CPMhead - a Geared Head That Aims to Bring Smooth Pans and Tilts to HDSLRs
Geared what? In case you don't know, a geared head is a tripod head that lets you perform precision, fluid pans and tilts. It's the big brother to your more common friction and fluid heads, the kind of head bigger budgeted films will use to achieve their camera moves. Now, these things are usually pretty expensive -- they are designed for much heavier cameras. But CPM Camera Rigs has recently started offering a smaller, relatively cheaper, geared head aimed at HDSLR filmmakers -- the CPMhead. Want to see one in action? Check this out:
So smooth... so geared...
Now, the bad news -- yeah, it's cheaper, but it will still run you $2500 (or $1900).
Here's the thing -- historically, the reason geared heads were introduced was because the cameras started getting so big and unwieldy that it was difficult to achieve smooth pans and tilts using traditional means. So, yes, it's a bit ironic that this item should be introduced for HDSLRs. In most cases, through practice and proper adjustments you should be able to achieve very smooth pans and tilts using your fluid head. That should be one of the advantages of using a smaller camera like an HDSLR. At the same time, given the choice between a fluid head and a geared head, all else being equal, I'd take the latter -- gears just make it easier to achieve those even, precision moves.
If you have the money, and your needs justify the price, this would be a very nice addition to your filmmaking tools. If you don't -- don't sweat it. For most of us, this will be a rental item at best. In the meantime I'll keep practicing pans and tilts on my fluid head.
Have you gotten a chance to use a geared head? How smooth are the pans and tilts on your fluid head?