Kessler Crane Helps Filmmakers Get Perfect Shot

Popular shows like Deadliest Catch, Cities Of The Underworld, and Ace Of Cakes all have a unique tie to Michiana. That tie can be found in Plymouth, where Kessler Crane is helping film makers on that quest for the perfect shot.

“We build tools for film makers,” says Eric Kessler, President of Kessler Crane.

For about 7 years, Kessler Crane has been cranking out tools that help capture perfect images. While their company is relatively young, their product line is extensive.

Kessler says, “We make everything from tripods, heads, motion controls, jib arms, sliders dolly systems. Pretty much anything that holds a camera.”

25 employees make up Kessler Crane and their jobs are as different as the products they make.

“We do have in house engineering, both electronic and mechanical. We do everything from the machining, some electronic assembly work, final assembly, testing and packaging out the door, all done here,” explains Kessler.

Those concepts turn into designs, right in engineering.

Kevin Mott, mechanical engineer, says, “This is our solid works software that we use for all of our in house design. This particular piece is a new quick release system we are coming out with to mount cameras and different accessories.”

Taking a part like this from design to production can take four to six months, and an important step in that process is reducing weight.

Kessler says, “A lot of our customers, or a good majority of our customers, are small crews. They need everything to be as light weight as possible because they are either having to backpack the gear into places or even just transporting it anyway.”

For that reason, most of the products start as a solid piece of aluminum. CNC machines rapidly cut out parts and shave excess aluminum using high speed bits.

Kessler employee Chris Beller explains, “You basically get the light weight but you also get the strength and stability. That is what our customers want. Something that is strong but they need it light.”

Parts such as out rigger legs eventually end up on a bench, were skillful hands assemble the products. It is a process that gives them a certain advantage.

Kessler says, “In our industry things move very rapidly, new cameras are constantly coming out, new demand, we like staying flexible. There have been many times when a customer calls us and makes a suggestion. We literally can walk out to the machine shop and start implementing that change the same day. Typically, our products are almost assembled the same day they are shipped out, so these modifications can be made on the fly.”

That's exactly what happened when filmmaker Philip Bloom called. He had tried many products but had not found what he was looking for.

Bloom says, “I tried Eric Kessler’s stuff and said, ‘eh its not bad, its not quite there’, and he said ‘what do we need to do to make it work’, and I said ‘you should do this do that’, ‘OK I’ll do that, I’ll make a product and put your name on it’, I went ‘yeah, what ever.’ Three months later he came up with it. Crazy.”

Crazy or not, it worked.

“That knowledge that he had had come from his own personal experience of shooting and his involvement with so many people, so it really allowed us to build what we think is probably the best if not the best slider on the market,” says Kessler.

An eye on quality and willingness to change has put this Michiana company on the world stage.

Kessler says, “I think that flexibility is one of the reasons why we are growing as fast as we are in this industry and meeting customer needs quickly.”

As for the future of Kessler Crane, they are currently looking to expand their operation.

To see demonstrations of all of their products you can go to the Kessler University web page by clicking here

Source: Frank Waugh, WNDU