Miller Camera Support Equipment Keeps A Firm Grip Inside The Fiery Furies Of The Ambrym Volcano

Air Tripod System Stands Steady during Shooting of Volcano Documentary
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Air Tripod System Stands Steady during Shooting of Volcano Documentary

MALAMPA PROVINCE, VANUATU, OCTOBER 21, 2014—When two volcano enthusiasts and all-around daredevils, filmmaker Geoff Mackley and award-winning photographer Bradley Ambrose, decided to descend deep down into the crater of one of the world’s most active volcanoes, Ambrym volcano in the Malampa Province, they chose to face the fiery furies of molten lava with Miller Camera Support Equipment, a leader in the production of innovating camera support solutions, and its lightweight, durable Air Carbon Fibre System.

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After trekking 12 kilometers, by foot, to reach the Ambrym volcano, the New Zealand natives set up a summit camp and quickly began rigging ropes to rappel themselves to the bottom of the volcano’s Marum crater. “The crater’s rim sits about 400 meters above the most active lava lake in the world,” says Ambrose. “Shooting inside the Marum crater was a mission in itself. In order to set up the shot we desired, we had to abseil halfway down the crater, so keeping our equipment weight on the lighter side was a necessity. With the Air strapped underneath me, I was able to easily descend and shoot footage that may have been unattainable if I had been using larger and heavier broadcast equipment.”

Over the course of one week, Mackley and Ambrose worked as a two-man crew, documenting every spurt of ash, lava and steam that they encountered. They chose to shoot with lighter cameras, including a Sony® NXCAM, Sony 4K Handycam and Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR, to complement the Air Carbon Fibre System and keep the weight of their equipment load to a minimum.

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“The main benefits to the Air can be summed up in three parts: its compactness, light weight and fluidity,” adds Ambrose. “The tripod is so sturdy that it even survived a volcanic eruption! When we were shooting in Indonesia, the Dukono volcano erupted while Geoff was on summit. When he returned to camp the next day, both he and the Air were completely covered in ash. Yet, despite the wear, the Air perfectly retained its fluid movement, and the legs contracted and expanded with ease. Not many tripods could survive through such harsh conditions and still function properly the next day.”

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Perfect for traveling light without compromise, Miller’s Air Tripod Systems each consist of an Air Fluid Head, offering professionals authentic Miller fluid head pan and tilt technology, and a variant of the Solo 75 2-Stage Tripod, either carbon fibre or alloy. The Air Fluid Head, composed of magnesium alloy housing and precision components, comes with two positions of selectable counterbalance and a dual pan handle option. Both systems have the ability to support payloads ranging from two kilograms (4.4 pounds) to five kilograms (11 pounds).

“Anyone worth their weight in this industry instantly recognizes Miller as a brand that delivers, even in the toughest environments,” Ambrose says. “It is the most important tool when shooting in the field. Each Miller tripod has its own personality, and the Air Tripod System is perfect for what we do. We travel to exotic locations with minimal equipment but still need to get the shots that larger productions seek and crave. Miller makes this happen for us.”

Since the start of Mackley’s and Ambrose’s quest, traveling through the likes of Australia, China, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Siberia, to name a few, their harrowing journey has drawn attention worldwide.

Most recently, their story has been featured on ABC Nightline in the United States and the BBC in a documentary entitled “Journey to Fire Mountain,” to be aired worldwide. In the upcoming weeks, their own completed documentary is slated to air on a well-known travel and adventure network.

About Miller Camera Support Equipment

Founded in 1954, Miller Camera Support Equipment designs, manufactures and delivers professional fluid heads and tripods to the film and television industry, providing support for the world’s leading camera operators. Celebrating sixty years in the industry, Miller is a longtime, global leader in the field of contemporary camera support and holds the first patent for fluid head design for film cameras, which it obtained in 1946. Today, Miller’s tripod and camera support systems are frequently used during electronic news gatherings (ENG), electronic field production (EFP), and digital video applications by the world’s leading networks, production houses, corporate, educational and government institutions in more than 65 countries. For more information, call +61 2 9439 6377 or visit



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