Photography / Hands-on Review

Rock-Solid Dependability with Cinevate Camera Support Systems


Perfection: That’s the difference between amateur and professional productions. It’s true that amateurs can put together some amazing productions, even when they don’t have all that much equipment at their disposal. But absolute perfection is expected from professionals, especially if you’re the one paying for their services.

Perfection in filmmaking is all about precision positioning, balance, stability, smooth movement and repeatability, not to mention the intricacies of lighting. A tripod will hold your camcorder or HDSLR steady when stationary, but won’t help keep things stable when you need to move a camera left or right, up or down.

Dollies, rails and other fancy gear are often used in filmmaking, but that kind of gear is time consuming to set up and overkill for relatively lightweight equipment. Cinevate specializes in camera support systems, linear tracking systems, follow focus and other equipment designed for relatively lightweight video cameras and HDSLRs. The devices make it easier to hold, move, position and reposition camera gear with extreme precision. Let’s take a look at some of the offerings.

The Atlas 30 LTS is a linear tracking system that can support cameras weighing up to 45 pounds, though it’s best suited for payloads up to 30 pounds. It features 5/8 inch chrome steel rods that are 35, 47 or 58 inches in length, a body machined from a solid block of aluminum and a 100mm bowl that’s compatible with any 100mm ball system. Cameras glide smoothly down the rails with no undesired movements whatsoever. The lightweight, highly portable system can be set up in minutes.

Cinevate’s Articulating Grip, Gear Ring & Leveler Kit makes it much easier to hold an HDSLR steady. The kit includes an articulating camera grip, a focus lever, lens gear ring, three sets of nylon spokes, an Allen key and three spokes (1", 3/4" and 1/2"). The camera grip consists of aluminum, stainless steel and composite parts, and it can be mounted on any HDSLR with a 1/4"-20 mount. The grip swivels 360°, ensuring stability, and the focus lever and focus gear rings allow the precise adjustment of Cinevate’s Durus Follow Focus system.

Cinevate’s AF100 Core Package is new. It’s a kit that contains everything you need to set up your Panasonic AF100 camcorder for professional production use. The kit includes Cinevate’s Titan swing-away matte box, Durus follow focus, Simplis quick-release system and 45cm solid carbon fiber rails. This kit is exactly what you need when shooting with long lenses, and you can easily customize the rig simply by adding a shoulder mount, counter balance, grips and other accessories.

The Atlas 10 - 35" LTS with Regular Ball Feet is a horizontal linear tracking system designed to support HDSLRs up to 10 pounds in weight. Extremely versatile, the kit is compatible with most 3/8-inch ball heads, and its four adjustable non-marking feet provide a secure base on flat surfaces. The Atlas 10 FLT Vertical Conversion Kit features a counterbalanced vertical pulley system that makes it easy to hold an HDSLR steady while you operate its controls. The counterbalance distributes the weight of the camera evenly, allowing for smooth up and down movement.

Cinevate’s CICYCL003 Add-on for Cyclops / Medusa DSLR Cage provides multiple options for the steady handling of your camera rig. It weighs only 2.2 pounds so it’s easy to handle, and it features integrated kip handles and swivel joints so you can customize the height and width of the cage. You can mount microphones and other camera accessories on the top plate and the whole assembly can be mounted on a jib arm.

If you want precise focusing with your HDSLR, check out Cinevate’s DSLR Core Package. The bundle can support loads of up to 40 pounds and it includes everything you need for secure handling and precision adjustment. You get the Durus Follow Focus, the Titan Swing Away matte box, the Proteus "Shorty" rail system, three follow focus gear rings and spoke kits and a tripod base plate. The magnetically attached focus marking ring lets you view images from multiple angles. Extra rails can be attached to the top of the rig to form a height-adjustable cage for the camera. A safety locking feature prevents unauthorized access to the camera.

Cinevate has even more products than have been discussed here. If there’s something you don’t see you should call the expert sales team at B&H. They can help you customize a kit to meet your requirements exactly.