HDSLR filmmakers are always looking of cost effective tools that do not sacrifice build quality, or break the bank. Jibs are often an example of an expensive piece of gear often out of reach of the independent filmmaker. There are some Jibs that are cheaper,  but are built with the lower grade materials and very often can be difficult to work with. ProAm USA has seen this market and decided to fill the gap, providing a cost effective jibs, with sturdy build quality.

ProAm Taurus Jr.

ProAm USA  has been building camera cranes for over 10 years now.  ProAm USA recently launched the Taurus Jr. a compact 4 foot camera jib, with an auto-levelling and manual tilt design that features a tilt brake. It also has a built-in bearing base for smoother movements.  The jib/crane is built from anodized aluminum and powered coated. This allows you to have jib that is not only durable for everyday use but keeps it lightweight at only 12 pounds.  ProAm USA has also done some updates over the previous version and the Taurus Jr. now supports up to 30 pounds as opposed to 20 pounds. This means, not only will it support a nice HDSLR rig, but it can also support smaller cameras such as Canon C100 and Sony FS100.

Features & Specifications

  • Assembled Size: 50 in (127 cm)
  • Assembled Weight: 12 lb. (5.4 kg)
  • Reach (from fulcrum): 3 ft (91 cm)
  • Material: High-density, black powder-coated aluminum with steel brackets
  • Cameras Supported: Up to 30 lb.(13.6 kg) / Manual tilt up to 10 lbs (4.5 kg)
  • Includes: Crane arm, 360-degree bearing mount, interchangeable camera platform, hardware for tool-less assembly
  • Satisfaction Guarantee: 30-days risk free
  • Warranty: Lifetime warranty from defects

 

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The Taurus Jr. build quality is absolutely solid. The power coating helped to prevent scratching and provided me with hand grip, while the anodized aluminum is incredible strong. I never felt for one moment this would fail, as I transported from one location to the next. The handle grip is made from foam which provides a solid comfortable grip.  I had no issues transporting the Taurus Jr. from set to a live location.  The light weight design really comes in handy, especially when longer walks are required, such as a wooded area.  The Taurus Jr. can be held in one hand, depending what kind of shape your in ( minus the counter weights .)

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Setting up the Taurus Jr. is really simple. There are screw mounts for both the camera and a stared 3/8’ mount for tripods. It would have been nice to have the optional LCD bracket for the monitor, but it really was not a deal breaker. The inclusion of an Extension Plate is a nice feature, allowing you to set up cameras with longer lenses, or larger cameras.

The Taurus Jr. provides you with the ability to brake the panning action of the jib. There is a thumb screw located on top of the the bearing mount within the support brackets. To brake the panning, just turn the screw in a clockwise position until tightened, and counter clockwise to resume panning again. I was able to get very nice smooth pans with little to no issues.

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In the time that I had working with ProAm USA ‘s Taurus Jr, I found it easy to work with. It performed well in both outside locations, and continued to perform well in tighter locations, such as inside smaller indoor sets. However, it would be nice to have a longer reach for more dramatic looking shots. ProAm USA has another jib for just such occasions.

Enter the ProAm USA Orion 8ft DSLR Crane.

ProAm USA Orion 8ft DSLR Crane / Jib

The Orion 8ft DSLR crane has similar features to the Taurus Jr.  It is also a power coated anodized aluminum, therefore, keeping it light and scratch resistant.  The crane assembles together from two smaller 4ft sections in just a few seconds. No tools required.  The Orion is capable of supporting up to 10 pounds of weight, making it perfect for HDSLR users. However, it would be nice if it could handle a slightly more weight, as DSLR rigs can get heavy quite quickly.

Features and Specifications

  • •Lightweight and sturdy 6061 aircraft aluminum construction
  • •Gains 5ft (152cm) from the tripod or support and up to 11ft from the ground when attached to a large tripod
  • •Convertible design allows 4′ extension to be added later
  • •Quickly mounts to standard tripod heads using 1/4″ x 20 or 3/8″ x 16 threads. Does not require removal of the head
  • •Camera can tilt independent of the crane itself
  • •Operate with one hand using auto-tilt mode. Camera stays level.
  • •8′ crane breaks down into two 4′ sections in seconds
  • •Weights can be easily added for counterbalance (not included)
  • •Get shots from below or overhead subject
  • •Crane supports up to 10 lbs. (4.5 kg)
  • •Smooth effortless motions on three axis
  • •LCD monitor can be easily added to view live footage
  • •DVC210 crane weighs only 12 lbs (5.4 kg)

 

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Setting up and using the Orion 8ft Crane is very simple. ProAm USA made set up and tears downs easy by haven the two 4 foot sections snap together and then secured with a few screws.  The Orion is also light weight and can be carried in one hand ( minus counterweights needed).  I was able to easily transfer it form one location to the next, similar to the Taurus Jr.

The Orion gets up to 15 feet in height, satisfying my need to go higher. This lets you really get wonderful pans. However, because of the generous length, the optional LCD mount is really more like a requirement. I highly recommend getting the mount in order to keep track of you shot.

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The Orion 8 ft Crane is a great jib for HDSLR filmmakers. It has a solid build quality and can be set up in moments.  The only draw back is the small weight support. I would like to see it support a little more weight, but I realize that would mean a redesign, and more than likely a bulkier unit. Also, if you plan on getting the Orion, I highly recommend picking up the optional LCD mounts. It will help you with better control of your pans, and save you time double checking you shots.

Conclusion

ProAm USA has engineered the Taurus Jr. and the Orion 8ft crane exceptionally well for their price point.  Many HDSLR filmmakers are clamouring for quality built gear such as these jibs. The Taurus Jr. and the Orion are clearly designed to fill the gap.  ProAm USA also provides you with Lifetime Warranty which is fantastic support for their product.

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