Cinematography Mailing List - CML

Chapman Vibration Isolator

Does anyone have any hands on experience with the Chapman "Vibration Isolator"? Some folks want to use it with a camera car as well as with a hood mount. It doesn't look like it was designed for that purpose.

Real experience preferred.

Brian Heller
IA 600 DP

>Does anyone have any hands on experience with the Chapman >"Vibration Isolator"?


I have extensive experience using the Chapman "Vibration Isolator" You are correct, using it on a camera car or as a hood mount is not what is designed for. It is best served on a dolly with a Gear Head. With a light touch to the hand wheels so that you do not transfer your bodies vibration (use of a fluid head tends to transmit the unwanted vibration), and the use of a western dolly with the tires deflated, one can obtain remarkably smooth shots. You can also use it on a fisher or Chapman dolly without track provided that the floor is relatively smooth. We have also used it with remote heads on crane arms to help smooth out aggressive crane shots.

Hood mounts should be rigged steadfast by the grips so as to move as little as possible (read not at all), so use of a vibration isolator is exactly what you do not want to do. For shots employing a camera car (car to car), I like to use Gyros mounted on the Matte Box rods, set up on the vertical and horizontal axis'. This helps prevent any sudden jarring movement that will be apparent when you have two elements moving in different directions at the same time. The gyros are available from Clairmont.

Paul Varrieur

Another trick with the vibration isolator on rough terrain is not to use the eyepiece but to operate from a monitor. It makes it easier to "float" the head and is alot easier on the eye socket.

Mike Southon BSC

I remember filming with a similar problem long before video assists were invented. I had to film a Formula 1 racing car driven by Sterling Moss from the back of an equally fast sports car.

I used an Arri II on a 10 inch Moy geared head and fitted a Mitchell finder on either side of the camera. I looked through which ever finder I was going past at the time!


David Samuelson

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