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Down converter

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#1 Jacob Avignone

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 02:48 PM

I was wondering how many operators are offering down converters ? that do not have HD sleds.
producers and camera owners lately have been asking me to provide them with a down converter with no extra $. why do we need to spend more $ to make less $?
Thank you.
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#2 Santiago Yniguez

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 03:50 PM

Yeah, it sucks that you have to spend the extra cash, but in the long run it'll pay off when the producers keep calling you back because you do have one. Later on down the road you might be able to get in the extra $50 for rental.

Good Luck!

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#3 Amando Crespo

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 09:07 PM

Yeah, it sucks that you have to spend the extra cash, but in the long run it'll pay off when the producers keep calling you back because you do have one. Later on down the road you might be able to get in the extra $50 for rental.

Good Luck!


Right rate. But, and it´s only for my 2 cts... rent a extra for only 50-30-20$... for marketing is better to include it at the general rate and said..."This gadget is without cost....But I´ve it".
It´s only an opinion dudes. ;)
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#4 G. Grammatikos

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 02:53 AM

i Agree with Amando ,the cost of a dconverter is at 400$-1000$max and in the other hand you do not have to change monitor(3500$-7000$)and transmiter(....$)
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#5 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 10:31 AM

And, I'd add that the world of HD is here and not going anywhere (for a long time anyway). I believe it used to be more than acceptable to ask Production to rent a downconverter (and in many cases, it still may be) but I think we are getting to the point where our equipment needs to be able to work with HD cameras as that is becoming the new standard. As recently as a a year ago, I was still shooting mainly film, now its SO much HD. Most episodic television and even some features have gone that way. A downconverter is the simplest way to change any rig to HD-ready and they are inexpensive now when compared to many of our other mandatory gadgets.
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#6 Erwin Landau

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 10:11 PM

The most single largest amount of money that I had to put into my rig, exempt for the initial purchase, was for all of the low budget crap shoots, were I had to try and make incompatible equipment work... as I said I would, to the producer even though he told me a different brand /make / terrestrial piece of equipment or camera... then what i was looking at Prep/location/set...

Usually my initial reaction of disbelieve and angry annoyance is greeted with a blank stare and expression of "I don't see were the problem is, I paid you to make it work and you said you could" ...

I bought, borrowed, build, created out of spit and thin air all kinds of gadgets and solutions... I posted pictures in the past.

The newest and some what annoying part of initial negotiations is the HD Downconverter. Don't you guys have that? So why didn't you upgrade to an HD sled? Are you still living in the dark ages? (I almost believed it when he mentioned what he was willing to pay for me and the "old" rig)...

Do You have a PRO/Preston/Super Post/Gyros/own camera/ you have to drive yourself to San Francisco and we will not pay for it.... But you get food/room that you share with four other guys/a great energetic team of people/with an Emmy nominated actor (yeah back in the 70-ies) and you get a reel too... and you only have to run at night at the shore of the lake/no we don't have lights/ but we have a G2 with zoom lens/ you can fly that right/ no 400 mags but we are shooting with short ends/ ... what do you mean you want an Insurance cert and to be paid as well... ? Isn't working with us payment enough?

In the past I either told them to get me a Down Converter or I told them that I can get one for extra cash... which worked. If you really want to do that job... then you have to borrow or rent it yourself. Considering that virtually every rental house that I ever prepped in has a down converter theses days, it's more likely that they want to save money on rental...

Now with the very much affordable Decimator ($400.-), there is little reason not to own one... but make sure to charge or at least try to charge production for an additional piece of equipment.

I have charged in the past extra for FF, transmitters and receivers, car mounts, gyros , etc. get as much as you can extra, as they will do the same with you and try to get you for as little as humanly possible.

BTW: But there is of course that subculture of RED owners that don't own Downconverters but still sell them selfs as owner of a "full" set up. And tell the "no clue" new Producers that it's the steadicam operators responsibility to have one as they do provide the monitor... What a load of crock...

But that's me.
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#7 Charles Papert

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 02:41 PM

I have been successful at suggesting "I'll need a downconverter, do you have one with the package" and when there is a hesitation or strangled cry, I suggest "you can rent mine if that's easier". Usually taking the easy way out is preferable for the overworked (and underexperienced) coordinator so this seems to work.

The Decimator lists for $435 which is hardly a serious expense in the realm of Steadicam accessories. Ask for $100 a day rental (going rate for AJA's and the like), producers and coordinators generally have no clue what the difference is technically, and if they want to pretend they do, you can point out that it is 3G compliant, which the AJA (HD10MD3, classic model) is not. Not that we have yet seen any cameras that use that protocol, but whatever.

Yes, it sucks that we are getting paid less and less and expected to bring more--but actually I'll challenge that last part. There have always been expectations of us to own certain types of hardware, some of which has become obsolete, and other bits have come along to replace them. How many of you guys who have gotten into Steadicam in the last 5 or even 10 years have your own Arri eyepiece tap? Or even seen one? 15 years ago, most of us had them, and that was no cheap piece of gear (can't even remember--was it like $3K for the Russell and more for the Watec)? Sad to say, probably most of us still have one moldering in a case somewhere. Anyway, point is, there's always extra stuff that you can buy, and sometimes it's worth it just for the piece of mind. As Erwin points out, owner-operated RED's rarely come with downconverters and if you choose to fly by the seat of your pants, you may be into a serious form of hell trying to tape the RED onboard monitor on top of your own, then watching the image reverse out when you boom up, or disappear in daylight. Once your work starts to get compromised on a job, $435 for a downconverter starts looking like a steal, considering this time last year you were looking at at least $1100 to do exactly the same thing (hi Alec!)

So yeah, buy a Decimator and work hard to get rentals on it, and it will pay off in no time. I have sold them to guys who have paid them off in two weeks. Might as well hurry and do it now, before producers find out how inexpensive they are (and expect the rental rate to reflect this).

If you are in LA, I've got them in stock. Otherwise, contact Perry at TECADS, 949-597-1053.
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#8 thomas-english


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Posted 01 October 2009 - 02:07 PM

As Charles points out if its going to compromise your work $430 is going to look cheap. How much was my Gorelock and I never get extra for having that to my old 3a bracket. So I bought a decimator, I keep it in my battery bag. I still ask for a Downconverter from production and use mine if theirs does not work and charge full whack for it.

I have only ever done a couple of days when I felt the day was bodged compromise and they were ALWAYS because of a faulty/non-existing downconverter. Downconverters still terrify me!

The other thing with RED operators and budget RED rental house downconverters is their power cables are crap. They bodge on that cheap sony connector when actually it requires quite an expensive sony connector that can twist and lock in. I have met quite a few RED downconverters in London where these unlocked connectors have damaged the soldering on the board creating a dry joint that only works with pressure in one direction or another.

My reason for not having an HD monitor is that they are not bright enough. Unfortunately no longer true.

Buy a Decimator. Cheaper than upgrading your monitor and buying a new transmitter.
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