Chapman / Leonard Studio Equipment LA Showcase 2015 – Below the Line


David Frederick with SOC panelists (Photos by Zoé Juarez).

Chapman / Leonard studio equipment hosted its LA Product Showcase on May 31. Cranes, trucks, cameras and crews filled the yard at the company’s Los Angeles facility, with attendees welcomed and encouraged to participate in equipment demonstrations and tours. The demonstrations included popular products such as the Pee Wee Cart and the Titan Crane. The highlights of the showcase, however, were the Cobra VT and the company’s latest innovation, the Miniscope.

The Cobra VT and the Miniscope Crane were both featured on the showcase’s main stage, along with former Society of Cameramen (SOC) president David Frederic and veteran cart handle Chris Eyebrows operation of the Miniscope in a demonstration led by Leonard Chapman. “Having experienced guys operating and demoing makes it easier for me. I have nothing to say, ”Chapman joked. “It’s just another tool for you to use your imagination. No matter what we supply as equipment, it is useless without the people who use it. They must have the imagination and creativity to use these tools to the fullest.

Chris Brow demonstrates the Miniscope.

Chris Brow demonstrates the Miniscope.

The Miniscope is made of magnesium and light enough to fly on any Chapman cart, in addition to the Hybrid IV and Hybrid III chassis. Made for Mitchell Mounting bases, the lightweight single-stage crane arm can play in tight spaces on any Mitchell capable mounting option. The single-stage boom, compared to the multi-stage Hydrascope, requires less counterweight and can be used partially cold, if power is not available. The use of the boom and pan / tilt can be manipulated manually at head level, with remote tilts and pans only possible on battery or mains power. Another distinguishing factor from the hydraulic design of the Hydrascope, the Miniscope runs on electricity only and requires only one Chapman battery for an entire day of use.

“You can carry it up the stairs very easily,” Brow explained. “Installing a telescopic crane in places you wouldn’t normally do is a huge advantage. According to Brow, the feel of the Miniscope is different from that of the Hydrascope in terms of operation, due to the power supply. Still, Brow pointed to the crane’s light weight and 150lb payload capacity as reasons for possible high demand.

The Cobra VT

The Cobra VT

An additional presentation was led by Frederick on behalf of the SOC titled “Camera Operator & Dolly / Crane Grip – The Necessary Synergy & Connection”. A panel of seasoned camera operators and cart handles joined Frederick to share the intricacies of the relationship between the camera operator and the cart handle. “Even with a cameraman who does portable camera, Steadicam or recently, MoVI or [DJI] Ronin shots, the camera cart handle is always present to ensure the shot is safe and done in the best possible way, ”said Frederick.


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