Another site I frequent had a question from a grip who is in the market for a crane as to which is the best. Immediately, I saw the makings of a post. A great many of the replies recommended the GFMs and Giraffe. First let's look at a few different kinds of cranes. The portable crane really changed the way a lot of movies are shot. The Louma revolutionized the industry with the ability to place a camera in a tight space and still deliver a crane move. Everyone's old favorite, the Lenny Arm continued this trend and before you know it, we were inundated with portable cranes, most from Europe or South Africa, and most named after animals. The Giraffe, Panther, Pegasus, Phoenix, and others greatly expanded the Dolly Grip's options and since they could be purchased, unlike the Lenny Arm, a lot of Grip's wallets. My earliest crane experiences were with the beloved Titan and the often cursed, but very effective Lenny. Then came the Giraffe, which due to it's ease of assembly and relatively light-weight components, became the most often seen, used, and purchased crane (at least in the markets I was working in). It snapped together quickly, could accomodate a rider at shorter lengths, and a "hothead" at longer (I believe up to 37' if memory serves) configurations. It also didn't involve the large wrenches and cumbersome steel of the Lenny. Then, the Giraffe seemed to become less visible, and the Phoenix became the new favorite. Now, with Technocranes everywhere, the Phoenix seems to be the most used portable crane when the shot doesn't call for an extendable arm. I like the Phoenix. Gentlemen Grips, who I work for often, has two, and they are easy to put together, more solid than the Giraffe, and have a minimum of "whip" even at the longest length. The Lenny arm will still get it done, with a little more work (how many of us have put it together and realized we'd forgotten to put the "ears" for the cables between the sections?). One thing's for sure, it's a solid choice because it's an ultra-reinforced chunk of steel. I think you could hit it with a stakebed and it would probably destroy the stakebed. For jibs, I prefer the Fisher 23. This is the best non rideable portable crane in existence in my opinion. For ease and speed of assembly and great action on the bearings it can't be beat. I like the Hydrascope and really want to see the new 70 footer. I also like the Moviebird just for it's great arm swing and really easy action at almost 50'. These of course are my own opinions and experiences and not at all the rule. There are a lot of portables I haven't tried, such as the GFMs and Panthers. Give me some feedback. What are your favorites?
I wrote this on my wife's fancy tiny computer,which I can barely see. It's almost like writing a post on my cellphone, aside from the fact that I'm in Vegas and likes my Vodka drink. Therefore, it's not the most well written post I've ever done but I hope you get the gist.