A Visit With Tyler & His Mini Gyro
By: JT McGinn, Northern Pictures
On a recent trip to Los Angeles I had the pleasure of visiting Tyler Camera Systems. Tyler is in Van Nuys California, ‘just over the hill’ from the hustle bustle of Hollywood, and located in an industrial neighborhood which contains everything from furniture shops to oil & chemical storage complexes. Housed in a modest concrete building Tyler is an impressive facility. They’re home to the film industry's standard in gyroscopic aerial camera mount systems; and I can see why. These guys engineer and build some serious equipment.
Nelson Tyler revolutionized aerial photography with his gyro stabilized camera rigs and the mini gyro is his latest design entry. It’s dramatically smaller than his previous setups, the major, middle, and nose mount rigs, often used in national commercials and feature films. The Mini is designed for smaller budgets and cameras, (30lbs with glass) such as Reds and Sonys, all the way down to the ultra light Canon 5D! The unit itself is also very light, weighing in at about 40 pounds excluding the external 28 volt power source. By far the best selling point is that it’s portable, so no FAA Certificate needed to fly!
Upon arriving I was greeted by George Wood and taken on a tour of the shop where he pointed out many of the larger rigs available. So impressive considering the complexity of each piece, there’s balanced hinged and moving parts everywhere, all working in sync to offer the beauty shots we now come to expect from all forms of media large and small.
We rounded the corner and it caught my eye, there it was gyros whirling away and ready to rock! It’s a compact and powerful little device, looking like a piece of military equipment rather than a cradle for tens of thousands of dollars. After a quick ‘how to’ I was set to go and with the lightest of touch felt the resistance offered by the two gyros which give that smooth-as-butter feel in hand. Along with the gyros is the shock absorber, which does all the isolating from whatever vehicle you find yourself on and is a must. Needless to say, I was impressed!
The whole unit isn’t cheap, ringing in at 15k, but considering the cost of the large units its a virtual steal! This unit works in the air, on a boat, car, bike, and any other piece of moving mass you can think of. It truly brings smaller productions the ability to capture those beautiful shots without breaking the budget in the process. By far the best way is to rent, and it can be at reasonable daily rates from authorized dealers throughout the country. We plan on renting this Spring and taking the mini through its paces with our FS-700 with Zeiss glass perched atop. We'll pass along what I'm sure will be amazing footage of the White Mountains and beyond! I’d like to thank George Wood and all the folks at Tyler Camera Systems for their time and the tour. See you in the air!
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