May 26, 2003
Review of the Varizoom Stealth DVX Zoom Controller
By Noah Kadner
I recently had a chance to use the StealthDVX Zoom controller from Varizoom on a big VFX shoot. For the unfamiliar, this controller lets you zoom in and out at variable speeds and also includes a pause/record button. The StealthDVX comes with a long cable that connects into the Panasonic DVX100's cam remote port. It can then be clamped onto your tripod or any other convenient surface.
In this setup I was shooting groups of costumed extras in front of a green screen from a variety of camera supports for an upcoming summer release. We used tripods, platforms and a cherry picker to film the extras from a variety of positions and heights. I found the StealthDVX to be incredibly useful and convenient. First and most importantly I was able to control the camera without touching it. This was critical for green screen shots because they all needed to be lock-offs with no shaking. I could lock my tripod down and start recording anytime; completely confident I hadn't disturbed the camera at all.
Later, when we began to shoot out of the cherry picker high off the stage floor, the StealthDVX again saved me. Truth be told, I'm quite afraid of heights and in this setup I was 30 feet up in a little metal cage! I had the DVX100 clamped to the side of the cage and pretty much just wanted to hold on for dear life. I affixed the StealthDVX to one of the bars in the cage and ran the cable up to the DVX100. I could then hold onto the cage firmly with both hands and still control the camera. This helped me complete my shots and remain calm (please don't tell my boss I was scared.)
The zoom controller section was also quite useful. I could creep in and out until I had the exact frame size the VFX supervisor wanted. I could also quickly pop out for a super wide so he could position all the extras on the green screen. All in all a fun shoot made all the more enjoyable by a great little piece of gear. I can reveal which movie this was for sometime later this summer
Noah Kadner moderates several forums on 2-pop including the Panasonic 24p forums. This summer he makes his feature film directing debut in New Mexico. Read all about it at www.highroadproductions.com
Links for this article:
StealthDVX Zoom - http://www.varizoom.com/
Panasonic DVX100 - http://www.panasonic.com/PBDS/subcat/dvproline/index.html