Japan’s TOHO Studios Invests In Tiffen Steadicam M-1 Camera Stabilizer
TOHO Studios, the legendary Tokyo production house responsible for the original Godzilla and its current remake, as well as Seven Samurai, has purchased the new Tiffen Steadicam M-1 camera stabilizer for all its current and future feature projects.
Senior Cameraman Kosuke Yamada has been looking at the M-1 since its launch, and was further excited about bringing a rig to Japan after he completed the 6 Day SOA (Steadicam Operators Association) Classic workshop in the US with Jerry Holway and Steadicam’s inventor Garrett Brown. Assisting him on the language front during the workshop was Tiffen / Steadicam’s US sales manager Dan Ikeda, one of Tiffen’s senior workshop instructors.
Yamada-san’s experience as a cinematographer was gained well before the SOA workshop, with a 13 year camera assistant’s path at TOHO Studios leading four years ago to the top job as TOHO’s Cinematographer.
“The first reason was its stability. When I used the M-1 for the first time at the SOA workshop, I felt a firm sense of stability that I had never felt before. No matter how much lighter cameras become, the quality of the image largely depends on its stability in use.”
“The M-1 can accommodate various shooting styles and equipment, and I think this is perhaps the biggest strength of it, but also very important is the ease with which you can achieve dynamic balance and smoothness of the gimbal.”
“A further reason was the modular design. Unlike the USA, it is difficult for us to customize our rigs here in Japan as we often do not have enough information or equipment, but with the M-1, we can upgrade it later if it is necessary. We are really impressed and happy with it.”
TOHO’s M-1 stabilizer is the first to be delivered to an Asia-based customer, beating Taiwan by a day. A recent showing of the M1 at Beijing BIRTV broadcast exhibition has already resulted in more systems going to Chinese broadcasters and film-makers.
All Tiffen M-1 systems in Asia have been ordered with the Fawcett Exovest. The supportive exoskeleton design of Exovest frees the chest from constraint by providing support on the hip and shoulder. The industry’s benchmark ISO-Elastic G70X arm completes the package, making M-1 the most advanced stabiliser in feature production.
The Steadicam M1 system was supplied by Tiffen’s Japanese distributor, Gin-ichi Corp, who boast Steadicam factory support training, offering local time-zone support to TOHO and broadcasters like NHK, CX Fuji and TV Asahi who have purchased Steadicam Archer 2, Zephyr and Shadow stabilizers over the last two years.