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IBC 2009 review


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#1 Charles King

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 12:59 PM

Hi all. Just want to say thank you to all those I met at the show and shared my experience and had small talk 'till I laughed myself silly. You know who you all are... Here's a review I did on some known and unknown devices. Most of you high end pro's might not really care about my findings in the low end world but if it makes you feel better. Just take this review as a good read. ;) For those others, hope you enjoy it.

IBC 2009 device review

Reviewed objects are:

• Steadicam G40
• Glidecam’s X-22 & up n’coming X-45
• Easy steady’s Light N’ Go
• L'AIGLE
• ABC’s G-Force Advanced

Here are some general pics of other interest. BTW, that's me in that Jaguar relic race car. Awesome but Darn tight in that thing. The other person is the one and only Philppe Bordflais. That gimbal/focus remote device is his invention :



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Edited by Charles King, 20 September 2009 - 01:05 PM.

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#2 Charles King

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 01:01 PM

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#3 Charles King

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 01:03 PM

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#4 Charles King

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 01:25 PM

I think you guys know these two jovial guys. OK, maybe one so jovial guy. Com'on Ruben. More smile. Thanks to both these cats for a great conversation, especially Ruben, who give me a quick lesson on how to hold the gimbal in a much more practical and effective way. :) Thanks for the quick lesson. Learning is the key to a successful operator. I'm slowly getting there.

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#5 Charles Papert

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 04:28 PM

Hi CK:

Nice review.

You had mentioned the differences between the original socket block and other manufacturer's versions, such as the PRO--they are all "supposed" to conform to each other but it would seem that there are variations out there due to tolerances and different production runs. I have seen arms not fit into socket blocks that look standard but the hole is just marginally smaller, etc. Theoretically though, they are supposed to be universal and in fact it is the single component that is standardized across all manufacturers of full-size rigs.
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#6 Charles King

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 12:35 AM

Thank you CP. I was told the same thing by Sven, who apparently did not know as well.
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#7 Jerry Holway

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 09:14 AM

Charles, yes, nice review.

One other thing about the socket blocks - the mounting holes are also standard, so if you mixing and matching vests and arms from different manufacturers, you can buy a different socket block if you have a problem.

In my experience at workshops, the PRO socket block is often "undersized" a couple of 1,000ths compared to the old CP (and now Tiffen) "standard" socket blocks. This means that using a PRO vest with a Tiffen arm can lead to problems (too tight a fit). In workshops, we've just swapped out the PRO vest's socket block with a spare Tiffen one and all was fine. This "problem" is almost universal, so I suspect it's a tolerance issue, even though the holes are nominally the same size.

PRO arms, however can fit Tiffen vests just fine; (smaller pin, bigger hole) - it's just a marginally looser initial fit and has no consequence for operating or stress on the equipment. All WK socket blocks I've seen are fine with both Tiffen and PRO arms.

Jerry
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#8 Charles King

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 10:34 AM

Thank Jerry for strengthening CP explanation as well as furthering my knowledge. I understand much better.
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#9 Lukas Franz

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 11:15 AM

Thank you Charles for your detailed review!

I was really frightened to try the L'Aigle rigs and I gave it a wide berth, hehe ;-)

Anyway, I've tried the new Sachtler Artemis Cine HD and it actually felt pretty nice. Their arm is very smooth and lightweight. And the vest was comfortable. It is not made of leather or foam but of some breathing material - don't know exactly... Unfortunately I don't know of any operator except of Curt Schaller to have a Sachtler rig. They make great tripods and their artemis design is nice. Just wanted to add that for the wide spread review of Charles'. And of course I'll keep my Ultra so far ;-)

Cheers.
Lukas

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#10 Charles King

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 12:03 PM

Ha Ha..good one Lukas. It was a pleasure to talk to you. Actually, I like their monitor tilt/slide rod system. Its been around for a long time. Kurt was a really friendly person and he listens to operators. Job has been giving him some great advice. Their system are nice.

I know Iknow...the Ultra rig..I guess you're not gonna part with that yet. :)
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#11 Sven Joukes

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 04:49 PM

Hey Charles,

It was great to meet you at the IBC, finally know the face that goes with the name...
Boy, you don't do half work, that's a great review.

I found out about the socket block differences right here on these boards some time ago, surprised me as well.

Regarding ABC products: I knew it was a centersprung arm, so I wasn't expecting as smooth a ride as my G50. What I did find rather disappointing was the boom range: I don't think I got more than 30cm (1 foot?) from it. Very limited. But as you said, the vest fitted nicely, and the center spar mechanism was very cleverly designed, just lift the lever and slide up/down. Also, all the little details were very nice: a (removable) sack on the back for wireless comms or the velcro loops on the shoulder and chest straps for attaching cables, cool. The guy who showed us the sled knew what he was talking about (you can't say that about all of the 'lesser gods' of stabilizers) and told us he was open to suggestions and would consider producing any accessory/bracket/clamp anyone would suggest... at least that's the right spirit. Oh yeah, the sled was pretty nice too, many options for balancing, solid gimbal and a good diameter grip. I learned right there you shouldn't just write off the smaller companies because they're... well... smaller.

Best,

Sven
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#12 Charles King

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 01:44 AM

Hi Sven. Thanks. I do tend to look at all things from all aspects and weigh them out. :) I like doing indepth reviews. Well, this review was not more in depth has my other reviews, like the Steadicam Flyer & Glidecam V25. Thanks for the experience and great talking to you too. Like you said, Great to be able to put a face with the names. :rolleyes:

Edited by Charles King, 22 September 2009 - 01:50 AM.

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#13 Pierre Davezac

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 05:39 AM

Here's a review I did on some known and unknown devices. Most of you high end pro's might not really care about my findings in the low end world but if it makes you feel better. Just take this review as a good read. ;) For those others, hope you enjoy it.

IBC 2009 device review



Charles,

A shame you didn't introduce yourself and acted like a "wannabe" operator, even in your posture! I understand, it's your way to prevent commercial speeches. But had you ask your questions, listed in your review, directly to us, we might have enlightened your concerns immediately.

We use specially made hyperelastic Latex straps, with a special process during vulcanization to achieve "hyperelasticity" and make them unbreakable, at least when they are installed in our arms (you can of course cut them with a knife). That's why we offer a 10 years warranty on the straps, and replace them for free, no matter the cause (in two years it didn't happen yet).
Yes, it makes our arm extremely light. The new little Arm for the AIGLE TITAN weights 1,2 kg (2,7 lbs). The CHD 15kg payload arm weights 4 kg (9 lbs).
The LTX straps also make them perfectly silent - this amazes anyone who are used to old spring arms.
The fact that we don't need a payload adjustement mechanism (you just add or remove straps), make the quality of the arm "undying". No play, no noise can grow anywhere.
Last but not least, the boom-range is huge (84cm/33"), the isoelastic feel is great, the elasticity is impressive, no walking effect at all. See what Charles Papert wrote after NAB this year (thanks again, Charles - what we discussed about will be useful).

Now, your questions :

1. Temperature. How does it affect the strength of the elastic?

By high temperatures, you need to add one or two straps more than usual.
By cold temperatures, you need to remove one or two straps less than usual.

2. Precision placement of components when the need to quickly change the lift and/or feel of the arm / 3. Fine tuning the arm on the fly is impossible.

The way to do it, is to prepare the arm with a stronger payload capacity than needed. On the fly, you just have to pull one or more straps away.

4. The need to carry a large amount of elastic bands in a bag and taking them out on set and getting the looks from studio crew…

As an aspiring operator, you surely care about looks from studio crew. But this fades away in time. Besides you might want to try and explain them the great advantages of this technique.

5. I think, most important of all, would you trust a rented 35mm or your own very expensive camera on a system that uses elastic bands?

Funny question <_< . There is absolutely no chance that all the unbreakable straps break suddenly all together and that the camera on the stabilizer fall all the way down along the boom range of the arm. Even if you snick them all with a knife, the arm would just boom down and not go up easily anymore. That's all.
Our arms aren't just one piece of "elastic" - there are sturdy aluminium parts, bearings, screws all around!!
There are a lot more risks to see a spring breaking, and pieces of metal flying through the air directly into someone's eye.
Besides, our CHD system accepts 15kg payload. It doesn't suit most of 35mm cameras.

As for the backmounted vest, you absolutely have to adjust it for each bodies, as accurately as possible. Hence the minutes you waited for us to set the harness to your size. But once it is done, you don't have to do it again.
Now vests or harnesses are a very personal matter. For your XXL body, we would have proceed with other fine-tuning adjustments. But this takes time. And you were on the run and didn't really want to give the products a chance.

Anyway, we couldn't imagine anyone of this little world, outside of experienced operators like CP who have nothing to proove, saying that our "Not-Steadicam", not expensive products are just great, maybe this or that to improve, like for everything else on Earth, but great. That's not a problem for us.

Now, we know your face! Next time, we'll be able to talk to you properly.
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#14 Charles King

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 08:36 AM

Here's a review I did on some known and unknown devices. Most of you high end pro's might not really care about my findings in the low end world but if it makes you feel better. Just take this review as a good read. ;) For those others, hope you enjoy it.

IBC 2009 device review



Charles,

A shame you didn't introduce yourself and acted like a "wannabe" operator, even in your posture! I understand, it's your way to prevent commercial speeches. But had you ask your questions, listed in your review, directly to us, we might have enlightened your concerns immediately.

We use specially made hyperelastic Latex straps, with a special process during vulcanization to achieve "hyperelasticity" and make them unbreakable, at least when they are installed in our arms (you can of course cut them with a knife). That's why we offer a 10 years warranty on the straps, and replace them for free, no matter the cause (in two years it didn't happen yet).
Yes, it makes our arm extremely light. The new little Arm for the AIGLE TITAN weights 1,2 kg (2,7 lbs). The CHD 15kg payload arm weights 4 kg (9 lbs).
The LTX straps also make them perfectly silent - this amazes anyone who are used to old spring arms.
The fact that we don't need a payload adjustement mechanism (you just add or remove straps), make the quality of the arm "undying". No play, no noise can grow anywhere.
Last but not least, the boom-range is huge (84cm/33"), the isoelastic feel is great, the elasticity is impressive, no walking effect at all. See what Charles Papert wrote after NAB this year (thanks again, Charles - what we discussed about will be useful).

Now, your questions :

1. Temperature. How does it affect the strength of the elastic?

By high temperatures, you need to add one or two straps more than usual.
By cold temperatures, you need to remove one or two straps less than usual.

2. Precision placement of components when the need to quickly change the lift and/or feel of the arm / 3. Fine tuning the arm on the fly is impossible.

The way to do it, is to prepare the arm with a stronger payload capacity than needed. On the fly, you just have to pull one or more straps away.

4. The need to carry a large amount of elastic bands in a bag and taking them out on set and getting the looks from studio crew…

As an aspiring operator, you surely care about looks from studio crew. But this fades away in time. Besides you might want to try and explain them the great advantages of this technique.

5. I think, most important of all, would you trust a rented 35mm or your own very expensive camera on a system that uses elastic bands?

Funny question <_< . There is absolutely no chance that all the unbreakable straps break suddenly all together and that the camera on the stabilizer fall all the way down along the boom range of the arm. Even if you snick them all with a knife, the arm would just boom down and not go up easily anymore. That's all.
Our arms aren't just one piece of "elastic" - there are sturdy aluminium parts, bearings, screws all around!!
There are a lot more risks to see a spring breaking, and pieces of metal flying through the air directly into someone's eye.
Besides, our CHD system accepts 15kg payload. It doesn't suit most of 35mm cameras.

As for the backmounted vest, you absolutely have to adjust it for each bodies, as accurately as possible. Hence the minutes you waited for us to set the harness to your size. But once it is done, you don't have to do it again.
Now vests or harnesses are a very personal matter. For your XXL body, we would have proceed with other fine-tuning adjustments. But this takes time. And you were on the run and didn't really want to give the products a chance.

Anyway, we couldn't imagine anyone of this little world, outside of experienced operators like CP who have nothing to proove, saying that our "Not-Steadicam", not expensive products are just great, maybe this or that to improve, like for everything else on Earth, but great. That's not a problem for us.

Now, we know your face! Next time, we'll be able to talk to you properly.


Thank you for your response. You have stated some good points and i appreciate it that you took the effort in explaining them to me.
Yes, i could have come out and asked the pertinent questions i wanted answered but quite frankly i just forgot about it when you guys tried to fix the vest. I understand backmount are difficult to get right to fit everyone but i still felt there was something that did not feel right. I wanted to try the front mount but that was a problem. If Charles Papert thought your system was fantastic then all power to you. I too respect Charles review very much regardless of how he protrays the product to be. Nonetheless i still do not like the sled or the backmount. As for the arm, i have already explained myself. As my review states, it is a personal review and if someone else gives another review saying that they prefer the rig over a steadicam or glidecam then good for them. Read my review again. I am not saying your product is bad. Your choice of methods is what has given me second thoughts. It is great to see innovation.
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#15 Charles Papert

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 12:23 PM

For the record, my review that was mentioned above is here.

I think it's fairly clear that I didn't consider the L'Aigle products so much "fantastic" as a worthy contender; as CK writes, they are thinking outside the box and not just making another cookie-cutter knockoff but trying some different approaches to the subject of stabilization. As I noted, the latex band design does present some challenges but in terms of pure isolation and ride, the operation of their arm is remarkably smooth--an attribute that very few of the inexpensive arms are able to achieve. As we know, the two most important components of a stabilizer are the gimbal and the arm; while low-end gimbals have improved considerably over the years, most of the arms out there still present a rough ride that barely contain the operator's footsteps, let alone invite smooth booming. In terms of pure operation, I'd be hard pressed to think of an arm in that price range that performs as well as the L'Aigle (the Pilot/Flyer/G-series arms representing the gold standard for small stabilizers).
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