It's a Bowflex! It's a Back Brace! No, It's a Camera Rig!
We've been testing out a new camera rig around the office, designed to take the weight off the camera operator's arms and shoulders while using our DJI Ronin hand-held camera stabilization gimbal.
The rig, which is worn by the camera operator and looks like a back brace with a built-in flag pole, is called an Atlas Camera Support.
Using fibreglass rods of differing flex (kind of like the rods on a Bowflex exercise machine), the rig can support up to 12.7 kilos (28 pounds) of camera gear, taking that weight off the operator's arms and shoulders and transferring the load to the operator's waist.
This allows for much more operator comfort, giving smoother shots for a much longer period of time.
Here Jack has our Panasonic GH4 4K Ultra HD camera mounted on our Ronin hand-held camera stabilization gimbal unit, with everything supported by the Atlas Camera Support rig. Jack's all smiles because this is going to make things a lot easier on his back.
Although, from the rear, it does look like Jack's strapped into some kind of back brace. We're teasing him that we're going to get a red flag and attach it to the top of the support pole, so we can spot him in a crowd.
The sitting-down-while-wearing-the-rig test. Always important.
When using this rig we'll have to watch out for low doorways. And random chandeliers.
The unit balances very well and, from first reports, it makes a world of difference when handling the Ronin hand-held unit. The fatigue factor is greatly reduced, meaning the camera operator can work much more efficiently for a much longer period.
Using our 4K BlackMagic camera adds more weight to the overall unit than the GH4 camera, but the Altas Camera Support can handle up to 12.7 kilos (28 pounds), so heavier cameras are easily accommodated.
In this view, you can get a good look at the fibreglass rod (left side of screen) that takes the weight of the Ronin camera unit.