HipJibFor the past few years, Kickstarter has been rife with all sorts of campaigns for gadgets and gizmos aimed at budget filmmakers. Oftentimes, these new inventions are just slightly modified versions of classic designs offered at a cheaper price. Other times, these crowdfunding products are unlike anything else out there, like the SnapFocus. And then there are times when a product comes along that is so simply brilliant that it makes you wonder why you hadn't thought of it first. The hipjib, a small device that turns any basic tripod into a versatile camera movement system, falls into the latter category. Check out the campaign video for the hipjib below:

The beauty of the hipjib lies in its simplicity. Through combining the various creative uses for a tripod with a device that allows the weight of your camera to rest entirely on your hips, hipjib becomes a system of camera movement that is both highly versatile and relatively easy on your body (depending on the weight of your tripod/camera.)

Here's what the creators of hipjib say the device can accomplish:

  1. Replacing a conventional camera shoulder rig by offering even more stability and flexibility, at a fraction of the weight and cost.
  2. Enabling extremely smooth vertical camera movements reaching from the ground up to approximately 2.5 meters (6.5 feet) or higher, depending on the type of videohead used. This feature outperforms any expensive and bulky jibarm and its assembly on location. 
  3.  Smooth multi-directional camera movements in a combination of tripod or monopod, tripod head, and body action. In short: hipJib's strengths come into play in situations where speed, improvisation, and flexibility are crucial. 

HipJib 1

While the hipjib certainly isn't a replacement for traditional methods of camera movement such as dollies and jibs, it does offer something that those movement systems can't: the freedom and ability to move the camera in just about any conceivable way with a level of stability that is nearly impossible when shooting handheld.

In my eyes, many of the moves possible with the hipjib look to be difficult to accomplish and awkward for the operator. However, it also appears that, with a little bit (or a lot) of practice, that hipjib operating might become a skill unto itself, much like operating a steadicam.

I can see the hipjib being an excellent tool for videographers looking to spice up their shots and add instantaneous production value at a reasonable price. As a narrative filmmaking tool, it might be able to bridge the gap between the freedom of handheld and the precision of other movement systems, although I have a hard time imagining myself using this in a narrative context.

Check out the Kickstarter campaign for the hipjib here.

What do you guys think? Is the hipjib a revolutionary device for both filmmakers and videographers alike? In what circumstances do you think this device would come in handy? Let us know in the comments!

Link: hipjib - unchaining your camera - Kickstarter