Harry Potter and the Hirth-Toothed Rings

Remember how the wand chooses the wizard in Harry Potter, and how different woods make up different wands? Cinematographers are like wizards. Our wands are the cameras’ handgrips. The first artisanal wooden handgrips came from Aaton, long ago. Now, Peter Denz proposes olive wood handgrips. The olive wood comes from the hills around Lago di Garda in northern Italy. (Excellent sailing, predictable adiabatic and katabatic winds, and lots of olive trees). Olive is one of the hardest woods. The fibers are so dense that dirt  particles cannot be absorbed, so it is very hygienic. Unlike rubber or plastic, olive wood is good in all temperatures, from tropical to arctic.

Today, Peter Denz introduced me to the proper technical terminology for handgrip rosettes: Hirth-toothed  rings. Hirth-toothed rings (rosettes) come from the motorcar industry. They were first developed by Helmuth Hirth to join parts of an engine crankshaft.

Hirth joints are now used in jet engine shafts, surgical equipment, agricultural machines, bicycle cranksets, and of, course, ARRI and Aaton handgrip couplings.Other manufacturers are quickly realizing that handheld cameras need adjustable handgrips on both the left and right sides of the camera bodies, and that attaching Hirth-toothed rings is a much easier, lighter, faster proposition than retrofitting onto rods, heavy baseplates, or (gasp) on the lens itself.

The Ultra Lightweight Handle Support System from Denz can be used with all cameras and 15mm/19mm support rods. The set consists of 2 handles, 4 support arms and a center clamp for 15 and 19mm support rods. Handles, support arms and center clamp are connected via Hirth-toothed rings, or “Rosettes”, which gives the camera operator a wide range of adjustments.

The support system can be connected directly to the rosettes of ARRI cameras such as the Alexa or Arricam. As an option, a handle with integrated start/stop button for right or left handed use is available. It comes with a coiled connecting cable and RS plug. The Ultra Lightweight Handle System is fully compatible with the Denz Universal Support System and is shipped as a set in a custom carrying case. Order directly from Präzisionsentwicklung Denz or camadeus in the US.

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