Like most content creators of this generation, Brandon Li cut his cinematic teeth making videos with the family camera. After graduating from film school, Li headed west, and it wasn’t long before he was traveling all over the world, consequently landing in the Middle East. Li gained experience making commercials and travel videos, and along the way, experimented with various kinds of gear until he settled on a toolset that works best for him. And those tools usually meant Manfrotto.
“I think you just need the right gear for the films you want to make. If you don’t know what’s the right gear, then just experiment as much as possible until you find your perfect kit. These days, there’s no such thing as the right or wrong way to do it.”
Brandon LiLi has developed an international reputation in travel videos for his smooth moving style that relies on a mix of traditional film techniques and self-taught innovation. Li honed that style by using tools like the Manfrotto GimBoom to mimic the look of a high-end crane, without sacrificing the flexibility that comes with a light and portable monopod.
“Most monopods are too light-duty to securely handle the load, especially at maximum extension,” Li says. “The GimBoom is purpose-built for extending gimbals, so it’s much more robust. And it extends/retracts faster than any multi-stage monopod.”
The GinBoom’s carbon fiber design brought a tremendous amount of strength to a compact form factor, giving Li the ability to use heavier cameras and still keep his rig relatively mobile.
Recently, when Manfrotto came out with the new Move System to compliment the GimBoom, Li found he could the Move provided for an all-in-one system that paired the stability of a gimbal, with the flexibility of a slider, dolly, and even a tripod.
The Move System builds off the foundation of Manfrotto’s fast-twisting quick-release technology that is the heart of the GimBoom. The Fast Twist Mount enables filmmakers to swap out camera accessories in a second, rather than take the time to screw them down or slide in an easy-to-lose quick-release plate.
That means that Li can go from a high-end crane shot to a moving gimbal-stabilized traveling shot without breaking stride.
Brandon LiLi notes, however, that the Move 300XM is a bit heavier than gimbals he’s used to. But that robust build design means he can use it for just about any camera setup he needs. That heavier design also means that Li can use larger lenses, many of which would normally require a locked-down tripod to keep them steady.
“I appreciate the 300XM gimbal’s robust build quality and the powerful motors,” Li says. “It can handle any camera setup I put on it, at any angle. Most gimbals have weak angles where they fail or vibrate uncontrollably, but the 300XM has been rock solid in that regard.”
Li is still working out how the Move system fits with his unique travel-based style, but he’s excited about where the system goes in the future.
“The rest of the Move system is still new to me, and I’m finding my uses,” Li says. “I plan to use it mostly for my heavier-duty shoots, mostly that require mixed types of stabilizers.”
But that doesn’t mean that Li wouldn’t appreciate an option for smaller platforms like mirrorless cameras.
"I would like Manfrotto to tackle a 'mini' version of their Move system for lighter-duty shoots,” Li says. “If they had a mini GimBoom and Move gimbal, with the same quick release and remote control options, I think that would be a popular alternative for mirrorless shooters.”
Check out more from our Manfrotto Week: Camera Movement coverage!