Director of photography Danna Kinsky may use large cameras and heavier support equipment when shooting feature films like the upcoming "Untold," but she wants the same kind of support performance when she shoots with smaller cameras, like her Canon 7D. She recently tried out the new Ace system by Sachtler (www.sachtler.com).
In connection with the Untold project, Kinsky shot a public service announcement about anti-gay bullying in schools using her DSLR and new Sachtler Ace tripod system, designed for camera packages weighing from 0lbs to more than 8lbs. The bottom of that weight range is important to her, because she often uses a lightweight camera package such as her Canon 7D and a small prime lens.
Smaller cameras present more of a challenge to a tripod than larger cameras, because there's so little mass to help smooth the panning and tilting moves, Kinsky said. She has shot before with small tripods that want to inch along the floor when she pans, which means you have to hold the sticks in place with one hand while panning with the other.
These were not problems with the Ace since Sachtler's engineers developed a new (patented) Synchronized Actuated (SA) drag, which guarantees the familiar accuracy and repeatability of Sachtler's larger tripod systems. With three vertical and three horizontal grades of drag (+0), SA drag enables fine adjustment for precise panning and tilting, no matter how small the camera package. Additionally Ace has five different counterbalance settings.
The Ace, Kinsky said, is stable enough that it stays put when you're panning, and the legs are substantial enough that there's no backlash when you start or stop a pan. Ace can be tilted through a range of +90 to -75 degrees.