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The Benefits Of Gimbal Stabilisation, Pt 2

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Continued from Part 1...

The Problem with Gimbal Stabilisastion
Anyone who's carried a gyro stabilised gimbal with much more than a DSLR will have quickly realized that regardless of personal fitness, carrying these around for any length of time, will quickly cause fatigue and shake and nothing you do will change that. Imagine then carrying a full film camera setup, such as a Red Dragon or Arri Alexa with cine lenses, lens motors etc. Such setups can easily weigh up to 14kg including the gimbal, meaning that all but a few seconds of handholding would be possible.

However, there is now a totally revolutionary solution, which doesn't require suspending the gimbal by wires and taking the weight on your back and shoulders, such as with the designs other popular camera support systems designed for a largely bygone age of shoulder held cameras. The "Exo" ExoSkeleton by Exhauss, exclusively supplied by BeyondHD, has been designed from the ground up, by award winning Steadicam and industrial design guru Pierre Davezac. The body warn harness, fits all body types perfectly, from the smallest female to the largest male (or visa versa) and transfers all the weight directly to the hips, so there is no stress or fatigue on shoulders or backs, as reported to be a problem by users of other types of camera support systems, making the weight of the gimbal/camera/lens literally disappear.

The patent pending design, has two sprung arms, with shock absorbers, fitted to aluminum hinged wings at the rear of the vest. It's the combination of the arms and wings and the careful design of all these components (coming from industrial and military exoskeleton designs that Exhauss are also known for) that not only takes away Y Axis movement (walkies effect) but also allows totally unrestricted movement from high to low and even has the flexibility for the camera/gimbal to be moved to be over the shoulder or side to side. Holding the gimbal/camera backwards allows "over the shoulder shots" to be achieved filming behind you, whilst walking forward... with a monitor mounted on the optional mounting positions on the arms, this makes a far safer way to film and it's no problem at all to run at full speed.

Award-winning film and TV DoP John Conroy (see photo on location for BBC drama Luther, series 4), operated our Helix gimbal with an Arri Alexa, cine lens, full follow focus and sonic range finder, handheld with the assistance of the ExoSkeleton. Not only did this facilitate the long days and hectic schedules, but also allowed experimentation with different shooting styles and shots, which would simply not have been possible using other handheld systems or even traditional Steadicam.

The Exo is of course camera/gimbal agnostic, as it supports the operator rather than specifically the gimbal/camera, so it will obviously work with any manufacturers gimbal and importantly will enable hand-off shots, without any need for disconnecting the support from the gimbal, the operator simply lets when the shot calls for a hand-off. However the power and flexibility of the Letus Helix Gimbal, really makes the most of this system, allowing high to low shots, simple moving through doors and tight spaces, not practical with third party gimbals that are both wider and cannot be twisted, as the lens is not on the optical center of the roll axis, which is unique to the Letus Helix.

The combination of the Letus Helix with the revolutionary Exhauss Exo ExoSkeleton, is about to change the way shots are made and the increased production values that a good DoP will be able to obtain, without the need for specialist grip kit, tracks, dollys and even small crane movements and replicating and improving upon what could be done with a conventional Steadicam.

The article is also available to read at BFV online.

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