Every so often I wonder if I should invest in more substantial rigging and especially grips for my hybrid cameras instead of playing it close to the bone with minimalist, stripped-down cages.
I take a look at the grips currently made by cage and accessories makers, shrug my shoulders, and tell myself “Well, maybe later,… sometime.”
And then I came across Ruben de Boer of Element, a one-man enterprise making beautiful-looking wooden grips with or without buttons and cables to suit a range of contemporary cameras and, had I the funds, would have placed an order immediately.
Some other companies do make wooden grips in a similar shape but all appear to have been inspired by one of the most revolutionary, most inspirational range of movie cameras ever, those designed and made by the late Jean-Pierre Beauviala of Aaton.
M. Baueviala’s cameras were intended to feel as if they were a cat reclining on one’s shoulder, silent in operation and as ergonomically sound as possible.
I never used an Aaton but watched one in use while working as a production assistant on some feature films when very young.
Aaton film and digital cinema cameras with wooden grips
- Aaton Digital – website
- Cinema5D – A Tribute to Jean-Pierre Beauviala: Founder of Aaton
- Element – website
- The American Society of Cinematographers – Jean-Pierre Beauviala Honored by the ASC