Miller Camera Support Goes to Extremes in New Zealand

When sports cinematographer John Colthorpe decided to create a short, action-packed mountain biking video, Miller Camera Support Equipment, a leader in the production of innovating camera support solutions, was along for the ride, with its Air Alloy System allowing Colthorpe to capture every motor maneuver.

“I am constantly in run-and-gun mode when shooting videos like these, so I need to be working with portable, lightweight, professional equipment that never holds me back,” Colthorpe says. “With the light feel to the Miller Air Tripod System, I can strap it to my back along with my backpack, which is usually full of another 15 kilograms of camera equipment, and ride down the mountain bike trails without hindrance. I’ve even ridden down Rainbow Mountain MTB trail with the Air Tripod System on my back without a problem, and that’s one of the most technical and steep trails in all of New Zealand.”

Colthorpe created Woodhill Rush, which is designed to emulate the fast-motion feel of a videogame, by shooting certain mountain biking elements in high-speed to allow for motion tracking and graphics. He used point-of-view footage and a “heads-up” display to add a level of depth to the video. In order to attain the fast-action shots he desired, Colthorpe says that the tripod’s expansive height range, 234 millimeters (9.2 inches) to 1625 millimeters (64 inches), was of top concern.

“In the past, I’ve had trouble working with tripods that are not capable of working at low levels, but with Miller, I don’t have that issue,” he says. “The best advantage that I can have with a tripod is to work with one that has the ability to get incredibly low to the ground, while remaining sturdy and strong at a comfortable operating height, and can likewise extend extremely high into the air, allowing me to capture some really dynamic shots. I get that with Miller.”

Additionally, the system’s speed and ease-of-setup proved essential for Colthorpe, who was operating as a one-man crew and constantly at the mercy of the elements. “Every day, we were moving fast from trail to trail,” he adds. “Speed was so important, because I had to be ready to deal with unforeseeable lighting conditions, as I often didn’t have a chance to survey the location in which I would be working until the day of the shoot. With the Air Tripod System, I simply unclipped and spread the legs, slid the camera into place, and I was ready to go in under 20 seconds.”

Compact, adaptable and durable, Miller’s Air Tripod Systems each consist of an Air Fluid Head, offering professionals authentic Miller fluid head pan and tilt technology, and a variant of the Solo 75 2-Stage Tripod, either carbon fibre or alloy. The Air Fluid Head, composed of magnesium alloy housing and precision components, comes with two positions of selectable counterbalance and a dual pan handle option. Both systems have the ability to support payloads ranging from two kilograms (4.4 pounds) to five kilograms (11 pounds).

Woodhill Rush was recently published on, the world’s largest mountain biking website, and is the first of Colthorpe’s projects working with the Miller Air Tripod System. Next, the cinematographer plans to shoot The Hunters Club for a Sky TV series, which will take him and the Air Tripod System to the deepest and roughest New Zealand mountain terrains. “My Air Tripod System has been in mud, sand, snow, and it has stood strong through it all for more than six months now, showing no signs of weakness. Its robust feel, paired with its competitive price value, makes the Air Tripod System a must-have—you seriously can’t beat it!”

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