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Video Cameras

Chris's Christmas shopping: Steadicam

So, you've bought a high-def camcorder, you've got a copy of Final Cut Pro and an HD TV, but your footage still looks amateurish? As his final Crave Christmas Shopping gift, Chris has chosen the ultimate camcorder accessory...

Last night I watched Peter Jackson's King Kong. Two things struck me about the film. The first was the uncanny similarity between the size of Kong and the size of Peter Jackson back in his Lord Of The Rings days. The second was the absolutely gorgeous tracking shots that Kong is packed with. Of course Jackson is now a lithe fighting machine, but as for the smooth tracking shots -- they weighed on my mind.

Obviously you can't hope to match the kind of crane and dolly shots a Hollywood studio dishes out, but there are several cheaper Steadicam-like systems available for not much more than the cost of a professional camcorder. The Steadicam Mini (pictured) is just outside my price range, at £5,000. But a company called MK-V make a rival system that these few remaining Crave pounds will stretch to. An entry level stabilisation system will eat up my remaining budget for this year's gifts -- it's around £2,500. You can buy the system directly from MK-V.

This camera stabilisation system, used properly, should give shots the kind of gloss that demanding viewers expect from modern dramas. We wouldn't recommend wearing it to shoot a wedding though -- Steadicam operators look like they're in the military when kitted up. Unless your brief is to instil a sense of dread in the happy couple, stick to the handheld for now. And if it's still too expensive for your tastes, get scouring the Web -- there are plenty of instructions on how to build your own. -Chris Stevens

Today Chris has bought this item:
MK-V System for £2,500

Chris has already bought these items:
Apple Power Mac G5 quad-core 

Q-BE MP3 Player
BMW Z4 (for a day)

And this crazy item from Santa:
Sony HDW-F900H

He has no money left to spend before Christmas Day. Click here to find out more about Crave's Christmas shopping spree.