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Fluid Head camera mount
hydraulic mount for film and video cameras

Notice how smoothly the camera glides up to Pamela Anderson's cleavage or slides across Brad Pitt's thighs? Those up-and-down tilts and sideways pans owe a debt to the inventive talent of Sydney's Eric Miller. In 1948 Miller proposed a solution to replace the complex gears, counterweights and gyroscopes that were attached to movie cameras to smooth out their movements.

It took six years to perfect and patent his 'viscosity drag' principle which uses drums sealed inside pressurised fluid-filled compartments inside the camera mount. The fluid in the mount resists the movement of the drums when the camera is still and resists sudden stopping when the camera is moving.

The result is smooth pans and tilts. Miller fluid head mounts and tripods are made in Sydney and sold in Hollywood, Japan and Europe as standard and optional equipment for film and TV cameras.

Who Did It?
Key Organisations
R E Miller Pty Ltd : R&D, design, manufacture
Key People
Eric Miller : inventor, manufacturer

Further Reading
Making it: innovation and success in Australia's industries
R Renew
Powerhouse Publishing, Sydney, 1993, pp 60-61.

Miller Fluid Heads
ScreenSound Australia

Related Innovations
Early Australian Cinema

News cameras at a siege in Sydney, all using their Fluid Head mounts for smooth movement. Courtesy Miller Fluid Heads.
The Miller 50 Series II fluid head. Courtesy Miller Fluid Heads.
ATSE Powerhouse Museum