Are you photographer who also enjoys making films? Here is a new product that is sure to get you excited. It’s a new tool for both filmmakers and filming / video photographers, and it offers a fresh perspective on mobility and novel filming techniques. This is going to be your tripod’s new best friend.
Let’s take a look at the hipjib.
STATE OF THE ART
Tripod, jibarm, shoulder-mount, dolly, and steadycam make for the traditional arsenal of professional productions. The higher the quality, the bigger the tag of investment and weight. And if you’re a photographer who loves making videos with your DSLR camera, this little piece of equipment is just the ticket.
For photographers and filmmakers alike, setting up a jib by yourself can be a challenge, and shlepping around loads of equipment can become counterproductive when you work alone or in small teams. Such is life in the trenches when documentary filming is one of your passions.
Enter Gert Wagner, a photographer and filmmaker who wanted to change the way things are typically done in order to make his life and other filmmakers lives easier. He decided to create a small tool to reduce his gear to a minimum while offering great flexibility and new techniques. And that he did with the hipjib!
THE NEW ‘SHOOTING FROM THE HIP’
hipjib lets a minimalist’s heart quiver! All you need is a hipjib, a camera, and any ordinary tripod with a video head. My Testpilot was a Canon 7D on a 055-series Manfrotto tripod with a MVH-500AH head. In less than a minute I had hipjib around my waist and the tripod planted in it. Immediately, I sensed its immense potential. The camera floated in front of me with the tripod hovering in mid air. hipjib’s rotatable axis allows for movements from turf to top in one swoop, all while adjusting camera-tilt. It moves like a jibarm, feels like a shoulder-mount, but weighs only a fraction. Pans, booms, and tilts were a breeze. hipjib shines at extreme perspectives too. One could hardly call it a learning curve – operating hipjib just seems to come naturally.
Now, the more time I spent with it, I found it could do some nifty techniques, such as shooting at a low angle with the camera upside down facing up – one trick you can do very easily. Alternatively, hipjib can be worn using shoulder straps. I found this technique good to use when I walked while filming. Then, when I wanted to switch over from hipjib-mode to a ‘traditional’ tripod use, it was as easy as removing its legs from the hipjib tube and placing it on the ground – now that would really accelerating your workflow.
hipjib was developed by German filmmakers and engineers. Its main component clenches around the turnable tube containing the holes for a tripod or monopod. The belt or the shoulder straps attach to the back of the unit. The minimal weight of hipjib lets you forget you are wearing it. With two tripod-legs inserted into hipjib (the third remains retracted), one hand is used to hold the handle of the video head. Thanks to the long lever of the extended tripod, camera moves are made with a great deal of precision and stability. And for even greater control, especially with extreme perspectives, you cannot live without a small monitor attached to one of the tripod legs. Luckily, hipjib comes with a supplied clip for this very purpose.
The recommended camera weight: below 5.5 lb (2.5 kg).
Measurements: 10” (25 cm) in length and 2″ (5 cm) in width
Weight: 0.9 lbs
This means the hipjib will fit almost anywhere in your pack and is bound to save you some dollars spent on excess baggage fees.
hipjib and I hit it off immediately. It’s easy to use, has great creative potential with outstanding results, is small in size, and its light weight makes it easy to carry even on those long treks – it’s a winner all the way. Whether you are a professional or amateur photographer and filmmaker, this is a tool you’re going to want to include in your camera’s toolkit.
If you’re a professional filmmaker, it probably won’t replace your 12-foot-crane, but it will challenge your decision of what gear you’ll be packing. Its simplicity makes you wonder why no one has thought of it earlier. At least now someone did. Thanks, Gert.
hipjib is made in Germany and slated for a December 2013 release. It is available at stores for MSRP at $195.
All text & photos: © 2013 hipjib. All rights reserved.