have to move your camera hanging outside from a ledge or cliff example. Much easier than trying to hold your camera on a monopod by your hands only.
The setup has some flaws, first of all it is not truly a crane or jib since the camera is fixed in position with regular ballhead, there are no joints for camera to swivel, pan or anything. It is not steady on small or flimsy tripods, I used Gitzo Systematic series 4 tripod and with that using crane was easy, I doubt my Gitzo traveler can hold it. Clamp attachment to Manfrotto videohead is done by just screwing it into quick release plate, this can move if you are not holding the monopod while turning. I think I can figure out a better solution to some of its flaws but right now I am happily using this little trick to combine different elements into a whole new thing that allows me to shoot different types of shots.
Having used FLM LB-60 leveling base for couple of years now it got broken during our move to a new house. I sent it back after official warranty period in hope that they could fix it.
Yesterday I got home from last filming trip to Canada and there it was, package from FLM waiting for me. I opened it knowing that there would be my leveling base, hopefully fixed, but instead there was two. Old broken one and brand new one including letter “With regards back”.
In my email correspondence I offered to pay for repair costs, shipping and whatever inconvenience this might cause to them but there was no mention about anything like that in package I received. This is what I call excellent customer service! Thank you FLM
Flight back from Japan was something quite nice this time. Clear sky almost all the way and flight during daytime allowed some serious sightseeing. Nice views of Mt. Fuji and mountain ranges of Honshu. Crossing Siberia reminded me of what the snowy moon might look like.
Inbounds powder in Hakkaisan resort at Muikamachi, Niigata, Japan with Antti Autti and Joel Lahti. We had so much powder overnight that Hakkaisan sidecountry was too deep to ride. With more snow coming, bad visibility forced us to do some followcams, and quick photos on the side of the slopes. Forest lines on the way down ensured quality time in Niigata!