I thought you might like to see a photo of my first use of my new Cinesaddle. I am working on a video about a species of land bird called a Spruce Grouse. They are a resident in the northern boreal forests of Minnesota, USA, where I live.
We had an hour snowshoe into our location and a long hunt for the birds. We found a lot of evidence of their presence but did not find any birds. This time, that is. I already have a fair amount of them on tape. The temperature this day was in the upper 20's F. Snow depth was about two feet. I am poised to work here with my Sony PD150 but also packed in my Sony BetaCam. This was also a first experience working in snowshoes. I don't recommend it.
The Cinesaddle didn't get a lot of work this day, except for the application seen in the photo. It worked great for that. Already happy I own it.
Golden Valley, Minnesota
I recently received my MiniSaddle in the mail and have nothing but good things to say. First, I want to thank the gentleman who called me directly at 8 AM his time (Australia) and whatever time it was late in my day (Pacific Daylight Time), as I was shooting a train derailment site. My wife referred him to my cell phone and we talked about the ability of the MiniSaddle to accommodate the Sony VX2000. He told me up front that the MiniSaddle was probably the correct product to order, but that the VX2000 would more than likely NOT fit in the provided pouch. He was right. It won’t.
I must admit, I was positively impressed that a member of your company would call so quickly and be so totally up front about the possible limitations of your product. I had ordered it online only a few hours before the telephone call. And to be honest, I don't care that my camera won't fit inside the MiniSaddle. I have another case for the VX2000, and I've already used and abused the MiniSaddle.
That I had to pay $300 for your product seemed like highway robbery. I feared it was another case of extreme product exclusivity -- that is to say, "no one else makes this so YOU'RE going to pay a premium for MY idea." Until I used it. The damned thing is virtually indestructible. And it's light as hell. When I hike out into the Sierra Nevada mountains of California to get shot of passing trains that I know no one else will get, I want a minimal amount of equipment. I sling the VX2000, along with a vest containing batteries, tapes, filters and two additional lenses. I leave the Vinten crap at home and instead haul a Bogen 3021 with a 501 fluid head. Hell, that's enough. All I had to do is sling the MiniSaddle strap over the tripod. At 47 years of age and 7,000 feet, I might add that the MiniSaddle also makes a nice cushy seat on some very hard and unforgiving granite. Already the MiniSaddle has fallen down a hill, been kicked into my Tracker, thrown a few feet when I missed a freight and been used to keep my water bottles cool.
Admittedly, it is an expensive product. At least I think so, because I'm a one-dude operation on a serious budget. But already I think I've gotten some serious use out of it, and I know there are many years of future use available. I don't baby my equipment. The tools I use are just that: tools. They go wherever I go: up the hill, into the water, through the bushes. I would buy from you again. You showed immediate concern and that adds up to customer service. You were up front about your product. But I don't care. Your product is worth every penny I paid, and it's less than two months old. If you wish, please use this e-mail as any testimonial you require. Send those with questions about your product to me. I'll set them straight. It is something so simple, so light, so strong - and I haven't even really tapped into all its potential uses.
Mark R. Alley
Dutch Flat, CA
O.K., I had used a cinesaddle once before and I liked it - I had done some background rolling footage for a green screen window-fill in a car scene - and it worked like a charm.
So, I bought my own Cinesaddle for Christmas - one of the new Marsupial bags.
See, I just got home from 2-1/2 weeks in India - started in Mumbai, then Chennai, Calcutta, Agra (Taj Mahal), Delhi, and then Varanasi. Both of my cameras made it - one inside the Marsupial bag and one in checked luggage. But Northwest and KLM still aren't sure where the $6,000 worth of tripods are.
I shot a building dedication ceremony, 4 lectures, and some of the wildest documentary footage ever - from the gunnels of a couple of canoes floating down the Ganges, from fence rails at St.Thomas' Mount, perched on that famous marble bench at the Taj Mahal, from rolling bicycle rickshaws, from fields and rocks and pavement and walls and staircases and iron gates and back seats of taxis.
And all I had was my Cinesaddle. No other options.
I came back with 30 hours of primo stuff - and I really do miss my tripods, but I won't carry them overseas again. I had to pay extra baggage fees for stuff that never arrived - and I was forced to make that bag do everything - and it worked perfectly everytime.
Quick setup. Light enough to carry all day. Stuck my water in the pouch, carried extra lenses in the other end. I did have a beltpak for my batteries and tape stock - but I probably could have dome without that if I had to - but one step at a time.
So, thanks. Your bag really helped save a crucial shoot. Maybe this is the hard way to learn how good your product is, but now I am a walking mouthpiece for you.
What else do I need that I don't know about?
I am a NYC based DP/Cameraman, and had a bought a Cinesaddle about four years ago, before I even bought a camera. I was working initially with a Canon GL1. Admittedly, the camera saddle was too big for that camera, but I knew that this was an interim camera and I would be using larger more professional equipment down the line.
I started using an XL1s this past fall and pulled out the camera saddle for a feature I was shooting in California. I knew I would be using a wheelchair as a dolly and wanted to get a good steady base for the camera as it sat on my lap. I used it for that shot very effectively, and then found a need for several ground level shots, almost a foot lower than my tripod could go. Again, I pulled out the saddle, and got rock solid shots two inches off the ground. Finally, on the last day of shooting, we were racing against daylight to get two exterior shots of an old movie marquis. Once we parked, I had to run across an intersection, determine my shot while the director placed the actors, and get the shots before I lost available light - too much time to set up sticks, mount the camera, set the height, and level off the head. I was amazed at how steady the saddle was just tucking it under my arm, and then when I leaned into a lamp post for added stability, the result was even better, and we got both shots and even had time for a couple of extra takes and a third set up.
Thank you for building such an excellent camera mount especially useful when agility, speed, and stability are the main needs of the shot. I look forward to using it on other projects as an alternative to sticks or monopod, and will keep the saddle as part of my primary kit. Great work, Cinekinetic!
T. Walker Rice
Oh! My Gosh! All those other testimonials were right!
I've just strapped the Cinesaddle to our mini-van and followed two motorcyclists down the road.
Then I popped open the back, threw it on a bucket, and lead them.
I'm floored with the quality of the video! It could have been taken from a balloon or a helicopter it's so smooth.
I knew I could strap these things around tree-trunks; dangle them off cliffs; balance them on fence posts, and eat lunch sitting on them, but now I'm truly impressed.
What's the trade-in value on my tripod?
I just flew back from Wales and boy, are my arms tired!
Having used my CINESADDLE for almost EVERY shot on my holiday video Shoot except for a few involving wet sand, I was AMAZED at what a useful device it was (and worth every penny!).
It gave me rock-solid lockdown shots and the marsupial pouch protected my camera like a mother hen and it still had room for batteries,tapes,and gloves.
I shall never go on another shoot without your superb product!
I've had the Cinesaddle for a good five or more years. Love it. Comes in handy when on certain assignments are such that a tripod prohibits shooting low angle stuff from the ground. With the Cinesaddle it brings the camera off ground enough to add depth top the shot and it really makes my day easy when over shooting in San Francisco and no one around to carry my Vinten.
Another great deal with it is when I am in situations where you have a subject and there is a need for a steady shot. So I find a parking meter, old truck, chair, bench, railing, tree stump, concrete sculptures, boats for that moving feeling etc.
Just plunk it down, make the right form and place the camera in it and away you go. Durable? yes. Lightweight? Yes. Great? yes. Just throw it on your shoulder and away you go with it dangling on your back.
First off, let me say that I was highly skeptical of this "camera mount" when I ordered it on a job. I'm a key grip in Miami, FL and I frequently work on some of the highest budget commercials and music videos on TV. A DP on a job about 18 months ago specifically asked for a Cinesaddle. I had seen the ads in American Cinematographer and knew what it was, but had never used one myself. All I knew was that it was that "crazy bean bag thingy from Australia..." But I had production buy one and have it shipped here, because when the man asks for something, you get it. Long story short, we didn't really use it much on that shoot, and at the end of the job it became part of my kit. "Well, I won't be using this much anymore...", I thought.
Oh, how wrong I was....
18 months later I am one of the Cinesaddle's biggest advocates. I have used this bean bag thingy in more places and in more situations than I could have ever dreamed. It comes with me on every job I do, large or small. It has been across the country and to numerous locations in the Caribbean and South America. It frequently ends up as a pillow or a seat cushion, but is always ready to be tossed down in the middle of the road for that "camera on a sandbag" shot, or wedged into the camera operator's lap when he and an Arri 535 are jammed into the passenger seat of some compact car. It really never ceases to amaze me, and the most ironic thing is how much I doubted it when I first got it.
Anyway, enough with the testimonial. What I am really writing for is to see if I can get some extra "high tech polystyrene beads" to refill my saddle. The zipper tends to come open on occasion and I have lost probably 1/3 of the filling over that last year and a half. The saddle still works just fine, but I would like to firm it back up a bit.
So please do me the courtesy of a reply and let me know how to go about ordering replacement beads, so that I might continue to go forth and spread the gospel of the saddle...
I and numerous satisfied DP's thank you!
Coral Gables, FL
Just spent more than three weeks and nearly 6,000 kms with the Cinesaddle, in mekoros (canoes) in the Okavango Delta, hanging off cliff faces, tramping through the Makgadikgadi Pans, and even in the occasional office and home. The Cinesaddle has got to be one of the most useful bits of low-tech around. I used it as a support to shoot everything from wild dogs to interviews while the subject drove a bus-train; strapped it to a car's hood
(bonnet) and a boat's bow; I even used it as a pillow on the long road trips between locations; and, no matter where we were, there was always a stable, dry, relatively clean place to rest the camera while the short-handed crew dealt with the next set-up. Good stuff.
Eighteen months on I had hoped to be able to tell you how my Cinesaddle not only travels with me on every shoot, but was actually becoming more popular with my clients than myself. One director claims he only works
with me because I am the only cameraman he knows who owns one. Alas, no longer. Whilst on a shoot in Spain last week some lowlife broke into our vehicle and stole my best mate. Incidentally, my Cinesaddle is
all that was stolen - they didn't go for the seven thousand pound lens, nor my GPS, telephone, passport or wallet containing much cash and credit cards. No siree, just the Cinesaddle.
I can be Cinesaddle-less for not a moment longer, please let me know the current cost including shipping to the UK, and the cost of extra beans if shipped at the same time.
With kind regards,
I've been making my own independent labor of love documentary for over three years now about a magical old Hawaiian town on the remote east coast of Maui named Hana. The only way in to this place (other than prop plane), is to drive what is perhaps the curviest 2 lane 50 mile highway in the USA or possibly the world. The Hana highway is a recurring character of my film and the show is largely held together with a driving interview I conducted with a native Hawaiian tour guide who was born and raised in Hana. The Minisaddle has made this show possible and has provided a wealth of solid car mount shots from hood to roof, out the side, the rear tailgate and the passenger side looking at the driver for the interview's main angle. Its also saved my knees when needing to kneel down on sharp, rough gravel roads and makes a damn good camping pillow to boot.
I'm a Cinesaddle fan for life and am not bashful about sharing my feelings with others.
Washington, DC 20036
I have been in the motion picture industry for many years and have used all sorts of equipment. However, today was my first opportunity to use your Cinesaddle. All I can say is, "WOW!!" I used it as a hood mount for a very important scene that I was shooting for a low-budget feature film. The results were absolutely amazing! The Cinesaddle has positively rendered every other type of hood mount obsolete! I was very, very impressed!
Now, I can't wait to use your other products! I just thought I'd send you an e-mail to let you know how impressed I, as the DP of this film, was with your product. The director was also very impressed. In fact, we were so impressed, that we are adding some shots to the movie just so we can use more of your products. You are to be congratulated in every respect. An Academy Award for Technical Achievement can't be very far away. I love this product and plan to have one with me on every shoot in the future. Again, congratulations for a superb technical achievement!
S. Scott Bullock
Got one of your Cinesaddles at the NAB. Used it Monday for a regular low to high shot. But today I used it for a car mount both inside and out. And also a helicopter shoot. It was rock solid and paid for itself triple just today.
The Cinesaddle is a major secret weapon.
PS. I use a Tyler Helicopter Mount at $600 a day about once a month. That practice has now finished thanks to Cinekinetic. The rental house will not like you.