whilst moving offices the previous year and hadn’t yet replaced it. I wanted a jib crane that was more robust, had a longer reach and ideally with a motorised head. I was lucky enough to negotiate a good deal on a used Hague K12 Multi-Jib with a Varizoom MC50 Head. The Multi-Jib had been factory modified to have a 12ft reach.
With the Varizoom head it came in about 4 cases which immediately struck me as a bit impractical for wedding filming. (Remember this is just the crane without any camera equipment!) After assembling it several times in our office, I decided to try it out on a project, but for now in its 6-9ft mode and without the motorised head. Despite my ambitions, I believe it’s not good to use too many new things at once on a client’s project – you don’t want it all to become a distraction.
So I loaded it into the car to film two jobs over the final weekend of 2012. Because the jib crane takes a while to set up and position it is important to know beforehand what shot you want it for. I’ll be honest and say that whilst the Hague K12 is fairly well built, the engineering is relatively unsophisticated as the various sections have to be assembled on-site and screwed together. Time is of the essence with event filming and this type of ‘Meccano’ construction can be a little frustrating.
The first job was a Greek wedding at St Sophia’s Greek Orthodox Church and The Royal Exchange in London. I had originally thought of using the jib crane for the bride’s entrance at St Sophia’s, but when I saw the operating space and the number of people cramming into this church I decided against it. Instead we opted for a Steadicam shot. This meant the jib crane was mainly used at the reception. I thought the crane would be good for external shots of the Royal Exchange would create the ‘wow’ factor I wanted for the film’s highlights. In the video below you can see the crane use at 1:28 in sync with a rise in the music to give it an epic feel.
Despite my initial misgivings I was impressed with how smooth the Hague K12 jib was. Indeed, compared to the Glidecam CamCrane 200, it had no flex or bounce whatsoever.
The next day I used it again for a wedding at The Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. In this instance we had the space to film the bride’s entrance, which had her rising graciously up some steps. Again it was important to know what shot I wanted it for as you can’t quickly relocate a jib crane. I settled for being at the bottom of the steps as it also meant I wouldn’t be in the other camera’s shot filming her walking up the aisle. You can see the shot below at 1:27.
Having used the Hague K12 on numerous occasions over the last year I have become more efficient at using it. Despite the basic engineering, I plan to keep it for the time being as I have made several modifications of my own. I found the people at B Hague & Co very helpful and willing to make completely bespoke parts for me at an affordable price. These include a custom mount for the Varizoom controller and HDMI monitor and upgrading to heavy duty all-terrain wheels for the dolly.
I call the Hague K12 my “pet dinosaur” on shoots as I think it amuses some people to watch me wheeling it about behind. However, like a dinosaur, people prefer to only hear of its existence, rather than actually seeing one imposing on their event. This means safety and discretion is always key to my decision when to use it!
Andrew Cussens is the Director of Bloomsbury Films. For more information about wedding & event filming skills, please check out the Bloomsbury Films Academy.