North Hollywood, Calif.— Tallahassee, Florida-based freelance camera operator Tigger Gray is one of the busiest camera operators in the Southeast. A specialist in live sports, Tigger has worked with the Golf Channel, NBC Sports, ESPN, Fox Spots and many others, covering pro and college events including football, baseball, basketball and soccer.
Recently, Tigger was part of a crew hired by Florida State University’s Seminole Productions for live broadcasts of the NCAA Baseball Tournament’s Tallahassee Regional where the school’s team was competing for a slot in the Super Regionals and, ultimately, the College World Series. The crew worked eight games in four days.
Shooting from a position above third base, Tigger captured the action on the field with a Panasonic HDTV camera and Canon DIGISUPER 80X Field Box lens mounted to a Cartoni Magnum fluid head and Superpod system. Seminole Productions was evaluating the Cartoni support products, supplied by Manios Digital & Film, and this was the first time that they were used in a live broadcast. The Magnum head has a payload capacity of 66 -209 lbs, the most in the Cartoni line, and is designed for fully-decked studio and OB cameras with long, boxed lens, like the package Tigger was using.
Tigger was especially impressed by the Magnum’s patented counterbalance system. “It’s very fluid and consistent, even with a full-size camera on top,” he says. “The sticks and the spreader were very steady. I immediately felt confident in them, which is important when you are working in a crowded space. I definitely felt safe.”
The tripod was a heavy-duty model combined with a mid-level. “My position in the stands required me to shoot over the heads of the fans, but under a screen that protects them from foul balls,” Tigger notes. “That meant that the tripod had to be set at an awkward height that was not the regular length. Tom O'Neil from Manios got that sorted out. He provided us with a modified tripod fit for that specific position. The support I received from Tom and the Manios team was fabulous.”
This was not the first time that Tigger has shot with a Cartoni support system. “I’ve used Cartoni products for football, basketball and baseball,” he says. “I keep coming back to them because they provide consistent performance. And they are durable; the knobs don’t fall off after heavy use. I can balance the camera in a forward or backward position easily. Other heads require a lot more work. You can tear your thumb apart trying to move the weight of the camera forward or back.”
Based on Tigger’s experience at the NCAA Tournament, Seminole Productions purchased four Magnum support systems and is now using them as an integral part of their OB camera package. “The whole crew was impressed by the Cartoni system,” Tigger says. “When I was assembling the system behind home plate before the first game, an audio guy caught site of it and said it looked like “the Ferrari of tripods.” I told him that I agreed it was fabulous…and it is Italian made.”
About Manios Digital & Film
A division of Ste-Man, Inc. and led by President Steven Manios, Jr., Manios Digital & Film has been bringing the world’s highest quality products to professional filmmakers, videographers and ENG crews in the United States since 1992. The company has longstanding relationships with leading manufacturers around the globe and an extensive dealer network spanning the United States. It is an authorized distributor for Cartoni, Vocas, Kinotehnik, Hawk-Woods and the Veydra 1.2x Expander. By working closely with its customers, and by listening to and understanding their needs, Manios Digital & Film has become a trusted partner to film and video professionals worldwide.
Manios Digital & Film 10663 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601; 818.760.8290.