Matthews Studio Equipment has just shipped its new Cam Tank camera support system, with the first purchase made by DP/operator Lance Fisher SOC.
Matthews is known for innovative camera and lighting support and, in the case of Cam Tank, it was Tyler Phillips, VP of product development and marketing at MSE, who spotted a gap in the market.
“During many of my set visits, I would see the camera operator and AC sitting on the ground, with the camera resting on a sandbag in an effort to get a low POV,” said Phillips. “I would hear the DP or director asking for a camera pan, which is very difficult and sometimes impossible to do on a sand bag.”
The new Cam Tank accepts both large camera plates as well as direct mount, and is another option for extremely low shots without taking away the ability to pan and tilt the camera. Cam Tank is also an option for Dutch angles, when mounted to a fluid head or shots designed to be pointed straight down off a fluid head or jib.
“MSE is great about creating from the ground-up, or taking an old idea and making it better,” commented Fisher. “The Cam Tank rocker plate is just that. Rocker plates have been around forever and I always appreciated what they can do – get the lens close to the deck while still having smooth pan and tilt. Except for a few one-offs or prototypes, nothing has been done with this tool for over 20 years, until MSE took on the task. When I saw their new and improved version at Cine Gear, I knew I had to have it.
“For low shots – the person-sitting-at-desk shot, the low angle tilt-up to the hand holding the phone, the pan of dog’s face low along the floor, etc. – the Cam Tank gets you a good 12-inches lower than a fluid head without sacrificing control. You can also mount the Cam Tank onto another head and create a Dutch shot or a partial third axis. It has nice, non-skid, rubber feet too. It’s built like a tank. It’s beautiful. I told the guys at Matthews I want to purchase another one to put on the shelf – just to look at!”