Macro Moves

Hi All

I need to travel above some aged maps on a longish macro lens, looking straight down as well as looking forward at a raking angle.

I'm wondering what sort of Jib/Underslung arm you would recommend for this task. I am keen to avoid too much arc in the move, so we're exploring a Chapman Stinger (a short jib with a slider on the end) and underslinging a Weaver Steadman head. I'd like to find a solution that I won't fighting to look straight down.

We will perhaps shoot RED, but this isn't set yet.

Thanks for any advice,

Warm regards

Byron Shah
Dp Los Angeles


I would suggest the Straight Shoot'r.

Exactly the type of shot the Straight Shoot'r has been used extensively for years, in addition to many other types of shots.

Please feel free to give me a call if you have any questions.


Andy Coradeschi
Straight Shoot'r Cranes, Inc.
Office: (818) 609-8310

Maybe this is over simplified, but what about a ubangi and a fisher dolly?

How big are the maps? Do you need vertical movement (i.e. a pull up), or
simply a move across looking straight down?

A cable cam is another option, but probably won't be steady enough for macro work...

Dominic Jones,
Fractured Films Limited.
Unit 23, Level 6,
New England House,
New England Street,
Brighton, UK.
BN1 4GH.

Hi Byron,

You could get the Fisher Jib arm (Model 21 or 22, perhaps) and the Stinger Crossarm:


Graham Futerfas
Director of Photography
Los Angeles, CA -- Currently prepping in Dallas, TX

Panther Evolution dolly with U-Bangi should do the work fine.


Rodrigo Lizana Lamarca
Pixine Ltda.


Have you considered moving the maps with a stationary camera instead of the camera? I did some of this with paintings last year and we put the paintings on plywood on skateboard" wheels. We did some really nice repeatable moves on the Panavision 90mm Macro and the Frazier lens.

Really helped with focus and camera shake.

Erik Messerschmidt
CLT, LA (DP on that one)

Hello Byron,

Nice question. Of course you could do with a dolly and any jib arm/outrigger or an overhead tracking system (like the TrussDollySystem I am manufacturing) but I would consider that anything will cast shadows... You need to be steady since you want to use longer macro lense.

I would recommend a boroscope/periscope on a dolly where a pan already can act as a tracking shot; it is slim enough to decrease the shadow casting. Hopefully you have the allowance to setup the lighting for the needed stop.

Good Luck!

Onno Perdijk
KeyGrip / manufacturer
Amsterdam, Holland

>> I did some of this with paintings last year and we put the paintings on plywood on skateboard" wheels. We >>did some really nice repeatable moves on the Panavision 90mm Macro and the Frazier lens.

Thanks Erik, that's a great suggestion.

If we do need to move the camera, what under slung head will give me the least resistance to pointing straight down? Remote heads out of the question.

Byron Shah
Dp Los Angeles

A variation on this method is what we used to call the "SlimeCam".

It requires two sheets of window glass -- sized according to your art work and the size of your moves -- and a jar of Vaseline. The first sheet of glass is secured to a table -- we used double sided foam tape. It is then liberally coated with Vaseline. The second sheet is placed on top of the first sheet with the Vaseline in between. The art work is taped to the second sheet.

It's no Oxberry, but it is very easy to get very smooth and controlled moves.

Brian Heller
IA 600 DP

Typically we use various Innovision probes and/or their movers or the Skater and Skater Scope, or something like the Revolution with its articulated lens mount and a slider. Underslung with a Weaver tends to be too imprecise and wobbly.

Mako, Makofoto, London, UK

I'd recommend a portable moco rig and track The results will be very very slick compared to manual operation. Greater creativity too and with a good moco operator faster than manual. Shooting different timed versions is a breeze and faster turnaround than manual.

Also enables multiple passes and mix dissolves to achieve lighting changes without a lighting desk.

It is classy, slick and reliable and should be an easy sell to the director.
I've done title sequences with artwork like this, it works a treat.

Mike Brennan

I don't know if it was mentioned, but Innovision has probe lenses and a moco rig that is suited for macro work. Cool tools for cool shots.

No affiliation.

Mark Woods
Director of Photography
Pasadena, California

Suggest moving the maps instead

Steve White

Done a lot of this over the years with several different approaches.

1. Weaver Steadman 5 axis rig consisting of what amounts to a mini jib, a cross-arm, and a weaver Steadman

2. A mini-jib with a six foot ubangi on an O’Connor 100 mounted with the camera at one end, the O’Connor in the middle and a counterweight at the other end at the end to make a scissor rig.

3. A dolly with the swinging ubangi on it (like the fisher cross arms.

4. A dolly with a slider on a pivot at the end of it like the aero slider
from aero crane or the Chapman stinger

Advantage of the aero slider over the stinger is the aero slider does not stick out further than camera... bit less of a shadow issue favourite is still the weaver Steadman five axis system - goal, for me is a weightless system where I can lock off the height but get unlimited x-y moves with approximately the same drag in all directions... my issue with big jibs with sliders on them is there is so much less resistance on the slider than on the mass of the system
as a whole....

5. The old-style scissor with a long ubangi and a mini-jib of some sort actually works really well and the weaver 5 axis thingie is a nicely done version of this.

6. The fisher Crossarm on one of their shorter jib arms is a nice modern way to go.

As far as heads are concerned, I have one of the heads that Clairmont built and I use it all the time for this sort of form factor it is much like weaver Steadman but the capsules are Sachtler studio 7x7 pan axes adapted... result is very precise drag control with low enough drag (which is hard to get on the weaver Steadman)

Full disclosure - mine is for rent if I am not using it.... but you can rent them from Clairmont .... and I think Otto Nementz built something similar ...

At the risk of stating the obvious... if the maps are too small, you can photograph them and have the section you need printed out on a large ink-jet printer and now all your moves can be that much more precise....

Mark H. Weingartner
LA-based VFX DP/Supervisor

Thank you all for this excellent thread. I will report back after the shoot.

All the best

Byron Shah
Dp Los Angeles


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