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Components Everybody Should Have?


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#1 invalid username

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 08:59 PM

Hello,

I'm taking a Steadicam training course later this year, and after that I really hope to get into doing a lot more work with the Steadicam, including buying my own rig.

Now this question may be covered in the course, but I thought I'd give it a quick ask here.

It's become apparent to me that you don't just go out and buy a Steadicam, whatever type it is. From the posts I've read, it seems that there are a lot of acessories that get used.

So apart from the main rig, and obvious components (monitor, batteries, a stand, etc), what other things should I be keeping my eyes out for that a good operator should have in their bag?

I appreciate the help!
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#2 Rob Vuona SOC

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 10:16 PM

Hello,

I'm taking a Steadicam training course later this year, and after that I really hope to get into doing a lot more work with the Steadicam, including buying my own rig.

Now this question may be covered in the course, but I thought I'd give it a quick ask here.

It's become apparent to me that you don't just go out and buy a Steadicam, whatever type it is. From the posts I've read, it seems that there are a lot of acessories that get used.

So apart from the main rig, and obvious components (monitor, batteries, a stand, etc), what other things should I be keeping my eyes out for that a good operator should have in their bag?

I appreciate the help!

Alright I'll say it to you, since no one else has responded . . .LOL . . .

that open ended question is basically pointed at almost every post on the forum, there are sooooo many things you may need or could use that answering that question would take up too many pages . . . .

I think the better question would be, am I going to have work for this Steadicam that I am going to buy and once I have this work, what will I need to complete that specific job successfully.

Focus motors, Rods, 15mm, 19mm, Focus controls, Zoom controls, For live TV, for Film lenses, down converters, Tally lights, video recorders, Cables, cables and more cables, connectors, screws, adapters, plates, weights, batteries, chargers, . . . . ETC . . . . the list goes on and on

Just my two cents
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#3 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 10:19 PM

Follow focus
Video transmitter
Video receivers
Monitors
Garfield mount
Spare camera mounting plates
Motor rods
Dog bones
Spares of every cable
Spare hardware


That should get you started. Consider this. My sled, arm and suit is in the $80-90K range. The other $100K of my kit is my accessories
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#4 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 11:08 PM

But there's more!

Cases
Flight cases
Cart
Extra docking bracket
Extra stand
Extra batteries... for everything!
Extra charger
Vehicle to haul it all in
Insurance
Contracts / Deal Memos
More Cables
Clients
Tools for small parts and electronics
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#5 Alfeo Dixon SOC

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 11:46 PM

did someone list cables... Posted Image

So I got $10.2K in cables and I KNOW I need more!
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#6 Ken Nguyen

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 12:57 AM

... and,
back up arm,
back up sled,
back up monitor,
back up focus motors,
running rig,
rain coat,
dust cover,
wind blocker,
gyro,
antler,
safety harnesses,
and more....
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#7 Joel San Juan SOC

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 06:35 AM

A good insurance plan ;)
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#8 JobScholtze

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 08:18 AM

A very rich and old wife.....
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#9 Brant S. Fagan SOC

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 08:18 AM

And to go with that insurance policy, you should photograph each and every item in your kit and list them accordingly with your agent. They have no idea what many, if not all, of these items are much less what their functions are. As you lay out the items, you will realize what else you need to buy, build, or design to complete your kit.

My basic advice: get what you can afford to start and handle basic jobs in your market and upgrade as time and cash flow allow. Build connections with other operators in your area for rentals, backups and advice.

Chances are, you might not need the most complete package to get started, but once out there, the needs go up dramatically with the workload.
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#10 Douglas John Kropla

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 09:37 AM

I saw this laundry list of items coming.

Who starts a career with absolutely everything under the sun associated with that career? Who here started their career with everything and I mean everything you have now? Granted a few essential pieces but come on, the rest of it you buy when you can afford it.

I have only been a member here for a short time and I understand that this is the "PRO" forum, hell their are people here whose worked I have admired for decades and now I can ask them directly how did you do that. But a lot of times I feel the tone here is one of, Jeez another guy who wants to be an op, jeez gotta cut the pie even smaller now. And then he gets the well you're gonna need to spend a gajillion dollars to be an op. If the pro' here want this to be a pro' only forum why make it available to anyone and everyone? Just make it a closed set, invite only.

Just my two cents.
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#11 Ken Nguyen

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 11:33 AM

I saw this laundry list of items coming.

Who starts a career with absolutely everything under the sun associated with that career? Who here started their career with everything and I mean everything you have now? Granted a few essential pieces but come on, the rest of it you buy when you can afford it.

I have only been a member here for a short time and I understand that this is the "PRO" forum, hell their are people here whose worked I have admired for decades and now I can ask them directly how did you do that. But a lot of times I feel the tone here is one of, Jeez another guy who wants to be an op, jeez gotta cut the pie even smaller now. And then he gets the well you're gonna need to spend a gajillion dollars to be an op. If the pro' here want this to be a pro' only forum why make it available to anyone and everyone? Just make it a closed set, invite only.

Just my two cents.


Hi Douglas,
This is not a show-off or scare-off list.
This is a list of tools that a serious steadicam op should have.
This list gives hints to newbie of what available and the needs to know of how-why-when to use those tools.
I started operating with only a vest for years. Other stuffs were rented.
You don't need to buy everything, but you need to know every tools available.

If you think a new op will make your pie smaller, think again.
This is an open field, a very competitive market.
If you don't keep your skill up, you fall behind. The pie is still on the table, but is far away from your reach.

Hm, What will be your answer if a newbie comes to your place and asks what equipment do you have?
- Oh, I don't have anything. That's a liar!
- Well, camera - tripod - ..... Jeez! try to scare me off!! (based on your perception)

Have fun,
Ken Nguyen.
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#12 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 11:46 AM

..."And then he gets the well you're gonna need to spend a gajillion dollars to be an op. If the pro' here want this to be a pro' only forum why make it available to anyone and everyone? Just make it a closed set, invite only...


Mr. Kropla:

You cover a lot of ground in your post but I'll comment on just a few points.

There's a lot to buy and own for gear no matter how you slice and dice it if you're going to work and compete professionally. Some people think you can just get an entry level Flyer or whatever rig but they don't realize they still need all the accessories EXPECTED of a professional operator. Whether your rig cost $8k or $80k you still need the essentials to work professionally in film or television. Those essentials cost more than $8k, a LOT more than $8k and at the upper levels the AKS can easily exceed $80k.

Some of the manufacturers take a new op / trainee, sell them a workshop, sell them a rig but are not necessarily inclined to tell them "Oh by the way, the $8k $40k or $60k you're spending now is just the tip of the iceberg". Else a lot of people would reconsider their TOTAL INVESTMENT and price of entry into the business. Realization of that is a huge wake up call for those who go in naive to the specialty and the expectations that will be placed upon them.

The title of this forum is "MOTION PICTURE CAMERA STABILIZATION SPECIALISTS". That would extend to television and other media but the point here is we're "CAMERA STABILIZATION SPECIALISTS". We're not here as a hobby or sideline interest, we're here because this is largely our primary source of passion, interest and income. We're either professionals working at a professional level or there are aspiring professionals who are working to get there.

The members of the Forum are by and large overwhelmingly welcoming to new operators and we've all helped each other and new operators as well. I can't count how many times I've loaned or rented gear and given advice to new ops or how many times other ops have helped me. We're individuals and we're close-knit, but not "closed". Implying we are for reasons you likely have no understanding of is offensive to me and likely a few others. You don't know what you don't know.

There's a constant flow of ops getting into and out of the specialty for a wide range of reasons. The cost of entry back in the old days was quoted to me as about $65k just for a rig. The cost of entry now for a entry level prosumer rig is much lower but you've still got to have all the professional parts or friends who have them to work professionally in film / television.

We're all concerned about rates as the rates are constantly under pressure from the Producers. The flood of new ops with prosumer rigs poses no threat as they simply take the low-hanging fruit. Where the rub comes is when a new op or even a veteran op succumbs to the pressure of negotiations or fails to negotiate at all and they take rates and rentals that are so low they do not sustain longevity in the SPECIALTY.

Our rates are high, not just because we like to live a high lifestyle (though most of us live comfortably). Our rates are high because to work professionally as a CAMERA STABILIZATION SPECIALIST you have to plan for retirement, plan for investment, plan for slow times and make a decent lifestyle for yourself and your family FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. The work is difficult, tough on our bodies, the rigs are expensive, the repairs are costly, the AKS are outrageous and to stay current with technology we have to spend upwards of $10k-$30k on specialized gear / AKS that for some reason a professional Steadicam operator is expected to provide in their kit.

Don't take this personally but that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Robert
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#13 James Davis

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 01:01 PM

For me as a new operator to the industry, (about a year now of hiring rigs and training courses), I just put down the first downpayment on my own rig, we've been thankful for really helpful hire companies, people lending my business partner and I gear, and looking out for good secondhand deals.
Thankfully my business partner and I are only working on low to mid budget stuff at the moment, so we have been able to keep up with the bulk of gear requirements with decent secondhand gear or hiring in what we don't have, but it certainly does get expensive quick, however the one trap I am glad I didn't fall into was buying cheap and crappy equipment that would have needed upgrading by now because of the increasing amount of steadicam work we are doing, and the heavier cameras we are flying. So I would say look out for the good quality second hand stuff, that has been looked after properly, you may get yourself a bargain, and it will help you get started, also speak to your local hire house, see if they have any ex-demo bargains, thats what we did and it worked out quite well for us.

P.S.
A big thankyou to Chris from Optical Support, cheers mate for all the great advice, top notch hire gear, and for sorting us out a nice rig, looking forward to flying our sexy new Archer ;)

Edited by James Davis, 14 September 2010 - 01:02 PM.

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#14 Jerry Holway

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 09:16 AM

I saw this laundry list of items coming.


Douglas-

What did you expect, if not a bunch of lists? Curious.

Regardless, the lists are really good, and all of the items on the lists are things that represent concerns others have had and you should therefore seriously think about.

At the workshops and in the book, we always stress the total package of things you need, not just the sled, vest, arm, batts, chargers, cases that constitute a "rig." And we stress the business decisions, recommend buying used rigs, and all sorts of options to realistically get started and work towards your personal goals as an operator.

I bought my first used rig for $16K - and in 3 months my professional situation changed dramatically so I spent another 25-30K - which I knew I would have to do... Been spending ever since...My story is so similar to so many other ops, nothing special there, but the point is to be professional, and the lists are a good indication of what everyone feels has been helpful in their professional situations.

You've got to sort it out for yourself with a good hard look at where you are, your resources, and where you want to be.

Jerry
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#15 Charles Papert

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 10:05 AM

I think that if we were to take the attitude "too bad, figure it out for yourself", that behavior would be much more consistent with attempting to scare off newcomers than providing extensive lists....? Are we really being chided for helping?!

Once you get past the obvious accessories, everyone has a slightly different view on what is the next most essential thing. For instance, I'm surprised at how many newer operators consider a vehicle mount a rentable-as-needed item rather than a must-have. As Robert alluded to, there are different requirements for broadcast/live TV vs feature/episodic. And the ground is ever-shifting; the classic five camera power/run cable set from ten years ago (Old Arri, new Arri, Panavision, Aaton, Moviecam) seems more than quaint now--is a new operator really going to invest in Aaton and Moviecam cables?--and there are newcomers to the party (i.e. RED; interesting to see how many established operators have resisted buying those cables).

It's always interesting going through another operator's gear and seeing what they consider essential, as happens when one fills in for another using their gear, for example. We are a particular bunch, fo shoah.
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