As a run-and-gun filmmaker, I’m constantly looking for ways that I can improve the production value of my work. One of the primary ways that I try to do that is by incorporating dynamic and interesting camera movement into it. Jibs and cranes are great tools to utilize when trying to create compelling or cinematic camera movement, and are also one of the most versatile tools that you can use while on location or a set. Unfortunately, there have been historical trade-offs due to their inherent bulk.
It used to be that jibs and camera cranes were typically items reserved for large sets or film crews since they are larger and require tedious setup procedures before they’re ready for use. The ProAm CarryOn Jib is changing all of that for me. Now I have access to a fully-functional, versatile piece of equipment that I can throw over my shoulder and take virtually anywhere I go. Remarkably, all components of the jib fit into one small, carry-on sized bag.
Setup of the jib is quick and easy. Everything fits together with tight and precise clearances. The build quality feels rugged and up to any task that I decide to throw at it. It is also a modular product which allows the user the option to customize the length depending on the needs for a specific shot or project. The optional 2’ extension allowed me to get some impressive shots, starting down at floor level and lifting up into the sky for an epic reveal type of shot. To make things even more impressive, the 2’ extension fits inside the bag with the rest of the jib!
Balancing a jib or crane is typically a task reserved for a team of two individuals. I found it easy to balance the CarryOn jib myself, thanks to the sturdy locking mechanisms and modularity of the product. This is an invaluable quality for solo shooters. It’s also possible to carry less weight than usual since the counterbalancing arm can be extended to multiply the force exerted by the counterweights.
While the jib is compact and lightweight, it certainly doesn’t compromise on any features. It comes equipped with a self-leveling camera platform which corrects pitch via an adjustable cable system. This ensures that your camera stays in line with your subject or focal point. It’s also possible to attach a fluid head to the platform or purchase an option bowl plate to create more dynamic movements. It also features locking mechanisms on both the rotational and lift axes. The jib features a bubble level as well so it’s easy to ensure that the tripod has been placed properly.
The fluid action of the jib makes it incredibly easy to achieve smooth and stable shots. I’ve been quite impressed with the fluidity of my movements using my GH4 (a non-stabilized camera body). There’s no conceivable way to replicate jib movements with a tripod or when shooting handheld; even with the assistance of cutting-edge stabilization technologies. The locking mechanisms can also be used to dampen movement, allowing you to add resistance to your liking. The smooth camera movement achievable with the CarryOn Jib is certainly one of its appealing aspects for me.
I shoot a good deal of automotive videography which generally calls for a lot of smooth and captivating camera movement. Automotive video is centered on showing off the curves and aesthetic of the vehicle, and a jib is the ideal tool to use in order to get those elegant sweeping shots. I was able to shoot a friend’s car using the CarryOn Jib and was really impressed with the shots that I was able to get using it.
It was a pleasant surprise to find out how versatile the jib was too. I ended up using the jib to create some push-pull shots that look like they came from a dolly and track. I was also able to get some huge slider-like sweeping movements too. The flexibility is huge for me since it means that I’m going to save room in my camera bag by leaving other pieces of gear at home. It’s also cool because I never have to worry about dismounting my camera and setting up more gear for a new shot. I found the CarryOn Jib to be capable of acting as a tripod, dolly and slider to impressive degrees.
The jib is also going to be a godsend for B-roll. You can get some impressive establishing shots with the optional 2’ extension that would be great for opening up a documentary or short film. Wedding shooters will also be impressed with the options this jib will open up for them, especially since event shooters benefit tenfold from minimizing their gear.
Inspiration is a byproduct of experimentation for me. I can’t remember the last time a piece of gear inspired me in the same way that the CarryOn Jib has. I’m sure a lot of the inspiration stems from the nearly limitless amount of camera movement possibilities it provides the user with. Those options multiply when the jib is combined with a fluid head! I find myself trying new things and taking some risks with my shots because it is important to me to continually grow as a filmmaker. Experimentation helps me avoid stagnation and stimulates my progression. I love that the seemingly endless inspiration I derive from use of the jib.
I never imagined that taking a jib or crane around with me would be a practical option, until now. It looks like I’ll finally get the chance to add substantial value to my productions thanks to the portability, versatility and feature rich CarryOn jib. If you’ve been looking for a sure-fire way to take your productions to the next level, I highly recommend taking a look at this. I’m genuinely looking forward to using the jib on upcoming projects and know that it will quickly become an invaluable tool for me, whenever and wherever I’m working.
Written by Derek Pearson
Filmmaker & Photographer