Geoff Boyle chooses Mantis for Wallander

Cinematographer Geoffrey Boyle recently finished another installment in the Swedish-language film series based on Swedish crime writer Henning Mankell’s fictional character Kurt Wallander. The ongoing series Wallander airs on Swedish and Nordic television channels, then moves to the BBC and is released on DVD. And, thanks to the addition of Element Technica’s Mantis camera support, Boyle’s last two episodes were a pleasure to shoot.

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Once I got the Mantis, everything changed

“We did the first 10 days handheld with the Red, and I was in pain every night,” says Boyle. “Once I got the Mantis, everything changed. The secret to handheld without pain is getting the camera completely balanced on your shoulder. No mount I’ve ever come across can do that the way the Mantis can.” Much of Wallander featured long walks and talks through undergrowth and shrubs. “With the Mantis, the camera balanced so well I forgot about balancing it.”

The most significant feature of the system is the multi-axis adjustment

Element Technica’s Mantis is the industry’s most configurable shoulder mount. It features bicycle-style grips on rosette-mounted handles connected to a rosette cross bar with telescopic handle extensions. The rosette cross bar at the front of the dovetail is adjustable side to side as well as rotationally. The most significant feature of the system is the multi-axis adjustment, which provides a variable relationship between the shoulder pad and the dovetail to accommodate the shoulder angle of any operator. By adjusting the shoulder pad’s angle, the weight of the camera package can settle into a stable equilibrium with a level horizon and low center of gravity. The Mantis also offsets the pan-axis angle of the shoulder pad relative to the camera so that the line of sight of both operator and camera become parallel, eliminating neck and torso twisting or side-stepping.

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A two-axis gimbal connects the shoulder pad and dovetail

An extremely low-profile, two-axis gimbal connects the shoulder pad and dovetail, allowing fore/aft linear as well as pan/roll adjustments. The pan angle is set before the camera goes on the shoulder, while the roll angle or horizon can be easily set with the full rig in place. Adjustments can be easily tweaked between takes. The Red camera is not the heaviest camera he’s counted on the Mantis to support. Boyle recently tested the new Cooke 15-40mm zoom. “We mounted the lens on an F35 and added an SRW-1 recorder on the back,” Boyle explains. “That is a hefty combination. However, with the package on the Mantis, everything was totally centered and balanced on my shoulder. Now I know, no matter how small or large the camera package is, the Mantis will take the weight off me – and allow me to do what I do best – concentrate on framing the shot and not on holding the camera.”

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