In Los Angeles, the movie business started 100 years ago. You may have seen old black and white photos of early film cameras on wooden tripods. Since that time, technical advancements in the art of filmmaking have taken the craft to new heights — literally.
Today, a whole tool box of cool camera platforms — cranes and dollies, lifts and jibs — allow filmmakers to get the “shot” they desire. Sometimes that shot is from high above, sometimes from below or right alongside the action.
Like any industry, filmmaking has its own slang and jargon. Names like Lenny Arm, Titan, Stinger, Russian Arm and Condor may sound foreign to the uninitiated, but they are camera supports commonly used by local filmmakers on-location to produce your favorite movies and TV shows.
There are many local businesses that manufacture and sell or rent camera platform equipment to the industry. Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment, Inc., located in North Hollywood, is one such business. Originally founded in 1945, one of the first productions to use a Chapman automatic leveling crane was Cecil B. DeMille’s epic film, The Ten Commandments.
“We are always dreaming of ways to give filmmakers the greatest breadth of options possible,” said Christine Chapman-Huenergardt, Chapman/Leonard Vice President. “Our products allow film and television producers to achieve their creative goals in the safest manner possible. We love to see our equipment used locally.”
Next time you see a film production in your neighborhood, check and see if you recognize any of the pieces pictured here. And remember, the equipment on your street may be manufactured in the region or rented from a local supplier who relies on a healthy SoCal film industry.