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Mounts Help Productions Hit Road

In the days when Hollywood movie crews numbered in the hundreds, mounting a large camera on a car was a major project involving pipes, grips, clamps and ratchet straps before filming could begin. As the market has moved toward smaller crews, faster schedules and digital cameras, Matthews Studio Equipment has designed two new mounts that are quicker, easier and use fewer parts. Plus, the mounts can accommodate smaller digital cameras now used by filmmakers. Tyler Phillips, head of marketing at the Burbank company, said that the old way of setting up car mounts is overkill considering that cameras are now lighter. “Older rigs took hours to set up and to change the angle,” Phillips said. Dubbed the Freedom Mount, Matthews began shipping the connectors in July at a cost of $1,595. Its Indie Mount, a model for use with digital single-lens reflex and small action cameras, sells for $449 and has been available since April. Matthews sells the mounts to production companies and studios through a network of dealers in 90 countries. The Freedom Mount uses three suction cups that attach to the side or top of a car. The cups are connected by 5/8-inch steel rods to a small platform where the camera is mounted. The rods, 10 inches long, can be adjusted or combined to the desired length, a flexibility that eliminates having to cut metal on set. The lighter Indie Mount has two suction cups and nylon cables with hooks to support the camera. Attaching either mount to a vehicle hood can take five to 10 minutes; attaching it to the rear may take up to 20 minutes. “We are making it all modular, like a miniature erector set,” Phillips said. Matthews was founded in 1968 to supply light stands, dolly tracks and other equipment for film and television productions. Owner Ed Phillips – Tyler’s father – has been with Matthews since 1969. The company designs and manufactures its products from a Burbank industrial building it moved into three years ago after many years of operating from multiple locations elsewhere in the city. In addition to car mounts, another innovation Matthews has developed is a hostess tray that holds a camera at window level outside the car. Older models of the tray were bulky and attached with hooks that went over a rolled-down window. Working with a director of photography, Matthews staff came up with a better model that uses slots to fit in between the window and the weather stripping of the car door, Phillips said. “You can do a shoot with the window rolled down and then roll it up,” Phillips said. “You couldn’t do that before without a lot of rigging.” – Mark R. Madler

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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