From Virtual Production, Film, and AV. Elisabetta Cartoni tells us why Cartoni Camera Support Systems are still standing strong.
From Virtual Production, Film, and AV. Elisabetta Cartoni tells us why Carttoni Camera Support Systems are still standing strong. In one word innovation! It will be great to catch up with the team at Cartoni at BSC 2023, this publication recently sat down with Elisabetta Cartoni to chat about the past present, and future of the trailblazing brand that is Cartoni.
It is amazing that Cartoni has been operating since 1935, could you give us a brief history of the company and some idea of why the brand has stood the test of time?
EC “Cartoni is the only family-owned company still existing in the industry. There are huge brand names like Arri, Angenieux, and Zeiss, that have become large corporations.
Cartoni is still family owned and run, we are very hands-on and regularly communicate with our clients creating products that they want. Sadly some big corporates can lose their in-house passion, know-how, and mechanical skills. We stand as an exception in this market essentially because we love what we do and still have fun in exploring solutions for the image makers.”
Cartoni is prospering what are you doing that makes you guys stand out from your crowd in this competitive market?
EC “We are small, flexible, and fast to respond. We keep strong ties with the film and broadcast industry and try to anticipate the new needs of our clients. We are totally vertical in our structure in the sense that from the conception, the design, the prototype test, the fabrication, the assembly, and the launch to the market, all are made in Roma at 2 km from the Colosseum!”
The Cartoni brand is synonymous with quality and amazing design, how does Cartoni ensure the quality and durability of its products?
EC “We are essentially fine mechanics. The precise work, the fine assembly, always tested with a real camera on top of the support, and screening the performance on a large screen is our mantra. We are proud of our quality and our products are made to last. Consider that we still service heads for RAI, the Italian Television which have been sold in the seventies!”
With durability in mind, can you give us some recent examples of where Cartoni products have been used in extreme environments and what feedback you have from partners about the performance of the products?
EC ”Supports for cameras have to bare extreme climates, dust, rain, and humidity, so the raw materials have to be robust and non-affected by corrosion. We use high-quality aluminum, marine grade steel for the steel components, high-performance composites for the casted polymer parts, excellent hard anodizing and paint, 3 layer carbon fiber. It is somehow easy to achieve, we only buy raw materials from the aerospace industry suppliers, with no compromise. Yes, the cost is higher but the performance is reliable.”
How important is client intelligence and how does Cartoni use this feedback from customers in R&D and product development?
EC “It is essential, without the customer feedback you would never catch a new need from the user. So we have a series of users that became friends and would generously share their experience for the sake of their work and of the entire industry. We also are very attentive to the synergy with the camera and lenses manufacturers, weight, shapes, and accessories change and we evolve around them.”
With the explosion of the PTZ market how well positioned is Cartoni to take advantage of this and other new camera technology breakthroughs?
EC“PTZ is a very interesting segment to watch. It started as a need to solve crowded studios and now it has become a style, with its own peculiarities. In the beginning, it was only a camera placed in unusual places, today it may become the only camera and it needs its dedicated support. So we have prepared a series of special dedicated solutions for the new super sophisticated PTZ.”
Last time we spoke you told me about your products being used in the AV sector, how important is the AV market to the brand and what can Cartoni offer the sector.
EC “Cartoni is the first Camera support manufacturer that offers a complete line of encoded heads from 25kg capacity up. The encoders we use are high-precision absolute optical encoders with 4 million counts. They are placed on the very center of rotation on both the pan and tilt axis, giving a super precise reading with no delay whatsoever. We are collecting a great interest from all parties involved with VR and AR.”
“At the BSC expo, we will exhibit both e-Maxima 5.0 and e-Maxima 30, the preferred Cinestyle heads. They come equipped with the Cartoni VR-box but can be easily interfaced with all Virtual engines such as Unreal, FreeD, Brainstorm, etc.”
What is the most innovative product that Cartoni has released in the past five years?
EC“Probably the SDS Smart Deployment System Tripod,. This innovative 2 stage, one lever tripod, available in aluminium and carbonfiber is a game-setter for reporters and documentaries. The tripod and its 2 stage telescopic built-in spreader, contains 3 different patents.
The SDS tripod is the fastest and more reliable tripod in its range, it has been extensively copied by several manufactures without achieving its performances . Its only real challenger is the Sachtler Flowtech , excellent but, so more expensive and delicate.”
What is planned for the future, without giving away any secrets what can we expect from Cartoni in the next year?”
EC “We keep on studying and experimenting. The Encoding technology is one of our focuses. Other than that we are increasing our engineering forces in mechatronics as the heads of the future will need more and more digital technologies to match the cameras and track the movements. It’s a challenging task but there is where we are going.”
We look forward to seeing Elisabetta and the Cartoni team on Friday and Saturday of this week at the BSC show in Battersea Park.