Do you have the ability to control the zoom on your camera when you’re doing a jib shot? Do you need an on-camera battery for your Panasonic AF100 that will give you longer runs between battery changes? If you’re looking to accessorize a video camera with pro-level upgrades, the German manufacturer bebob is a brand worth checking out. bebob offers a range of thoughtful solutions, such as its serviceable and more environmentally friendly camera batteries. Another plus is that the name bebob is just kind of fun to say!
If you’re serious about your work, the battery category is one in which it’s wise not to pinch pennies or cut corners. Field production is a tough business that’s filled with bumps, bangs and bops. All of your equipment takes a beating out there, and batteries are no exception. If you’re using inferior gear that isn’t first flight, you will have a real problem on your hands when an accident inevitably takes place. That’s why bebob's batteries are designed to survive a death drop from 5 feet (1.5 m). If one of its batteries takes a larger spill and gets damaged, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that it was designed modularly, so any part can be repaired or replaced.
Every kind of rechargeable battery eventually loses its capacity to hold a charge over the years. One of the huge benefits of bebob’s modular design is that the power cells inside the battery are replaceable. When your bebob battery eventually loses its ability to perform, you can send it back to be re-celled for about half the cost of a new one. And should your battery need to be re-celled while still under warranty, the repair is free. When you purchase a bebob battery system, you’re not investing in a disposable waste product. You’re getting a power source that will be at your side for many moons to come.
All of bebob’s batteries are available with either a Sony V-Mount or a 3-Stud Snap-on Anton Bauer-style mount. You can tell what kind of mount any given battery has by reading the model number that’s clearly printed on its back. For example, the V160 has a V-Mount, and the A90RM is equipped with a 3-Stud Snap-on mount. bebob also makes V-Mount and 3-Stud adapter plates for cameras like the Sony EX3 (the bebob COCO-EX3-V) and the Panasonic AF100 (the bebob COCO-AF-A), among others.
Another problem that’s often encountered in the field is when the skies open up and you get wet. To counter Mother Nature, bebob batteries feature a unique rainproof socket called the Twist-D-Tap, which gives you the option to position its cable on the left or right side when mounted on your camera. When you start piling equipment onto a camera (lights, monitors, rods, sound gear, etc.), your rig can get unwieldy and complicated pretty quickly, so having the option to position the cable on either side of the camera is a helpful touch.
Another group of bebob products that can help you work with a loaded-up camera rig is its well-designed line of zoom controllers. When your camera is fully tricked out, or when it’s sitting up high on sticks, it can be difficult or impossible to reach the camera’s zoom controls and operate them with the gentle touch they require. The zoom controller connects to a remote-control port on the camera, which enables you to run a cable down to the external zoom controls (which are often mounted to the arm on a tripod head). This enables you to control the zoom with the same hand that you use to pan the camera, freeing up your other hand to pull focus or take care of other tasks.
There are different bebob zoom controllers available for specific cameras. If you use a Sony EX1 or an EX3, you need the ZOE-EX Zoom Controller. In addition to having a nicely sized zoom rocker, it’s got an adjustable wheel on the side which enables you to set the maximum zoom speed. It also has a Stop/Start record button, a button that switches the direction of the zoom, and a Return button. It’s lightweight, it can be mounted and dismounted quickly, and it features a right-angled elbow plug connector to reduce the stress on the input. bebob makes a very similar zoom controller called the ZOE-ENG-12 for 12-pin Fujinon lenses, and the ZOE-ENG-8 for 8-pin Fujinon lenses. Camcorders by Panasonic, Sony and Canon that feature a LANC remote input can all utilize the ZOE-DVXL Universal Zoom Controller.
If you’re a user of the Panasonic HVX200 or the good old DVX100, you can control your camera’s focus and its iris remotely with the bebob FOXI. You can make note-mark points on the FOXI’s ring, so you can repeat your focus pulls take after take. If you’re an indie filmmaker on a tight budget and you need both the ZOE-DVXL Universal Zoom Recorder and the FOXI for your system, B&H has bundled them together as a complete kit to save you some much-needed cash.
There are a number of other products available from bebob, ranging from on-camera lights to extension cables to battery-distribution accessories. The next time you’re on set and someone asks you to pass them a bebob, you’ll have a better idea which doo-dad they're talking about.
Thanks for reading this B&H InDepth article. If you have any questions about zoom controllers, battery mounts, or other camera rig gizmos, we encourage you to submit a Comment below.