I ran across these brochures (see below) from the FAX Company recently. Had not seen these for years. I sent off for these when I was a teenager. FAX made animation camera stands and animation discs ("Magnabar™ combo 12-16 field discs) . I believe I've read that most of Bluth/Goldman/Pomeroy's "Banjo the Woodpile Cat" was shot on one of these FAX Animation Stands. ( I can confirm that in the circa 1980 brochure I received from the FAX Co. they have a supplemental typewritten list of their customers which incudes Don Bluth Productions.)
I wanted one of these camera stands so badly ... these actually seemed more within my reach than the $45,000 Oxberry stands which I could never hope to afford , and anyway where in my house would I put one ? But the compact "FAX Jr." camera stand was "only" $4,630.00 (or $2,795.00 for the compound alone, if I could build my own vertical camera mount ... I actually figured out plans of how I would do this and wall-mount the camera to point down at the FAX compound table.) So these camera stands felt more affordable and I had big plans , but of course in the end I was no closer to being able to afford a $4,630 FAX Camera Stand than a $45,000 Oxberry Camera Stand, but it was fun to dream. In a way I did have an "Oxberry" camera stand : I purchased one of the "Ox Supermation Stands" advertised in Super-8 Film Maker magazine which was actually designed by John Oxberry as a low-cost, basic animation stand for Super-8mm cameras.
Here are two photos of the Ox Supermation Stand. The design varied a bit over the years. Click on the images to see them larger.
(from the book "Filmakers Guide to Super-8")
(from the book "Handbook of Super-8 Production" by Mark Mikolas and Gunther Hoos.)
I carried this Ox-mini stand around for a few years after I was at Sheridan College (where I had access to real camera stands, including a full size Oxberry) then I believe I gave it away to student , maybe when I was moving to California , not sure ... (memory fades) . Now of course for nostalgia I wish I still had it . It would be quite usable as a basic video pencil test downshooter.
The FAX Company was located at 374 S. Fair Oaks Avenue, in Pasadena, CA . They sold their Camera stands, Animation discs, and a whole line of animation peg bars, layout tables, and other animation supplies, similar to the line of animation supplies sold by Cartoon Colour Co. (who are still around) . I don't know whatever happened to the FAX Co. I seem to remember seeing their ads in industry magazines like Millimeter , American Cinematographer , and Animation Magazine into the early 90's, but as digital scanning and digital ink & paint replaced cels and film cameras there was less and less call for these camera rigs. (although they would still be great for shooting video pencil tests) I can't find them listed anywhere , although Alan Gordon Enterprises in Hollywood continues to sell a "FAX" combo 12 -16 Field disc and they also list FAX Jr. and FAX Sr. animation compounds for sale on their website (but no current pictures. I expect these are left-over stands from the 80's and the FAX Animation Camera Stands are no longer actively being manufactured.)
Below are two slightly different brochures for the FAX line of Animation Camera Stands and Discs. I hope there are some other equipment geeks out there who will appreciate viewing these relics of a bygone era. Click on the Images to see them larger.
One of the discs available is called a "Fax-Richardson" Animation Disc. I believe a company named Richardson also made animation camera stands .
Technical info. on the FAX Animation Camera Stands:
Nowadays of course anyone with a computer and an animation program such as TVP Animation, Digicel Flipbook, or ToonBoom can do camera moves of greater complexity and technical finesse than was possible on these rostrum camera rigs , but for me the "romance" just isn't there . There's something really mesmerizing about the old Oxberry's , FAX , ACME, and other camera stands and equipment that used to be a part of the animation process. I don't miss the tedium and expense of using them , but another part of me does miss them .