We've all been there... it's the twelfth hour, and you're Cam Op or DP on a skeleton crew that's shooting on a DSLR. The director wants that organic, handheld, flowing look, and stopping just isn't an option because the talent are in the zone. You've been shooting on the 50mm a little too much for your taste, and would love to try the 35mm or 85mm -- but your lens bag might as well be on the moon with how fast things are moving (and with no AC). What do you do? Wouldn't it be great if there was a tool to help with your quick run-and-gun filmmaking -- to keep your lens choices literally at your fingertips? Well, with the Quikdraw, a new belt-side lens holder that's seeking funding on Kickstarter, you can have the luxury of lens change speed with some added security. Click through to see a video of the system in action.
(I've definitely been a "stasher" before, occasionally a "commander" if I have the 1st AC, though never really a "slinger"... that reminds me of some wedding photographers I've seen.)
Developed by Riley Kimball, a photographer who also happens to be an engineer, the Quikdraw can be used with Canon EOS or Nikon F mount lenses. Essentially, the Quikdraw is a mount that fits to the side of your belt. When you need a new lens, you simply twist on the lens you're no longer using, and twist off a lens that you're ready to use. With a 20lbs weight rating, you're not going to see a lot of lenses that this system won't support.
I know what you're thinking -- why not just plan your production with a good pair of AC's to help out so you don't have to be quick draw McGraw? I'd argue that sometimes you want to keep the energy going in the aforementioned run-and-gun kind of shoot. Take for example DP John Guleserian's experience from our previous post on the Sundance-winning Like Crazy:
Like when we were in London, shooting. Right when we got off the plane, we were just going to get dinner. Drake decide[s] … to put the actors in the wardrobe and we’ll just follow them as we go to dinner, and they’ll walk through these crowds of people and maybe we’ll get something that we can use in the movie. And that was literally me with a 7D body and a 32mm lens and a Zacuto viewfinder finding my own focus, leaning on things to be stable, and hoping for the best.
I could see the Quikdraw being a Hugedraw (ha) in a situation like that. Suppose he wanted to stray from the 32mm into 28mm or 50mm territory quickly? It was just him, the director, and the talent... no time for complications with lens changes. I have to say I like the idea of moving fast sometimes on set for the "energy factor", and this system would seem to lend well for that. The beauty is in its simplicity, and of course, this has implications for still photography as well -- especially live-event.
The one drawback I can see to the entire system is figuring out where lens capping comes in. Despite hanging at my side in a reasonably safe position, it still would be my lens dangling downwards at my side with no scratch protection. Suppose I am croutched for a low angle, and someone accidentally kicks something up from underneath? I would think you'd need to pocket your lens caps as well with this device.
The campaign for the Quikdraw is currently going steady at about 85% completion as of August 29th. For the basic system, you're looking at about $160 (or $80 apiece for two Quikdraws). What do you think? Worth the price?