North Hollywood,
Calif.—When wildlife
cinematographer Danny Schmidt plunged into Colombia’s remote Magdalena River
Valley earlier this year to document the
plight of the critically-endangered brown spider monkey in a project for National Geographic, his
camera package included Cartoni’s FOCUS HD fluid head supplied by Manios
Digital & Film. Small enough to fit snugly in Schmidt’s backpack, the head
combines lightweight design with Cartoni’s patented counterbalance system and
proven reliability.
“Working in the jungle, it’s important to have
gear you trust will function time and time again,” Schmidt says, “even in gnarly
conditions when you’re breaking it down and setting it up 20 times a day.”
Schmidt used FOCUS HD in tandem with Cartoni’s
Stabilo tripod to support a Sony FS7 camera and an assortment of long lenses.
“FOCUS has a 100mm ball head which translates into bigger payloads,” he
explains. “That’s important to me as I work with a pretty big camera and bigger
lenses. FOCUS provides the solid, smooth performance you’d expect from a
bigger, more expensive head.”
Cartoni has just introduced four new additions
to its FOCUS line—FOCUS 8, FOCUS 12, FOCUS 18 and FOCUS 22—designed for HDSLR,
UHD, ENG, EFP and digital cinema cameras, among others.  Supporting packages from 0 – 22kg, they are
aimed at independent producers, ENG operators and documentarians like Schmidt.
“Cartoni gear allows me to move quickly and work quietly,” Schmidt notes. “I
like that.”
Schmidt and camera operator Federico Pardo had just eight days to locate the rare albino spider monkeys (their
albinism is a genetic abnormality cause by habitat degradation), record their
story and capture the fragile environment in which they live. Their task was
complicated by the sweltering jungle environment, omnivorous insects and the
fact that just two of the monkeys were known to exist. “As luck would have it, we were able to film these incredible ghosts of
the forest for several hours,” recalls Schmidt. “They ate, they wrestled, they
stared down at us with big, curious eyes from the top of the canopy. It’s
incredible to see these giant, white figures in treetops, flying through the
branches with their prehensile tails.”

these extremely rare albino monkeys in the Colombian jungle was an incredible
experience,” he adds. “I hope this story brings attention to the plight of
tropical forests in the face of rampant resource development.”
About Manios Digital & Film
A division of Ste-Man, Inc. and led by President
Steven Manios, Jr.,  Manios Digital &
Film has been bringing the world’s highest quality products to professional
filmmakers, videographers and ENG crews in the United States since 1992. The
company has longstanding relationships with leading manufacturers around the
globe and an extensive dealer network spanning the United States. It is an
authorized distributor for Cartoni, Vocas and Kinotehnik. By working closely
with its customers, and by listening to and understanding their needs, Manios
Digital & Film has become a trusted partner to film and video professionals
Manios Digital & Film 10663 Burbank Blvd.,
North Hollywood, CA 91601; 818.760.8290.
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