At A Glance: Swift JIB50

Available on its own or in total kit solutions that also package a remote head and tethered remote control of the system, the SWIFT JIB50 provides independent filmmakers with more possibilities for camera movements, the same kind of overhead shots that professional productions often create using expensive cranes and jibs. With motorized remote control over a variety of camera features and individual locking of pan and tilt, with one jib you can achieve an array of camera movements, from the horizontal to the vertical, as well as everything in between. This means interesting combinations of tracking and tilting shots, above and below sweeps, and even a unique bird’s-eye view when used with the remote head.

The SWIFT JIB50 system is built to fit interactively with Libec’s products, including the T102B tripod and DL-8B dolly, which are available with the jib in a specialized kit that includes carrying cases for each item: the jib arm, tripod and dolly. The entire system folds down neatly into the cases, which will fit in most larger passenger vehicles, while operation and setup itself require a minimum of only a single operator. In general, complete setup can be done in around 20 minutes, and when two operators are present, it’s even faster.

By turning and adjusting lock levers along the arm, the SWIFT JIB50 can be retracted at both ends. This noteworthy telescoping construction makes extending the system very easy, unlike other jibs that require extra arms for achieving more length. The arm supports a comfortable payload range of 22 to 44 pounds, depending on the extended arm length, which starts at 39.5 inches and reaches up to 75 inches for just under an extra three feet of reach. Additionally, there are three payload markings on the arm, with a stopper element for preventing the unit from tipping over. The arm also can be regressed an extra 12 inches to the rear for using the system in tighter shooting spaces.

When used with the REMO30 Pan & Tilt Remote Head and the ZFC-5HD Zoom and Focus Control unit, an operator gains tethered control over focus, zoom, iris and tilt from the base of the jib by using the Control Box, which features large, simple-to-understand switches for performing camera movements. The Control Box, which is included with the REMO30 head, offers directional switches for separate control over panning and tilting, with incremental speed knobs for increasing panning or tilting speeds. A joystick is included for finely controlling the movement of the head. Panning and tilting also can be locked for performing one or the other, or a mix of both. All of this can be done while craning the camera on the jib for a great variety of camera movements. With the REMO30 Pan & Tilt Remote Head, the camera also can be mounted right-side up or upside down. (The REMO30 is available for use with 75mm and 100mm bowl mounts, making it compatible with many other tripods and jib arms, as well.)

Compatible with LANC cameras from Canon and Sony, as well as Panasonic cameras, the ZFC-5HD wired remote control will work with the system for changing zoom and focus on the camera from the base of the jib. There’s also a Record button and a selector switch for fast or slow zooming, which is only compatible with LANC cameras. (Panasonic cameras are controlled through a focus dial on the left-hand side of the remote. An additional selection switch must be moved from LANC to P for use with Panasonic cameras, and you can’t select zoom speed.) On the ZFC control unit, 2.5mm and 3.5mm jacks are supplied for working with LANC-compatible cameras.

Also available for separating craning and camera control duties between two operators, the CU30 Control Unit provides a vest system with T-bar for mounting the Control Box and ZFC-5HD directly to the operator. The system has been tested to work reliably at distances of up to 99 feet, which makes it ideal for remote operation, even when the operator is in another room while watching a monitor. The CU30 can be mounted to a tripod for more comfortable operation.

Libec suggests that setup starts (especially with a single operator) with the estimated counterbalance weight and that camera alignment should be as precise as possible to minimize wear and tear on the motorized head. On the REMO30 head, a 3-inch sliding adapter plate is provided for fine-tuning. The entire system has been designed for quiet operation, with low-noise movements to compensate for any audio concerns. The SWIFT JIB50 system is fairly self-contained, as well, with cable leads that can be secured and threading points for feeding cables to avoid tangling. A 2.2-pound counterweight is included, and a WEIGHT30 Kit comprised of two sets of 33-pound weights is available for purchase for working with heavier systems. The system includes a power adapter, and V-Mount batteries can be secured to the base of the REMO30’s Control Box. Libec plans to offer an Anton/Bauer Gold Mount in the future, as well.

List Price: $2,600 (JIB50 with carrying case and 75mm adapter); $4,280 (JIB50 Kit with T102B tripod, DL-8B dolly and carrying cases); $3,400 (REMO30 remote head); $480 (CU30 Control unit for REMO30); $480 (WEIGHT30 Kit).

Contact: Libec Sales of America, Inc., (310) 787-9400, www.libecsales.com.

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