Joel Perkal has been a busy in the Camera Department for over 20 years, having worked on groundbreaking episodics from Entourage and Dexter to recent network series, Runaways and LA’s Finest. To keep the pace, he’s proven to be a resourceful asset to any production, always ready with a plan and tool for of how to capture the camerawork that advances the plot. Like with Cam Tank.
When Matthew’s Martin Torner showed him the low angle camera mounting system he could tell it would be a problem solver.
“What first sold me was its superior design and capable braking system so you can lock it in position. It’s machined very well. Once set up, it won’t get nudged—as is possible when just a sandbag is used.” As its name implies, Cam Tank is a sturdy base.
Plus its bottom plate offers 17 strategically placed 3/8″-16 tapped holes spaced 1″ apart, complying with motion picture industry standards. “Its mounting versatility gives me options”, explains Perkal. I constantly mount it directly to sliders. I have put Q/R plates sideways on the base. It covers the majority of bases and options you might use. It is a rocker plate—not a geared head, but a standard rocker plate doesn’t give you this many options. And it gives me a studio feel as I pan and tilt—even while dutching right on the deck. Loaded with a 65 or 70-pound camera rig, it handles without a problem.”
But the proof is on set. “I can’t bring a piece of equipment for use on set if it doesn’t work flawlessly in its intended purpose.” Case in point: a recent production of Runaways.
The scene opener called for a reveal to an interrogation happening in the scene. “We wanted to be off the main characters but show some geography of the space. The best way to do that is to utilize foreground elements. We set up on the second floor above the action. I mounted the CamTank turned 90-degrees on top of an OConnor so that I could dutch the angle while it was attached to a 4’ slider on tilted sticks. This allowed me to create a dutched "pull back"/ or "push in" through the 2nd floor railing on to the actors below.”
“The Cam Tank helps me to achieve a dutch angle lower than I can with any other device, plus I can pan 360-degree pans when needed. You can’t do that with a standard studio head.
“Its design and machining quality is a bonus. Appearance matters. The truth of the matter is that Cam Tank garnishes a lot more eyes than a sandbag and is way more secure. It looks professional. And it makes my job easier.”