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#1 Nick Montgomery

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 10:44 PM

Heyhey

I've been using a Glidecam2000 Vest/Arm setup for the past year and I'm on the hunt for a new rig. I've accomplished a lot with it, and have gotten a LOT of experience with it. Pretty much put the vest on 1 1/2 years ago and haven't taken it off since.

I've got the opportunity to be hired for a feature length production next Spring if I can get a new rig (that can handle a RED) and can master it. I want to go with a Steadicam rig, one that will enable me to step up a bit. I've been mostly learning on my own. Reading the Steadicam Op's Handbook currently, but may sign up for a workshop to boot just for good measure.

BUT...I need some help looking at the right rig. My head's swimming a bit from researching this! What should I be looking at? Flyer? Archer? Merlin? I'll worry about how to come up with the funding after I've gotten a good idea of what I'm shopping for, no price isn't a real concern right now.

Thoughts?
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#2 Kevin Andrews SOC

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 11:06 PM

no price isn't a real concern right now.

Thoughts?



Wish I had that problem. Sounds like you'll outgrow a Flyer real quick. The new Archer seems to be doing well for folks. Also consider used rigs. There are a lot on the forum right now. Also, many of these so called "feature films" don't have any budgets. They've already spent their allowance on renting a RED which they think will give them a great end product. :rolleyes:
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#3 Nick Montgomery

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 11:39 PM

Perhaps I should also clarify, I belong to a studio where we do narrative films on our own (shorts, features) but pay the bills by doing mounds of commercial work, our bread 'n butter. So my work mostly comes through corporate vids, music videos and filming live events, but that's just the present. Where I really want to shine is doing narrative films.

And this feature that I speak of, I know the minds behind it, rest assured it is well-produced and has the potential to be very well-funded.

no price isn't a real concern right now.

Thoughts?



Wish I had that problem. Sounds like you'll outgrow a Flyer real quick. The new Archer seems to be doing well for folks. Also consider used rigs. There are a lot on the forum right now. Also, many of these so called "feature films" don't have any budgets. They've already spent their allowance on renting a RED which they think will give them a great end product. :rolleyes:


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#4 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 12:42 AM

In Tiffens line I would look at the new Archer and higher. Also take a look at what GPI-PRO and XCS have to offer and look at what is available used from any of those three. Your also going to need a follow focus of course. Bartech is a good option.

~Jess
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#5 chris fawcett

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 04:21 AM

The Archer 2s is your man.
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#6 Charles Papert

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 04:32 AM

The critical thing to consider is what are the possible range of cameras you might need to fly. Obviously moving up from a GC2000, the Archer will represent a big step forward in payload, but is there any possibility that you might have to wrangle cameras beyond the 30 lbs limit of that system? RED will most often fall below that, but speciality accessories and configurations may push it over. 3D rigs can be notably gruesome, as are many other full-size sensor cameras such as Genesis, F35, D21, especially with onboard recording. People are still shooting on film, too; even low-budget features, and those are more likely than others to be using heavy cameras (which are often cheaper to rent). While these may all seem exotic and unlikely at the moment, it would obviously be a shame to outgrow a new rig quickly; this does happen quite a bit. While you are looking, consider older/used full-size rigs that may end up costing the same amount as a shiny new one with lesser load capacity.
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#7 Dave Gish

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 07:51 PM

While you are looking, consider older/used full-size rigs that may end up costing the same amount as a shiny new one with lesser load capacity.

Right, but this raises a whole bunch of questions, for example:

What typical used full-size rigs are best for a newbie. And since money is an issue for me, what is a ballpark minimum price range for a decent used full sized rig?

Where are the best places to buy a used rig. Obviously, the Steadicam Marketplace on this forum is one good place, but are there others?

Are there things to watch out for? Any common flags that would make you worry?

What about accessories? Would you buy a used Bartech, or just spring for a new one? What about used batteries?

Any hints on making the deal?

I just have this feeling that buying a used rig requires a lot more knowledge than buying a new one. For example, if something isn't working right on a new rig, you can usually just send it in and they fix it for free. With a used rig, it may cost a lot to have someone fix it.

Any advice appreciated.

Edited by Dave Gish, 21 October 2009 - 08:00 PM.

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#8 Fabrizio Sciarra SOC ACO

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 07:26 AM

While you are looking, consider older/used full-size rigs that may end up costing the same amount as a shiny new one with lesser load capacity.

Right, but this raises a whole bunch of questions, for example:

What typical used full-size rigs are best for a newbie. And since money is an issue for me, what is a ballpark minimum price range for a decent used full sized rig?

Many interesting questions, let me throw in my two cents:
Most of the time money is an issue for a newbie, so you're not alone ;) ; that said, there are many rigs available as a second hand, prices may vary A LOT depending on what you're looking for.
I.E. I know many fellows who got old 3A to start and they've been happy with that, a very low budget choice but great weight capacity. From there on there's basically no limit, up to few months old equipment that still shine and come sold in packages with all bells and whistles included. Is really up to your philosophy and needs. Staying on well known brands it will help a lot, considering after sale service as a factor

Where are the best places to buy a used rig. Obviously, the Steadicam Marketplace on this forum is one good place, but are there others?

Buying on this forum will help you to avoid most of unknown offers I.E. ebay sales (I'm not a big fun of it).

Are there things to watch out for? Any common flags that would make you worry?

When buying a second hand rig, the smartest thing to do is to send it straight to the factory for a FULL check up, personally never regret it, money well spent.

What about accessories? Would you buy a used Bartech, or just spring for a new one? What about used batteries?

Again a personal choice; bfd is a great piece of equipment, if you buy from a known owner and you know the equipment has been kept nicely, why not. You may want to consider that on accessories, normally, the saving is not that big as on rigs, unless you're talking about very old equipment (but then reliable?

Any hints on making the deal?

I just have this feeling that buying a used rig requires a lot more knowledge than buying a new one. For example, if something isn't working right on a new rig, you can usually just send it in and they fix it for free. With a used rig, it may cost a lot to have someone fix it.

Absolutely true. I wouldn't go for a used thing, unless I'm "sure" will serve me well.
A personal advice, if you go for a used rig, choose something reliable instead of full of things that may brake on the way. But that's of course my point of view.
As a general rule, I prefer to go for NEW electronic stuff (I.E. monitors) as much as possible, and then save bucks on a good and well treated second hand sled (simple and nice without naming brands otherwise the thread becomes this is better than that and we never end.... :blink: )
Any advice appreciated.

Hope it helps!

Edited by Fabrizio Sciarra, 22 October 2009 - 07:30 AM.

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#9 Charles Papert

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 11:29 AM

Good points Fabrizio (might want to watch how you format quotes though--made it a little tough to weed our your responses from Dave's questions).

It does indeed take more knowledge to buy used than new, that's the case with many things in life. Buying a car, for instance: it's quite easy to roll into a dealership and roll out with keys in your hand vs buying a used car and knowing what to look out for, having it checked out etc. But if money is the object, more work is the sacrifice.

The nice thing about buying into systems that are compatible is that you can replace and upgrade parts as you feel comfortable, so if you find a great deal on a 3A or EFP, you can start working right away (hopefully) and then upgrade many of the components from manufacturers like GPI, Betz, MK-V, Steadyrig and others. I was already 1/3 of the way into a PRO with the parts I had bought for my 3A when I made the leap to a complete PRO (years later, it's become a real hodgepodge).

Buying a rig represents a lot of cash outlay. If one particular rig "speaks" to you or if you are the kind of person that is all about loyalty to one manufacturer, buy that rig (and maybe you can find a used intact one). Otherwise, lots of options--but yes, it does take time and effort and persistence, but in the end you learn a lot about stabilizers and maybe in the process, end up with a rig that you are happier with than the first one you had eyes on.
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#10 Nick Montgomery

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 07:39 PM

Thanks a lot for the insight guys. I really do appreciate it. This is actually the first forum I've ever had the pleasure of joining and posting to, so I'm really reaping the benefits here thanks to you.

What would you recommend if my camera range was from a naked EX1 (2.4 kg / 5 lb.) to possibly a PDW700 (appr. 6 kg / 13lb)?
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#11 Brian Freesh

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 11:19 PM

Thanks a lot for the insight guys. I really do appreciate it. This is actually the first forum I've ever had the pleasure of joining and posting to, so I'm really reaping the benefits here thanks to you.

What would you recommend if my camera range was from a naked EX1 (2.4 kg / 5 lb.) to possibly a PDW700 (appr. 6 kg / 13lb)?


Are you no longer concerned about the RED?

If not, get a Flyer, used or new. If so, everyone here will tell you to get something bigger, while I just had one on my Flyer a week ago today. the thing about RED on the Flyer is that your configuration is greatly limited. I can not deck out a RED, I'd be hard pressed to put a lightweight zoom depending on the other accessories. But then, that's the problem in general with a rig like the Flyer, limited weight. I'm not putting Arricams or 435s on my rig stripped down, much less decked out. Well, the LT just that once... |-)~

So if you're positive you'll never put anything bigger than you quoted above, or that you're willing to wait to be able to put something bigger by buying a bigger rig (it can be a bigger itch than you might think) then I say just get a Flyer. But if there's any doubt that you'll be able to easily stay under the weight limit anytime soon, I'd say get something a bit heftier, finances providing.

Brian |-)~
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#12 Nick Montgomery

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 12:16 AM

I'm just asking a bunch of questions, trying to figure out which is more important.

A local cinematographer regularly hires me as an assistant, he normally shoots Betacam but is moving to a couple PDW700's in the new year and I would like to start offering him my steadicam services. Our studio is looking at getting a RED very soon, but we also use the EX1 and HVX200. So I'm exploring my options.

Edited by Nick Montgomery, 23 October 2009 - 12:16 AM.

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#13 Dave Gish

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 04:39 AM

Our studio is looking at getting a RED very soon,

There's that word again...

With the RED One, once you add a zoom lens, rails, matte box, RED CRADLE, RED DRIVE, RED BRICK, wireless follow focus, video down converter, wireless video transmitter, etc, etc, you can easily get up over 30 pounds, possibly over 35 pounds. That's why people here keep talking about buying a used full size rig.

If money is not a concern, you could just buy a new full size rig. For example, the Steadicam Ultra2
http://www.steadicam.../filmUltra.html
after you add in the prices for accessories (wireless follow focus, wireless video transmitter, cart, cases, etc), figure around $75K for that.

Also look at systems from PRO GPI and MK-V
http://www.pro-gpi.com/
http://www.mk-v.com/index.html
Unlike Steadicam brand, these companies tend to sell interchangeable parts rather than the whole kit. This way, you pick and choose the exact rig you want.

If money is a concern, but you still want to buy a new rig, then you could buy something like the Steadicam Archer2:
http://www.steadicam.../archer2se.html
This goes up to 30 pounds, which should support most reasonable RED configurations, provided you use lightweight rails and trim down the other RED accessories. This costs $25K, but figure around $32K once you add in accessories (batteries, wireless follow focus, etc).

Also, if money is an issue and you know that your RED will use still camera lenses (Canon or Nikon mount) and not the PL mount lenses, then there's a new wireless follow-focus system that's much less expensive:
http://www.hocusproducts.com/info.html
which could get the price of an Archer2 down under $30K all in.

If the Steadicam brand stuff is too expensive, you could look at the ActionCam
http://actionproduct....php?cPath=47_1

Guys, let me know if I have any of this wrong or have left anything out.

Hope this helps

Edited by Dave Gish, 23 October 2009 - 04:40 AM.

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#14 Mike Germond SOC

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 08:07 AM

I'm in a similar position right now, except I started out with a Flyer LE. Too many RED One and F900 projects are popping up! I don't want to sell myself short and have to deal with the limitations of an Archer, but Clippers are so darn expensive! Designing my own modular system with PRO is an attractive idea. I almost got the ActionCam RED edition, but support being overseas could be a headache..

Mike
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#15 Jessica Lopez

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 09:33 AM

I just went to the Artemis Showcase at Bexel this week. I have to say I was very impressed with the rig. Curt wants $26,000 USD for Artemis HD EFP complete package. I believe he said it can hold up to a 40 Ibs camera. Don't quote me on that but I do know it is stronger than an archer. Oh and it held the red like nothing.

Here is the link:
http://shop.artemis-...-Systems/?cur=2

Happy Hunting!
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