APS VariZoom Solo Jib Operating Guide

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A lightweight telescoping jib used to get cinematic crane shots.

Overview

The Solo Jib is an ultra-portable, lightweight aluminum jib crane with a 2-stage telescoping arm that provides up to 9.2 ft. of height. Special features include soft-stop pan and tilt brakes so you can fix the position of the jib without danger of tipping over, as well as a telescoping tail for counterweight adjustment.

Kit Contents

  • Telescoping Jib Arm
  • 2 x Counterweights
  • Jib Head Hand Knob
  • Weight Hand Knob
  • Weight Spacer Nut
  • Camera Platform Tripod Plate
  • Tripod

How to Use It

Step 1: Setting up the Tripod

  1. This is the first step in using the jib. It is a good idea to use sandbags to counterweight your tripod to add stability and prevent tipping over. Always make sure that the tripod legs are properly tightened to prevent sliding and toppling of the entire assembly.
  2. When setting up the tripod, make sure you have an adequate radius of clearance to operate the jib. You should have at least an arm-spam of clearance all the way around the tripod to be safe.
  3. The two-stage locking legs of the tripod allow for a wide range of height adjustments. To adjust the leg length, simply twist the locking knobs. Make sure each knob is secured completely to prevent leg sections from shifting under the weight of the camera.
  4. The spreader located at the center of the tripod is not adjustable. Do not remove it.
  5. Only use the tripod in the VariZoom Solo Jib Kit with the jib.

Step 2: Attaching the Jib to the Tripod

  1. Tighten the tilt brake and pan brake before attaching the jib to your tripod.
  2. To attach the mounting stud of jib head adaptor, fit the jib base into the bowl mount, level the jib base, and then tighten the hand knob on the mounting stud. Make sure to tighten this knob thoroughly.

Step 3: Setting the Length of the Jib

The Solo jib has a 2-stage telescoping arm and single-telescoping tail. The longer the arm—the front of the jib—is extended, the more you will have to extend the tail—the back of the jib.

  1. Start by attaching the counterweight to the tail of the jib. Only use the second spacer nut if you add more than one weight. The jib will start out tail-heavy, but as you extend the jib it will balance out.
  2. Decide how long you want to extend the jib, then start by expanding the first stage. Loosen the first set of twist locks—the lager set closet to the tripod—and grab the camera platform—front end with “Solo Jib” printed on it—and pull out the first stage to the desired length. Use the bubble level under the camera plate to even the tube lengths until the camera platform is level. This might require slightly twisting the camera platform side-to-side to get the bubble centered. Then tighten the twist locks.
  3. If you need the jib to be longer than the full extension of the first stage, extend the second stage. Using the second set of locks, repeat the same process as before, extending the second stage and making sure to level the camera platform and tighten the twist locks.
  4. If the jib is front heavy, extend the tail by loosening the twist lock and pulling the tube out slowly until the jib stays level. After extending the tail to the desired length, tighten the twist lock on the tail.

Step 4: Setting up a Camera on the Jib

Only use DSLR or lightweight cameras (4-10 pounds) on the jib arm.

  1. Make sure all the twist locks are tightened before attaching the camera. You will need to support the front of jib (a chair, table, a c-stand, etc.) while attaching the camera.
  2. Use the threading screw of the tripod plate to secure your camera to the plate.
  3. Slide the tripod plate with the camera mounted to it into the receiver on the camera platform.
  4. Tighten the slide plate lock on the camera platform.

Helpful Counterweight Information:

A Canon Rebel or Canon 6D DSLR camera with a lens and battery will weigh around 3 to 4 pounds, depending on the lens. The weight will not be exact and this guide is to help approximate what will be needed to counterweight the camera.

Fully-Extended Jib:

  • 3 lbs camera requires 9.25 lbs counterweight with tail extended almost fully
  • 4 lbs camera requires 13.75 lbs counterweight with tail extended almost fully

Half-Extended Jib:

  • 3 lbs camera requires 6.75 lbs counterweight with tail extended almost fully
  • 4 lbs camera requires 9.25 lbs counterweight with tail extended almost fully

Compact Jib (not extended at all):

  • 3 lbs camera requires 6.75 lbs counterweight with tail not extended OR 3.75 lbs counterweight with tail extended almost fully
  • 4 lbs camera requires 9.25 lbs counterweight with tail not extended OR 5.5 lbs counterweight with tail extended almost fully

Once the camera is attached and the counterweight is added, fine-tune the balance by sliding the tail section in or out. When the jib is level—parallel to the ground—it should float in place. At full extension, the jib may move when tilted all the way up or down—tighten the tilt brake slightly to hold the position.

Step 5: Operating the Jib

  1. The jib will only be as steady as the tripod on which it is mounted. Make sure to be on a level surface and use sandbags to secure the tripod.
  2. Because the Solo Jib is so lightweight, in order to achieve smooth shots, the jib needs to be operated with a light touch. It’s important to start and stop gradually to receive smooth results. This becomes more important the longer the jib is extended.
  3. If you keep your hands on the jib, you may be able to operate it without the tilt or pan brake tightened. If you take your hands off the jib, you may want to tighten the tilt and/or pan brakes to hold the positions. These are not hard-stop mechanisms, they are soft-stops that can be pushed-through.

Media Loan Gear it Connects With Well

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  • This gear is designed to be rest on top of the Dolly Track for maximum options, but can be used independently.