Cobra Crane II Safety and Functional Enhancements

crane set up

Cobra Crane II and Stand-Alone Monitor Set Up

 

If only for greater peace of mind and convenience, try these modifications with your Cobra Crane II.

The Cobra Crane can be up and operating in minutes right out of the box with the addition of sufficient counter-weigh to balance your camera. The enhancements I’m about to suggest do not necessarily reflect any shortcomings of the crane, but rather my own obsession with over-protecting my new PXW X200. As a precaution, review the weight guidelines for your tripod to avoid damage to your crane or camera.

I’ve provided photos and descriptions illustrating the suggested modifications. One that I felt was an absolute necessity was the addition of a set screw to anchor the camera mounting plate to the tripod head (see the photo). In early trials the plate had a tendency to suddenly lurch forward along with the entire unit and camera. The little locking lever on the plate was not strong enough to keep the plate in place with the camera elevated and pointing sharply downward. Another modification was to secure the camera to the camera bracket with a second screw where it mounts on the crane to prevent the camera from rotating. More on this below.set screw and washer through camera plate

There’s also a short video shot on Christmas morning showing some typical crane shots. I couldn’t resist setting everything up in the living room and playing with it during editing breaks. After a 10 minute set-up the crane was operational. I found its performance surprisingly smooth once properly balanced. (The slider weight illustrated in a photo below helps with that). As an alternative to moving the crane from the weight end of the unit you might enjoy holding one of the crane rails nearer to the camera end and moving it from there.

Cobra Crane

Libec Zoom Controller

The Libec zoom controller attached on the rail near the weight end of the crane provides record on/off as well as zoom control for combined crane and zoom movements. I use a 16′ extension purchased from Libec. Some nice-looking shots can be created by combining the crane and zoom effects.

I set up my Lilliput monitor on a free-standing mic stand that I can position wherever I need to without hitting it with the crane. I used the crane and monitor in this configuration very successfully in the commercial I filmed at Letterhead Factory in Carson, CA. which can be seen here.

Additional Set Screw to Prevent Camera Rotation

Additional Set Screw to Prevent Camera Rotation

I wanted to be perfectly confident that my camera was going to be secure on the crane, and the single screw holding the camera to the mounting bracket didn’t give me a sense of security. To strengthen the connection an additional hole can be drilled into the U-shaped bracket that the camera mounts to, and a 2nd screw inserted to fasten the camera to the bracket provided your camera will accept both screws.

Cobra Crane

Shaft Locks from www.mcmaster.com

Shaft locks were purchased from www.mcmaster.com to insure against slippage of one or more of the telescoping tripod legs under the weight of the crane and camera. They can be ordered to fit the diameter of any tripod leg. Because I use a dedicated Gitzo tripod to support the crane, I installed the locks at each leg extension junction and just leave them there. An allen wrench can be used to quickly change the position of the locks when the length of the legs needs to be adjusted for more or less elevation of the crane.

To stop the weights from wiggling around at the back end of the crane, try adding a plate with a small diameter center hole before screwing on the plastic locking nut to hold the weights in place. (photo)

Establish perfect balance with the crane parallel to the floor to obtain smooth movement, particularly at the start and end of crane motion. Slide a movable weight belt along the crane arm to fine tune the balance. (see photo)

Plate with Small Diameter Hole.

Plate with Small Diameter Hole.

Cable Ties, Sliding Weight Belt

Cable Ties, Sliding Weight Belt

Enjoy the very brief video below showing a few crane shots. If by chance you happen to be considering a new camera, I’ve found my PXW X200 a fine replacement for my aging PMW EX-1R offering a much cleaner image in very low light environments. The camera  also offers wireless control of most functions with a phone app. It’s quite amazing. To view an example of the low light performance of the PXW X200 at a wedding reception, click here.

 

Marc Gold with video camera

Marc Gold Owner: 24KT

Feel free to contact me directly at 310 547-4702 or by email: marc@24ktsound.com.

24KT Sound & Video – Corporate and special event video production services, South Bay, San Pedro, Los Angeles. Proudly one of the oldest video production companies in L.A.

 




Bar Mitzvah Videography – Getting Pristine Audio and Video

 

Marc Gold

Marc Gold

Great to be back at Congregation Ner Tamid in Palos Verdes to record Nathan’s bar mitzvah video.The two minute highlight below is the latest, and perhaps the best in terms of audio and video quality. Because it’s not permitted to tape on the Sabbath, we recorded the ceremony rehearsal and the reception the following evening after havdalah. The rehearsal is a much more relaxed setting making camera placement and movement much less problematic. When Nathan went through his parts of the service I was able to have the camera just a few feet away from him resulting in the beautiful close-ups you’ll see in the video. Changes in camera position give the video a multi-camera feel even though a single camera was used throughout.

I had taped Nathan a few times prior to this in his stage performances with Encore Entertainers of Redondo Beach which is where I got to know his mother, Sharona, who works for E.E. He’s a natural performer and not at all camera shy. He’s a fierce competitor and the kid knows how to bust a move on the dance floor! The clip begins with a few very short highlights featuring Nathan and some close family members during the rehearsal, and ends with some reception highlights and a short still image montage to close, all in less than two minutes. As a side note, I’ll be recording four shows for E.E. in January, two of “Mary Poppin” and two of “Beauty and the Beast”.

Enjoy! and Share! and Mazal Tov, Nathan!!

24KT provides the very best in bar mitzvah videography through greater Los Angeles and Orange County. Contact me directly for your upcoming event: 310 547-4702; email: marc@24ktsound.com

Nathan's Bar Mitzvah

Nathan’s Bar Mitzvah

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Nathan’s Bar Mitzvah

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Nathan’s Bar Mitzvah

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Nathan’s Bar Mitzvah

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Nathan’s Bar Mitzvah

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Nathan’s Bar Mitzvah

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Nathan’s Bar Mitzvah

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Nathan’s Bar Mitzvah




Amazing, Incredible Voice! 12 Year Old Donovan Guiga sings “Silent Night”

Seldom am I this inspired in my work as a Los Angeles professional videographer as I was while recording amazing 12 year old Donovan Guiga’s performance with the San Fernando Valley Master Chorale’s presentation of “Amahl and the Night Visitors” this past week at the First United Methodist Church of Reseda’s Christmas celebration. In the clip below Donovan sings Silent Night as you’ve never heard it sung before.

I remember very clearly the first moment I heard his voice during the sound check prior to the show. Knowing how powerful singer’s voices can be I had young Donovan sing a few measures to set levels on the camera. I worked it out with the Chorale director and the church for a center aisle position to record from. I knew then and there that this was going to be a very special performance. Here’s the clip. Enjoy! (More about Donovan below the clip)

Kenneth Donovan Guiga is a 7th grader in school in Los Angeles, California. He loves music and has been developing his vocal technique with the National Children’s Chorus for the past 7 years. Donovan also loves acting, musical theatre and performs for different variety shows in Los Angeles, New York City, and London.  Recent credits as a principle performer include Hem in LA Opera’s production of Noye’s Fludde, the role of Son in Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Captain Hook in the Peter Pan Musical, and Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid.  He has also performed in Mahler’s 8th Symphony for Maestro Gustavo Dudamel with the LA Philharmonic. Despite the many hours he devotes to singing weekly, he also enjoys composing his own music and is studying the clarinet, piano, and drums. In addition to music Donovan also enjoys sports and is zealous about volleyball and snow skiing.

Upcoming scheduled performances include:

Footloose the Musical: January 22nd-29th 2016 in the lead role as Ren at George E. Gordon Clubhouse, El Segundo CA.

TAN DUN: heaven-earth-mankind Symphony 1997; March 13th 2016 at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Downtown Los Angeles.

Professional Video Production by 24KT Sound & Video, South Bay, Los Angeles, CA. 310 547-4702. Theater and dance performances, recitals, shows, demo reels. Email:  marc@24ktsound.com.

 




Proudly one of the Oldest Video Production Companies in L.A.

 

marc gold with video camera

Marc Gold

Reaching above and beyond as an established video production company in Los Angeles, our intent is not simply to make you happy with your video. It is to astound you with just how incredibly rewarding your video can be in the hands of the right production company, not only in our wedding and special event productions, but in our corporate videos as well. We seek to continually raise the bar on the production value of our work. It’s an attitude, a commitment to continuous growth and an investment in the tools that allow us to achieve our goals.

This month we added two new tools that will increase the production value of our videos – a slider and a crane. The slider creates silky-smooth sideways movement with the camera as in a pan across the glassware on an elegantly set table or a display of products on a store shelf, perhaps a reveal from behind a doorway to the activities in the room beyond. The crane creates a sweeping elevated shot above the action perhaps at the altar at a wedding or a busy dance floor at a reception, a production line energetically pumping out product in an industrial setting, a busy trade show floor bustling with activity or a walk-through of an elegant home. Stunning in any setting, the drama of the shots with the slider and crane is breath-taking. No other tools can produce the same effects. The end result is a much more visually interesting video that tells a great story.

From www.entrepreneur.com on the importance of a good video for crowdfunding campaigns: “Creating a video that tells your company’s story is a must-have for any crowdfunding campaign, says consultant Sally Outlaw. And not just any video. The ones that really get attention are the ones that have funny videos or creative videos. Almost across the board, when you see successful campaigns, they’ve done a really good job telling their story and have a quality video.”

Clients sometimes wonder what separates one video production company from another. What it comes down to is the commitment to continuously strive to exceed one’s own standards and the willingness to invest in one’s own clients to reach that goal – an investment in equipment, knowledge, one’s own skills behind the camera and in the editing suite and a desire to create something new, beautiful and productive with every new video.

For your next production, contact me directly by phone at (310) 547-4702 or by email: marc@24ktsound.com. Experience the difference a good attitude can make. 

Los Angeles Corporate, Wedding and Special Event Video Production Services since 1979. We set the bar higher daily.




Letterhead Factory – Commercial Video Production Using the Cobra Crane

 

videographer Marc Gold with camera

Marc Gold, 24KT Sound & Video

Just completed my first commercial video production using the new jib, a Cobra Crane 6-footer, for the Letterhead Factory in Carson. Owner, Rick Rice, is a long time friend of mine from my LeTip networking club. Here’s his comment after watching the 35 second video:

“On the video, how absolutely cool!! I’ll put it on my Facebook page, plus on our website, and anywhere else I can think of, and make sure I mention your name in all. I like this style a lot, by the way, will put on my thinking cap and see if we can do a longer one this next year.” –

No one had to speak on-camera in the entire video and there is no voice-over, only a music track,  yet the message is very clear – the behind-the-scenes story of great print products in the making. Rick’s new commercial will not only add visibility to his business, but credibility and increased sales.

The dynamic camera movement that can be achieved with this tool is breath-taking. Rick’s commercial was shot in an hour and edited in two. This after many hours of getting acquainted with my new crane working with it in my living room and gardens, learning to coordinate the panning and tilting of the camera. At Rick’s, it was a simple task filming the visuals I wanted for his video – I simply maneuvered through the print shop with the crane on a dolly, and with the cooperation of the employees, got the shots I needed. Back in the studio I edited just enough of the sweeping crane movements into the finished production, allowing the visuals tell the story, in this case, of a print shop that takes great care in creating a superior product with the right machines and a lot of quality control.

For your next commercial video production contact me directly at 310 547-4702, or by email: marc@24ktsound.com.

24KT Sound & Video, Los Angeles commercial video production services, South Bay, San Pedro




Surprise! Elvis is in The House

 

 

Elvis sings Dorothy and Steve’s first dance at the Cheesecake Factory.

Arranged by Dorothy as a complete surprise for the groom, Elvis impersonator, Donnie Edwards, delivers a stellar hour-long performance at the couple’s wedding reception which I had the pleasure of recording – one of the more memorable highlights of my wedding videography career – definitely a highlight of Dorothy’s day as she can be seen in the background singing the words to every song that was sung. Enjoy the first dance clip below.

The Couple’s wedding day video began at the Wayfarers Chapel, a four-camera shoot filmed by me in collaboration with the Chapel’s video program and edited at my studio in San Pedro. Working side-by-side with photographers and long-time friends, Jim and Laura Weintraub, the day’s events unfolded without a hitch and were beautifully recorded and edited to Blu Ray disc within four days of the event.

videographer Marc Gold with camera

Marc Gold, 24KT Sound & Video

On a personal note, so much of a wedding shoot is about the children and the elders present. The former, because they inevitably grow up and are a kick to watch ten years hence, and the latter, the older family members and friends, simply to keep them near well into the future.

I’m always looking for ways to add to the production value of the events I record and continue to research and invest in the equipment that gives a great look and feel to my productions. This was the debut performance of my new Sony PXW X200 camera whose low-light filming capabilities are nothing short of amazing. Scenes recorded on the dark dance floor at the Cheesecake factory were surprisingly clear and noise-free. I’ve also recently added a slider and jib to my equipment arsenal for some dramatic panned and elevated shots. More fun for me, and a nicer look for my clients’ videos.

Got a special event coming up? Contact me directly at 310 547-4702 or by email: marc@24ktsound.com

Wedding and special event videography, South Bay, San Pedro, Los Angeles.

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Photog Jim Weintraub at Dorothy & Steve’s Wedding

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Dorothy & Steve’s Wedding

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Dorothy & Steve’s Wedding

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Dorothy & Steve’s Wedding

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Dorothy & Steve’s Wedding

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Dorothy & Steve’s Wedding

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Dorothy & Steve’s Wedding

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Dorothy & Steve’s Wedding

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Dorothy & Steve’s Wedding

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Dorothy & Steve’s Wedding

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Dorothy & Steve’s Wedding

Dorothy & Steve's Wedding

Dorothy & Steve’s Wedding




Extreme Video Production – Using a Jib

Going Extreme with a Jib

Be it a commercial for your business or a corporate or social event – go ‘EXTREME’ with your next video production by adding the sweeping, breath-taking motion that only a ‘jib’ can provide by extending the camera high above the action (or as low as ground level). In this demo clip I’ve dramatized the most mundane of locations, my (messy) living room and my garden, to demonstrate the dynamic range of motion that can be created with the camera at the end of a “jib” in an incredible floor-to-ceiling 360 degree pan. The Jib – Small footprint, BIG results, for your next video production.

This weekend I’ll be recording a commercial at the Letterhead Factory in Carson using the jib to dramatically illustrate the printing processes done there. Check back for the demo at www.24ktsound.com/blog.

For your next professional video, contact me directly via email: marc@24ktsound.com or by phone: 310 547-4702.




Sony PXW X200 Low Light Wedding Video Clip – Picture Profile Settings – www.24ktsound.com/blog

 

Maiden wedding video shoot for my Sony PXW X200 – a night shoot on a dark dance floor at the Cheescake Factory in Redondo Beach, CA. The only lights are the DJ’s colored lights and uplighting. Some illumination from the sweetheart table as well. Picture profile settings those recommended by Alister Chapman in a June 10, 2015 post on the xdcam-user.com forum repeated for you here: “Profile for Night Shooting Where Low Light Performance is Critical and Noise may be an Issue”

Gamma: STD5, Black Level -3, Black Gamma +25, Matrix: ON, Select 1, Level +2, Phase -4, R-G +8, R-B +6, G-R -10, G-B -8, B-R -5, B-G -12, HD Detail: Level -15, Frequency +15, Crispening +40, Low Key Sat -30. Extremely happy with the camera and the settings. Enjoy the video:

Marc Gold, www.24ktsound.com. Professional wedding videography, South Bay, L.A. Contact marc@24ktsound.com.




L.A. Wedding Video Production – Indira and Edgar Ceja – Video Highlights

Enjoy this exquisitely edited 4 min Hispanic wedding ceremony & reception highlight produced by veteran South Bay videographer, Marc Gold, of 24KT Sound & Video (www.24ktsound.com) San Pedro CA. Meticulous editing and an extremely high resolution camera make this an extraordinary production – very enjoyable to watch. The highlight ends with a 24KT signature still image montage set to music.

It’s a very beautiful video filmed with a single camera from 4  positions in the church giving the video a distinctive multi-camera feel. Fortunately the church’s policies for videographers had remarkably few restrictions. I’m thrilled with the results and, if I do say so myself, they’re pretty amazing. . Thank you Edgar and Indira for the wonderful experience of producing your wedding video.

Locations are St. Helen Church of Southgate and Monterey Hill Banquet Hall, Monterey Park. The camera is our brand new Sony PXW X200. Visit www.2ktsound.com for more video demos.

Professional wedding and special event video production, South Bay, Los Angeles since 1984. Contact Marc directly at 310 547-4702 to record your next special event or email to marc@24ktsound.com