SEPTEMBER 02, 2002
ProMax Cobra Crane Reviewed
Portable system great for low budget productions
by Stephen Schleicher

Any videographer worth his salt knows shooting on a tripod is the smart thing to do. Unfortunately, you can only do so much with a tripod. There are times when you want to do a dramatic shot from up high and move the camera down to inches above the floor. Or you need an overhead shot looking straight down on a car engine that is being repaired or table where a delicious meal is being prepared. For a few hundred dollars these shots are within reach with the Cobra Crane from ProMax systems.

There are actually two different versions of the Cobra Crane. The Cobra Crane I is for cameras that are up to 6.5 pounds fully loaded. The Sony PD-150 and Canon XL-1S are in the top weight limit for this system. The Cobra Crane II can support a camera up to 25 pounds. For the purpose of this review, Iíll be looking at the Cobra Crane I using my Sony PD-150. [an error occurred while processing this directive] Unlike other cranes on the market, the Cobra Crane comes out of the box with very little assembly required. This solid aluminum construction is already configured from the company. In fact, there are only a few steps needed to get the crane installed on you tripod.

The first thing you need to do is mount the tripod mounting plate to the fulcrum of the crane. If you are using a Bogen tripod, ProMax already installs a mounting plate for you. Probably the nicest feature of the Cobra Crane is that it will work on nearly any sturdy tripod that can hold the weight of the crane and camera. With the tripod mounting plate installed, it snaps into place on your tripod.

The Cobra Crane easily attaches to any sturdy tripod mounting plate. If you own a Bogen tripod, it comes already attached for you.

Next, making sure the crane is supported on one end, connect the camera to the camera end of the crane. Again, a simple process. For smaller cameras, you donít need a mounting plate, it can screw directly to the bracket.

Make sure one end of the Cobra Crane is stable before mounting your camera or else the unit could fly up and hit you in the face.

Finally, add weights to the other end of the crane to counterbalance it, making your movements nice and fluid. The Cobra Crane system will require around two to two and a half times the weight of the camera to balance correctly.

The Cobra Crane requires at least 2 times the weight of the camera to properly counterbalance

Once assembled, it takes about 20 minutes to really get used to working with the unit, and it works great. In addition to being able to crane up and down, the pulley design of the Cobra Crane allows you to also tilt the camera during a crane to you can keep your subject in frame at all times.

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Source: Digital Media Online, Inc.
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