doddleREVIEWS: JOBY Action Jib Kit and Pole Pack

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

If you’d really like to introduce some movement into your shots, but you can afford a swanky Freefly MōVI M5, there’s one device you can get for under $100, that can really add some dynamic production value to your images … it’s the JOBY Action Jib Kit and Pole Pack, and along with your GoPro Hero or smartphone, you can produce some fantastic jib and crane shots for under $100.

“The Action Jib Kit & Pole Pack from JOBY lets you add exciting jib-style shots to your action camera videos. The portable jib package includes three 20-inch aluminum extension poles that screw together and two adjustable pole clamps.

“One clamp goes towards the base of the pole, providing a handle to operate a pulley system for tilt control, while the other goes at the end of the pole and features a camera mounting bracket with a 1/4″-20 screw. A pulley cord is included that can be tied to accommodate different pole lengths. The clamps can be spaced 35 inches to 49 inches apart.” – JOBY

First … the Hype, and this video says it all.

Now the reality. The JOBY Action Jib Kit and Pole Pack comes with three aluminum extension poles and two removable and adjustable pole clamps with pullies and cranks built right on. One also has a turn handle, while the other a base to house your camera. The JOBY Action Jig can be adjusted from two poles to three, with the inclusion of two cords of varying lengths that are kept taught by a bungie like cord and a pair of plastic hooks.

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Portable Jib Kit for Action Cameras
  2. Three 20-inch Modular Extension Poles
  3. Removable & Adjustable Pole Clamps
  4. Adjustable Pulley Cord for Tilt Control
  5. Clamps Can Be Mounted 35-49″ Apart
  6. 1/4″-20 Screw on Handle for Accessories
  7. Carry Bag for Kit Components

That’s about it, for what you get in the box. Now let’s talk about how it works.

Putting the JOBY Action Jib Kit together.The first annoyance I had was the carry bag. It’s by and large useless. Sure it houses the main clamps and cords, but why JOBY didn’t include a low cost (ok cheap) shoulder bag to fit not only the kit components, but also the poles is beyond me. That would make it a lot easier to carry than the two velcro straps that force you to take off the pulley clamps when breaking it down. And even then, you have to carry the poles separately.

I would pay an additional $10 to $20 for a shoulder bag, or even more for it’s convenience, and JOBY would serve us well if they changed the kit component bag to the shoulder configuration. They simply aren’t that expensive.

Your intrepid author at Comic-Con 2015 with the JOBY Action Jib
Image: Taylor DeRuvo

Next, I paid close attention to build quality. There’s really no getting around the fact that while the poles are made of sturdy aluminum, there is a measure of high impact ABS plastic here not only in the pole attachment screws, but also in the knobs that attach to the steel screws on the pole clamps. There’s really no way around it considering the whole kit is under $90, but one has to be realistic when using the Action Jib Kit, that it will only take a certain amount of abuse.

Having said that, it’s a stellar design that is easy to use. The cordage is kept taught at both the 35-inch and 49-inch distance by a simple elastic like bungy cord and hooks, and the hole thing can be assembled within a few minutes. So while there is a good amount of ABS plastic here, that’s not a deal breaker for me as the Action Jib is very well put together and if you keep good care of it, I rather doubt it would be a problem.

Moving to the L bracket mount for your GoPro or other camera option, it fits solidly and is very smooth when you turn it. Second annoyance here is that you have to have the right smartphone mount in order to use it with your mobile device. There’s just not enough clearance for a horizontal like spring mount, but the Glif, or JOBY’s own Grip Tight mount, which is more vertical in it’s mount will work just fine.

Again, not a deal breaker, you just have to know what to include if you’re going to use your mobile device for some mobile filmmaking.

Now onto the controller clamp. Users can also add the JOBY Grip Tight mount here and put your mobile device into it so you can have a Live View of your GoPro app to make it easier to keep your subject in frame while you’re operating the jib. It’s all designed to work together. That’s genius and it will really make you want to buy that as well.

I think JOBY would do well to also make available a belt mount that you can slide the Action Jib pole into for greater stability while using it. Not necessary, but it would make it far more comfortable then poking it against your main body as a point of contact. I also think having a tripod accessory so  users can attach it to a tripod would be a good idea when you want to lock your jib down. Another option here is the Removu R1 wrist mounted LCD remote. And it works just as well.

You can also use the Action Jib Kit by itself and save $20, thereby attaching it to a standard monopod. But really, for that price, you’re far better off with the Pole Pack. I tried it out on my monopod, and it’s a far more stable fit on the Pole Pack. You’re already into it for $80, what’s another $20 to get the right poles?

But even with the poles, thanks to this kind of design, you can create even longer cordage, use some longer aluminum poles (or even stiff PVC) and you can make your jib as long as you need it to be. You just need a way to attach it to a tripod to keep it stable as you get farther out. But that’s an easy fix.

All in all, the JOBY Action Jib Kit and Pole Pack is yet another one of my favorite new action camera accessories, and for the price, you simply can’t beat it. Get one, try for yourself.  I’m betting that, like me, you’ll be hooked. Just do yourself a favor and buy a shoulder bag to go with it.

For more information, visit joby.com.

About James DeRuvo

James has a multi-faceted career that spans radio, film and publishing. A writer about the technology in the video industry for nearly 20 years, James is also an award winning film director, having garnered a Telly Award for his short film Searching for Inspiration. He's also worked as a producer of many talk radio programs in Los Angeles with topics ranging from entertainment to travel to technology.

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