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Who owns their own 35mm camera?


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#1 BJMcDonnell SOC

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Posted 31 October 2004 - 04:20 PM

Hey Everybody!


I am just curious to see how many of you own your own 35mm cameras for your steadicam package? I just got off the phone with a producer of a music video I am going to work on and she kept stressing the fact that I did not own my own 35mm camera. She made it sound like a big deal that they had to pick up a second camera for steadicam for the music video shoot. Through most of my experience I have never had to provide my own camera. She tried to cut my rate because of the rental of a second camera and it got a little bit tense on the phone. I worked it out but it was just odd. So, do any of you guys have your own 35mm cameras? I just want to make sure I was not arguing with her for no reason. Holla back.

BJ McDonnell
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#2 David Allen Grove

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Posted 31 October 2004 - 09:11 PM

Unreal...

Sounds like another scheme to try and cut our rates.. :angry:

Please refer them to the Steadicam Guild Website and have them click on "producers" I hope this helps...

(Also, if anyone has a better way to state it.. I will certainly take suggestions.)

http://www.steadicamguild.net
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#3 RobVanGelder

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Posted 31 October 2004 - 10:03 PM

I´ve been thinking about that but at the end there are too many risks involved that it is just not worth the money and worry of owning a 35mm camera, unless you are constantly shooting your own movies (and even then......)

First, you alwayst have to rent different lenses, and maybe have different mounts available too. Some DP´s like Cooke S4, other Arri SS, Panavision Primo, where do you start?

Then the camera, a (semi-) sync-sound camera or an arri 3 or 435? Aaton 35, Moviecam SL, the new Arri235?

You can easily spend the money that you´ve spend on your Steadicam gear again on camera equipment.

What about back-up, who is responsible when the camera has a problem, but this is discovered after the shooting?. Insurance?

No, it´s very clear to me: camera´s have to come from rental houses, with the proper back-up!!
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#4 JakePollock

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Posted 31 October 2004 - 11:37 PM

the other thing is that even if i did have my own camera, the rate would certainly include the inclusion of such a significant difference in gear!

jake pollock
taipei, taiwan
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#5 TJ Williams

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Posted 01 November 2004 - 01:06 AM

She is probably a little tense because she is setting out to bash your rate. If you worked it out then it probably means she couldn't find anyone like you for any similiar rate to you and a subrental camera. Or just possibly she has no idea in hell what should be included with a steadicam operator and system and is totally inept and confused.

I must confess that I do have my own cheap little 16mm, self blimped sync, package. since this as an area where price really comes into it. But 35mm whatever you bought would be the wrong one! I have not had the same model 35mm camera and lenses up twice in a row for a long long time....

Do we really want to get into the camera rental business anyway....... Is it properly prepped? Whose fault is that film scratch? LIte leak? and what if it breaks down,
will you buy two cameras?

If a person does almost all one thing using one kind of gear well then........
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#6 BJMcDonnell SOC

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Posted 01 November 2004 - 03:21 AM

Yes the producer does sound really green when I have talked with her. I worked a rate out with her because I really like the D.P. alot. I am glad to see the comments from you guys because I thought I was starting to go crazy. Its a Rap video so I am sure I am in for a great time (HA!).

BJ McDonnell
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#7 Michael Stumpf

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Posted 01 November 2004 - 12:45 PM

BJ,

Years ago (even as early as 3-4 years) some Steadicam operators did own their own
35mm cameras. But, many studios (like Warner Bros) no longer rent extra gear like this from "individuals." Heck they no longer give AC's kit rentals anymore either.

I know you are pretty new to Steadicam and the camera dept. in general, and maybe therefore, this new Producer knowing that fact was probably trying her best to pull a fast one on you. She was probably a UPM prior so even though she might of been green to producing per se, she knew the ropes of making a deal.

You should of involved the DP before you "made a deal" which sounds like you ended up coming down on what was already probably a crappy rate.
If this DP was worth anything, he would of specifically told the producers that Steadicam Operators (99% of them) do NOT own their own 35 mm camera. That is not our responsibility. You should of asked her if the Jib Op. owned his own 35mm camera package too? It would of been funny listening to her stumble over her words. :)

The problem with owning your own camera is the responsibility that comes with it, not too mention the cost and insurance and MAINTAINENCE..
If the camera goes down...they're going to look at you and be upset.
If a rental from Panavision, Clairmont, etc goes down, you are off the hook as an operator.
Plus, if the footage from "your" camera comes back scratched, or the image is not stable indicative of an internal camera problem, they are going to look at you and be upset they need to reshoot.

The few operators I know that owned their own 35mm camera (many have sold theirs now....to DP's) did so because of familiarity and they were either on an episodic show or
were doing lots of large features and they wanted consistency with the camera.

In the future, let the producer try to call around and find a guy with a rig and full 35mm camera too. When they find out how much that complete rate is, the producer will end up calling you back. Or as stated, just talk to the DP and have him clarify it to the producer.

Sorry so long winded.
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#8 BJMcDonnell SOC

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Posted 01 November 2004 - 02:13 PM

Hey Michael,

I knew that most operators did not have their own cameras for all the reasons everybody had stated on this topic. I just had to be sure I was not misinformed or insane. I really like the jib operator comment. I will have to give that a whirl next time I get bamboozled by a producer. Thanks to you guys for reassuring my knowledge on this topic.

BJ McDonnell
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#9 JamieSilverstein

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Posted 01 November 2004 - 11:21 PM

Hey BJ;

First of all, the producer is a dumb ass and should be treated accordingly until she stops giving you a hard time for not owning a camera package
Secondly you should have told her to go find a steadicam operator who actuallly OWNED a 35 package.
Thirdly, there are a couple of operators who own or have owned packages, but in this day and age of Arri Lite and Millenium XL's, steadi mags and built in low mode brackets, it just doesn't make sense. And why get beaten up on the rental?
Fourthly, do you really want to worry about extra equipment?
Fifthly, tell dumb ass that she is a dumb ass.
I hope this helps.
Your pal Jamie.
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#10 BJMcDonnell SOC

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Posted 01 November 2004 - 11:22 PM

I LOVE YOU MAN!
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#11 Gustavo Penna

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Posted 02 November 2004 - 01:31 AM

I m very proud that i no longer work in or take any jobs on music videos. im done with those. specially with rapers.
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#12 bobgilles

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Posted 02 November 2004 - 07:19 PM

I owned a PRO rig with spares in addition to a Moviecam SL package, I quickly found out the hard way that no one camera can cover all jobs. I sold my camera 6 months after I bought it! If I were ever to own a camera again, it would be an Arri 235, but I still prefer to rent (although the 235 really should be used with the SL cine mags to be useful for MOS running rig stuff and brutal MTV shoots (I love it when they order camera to position one standby and then forget you are there for 15 minutes). Let Clairmont own the cameras!!!!!!!
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#13 Charles Papert

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Posted 03 November 2004 - 12:31 AM

Here's a scenario you can try:

Ask her if the production had a camera rented from a reputable camera house, and the footage came back scratched, would they pay for the camera rental or insist on a credit? Of course, she would say the latter, that's pretty standard. Now ask, what if after the rental house had agreed to this, the lab called and admitted fault with the scratch--would she then call the rental house back and say "turns out you guys weren't at fault so we'll pay for the camera rental after all?". She may actually cop to this (which of course is totally sleazy, but that's hardly an exception with low budget UPM's), or may not, but it doesn't really matter because chances are SHE knows that she wouldn't make that call.

Now you can point out that if this happened with your camera, she would have to pay you the rental (because you'd find out about the lab admitting fault sooner or later, although you don't have to point this out).

And sadly, this is based on something that happened to me--the UPM expressed frustration right to my face that she couldn't screw me like she could screw the rental house. Lovely way to conduct business.
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