Quick Disclaimer: This post is primarily meant to be a helpful resource for other video professionals. The gear we recommend here is stuff that has worked well for us and so we want to pass along our recommendations, hoping that you find it helpful. It is not intended to be an advertisement for these products.
It’s no secret that we are big fans of Kessler Crane products. Fantastic tools for professional productions. A few months ago we were able to put their Revolution Head to use in a way that we’d never done before. We usually use it on the head of our 18′ jib, but when our friends at The Longstreet Clinic called and asked if we could film some virtual tours of their facilities, we decided to mount it directly to a pair of heavy duty sticks to try something new! The idea was to use the Revolution Head to give us a perfectly smooth and consistent 360 degree pan around a room. The theory worked and so there were only a few minor obstacles to overcome in order to be able to take the “360 degree rig” around their facilities in a small window of time.
Challenge 1: Portable, But Sturdy, Support.
Even though our DSLR camera rig isn’t heavy, the Revolution Head is, so mounting to a standard tripod wasn’t really an option. We decided to use the K-Pod tripod from our jib which has the Hercules head on it. The K-Pod is massive and super heavy, so we don’t really use it for much other than the jib, but for this application it was actually perfect. Plus, the K-Pod has optional large casters, so we mounted those in order to just roll the rig around fully assembled. Taking it all apart to move from building to building would not have been fun. Also, we used Kessler’s Kwik Release System to not only mount the camera to the Revolution Head, but to also mound the Revolution Head to the head of the K-Pod. They’re incredibly solid, convenient, and we never worry about them slipping or coming loose. Definitely worth the investment.
Challenge 2: Portable Power
The Revolution Head is powered by the Oracle Controller over Cat5, which is convenient because you only need to plug in one thing, but not if you need to move every 10 minutes. Rusty found a blog post by Vincent Laforet about a portable power option called the Freedom-1 from PortablePower.net. If it’s good enough for Vincent Laforet, then it’s good enough for us! We strapped a Freedom-1 to the KPOD, plugged in the Oracle Controller and never thought about power again! The Freedom-1 comes with 2 replaceable battery bricks, but for the few hours we were shooting we only ended up needing 1. The Freedom-1 is another great tool I don’t know how we lived without before. Since this shoot, we’ve used it several times to power LEDs, MacBook Pros, hard drives, charging camera batteries, and most importantly to charge our iPhones on remote locations.
Here is a sample of one of the virtual tours we shot for The Longstreet Clinic that day. In some of the facilities we were able to take full advantage of the 360 degree capabilities of the Revolution Head, and in some of the tight spaces we were able to put the rig in a corner and still get a great view of the room. Here is a sample:
Primary Gear We Used
Camera: Canon 5DMIII
Lenses: Canon 24mm f1.4
Kessler Revolution Head, Oracle Controller, KPOD