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CamSling Shoulders Responsibility The CamSling in use

by David Fox

Small hand-held camcorders are difficult to hold still, which is why a small British company, Barlows, has developed a low-cost device that wraps around the user's shoulders and gives the camera a much steadier platform to work on. The CamSling also allow users to keep their hands free, but have the camera at the ready, between shots and helps reduce fatigue as the weight is borne on both shoulders. This also makes it much more stable than if the camcorder was mounted on one shoulder, "and it makes for better panning and tilting shots," says its inventor, Barlows' director David Slinger.

The CamSling can be used with any non-shoulder mounted camera, such as consumer DV cameras. "The lighter the camera, the more important it is to hold it steady," he says. The CamSling also acts as a "third arm" so users can change tapes or make adjustments more easily.

The lightweight frame has a small pack at the back which can take a battery or weight to act as a counterbalance. The arm can also hold lights and microphones, and the camera can be fitted with Barlows' own fast-fit tripod mount to make it quick and easy to move between the CamSling and a conventional tripod. Other optional extras include a raincape.

Although the CamSling, which costs £90, has been on sale for three years, it only made its first appearance before a broadcast audience at the Video Forum 99 in London, where Slinger said he found interest was much greater than he expected. See CamSling's web site for more information.

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