News Articles

Below are a few of the published articles by the users of the Cinesaddle

CineSaddles, Cyclos and Snake Bile

Guild of Television Cameramen (UK)

Laurie Gilbert is an Australian Director of Photography who is based in Asia. He shoots everything from commercials to documentaries to feature films; but he is probably most reknowned for his magnificent coverage of sporting events. Laurie is an accomplished writer as well as a Director of Photography and he kindly allowed us to reprint excerpts from his article.

 

The streets of Asia are an amazingly dynamic place to shoot in and unlike Europe and the USA, everything happens at a very personal level right there in front of you. Street peddlers sit on the ground to sell you their wares, people travel by cyclo rather than in insulated motorcars and the most photogenic postcard sellers in Saigon are twelve years old and only four foot high.

 

I have long known that the most dynamic images that capture the essence of these locations are shot from well below waist level and I seem to spend a third of my professional life kneeling in Asian gutters. (Dale Hartleben from Carlyle in London would tell you I spend a third of my social life there as well).

 

That ugly brown canvas bean-bag of mine can sometimes be the key to the difference between my rushes and my competitions' rushes. Set a Betacam equipped with a 300mm 4.5 prime Nikon lens inches above a hot Vietnamese road, on the Cinesaddle, at sunset. Now cue the water buffalo cart in the distance and you get those powerful local images that make Dales' eyes water!


On this particular shoot Ms. Gwee, my pretty Singaporean client at first seemed extremely suspicious of it and appeared reluctant to have anything to do with it. This was until I told her it was a special Limited Edition model made especially for me by Cartier. Then she happily carried it everywhere for me!


With all the little fitments it contains internally for attaching a camera to a car bonnet, it confuses the living daylights out of the X-ray officials at airports. But to me, operating at pedal level on-location in Asia, it has to be the invention of the decade.


Mine comes on the shoot with only one strict rule, which states "Only the D.O.P. is allowed to sleep on it, in the van, on the way home". But then, with my system still trying to digest ample portions of wild boar, mountain frog and snake bile at the moment, even counting rows and rows of big green Cummins gensets is not helping me sleep!

Trekking

Camcorder User

Rick Young is a European based Producer/Director who runs a production company called Digital Production. When the Minisaddle was produced, Rick travelled the world producing a videotape titled Invention of the Decade which is available through these pages. Rick produced an article for the English magazine: Camcorder User about his experiences filming his climb to Mt. Everest base camp in Nepal. Excerpts of that article follow.

 

The trek took eighteen days to complete. After arriving in Katmandu (4500 feet above sea level) we flew in a M1-17 ex-Russian military helicopter to the town of Lukla (8000 feet above sea level). The change in environment was striking: snow-capped mountains towered above us and I had to resist the urge to film everything around me.

 

 

 

 

Over one shoulder I slung the camera, over the other, a light-weight camera-mount known as the Cinesaddle. Innovative in its simplicity, the Cinesaddle, built by Cinekinetic, is a waterproof canvas bag which is filled with beans, similar to those used inside of a beanbag. The canvas is shaped in such a way that the Cinesaddle wraps itself around the camera and provides the perfect mount for any surface such as the ground, a rock, ledge, or whatever is available. In effect, the Cinesaddle replaces the tripod in most situations and is a lot easier to carry and use.

 

All other camera accessories were carried by a personal porter assigned to me, others were carried on the backs of yaks, which meant I could only access these when we arrived at camp in the evening.

 

The weather conditions got worse before they got better. We encountered snow and ice as we climbed higher into the mountains. I concentrated on filming the difficulties the group were experiencing, their responses to the changing environment, with plenty of interviews dealing with the group's physical and mental reactions to the expedition.

 

The trekking became quite difficult beyond 14000 feet. The air was noticeably thinner and I found I was filming virtually everything off the Cinesaddle. The Cinesaddle is so lightweight and easy to use it became a necessity rather than a luxury. I'd have thrown away my tripod a lot quicker than I'd have parted with my Cinesaddle. With the risk of praising this invention to excess I'd say 75 - 80% of my footage was shot from this device.

Rick Young is a European based Producer/Director who runs a production company called Digital Production. When the Minisaddle was produced, Rick travelled the world producing a videotape titled Invention of the Decade which is available through these pages. Rick produced an article for the English magazine: Camcorder User about his experiences filming his climb to Mt. Everest base camp in Nepal. Excerpts of that article follow.

 

The trek took eighteen days to complete. After arriving in Katmandu (4500 feet above sea level) we flew in a M1-17 ex-Russian military helicopter to the town of Lukla (8000 feet above sea level). The change in environment was striking: snow-capped mountains towered above us and I had to resist the urge to film everything around me.

 

 

 

 

Over one shoulder I slung the camera, over the other, a light-weight camera-mount known as the Cinesaddle. Innovative in its simplicity, the Cinesaddle, built by Cinekinetic, is a waterproof canvas bag which is filled with beans, similar to those used inside of a beanbag. The canvas is shaped in such a way that the Cinesaddle wraps itself around the camera and provides the perfect mount for any surface such as the ground, a rock, ledge, or whatever is available. In effect, the Cinesaddle replaces the tripod in most situations and is a lot easier to carry and use.

 

All other camera accessories were carried by a personal porter assigned to me, others were carried on the backs of yaks, which meant I could only access these when we arrived at camp in the evening.

 

The weather conditions got worse before they got better. We encountered snow and ice as we climbed higher into the mountains. I concentrated on filming the difficulties the group were experiencing, their responses to the changing environment, with plenty of interviews dealing with the group's physical and mental reactions to the expedition.

 

The trekking became quite difficult beyond 14000 feet. The air was noticeably thinner and I found I was filming virtually everything off the Cinesaddle. The Cinesaddle is so lightweight and easy to use it became a necessity rather than a luxury. I'd have thrown away my tripod a lot quicker than I'd have parted with my Cinesaddle. With the risk of praising this invention to excess I'd say 75 - 80% of my footage was shot from this device.

Elegant Lowtech

Cinema Papers

This article was reprinted with the kind permission of CINEMA PAPERS. Roger McAlpine, its author, has been a senior camera operator since 1966, most of it with the Australian Broadcasting Commission in Melbourne, Australia.

 

I was never good at knot-tying. Shoe laces were okay, but bow ties, windsor knots and rope tricks were out for me. I have survived nevertheless, although there were those occasions when I was carrying timber on the roof rack of the car. Then I always seemed to tie at least six silly knots on top of each other in an attempt to gain peace of mind on the way home from the timber yard. I had a secret admiration for those farmers and truck drivers who tied their loads down in a manner approaching art.

 

Well now I’ve joined those enlightened ones, becoming one of the knot-tying brethren, And its all thanks to the Cinesaddle. I bought one three years ago, prior to shooting Embassy at the ABC. Our first two weeks were spent in Fiji shooting scenes with the tropical look. The schedule was very tight and it was necessary to keep the equipment list to the bare bones. It seemed like a job for Cinesaddle! The day I bought it, I took it home and practised knot-tying. It was like studying for an exam as I learnt to tie the Bowline and the Truckie’s hitch. I passed Part A of the exam using a camera-sized road case mounted on the bonnet (hood) and then on the car’s door sill. Part B was done with the real thing and I was relieved and impressed with the way the Cinesaddle held the camera securely to the car.

 

In Suva, the Cinesaddle was a godsend! In addition to car exterior-mounted shots, it was used for all the car interiors. Upon our arrival, we bought a piece of dressed timber, 19 x 300mm (3/4 x 75 inches), and cut its length to fit across the sills of the rear side doors. This became a platform for the camera sitting in the Cinesaddle, and I was able to get shots in every direction. The only snag was with one car in which the window didn’t wind down into the door as you would expect. However, I solved the problem by cutting a piece of timber to fit exactly between the windows but still resting on the sills. The sound recordist thought this was an excellent solution, so did I when it started to rain.

 

Suva is a city where the main roads are all one way. Therefore getting from A to B might be simple but getting from B to A might involve travelling right around the city centre. It took the first assistant director and the production manager a little time to adjust to this enlightened (?) traffic management system. We decided that the simplest way to get to many locations was to walk. The Cinesaddle became a protective basket for the camera, etc., as we tramped the hot and crowded Suva pavements. It also doubled as a welcome seat while we waited for the actors to drive from B to A or a Take 2.

  

(In fact the insulating properties of the Cinesaddle are excellent. The DOP was seen on more than one occasion wearing the Cinesaddle on his head in the hot tropical sun. It also keeps wine and is very discreet in such circumstances.)

 

I had to resort to underhand measures when mounting the camera on the bonnet of a new model Falcon. The slope is so severe that even with a well-tied truckie’s hitch, the camera had a tendency to slip down the bonnet. Room 147 at the Suva Travelodge came to the rescue by donating its nonslip rubber bath mat to the unit. I must also add that the stone tray on the Falcon is not as rigid as you would expect on a car. It did bend a bit as I pulled up my hitch.

 

For those two hectic weeks, the Cinesaddle was my constant companion, sine then we have bought another and now both ABC grip trucks in Melbourne carry one.

 

It was just as well I learned to become proficient with those knots before going to Suva; the first assistant director used to be a farmer and the sound recordist owned a truck!

Cinesaddle History

Press Release

Rick Young is a European based Producer/Director who runs a production company called Digital Production. When the Minisaddle was produced, Rick travelled the world producing a videotape titled Invention of the Decade which is available through these pages. Rick produced an article for the English magazine: Camcorder User about his experiences filming his climb to Mt. Everest base camp in Nepal. Excerpts of that article follow.

 

The trek took eighteen days to complete. After arriving in Katmandu (4500 feet above sea level) we flew in a M1-17 ex-Russian military helicopter to the town of Lukla (8000 feet above sea level). The change in environment was striking: snow-capped mountains towered above us and I had to resist the urge to film everything around me.

 

 

 

 

Over one shoulder I slung the camera, over the other, a light-weight camera-mount known as the Cinesaddle. Innovative in its simplicity, the Cinesaddle, built by Cinekinetic, is a waterproof canvas bag which is filled with beans, similar to those used inside of a beanbag. The canvas is shaped in such a way that the Cinesaddle wraps itself around the camera and provides the perfect mount for any surface such as the ground, a rock, ledge, or whatever is available. In effect, the Cinesaddle replaces the tripod in most situations and is a lot easier to carry and use.

 

All other camera accessories were carried by a personal porter assigned to me, others were carried on the backs of yaks, which meant I could only access these when we arrived at camp in the evening.

 

The weather conditions got worse before they got better. We encountered snow and ice as we climbed higher into the mountains. I concentrated on filming the difficulties the group were experiencing, their responses to the changing environment, with plenty of interviews dealing with the group's physical and mental reactions to the expedition.

 

The trekking became quite difficult beyond 14000 feet. The air was noticeably thinner and I found I was filming virtually everything off the Cinesaddle. The Cinesaddle is so lightweight and easy to use it became a necessity rather than a luxury. I'd have thrown away my tripod a lot quicker than I'd have parted with my Cinesaddle. With the risk of praising this invention to excess I'd say 75 - 80% of my footage was shot from this device.

By Mike Young

 

When I was a young cameraman I always wanted to have a car mount and there were a number of different varieties available that were fairly easy to use. I worked for an educational film unit within a university and every year I would try to get some of my annual budget allocation put aside for this type of equipment.

The management felt a car mount was an unnecessary luxury for our purposes and knocked back my request over three successive years. I really felt an effective and inexpensive car mount was a necessity and that was my initial reason for designing the Cinesaddle.

 

 

 

 

As it turned out, the Cinesaddle was so effective as a general purpose mount, it has become the most prized possession of the thousands of cinematographers and videographers who use it.

To meet the needs of camera operators who are moving to DV size cameras, Cinekinetic now produces a “variety” of Cinesaddles.

 

 

 

 

 

The Minisaddle and Babysaddle have the same features and accessories standard to the Cinesaddle while the Tinysaddle and Microsaddle are budget models for those operators who only require a basic mount.

When the competition is doing things with their cameras that you are not able to do, the Cinesaddle will enable you to compete without laying out huge sums of money.

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