Grafting two pieces of venerable camera gear together with a surety that would make Dr. Moreau proud, the brand new Cineped made its recent debut at the Cine Gear Expo, just in time for a (hopefully) revived feature film shooting season.
The 42-inch R2D2-sized piece of equipment combines the utility of both tripod and dolly; the camera sits atop a kind of post, or telescoping column, which itself supports a plate on which the camera can glide side-to-side, or pivot a full 360 degrees.
All of this is in turn mounted on a base with heavy-duty rubber wheels, with supports than can be lowered to anchor the Cineped into place. In theory, however, one should also be able to undertake track-free tracking shots as well. Whether the Cineped can or will be used for extended shots as elaborate as, say, the opening to Touch of Evil remains to be seen.
Though that classic film’s director—himself a bit of a Hollywood renegade—might appreciate the sensibility that drove company founder Charles Kim to invent Cineped in the first place.
Entering the biz as a producer, Kim recounts that he was overseeing a series called Journey to Hollywood, which also told of the evolution of camera equipment. As he watched that story unfold, while simultaneously looking for economical ways to combine equipment that normally had to be rented separately (and/or to add more dynamism to shots normally undertaken in tight spaces, or on static tripods), he arrived at the idea for the Cineped.
Kim feels the initial utility for the product might be in independent films, where co l l eagues o f his—using prototypes of the gear—told him they were saving upwards of 4 hours a day in reduced camera set-up time. This, Kim notes, left them more time to think “creatively,” when they weren’t always racing from one shot to the next.
You can also remove the column, and attach the sliding, rotating plate directly to the base, for shots that are down low. As indeed, the utility and economic efficiency of the Cineped may give an entirely new meaning to “shooting on the down low” for producers looking to maximize below-the-line budgets, and the number of visual choices available to both directors and DPs.