I watched the beautiful camera angles and movement “Hollywood” movie makers get with their expensive jibs, and wanted to be able to operate my DSLR camera (pan/tilt, focus, zoom) when it was out there at the end of my own jib. Here’s a video in which I share my inventions and methods that permit me to do more with my jibs. I cover nine topics and offer 18 of my inventions/ideas for the jib user, including some simple tips for setting up any jib.

In case you want to come back and review one or more of the topics again later, here’s a table of contents showing which subjects are covered at what points in the film. Just click on the blue time numbers and you’ll be taken to that spot in the video:

1:00 Planning your shots with small or large jibs

1:44 Choosing a jib stand

3:20 Setting up your jib efficiently

5:14 Finding out how much counterweight you need

6:16 AND 11:18 Operating the camera from the front, middle or rear of the jib

7:08 Putting your jib on a dolly and track

12:31 Building a remotely operated fluid head

15:30 Making a wired remote follow focus and zoom control

21:11 The types of shots you can get with an enabled jib.

The PDF that describes building the dolly and track is here: http://brucephilpott.com/video/dolly-…

A detailed photo of the enabled ten-foot jib is here: http://brucephilpott.com/video/enable…


The working title for this project was Gee-Haw.

I made the animations in Adobe After Effects from drawings I created in Adobe Photoshop. The video was shot with three Panasonic HC-V700’s. The PDF was created in InDesign, again using photos and drawings I created in Photoshop.

One thing that prompted my invention of the remotely steerable fluid head was a music performance I filmed. In the conceptual stages of this film, I knew I wouldn’t have much room to move my main camera around behind the packed audience in the small room. I knew I could swing my ten-foot jib seven feet to the left and seven feet to the right above the audience, but I’d need to be able to pan and tilt the camera while standing at the base of the jib. It turned out there wasn’t room for the jib stand at the back of the room after all, so I wound up just moving from place to place back there using a long lens while four un-manned, static cameras captured continuous footage. By the time I found out there wasn’t room for the jib, I’d already built the steerable head.

I bought a 48” tent bag online to carry my jib accessories. It holds my jib stand and the 17” and 34” sections of track. The restraint cords are attached to end caps. I attach these end caps to the 17” sections and wind one cord around each 17” section and secure each with a rubber band. The metal track separators, the luggage scale, the yoke and the bulls-eye level all go into this bag as well.

The quick-open, quick adjust tripod I put my yoke on in this video is a Manfrotto 458B NeoTec.

My 10’ jib comes apart into two sections. When in use, they’re held together with two bolts with wing-nuts. I used cable ties to bundle the servo wires with the HDMI cable along the camera end of the jib boom. Beyond the wing-nut joint, those cables are held to the boom with BongoTies. An alternative method would be to use cable ties throughout; Your two boom sections would remain “hinged” together when the section bolts are removed, and would fold for transport.

To mount my monitor to the stand, I bent some aluminum stock 90 degrees and put a ¼” hole through it. I attached this bracket to the center post of the stand (the yoke part that swivels the boom) with two hose clamps. I mount the monitor to a friction arm and mount the other end of the arm through the hole in the bracket and secure with a locknut.

By the way, I received no compensation for the products I mention in the video.