|Review: Video Image's Balance Beam
Image's Balance Beam
Balance Beam by Trig
Review by Steve
everyone has at their disposal a tripod of such quality that
jerkiness and stuttering during pans are not sometimes a problem.
Smooth panning takes practice but even the experienced shooter
finds from time to time that a tripod stutter can demand the
need for extra takes. Trig Simon has created a novel tool designed
to alleviate panning problems while creating smooth pans from
beginning to end.
Constructed of 1/4" x2-1/2"
black powder coated aluminum, the Balance Beam weighs in at roughly
10lbs and is about 22" from tip to tip. I wouldn't want
to carry it a half mile down the beach to cover a story, but
once you have it on location and mounted to your tripod, you
will be surprised at how its very weight will improve your tripod's
The Balance Beam
is designed to create greater stability throughout the entire
At each end of the balance beam is a counter balance weight,
which, through the design of the beam, lowers the center of gravity
of the camera/ Balance Beam mass. This makes it concentric to
the tripod's tilt and pivot point. The two 3-1/2 lb weights,
anchored with 1/2" carriage bolts have integrated rubber
washers which prevent wear and scratching of the black finish.
The weights at each end of the balance beam affect the inertia
throughout the tripod movement making for one very smooth shoot.
The weights can be
adjusted on the beam with about 3 inches of play.
Additional weights for heavier cams can be added but, in my tests,
they did not seem needed. The bottom of the Balance Beam is machined
to fit all tripods with a 1/4 screw. A Bogen/Manfrotto Quick
Release adaptor comes attached to the top of the beam and is
designed to fit any camcorder with a 1/4 or 3/8" threaded
socket in the camcorder's bottom. I tried the balance beam out
using both a Sony FX-1 and its' smaller cousin, the Sony A1-U
and there was certainly a noticeable difference. However, there
is a caveat here as well. I am using a relatively inexpensive,
'far from high end' tripod with a Bogen 3063 head. With the 3063,
I really did not feel much of a difference during pans. However,
using a borrowed Manfrotto 501 head, the difference was significant.
When mounted and used, the momentum of the weights decreases
the acceleration and deceleration of the movement creating an
ice smooth pivot point for any tilts or pans I was doing. I found
no need to regularly tighten or loosen the locking knobs and
had no fear of the tripod tilting and falling over even when
deliberately knocked in to.
The Balance Beam
also provides for easy mounting of externals. Very convenient!
The Balance Beam does just that, it creates an excellent balance
to the entire system and works with your tripod head to dispel
the jarring that can occur at the start of your pan and the stuttering
of direction throughout the movement. It is easy to mount and
does what it is designed to do. Will it function as well with
all tripods? If you are using a super cheap $35.00 tripod, the
head will probably not tighten down strong enough. However, for
any fairly decent tripod, I believe the Balance Beam could be
of tremendous help.
Steve Douglas is a certified Apple Pro
for Final Cut Pro 6 and underwater videographer. A winner of
the 1999 Pacific Coast Underwater Film Competition, 2003 IVIE
competition, 2004 Los Angeles Underwater Photographic competition,
and the prestigious 2005 International Beneath the Sea Film Competition,
where he also won the Stan Waterman Award for Excellence in Underwater
Videography and 'Diver of the Year', Steve was a safety diver
on the feature film "The Deep Blue Sea", contributed
footage to the Seaworld Park's Atlantis production, and a recent
History channel MegaDisaster show. Steve is one of the founding
organizers of the San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition and leads
both underwater filming expeditions and African safaris with
upcoming excursions to Kenya & Lembeh Straits in Indonesia
in 2007, the Coco Islands, Costa Rica & Truk Lagoon in 2008
and safari in Africa for 2009. Feel free to contact him if you
are interested in joining Steve on any of these exciting trips.
copyright © Steve
This article first appeared
on www.kenstone.net and
is reprinted here with permission.
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