Matthews Studio Equipment, known for creating technology for the entertainment industry, just finished the first run of their new CAM Tank camera support, with the first purchase going to DP/operator Lance Fisher, SOC.
Matthews is known for camera and lighting support. In the case of CAM Tank, it was Tyler Phillips, VP of product development and marketing at MSE that saw a need. “During many of my set visits, I would see the camera operator and AC sitting on the ground, with the camera resting on a sandbag in an effort to get a low POV,” he said. “I would hear the DP or director asking for a camera pan, which is very difficult and sometimes impossible to do on a sand bag.”
Enter CAM Tank. It accepts both large camera plates as well as direct mount, and is another option for extremely low shots without taking away your ability to pan and tilt the camera. CAM Tank is also a great option for Dutch angles when mounted to a fluid head or shots designed to be pointed straight down off a fluid head or jib.
“MSE is great about creating from the ground up or taking an ‘old’ idea and making it better,” commented Fisher. “The CAM Tank rocker plate is just that. Rocker plates have been around forever and I always appreciated what they can do – get the lens close to the deck while still having smooth pan and tilt. And more. Except for a few one-offs or prototypes, nothing has been done with this ‘tool’ for over 20 years – until MSE took on the task. When I saw their new – improved – version at Cine Gear – I knew I had to have it.
“Low shots, the person-sitting-at-desk shot, the low angle tilt-up to the hand holding the phone, pan that dog’s face low along the floor – etc. The CAM Tank gets you a good 12 inches lower than a fluid head without sacrificing control. This is where I plan to use the CAM Tank. Another MSE improvement: More 3/8-16 holes vertical and horizontal on the base. You can mount the CAM Tank onto another head and create a Dutch shot or a partial third axis. Nice rubber non-skid feet. It’s built like – well – it’s built like a tank.
“And it’s beautiful,” he added. The anodizing and roller bearings are not only precision – they look great! I told the guys at Matthews I want to purchase another one to put on the shelf – just to look at!”