Using the Carbon XL 7 carbon fiber jib with a MōVI M15 and a Red Dragon or Alexa Mini

By Jon Firestone, DP     Jon Firestone

Carbon XL 7 jib crane with MoVI M15 and Red Dragon

Carbon XL 7 jib crane with MoVI M15 and Red Dragon

Click here to view a video of our crew using the system on location.

Click here to view the Carbon XL 7 crane info.

I have been using a great new jib setup almost daily for 8 months now, and I am really impressed with how mobile and effective it is . To get the motion we need, I mount my Red Dragon or Alexa Mini camera on my MōVI M15 stabilizer, which is attached to the Carbon XL 7 jib crane. What is particularly interesting about this setup is that I can quickly swap between handheld MōVI mode and jib mode, and because I already have my camera package trimmed down to be incredibly light for handheld use, it is ideal for using with the jib. The jib is also carbon fiber, so it requires very little counter-weight. Even at full length, which is 18.5 feet, I only need about 80 lbs to counter balance the roughly 20 lb camera and MōVI setup.

Carbon XL 7 crane with Alexa Mini 1

Carbon XL 7 crane with Alexa Mini 1

I fly to most of my jobs, and rather than ship the gear ahead of time, we generally fly with the equipment. So keeping the number of cases and weight of the cases down is really important. I use a Manfrotto 536 CF 100 mm ball tripod that we’ve beefed up to support the extra weight to support the jib and it is generally mounted on my CamDolly for additional mobility. The CamDolly is also really portable and can be broken down to fit in a case, so it gives us the ability to easily move and transport the jib. The result is an incredible lightweight system that I can easily travel with and I can operate with a crew of three people.

Using a Carbon XL 7 crane with a MoVI M15 and a Red Dragon camera

Using a Carbon XL 7 crane with a MoVI M15 and a Red Dragon camera

We equip either my Red Dragon or my Alexa Mini with a Teradek Bolt Pro 300 wireless video system and mount it on my MōVI M15 along with a wireless follow focus. We run the Camera, wireless follow focus and Teradek off of one lightweight IDX camera battery , so everything is wireless with minimal batteries to deal with. The Carbon XL 7 Jib also has a unique weight setup that allows us to pull the entire counter weight off as one piece which speeds up the process of weighting and de-weighting the jib. With this setup, we can shoot handheld with the MōVI, and switch to crane shots in about 3 minutes. The Carbon XL 7 crane adjusts from 3 to 18.5 feet from the tripod, so we can easily do wide sweeping shots and low-to-high-to-low shots as well as jib shots in tight quarters. You will see some examples in the video.

The Red Dragon and MōVI M15 attached with a MōVi Toad in the Hole and no wires

The Red Dragon and MōVI M15 attached with a MōVi Toad in the Hole and no wires

We frequently mount the Carbon XL 7 crane on a CamDolly so we can move it around fully assembled, and then we can quickly pull off the crane head and tail assembly to roll the whole system into an elevator. The crane is then still mostly assembled when we arrive at the next setup location. By using the Teradek and MōVI Controller, we avoid any wiring attached to the jib. This allows us to re-assemble the full 18.5 foot jib at the new location in less than 10 minutes. And the CamDolly lets us quickly change the location of the jib.

The Carbon XL 7 crane, tripod, weights, and CamDolly loaded for transport to the next setup

The Carbon XL 7 crane, tripod, weights, and CamDolly loaded for transport to the next setup

The Carbon XL 7 carbon fiber crane weighs only 37 pounds, (62 pounds in the shipping cases), so we are able to travel with only a total of 8 equipment cases at an average baggage cost of $200 each way. (Between Airline Status and Media Rates) Frequently we can use the exercise weights at the hotel for crane counter-balance weights. The Carbon XL 7 crane setup also works with a Ronin or other camera stabilizer, (though the heavier Ronin will need more counter weight than the MōVI). All the jibs we used in the past were much heavier, required a lot more counter weight, and more costly to ship as airline baggage. This is a big improvement.

The Carbon XL 7 crane, packed in a wheeled case and ready to be checked as airline baggage. 62 pounds, (28 kg)

The Carbon XL 7 crane, packed in a wheeled case and ready to be checked as airline baggage. 62 pounds, (28 kg)

I am really pleased that our 3 person crew can travel this light and still get these amazing 6K camera motion shots every day. After doing hundreds of crane setups, we put a lot of trust in the crane and we frequently do shots over swimming pools, off bridges and from building overhangs. As you will see in the video, one person can shoot the moving crane shot, often using only one hand.

This is a very cool setup and I love using it. Check it out.

Jon Firestone, DP

Click here to view a video of our crew using the system on location.

Click here to view the Carbon XL 7 crane info.

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Shooting a dolly shot with the Red Dragon at 18.5 feet crane extension

Shooting a dolly shot with the Red Dragon at 18.5 feet crane extension

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