Shoot for Six Minute Style © Toni Matlock
Like patting your head and rubbing your belly. That's the challenge of operating a jib. The ability to make delicate adjustments to the angle and level while incorporating even a small amount of motion into a shot is worth it.
Our jib is simple and not very fancy; built with gym weights and parts from camera supply and hardware stores. You operate it from the weighted end and watch through a monitor what is happening with the camera perched out on the far end of the jib. So the action of your movie is fifteen feet or so away and you are looking down only a few feet in front of you. You lift the weight with one hand and crank a lever to tilt and turn the camera with your other. The challenge of the eye-hand coordination is addictive and counter-intuitive as if you are performing a trick. It reminds me of those funhouse machines with the claw grabber in a tank of stuffed animals. The stakes are higher with a jib since it's our work but it's not rigged against me like an arcade game.
The muscles in my hand were sore for days after this shoot from the constant pressure of the weight. It's in the realm of the paper cut. I'm happy to complain about it. It had been a while since I had used the crazy thing and it gives me a bit of a high.