Thursday, August 22, 2013

VZ SnapCrane Product Highlight

What sets the VariZoom SnapCrane apart from other camera cranes the most is its ease of use. This well-made piece of equipment turns the hassle of setting up and breaking down a jib camera crane into a process that takes only minutes out of your production day. On a set when time is money, the SnapCrane can save you a lot in production costs.
video crane

Video Crane Key Features

Better Reach Over the Competition
Compared to the QuickJib, the SnapCrane offers far more reach both horizontally and vertically.
There are also four configurations as opposed to just two.

Dovetail Joint Assembly
The unique dovetail joint assembly makes it possible to construct the SnapCrane in minutes without the use of tools. It also improves the overall stability and security of the video crane by offering safety locks above and below the joint.

Pan/Tilt Base and Brake System
The base of a jib camera crane can greatly impact the quality of the shot. VariZoom has done a good job at creating a base that’s as smooth as it is sturdy. The braking system is also smartly designed to offer holding power without locking.

Complete Turn-key Kit
In addition to the jib camera crane, each kit also includes a tripod, dolly, and carrying case. It’s everything that you need to get your video crane up and operable.

VariZoom Camera Cranes

The VZ SnapCrane isn’t a one size fits all camera boom. There are a number of options and configurations, which makes finding the video crane to fit your needs and budget a snap.

  • VZ SnapCrane9 – 9’ camera boom
  • VZ SnapCrane12 – 12’ camera crane
  • VZ SnapCrane16 – 16’ camera boom
  • VZ SnapCrane9-100 – 9’ camera boom with VZMC100 Motion Control Head
  • VZ SnapCrane12-100 – 12’ camera crane with VZMC100 Motion Control Head
  • VZ SnapCrane16-100 – 16’ camera boom with VZMC100 Motion Control Head

VariZoom has created a top-of-the-line video crane that doesn’t cut corners on design and materials, but does cut down on the time it takes to utilize a jib. If you’ve been looking for a camera crane that will extend your shots without extending your production day, the SnapCrane will get the job done.  Visit VariZoom online at

A Lesson in Camera Controls for the Lens

The human eye is the greatest lens on the planet. Since the beginning of film, professional moviemakers have constantly improved camera controls to try and replicate our own ocular abilities. While we’re still not there yet, we’re getting really close.

Let’s take a look at the different types of lens control options that are available, what they do, and
what to look for.

focus control, zoom control Focus Control

Focus is the most important element of shooting film and video. Exact focus control is needed to get the sharpest shot possible, especially in shots that have lots of movement. Often an upgraded focus control will improve your ability to dial the focus no matter what’s happening in the scene. Look for a focus control that is:

  • Made for your brand of camera.
  • Offers auto and manual control options.
  • Designed to work with different types of camera supports.
  • Able to dial in precise adjustments.
  • Knobs, rings, etc. with extremely smooth movement.

There are even controls that allow you to pull focus using the tripod handle, which is great when you need to adjust focus during camera movement.

Zoom Control

Pushing in or pulling out of a shot can create a dynamic, dramatic effect, but only if it’s smooth. Jerky zoom operation is nothing but a distraction that can be avoided with a good zoom control. Look for a zoom control that:

  • Is made for your brand of camera – here at VariZoom we have zoom controls for all the major makers.
  • Offers variable speed zoom options.
  • Works on different types of camera supports.
  • Has a sturdy but compact design.
  • Pressure sensitive zoom rocker.
  • Incorporates a record start/stop control.

The zoom control that is built into most cameras offers only the most basic of operation, often at limited speeds. An upgraded zoom control can make moving in and out much more precise.

Iris Control

lens controlThe iris of the camera lens controls the exposure of the shot so exact operation can greatly improve iris control, here are a few things to consider:
the look of your finished product and minimize post work. If you’re in the market for an

  • Control that is made specifically for your camera model
  • Smooth movement of the control
  • Ability to switch from auto to manual

Oftentimes an iris control is paired with a focus control. If this is the case, you should be able to control each separately.

Lens Control Systems

A lens control system is designed to provide it all or a combination of controls: focus control, zoom control, and iris control. The best systems will have independent controls that can be operated by more than one person. Some lens control systems will also come with additional products such as monitors that help you to make your shots even more precise.

Wireless camera control systems give videographers more freedom, and enhance their ability to fine tune shots in less than ideal shooting situations. If you are using a jib or crane, wireless camera controls can make a huge difference.

Being able to control your lens, even from 1000 feet away, is crucial to capturing a great shot. When the basic controls just won’t cut it, an upgraded lens control system can take your shots from fine to fine-tuned.

To view lens control products, visit VariZoom at

Monday, August 19, 2013

New: 5" & 7" HDMI Monitors

See our new 5" & 7" HDMI monitors! You can purchase the monitors by themselves, or as a kit. To see our selection, click here.

See VariZoom at IBC 2013

Come see us at IBC 2013 in Amsterdam! September 13-17, 2013. Learn more at

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Stealthy Camera Stabilizer

Steady Camera Operation Made Easy

stabilizer for video cameraYou want to make sure you have all the gear you need, but lugging around cases of equipment can get old quickly. When it comes to capturing a great steady shot, an arsenal of tripods, monopods and stabilizers all end up getting dragged along. Multi-functionality is one of the most attractive features
of any piece of production equipment, and that’s exactly what the Stealthy™ offers!


Features That Make the Stealthy More than a Video Camera Stabilizer

The Stealthy™ is way more than a stabilizer for video camera operation. This versatile piece of equipment can easily switch from a video camera stabilizer to a:
Beyond its multi-functionality, another incredible feature, whether you are on set or out on location, is its easy portability. You can use the belt clip to hook the Stealthy™ to your belt buckle, backpack, or camera bag. This feature also solves another problem: getting the shot in time. It has a quick draw mode that allows it to be drawn up and put to use at a moment’s notice.

handheld camera stabilizer, 

Stabilizer for Video Camera Equipment of All Sizes

Weight is a factor for any video camera stabilizer. Again, the Stealthy™ proves to be one of the most
accommodating products on the market as it’s built to work with photo and video cameras up to 3 lbs. Have a beefier camera? The Stealthy-WT5 weight kit accessory boosts support for cameras up to 5 lbs.

Bottom line: The Stealthy™ is a great piece of equipment for anyone who needs a video camera stabilizer. Bringing much more to the table than any other similar product, the Stealthy™ is so versatile that it can be used to replace multiple pieces of equipment. From packing up to shooting on the fly, the Stealthy™ makes getting a great shot much easier!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Advantages of Motion Control Camera Equipment

Motion Control Camera Equipment

 VZCINEMAPRO-K2 motion control cameraCreating a professional, high-quality product is important in virtually every industry, but for film it’s a must. There’s no easier way to ruin picture perfection than by having jerky, shaky shots.

In the early years of cinematography, keeping the camera perfectly still was necessary when one wanted to capture a picture in clear focus. Invented by Louis Augustin Le Prince in 1895, the earliest portable film cameras couldn’t really be moved at all without running the risk of completely ruining a
take. Today, we’ve come a long way in developing cameras and motion control camera equipment that allows for a wide range of movement while keeping things extremely steady.

Benefits of using motion control camera equipment include:
  • Superior Smoothness – unless you’re going for a Blair Witch Project effect, the smoother the shot, the better the end product will be. 
  • Precise Repetitive Motion – with motion control camera equipment, you can better ensure that each take has the same camera movement. 
  • Aids in the Creation of Special Effects – the point above helps in the compositing process and addition of special effects. 
  • Reduces Workload in the Editing Room – the smoother and more precise each shot, the less work and editing that will have to be done post photoshoot. In a world where time equals money, this is extremely important. 
While some motion control equipment has been around for decades (like the dolly), there’s a new crop of camera motion control technologies that are revolutionizing how DPs use their equipment.

Using Remote Pan Tilt Head for Motion Control

Welcome to the world of remote technology. From drones used in the military to motion control camera equipment used in the film industry, the concept of remote control offers its users capabilities that just weren’t possible before. As you can imagine, remote operation significantly expands the number of shots you can get, but the benefits go far beyond that.

With a remote pan tilt head like VariZoom’s CinemaPro models, cameras can be programmed to pan, tilt, focus or zoom to precise specifications, giving DPs the ability to remove human error from the equation. However, programmed movement isn’t the only amazing thing that a remote camera head can accomplish. They can also:
  • Track actions at any speed
  • Create custom motion limits so the camera stays within set parameters
  • Control movements independent of each other to achieve the exact movement needed
  • Wirelessly control the camera from a distance – up to a mile away
  • Be used with a crane or jib for enhanced control when the camera is out of reach
A remote pan tilt head is the ultimate way to stretch the boundaries of camera operation, making it easier than ever to operate a camera. Many systems, such as the VZ-CinemaPro-K4, utilize a joystick (called a jibstick in CinemaPro models) to effortlessly control movement as well as focus and zoom.

As remote technologies become more commonplace, high-tech motion control camera equipment is becoming more and more affordable. Companies like VariZoom are now able to create remote camera head equipment that is budget-friendly enough to be used by smaller productions, but technologically advanced enough to meet the most stringent of requirements. At the rate technology is improving, in the near future we wouldn’t be surprised to see motion control camera equipment being used by DPs who are nowhere near the set.

About the Author: VariZoom manufactures lens control systems, remote camera heads, and motion control camera equipment like the CinemaPro and CinemaPro Jr. series. Professional film equipment from VariZoom is built with quality, care, and attention to detail to give customers cutting edge film capture technology at surprisingly affordable prices. VariZoom’s product selection can be viewed at

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

VariZoom's new CPJ-5

VariZoom's new CPJ-5 combo helps user get in the door with a tremendously powerful exoskeletal motion control head that can have these capabilities opened as your budget grows. This set up has a basic controller but you can buy more powerful controls to access timelapse frame accurate motion control intervalometer options and more. No need to buy a lesser head that will later need to be replaced in its entirety. Buy the CPJ-5 and buy the more sophisticated features and controls later.

Friday, June 21, 2013

New CinemaPro Jr / JibStick Jr Kit Announcement

Now big production values are within the reach of production companies of all sizes. VariZoom / mocoDyne is now making it possible for videographers to get the most sophisticated and powerful motion control system that is expandable with your budget.

The CPJ-K5 is the CinemaPro Jr and our new Jib Stick Jr precision joystick. With this system, you are getting the CinemaPro Jr and exoskeletal motion control head with precision internal drive

This allows your investment to be built upon as you budget grows rather than having to start over and replace a lesser system in it's entirety.

Monday, June 10, 2013

VariZoom Stealthy / Sony NEX Shooting Tip

Tip for Sony NEX users shooting video: The strap attachments that are mounted to NEX 6 rattle and effect audio especially without straps. With a toothpick you can wedge and eliminate this noise.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

VariZoom Stealthy

Sony, Starbucks & Stealthy: Starting day with NEX 6 testing with a new Stealthy accessory.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Apples to Apples Comparison

Not all jibs are created equal. On the left you have the VariZoom fulcrum, where we show the concealed tapered wheel bearing. In comparison to another brand of camera booms that uses inexpensive thrust bearings that are exposed to the dust and elements.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

VariZoom / mocoDyne CinemaPro Remote Head system

Whether you are shooting a professional movie or commercial, trust the VariZoom CinemaPro remote head to deliver the camera motion control shots you need. A step up from the VariZoom MC50 and MC100 remote heads, the CinemaPro is trusted by film professionals around the globe.

Featuring powerful but quiet drivetrains, the CinemaPro provides equal refinement when it comes to fast-movement action shots or slow-moving tracking shots.

Wireless Lens Control Integration
The CinemaPro works delightfully well with the TOC Wireless Follow Focus system. (We also have a video on our wireless lens control system.)

HD Video
An HD video slipring is an optional accessory.

About VariZoom
VariZoom manufacturers high quality remote heads, and other related camera equipment for filmmakers, including camera cranes, camera jibs, video tripods, and lens controls. Visit our equipment store at Have questions? Call 512-219-7722 or contact us online.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What Makes the Best Camera Cranes?

Camera Boom
Beautiful overhead and fly-over shots can take a film or commercial from looking amateur to truly professional. A jib camera crane, or camera boom as it is often referred to, gives cinematographers the ability to capture scenes in ways that just aren’t possible with a tripod or even a dolly.

As with many things in life, there are plenty of options when it comes to a video crane. But what is it you should be looking for in order to get the best camera crane for your production?

Features of a Solid Camera Boom

Counter-weighting – Getting the balance correct so that weight isn’t extreme on either end is crucial for video crane operation. The better your ability to adjust and control the counter-weighing, the easier and safer operation will be. VariZoom camera cranes offer numerous options for perfecting the balance and allow you to fine tune things with their sliding weight feature.

Camera Crane
No Tools Required
Smooth movement – Just as with the head of your tripod, the flow of the camera crane will determine whether you get a nice smooth shot or a jerky unusable one. Proper balance will affect this, but the crane’s base is the most important factor. Make sure the base allows for a wide degree of panning and tilting and that it has a solid build.

jib crane
Dovetail Joint Assembly
Construction – As consumers we’ve come full circle. The emphasis use to be quantity over quality, but that’s begun to change. Solid construction is especially important for film because any delays on set can cost far more than what you’d save by getting a cheaper video crane.

Another vital aspect of a quality camera crane is how easy it is to build and break down. Time is money on a shoot, so the quicker the camera crane can be assembled the better. The VariZoom SnapCrane uses a unique dovetail joint assembly system that requires no tools.

Stability – Safe operation for your cameras and crew is a top priority. The stability of the camera crane is one of the first things to consider. What kind of base is it on? Will it become unstable in the slightest wind?

The camera boom should be fitted precisely for its stand and the stand should be sturdy enough to support the boom when it’s fully loaded and weighted. Added measures like cable tensioning systems will reinforce the stability.

Motion control heads – Having the ability to add a remote controlled motion head is ideal for getting exactly what you want onscreen when the camera is out of reach.

Height/Length – The advantage of using a jib camera crane is its ability to get shots that are out of reach with other rigs. However, going as big as possible isn’t always ideal if you are in a tighter location. The best camera cranes give you options and the ability to easily adjust the length and height. VariZoom offers a 9’ camera crane, 12’ camera crane and 16’ camera crane to meet any filming requirement. SnapCranes can also be set to compact modes or expanded with up to two extensions.

Repair and Replacement – A video crane with proper care will last a lifetime. Over time, it is possible that you may damage your crane and may need to replace a part or repair your crane. The last thing you want is to have a completely inoperable camera boom because you can’t get the part you need.

Before purchasing a jib camera crane, ask about warranties and the availability of replacement parts. It’s also worth your time to read some reviews to see how reliable the system is and whether or not repairs are easy to complete on your own.

A video crane is a serious investment in your production. It’s more important that the boom be reliable and secure rather than inexpensive. Camera operators will tell you that any mishaps or missed shots on set will cost you far more in the long run. So, now that you know what to look for it’s time to start shooting those overheads and action shots.

About the Author: VariZoom manufactures jib cranes, camera stabilizers, and other professional film accessories including the acclaimed SnapCrane camera crane. VariZoom products are well built and easy to assemble and use. Most importantly, they last. Their product selection can be viewed at

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

QuickJib Product Review

With the amount of jib cranes on the market, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of varying prices, features, capabilities, brands, and models.  Not to mention, that any budgetary restrictions involved with your particular filming project will have an impact on the type and quality of the gear you’re able to buy.  Film school graduates and amateur filmmakers have it especially tough; considering very few (if any) will get any sort of major financing from a big film studio without “paying their dues”, which often takes years.  
Camera Jib Crane

The point being is, you need a high quality camera jib, and it has to be affordable.  Enter the QuickJib from VariZoom.  The QuickJib is an affordable camera crane jib that exceeds the expectations of what you thought was possible for around $2500. Not only that, but it outperforms camera jib cranes   
from other manufacturers that are double the price.

Safety was a major priority in designing the QuickJib, as is evidenced by its slim design.  This gives it less resistance in windy conditions than jibs using a four-arm support system making the QuickJib much less likely to tip over and injure a crew member or damage the camera. 

The QuickJib can be purchased in pieces, or as an entire kit, giving you unlimited options.  This jib crane offers a secure clamp system for extension, is easily assembled without tools as the parts are held together with pins and all the fasteners are made of durable stainless steel. The brake system is designed to keep a good tension, but is also forgiving enough to slide under an amount of force that would topple the more common locking brake systems found in competitor models.  QuickJib’s camera platform features high-performance sleeve bearings and the tilt base features sealed radial ball bearings making for silent, smooth motion and professional footage.  The camera platform also features a level for quick reference and is easily and quickly adjustable.  

This jib crane from VariZoom is available with or without a motion control head, and all complete versions include a dolly and tripod.  For the price of $2,559.95, there is absolutely no better camera crane jib than the QuickJib from VariZoom.   

About the Author: VariZoom sells jib cranes, motion control heads, camera stabilizers, and other professional filming accessories to film pros and amateurs the world over.  VariZoom products are expertly crafted with only the finest materials and are built to be easy to assemble, easy to use, and most importantly, to last.  Their product selection can be viewed at