Cinematography Mailing List - CML



Moy Geared Heads

Published : 7th July 2004

Greetings everyone,

Searching through the archives came across some interesting discussion on working and practicing the gear head. Familiar only with the Arri 2 and having notice the Mini Worral's popularity was wondering if anyone had experience with the Moy gear head.

Could not find anything on that particular piece of equipment. Also what exactly is meant by 16 inch.

Appreciate your replies, thanks beforehand.


Emmanuel SUYS
Kamera-Assistent, Focus Puller, Assistant Camera
35mm - 16mm
Français, Nederland’s, English, Deutsch
European based, Munich

Hi Mani

I have used Moy heads many, many times, I think Moy engineering had its centenary about 10 years ago. Joe Dunton (I think still) took over the company before that. Aardman animations use them alot with motion control attachments etc. They are solid, reliable and brass.

16inch is about 40 cm or something, probably means a mini Moy?

Sorry for garbled reply but just got in from manic shoots in Malmo and London, back to back.

Hope all is well

Chris Maris

Hi Emmanuel

Do you mean the old Moy head?

It was very big and heavy, designed to handle the Mitchell BNC.

It only had one gear transmition, but there was a second wheel for fast pans.


Argyris Theos
Athens Greece

Argyris Theos wrote :

>Do you mean the old Moy head?

Greetings Argyris,

It was very big and heavy, designed to handle the Mitchell BNC.

It is a two speed Moy head 16 inch. That is all I know for the moment.

Just wanted to know if there are main reasons not to use this besides weight?


Emmanuel SUYS
Kamera-Assistent, Focus Puller, Assistant Camera

Hello Manny,

All modern gear heads use some sort of wire or belt to transmit the movement form the wheels to the camera. However all earlier models used gears, that's why they are calls gear heads. Those gears were made of brass and were wearing with time. This means practically nothing as far as pan is concerned since the distance between gears is adjustable and wear is practically the same all around 360 degrees.

This is not the case with tilt because the arc of gears gets more wear around the horizontal position and less wear as we move towards the end of the movement. So if we adjust it for the area around the horizontal and then go for a big tilt, it will become very stiff. If we allow it to move all around its movement, then at the areas around the horizontal we should
expect lots of lash. (Ups, I hope I was clear enough, my English seems to have left me around the corner, I found it very difficult to express myself this time.)

Now if your Moy operates without problems and you feel you are strong enough to carry it around, there is no reason you shouldn't. Take into account that you should lift it from bellow, not from the arch. It seems minor but you might damage the head and it is more difficult to lift from bellow.


Argyris Theos
Athens Greece

There's nothing inherently wrong with using an ancient Moy head, just like there's nothing inherently wrong with driving a Model T Ford on the highway.

Just don't expect the performance of a more modern machine. I wouldn't pay more than a $100 for a Moy as a production tool. I'd probably pay a lot more as a museum piece. You can commonly find a Mini Worrall for $4000 and I bought mine for only $2500 and it is a much better device than the Moy.

Mitch Gross

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