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Awesome Klassen Upgrade


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#1 WillArnot

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Posted 19 November 2004 - 04:13 PM

Hi All,

Went up to see Walter & have my vest front door upgraded to the curved front. WOW! What a huge difference it has made.

I am of slender build with bony hips so a trickier fit, and although I saw Walter personally to be fitted, he did not see the vest on me when finished, it was shipped to me.

It was obvioulsy a huge improvement on my front mount vest, but I think like Mr. Papert also experienced, with heavy loads and long exposure I was suffering from discomfort in the front of the hips and tingling down the front of the thighs from that pressure.

I opted for the 'Double Ratchet' design on the curved front, rather than a fixed hinge on one side and ratchets on the other. ie. two ratchets on either side. This accomplishes two things for me.
1. The ability to alter the 'tilt' of the front panel. This enables the top or bottom to flare in or out for absolute custom fit either according to the size of lunch or perhaps the clothing you are wearing that day.
2. The overall pressure is now front to back since the whole front panel (which wraps around the hip bones) is being pulled back towards the air bladder. This is quite different than what was happening with the original overlapping front door on the Traditional Deluxe I ordered, which tended to tighten the vest by pulling each side inwards because of the overlapping front. This squeezed around my hips too much and created the discomfort.

Also, the surface area of the front panel is perhaps double that of the original overlapping door. In going to see Walter I was able to scoop it higher on the bottom side where the top of the thigh meets the hip joint, and yet increase the overall contact area greatly without coming too high and digging into the bottom of my rib cage.

Two foam adjustments also made a big difference. Scooping out the area again where the thigh meets the hip. I wasn't able to do this before, because scooping away foam on the skinnier door meant there just wasn't enough contact with my belly/hips at the front, and in fact added to the discomfort. Also, with great results, an additional wedge about 6" long between the shoulder blades. This makes better contact at the top of the back of the vest, so that with the air bladder too, the contact along the whole length of my spine is 100% even, and perfect.

And to continue the endless nods of appreciation to Walter, I went in midday on a Friday, and the entire Retrofit was measured, customised and completed by Saturday afternoon. Thank you so much Walter, Kornell, Jennifer and all the worker bees @ Klassen FX.

One more thing. I got the first 2" drop down carbon arm. Beacause of the drop down, Walter decided to straighten the arm rather than put a slight twist to the outside in it. This twist was to help adjust your side to side setting done by screwing in or out the two butterfly screws. Myself, Larry and Jimmy McConkey all found that we were maxed out in our side to side setting (this is personal, you may not be). Walter has come up with the Ultimate simple, inexpensive solution that I tested at the shop while there, and totally stand by. The square mounting block that goes between the carbon arm and the sliding track on the vest has now been machined beautifully to mount the arm now leaning 4° in whatever direction you need (if you are goofy or regular).

This is such a great solution since it means we can all keep our original carbon arms and need only to purchase this simple aluminum block if you want more side to side adjustability in one direction or the other. It also means those who can and want to be able to flip the carbon arm to the other side can still do so.

Thanks Walter, you ROCK!!

Will
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#2 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 19 November 2004 - 05:03 PM

I'd like to jump on the I love walter klassen bandwagon and say I love Walter Klassen too!. I received my Genesis vest (022) a few weeks ago and ive been putting it through its paces ever since. Everything good you've heard about these vests is true. I also went with the double ratchet option and as Will mentioned, the ability to fine tune the fit is fantastic. I'd also like to point out to all our European friends that i only had to fly to Manchester to be fitted. Howard did a great job measuring me up and Jennifer Klassen delivered the vest a day earlier then promised! Thanks guys! :D
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#3 David Allen Grove

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Posted 19 November 2004 - 06:46 PM

Will's Vest parts.

Photo 1 Old Vs. New
Photo 2 Shoulder Wedge
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#4 David Allen Grove

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Posted 19 November 2004 - 06:48 PM

More of Will's vest parts.

Photo: Curved
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#5 WillArnot

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Posted 19 November 2004 - 07:02 PM

Thanks for your help David.
I think I figured out a way to show this 4th one of the hip foam.

Attached Files


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#6 WillArnot

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Posted 19 November 2004 - 08:29 PM

In my quest to become slightly more computer literate and find a better way to show photos, I think I've made a small start.

For all those who make it there, your effort will be rewarded in the final shot. ;)

Try the link below for some random Steadicam shots.

http://homepage.mac....hotoAlbum2.html
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#7 Rich Cottrell

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Posted 19 November 2004 - 10:17 PM

Will,
how much did the retro fit cost you?
I too have the traditional vest, and while i do love it -- tingling is what i am always fighting.
rich
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#8 Rich Cottrell

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 03:53 AM

so i got my Walter Klassen emailed newsletter.
They are advertising this upgrade for $1200
rich
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#9 thomas-english

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 07:13 AM

onto the klassen bandwagon i fly my flag!

just got the universal arm upgraded to the lowprofile on my genesis vest! The klassen dove flew to my xmass tree just in time for my last job.

low profile arm is much better!

go klassen go klassen go!
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#10 RonBaldwin

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 11:15 AM

the vest upgrade looks great, but come on guys...give us the real news... did the lovely Jennifer take you out to some cool hang-outs? We (I) want to hear of bar brawls of back mounted ops fighting with the local gang of front mounted ops.

Somebody tell the truth...what really happened? Perhaps Jennifer will enlighten us?

Ron
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#11 Charles Papert

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 11:40 AM

Flattery will get you everywhere, Mr. Early-Adopter-Guy!
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#12 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 20 January 2005 - 09:42 PM

Hey everyone. Took awhile to get around to this, but I wanted to make a few comments regarding my trip to Walter?s shop a few weeks ago. Fist, I?d like to thank the usual suspects at Klassen FX (Walter, Jennifer, Cornell, and the gang) for their time and efforts. Their dedication to their customers is not only obvious, it allowed me to make very informed decisions about my purchase. Also, thanks to Brad Hruboska for coming out and playing.

Last fall, after I tried Howard?s Universal/Genesis vest, I wrote a posting about how much I loved the new curved carbon fiber front panel. Unfortunately, this was one of the postings lost when the forum was hacked, but Will Arnot replaced it with a posting of his own that pretty much summed up my views. Anyway, I?m so glad I went to visit the shop in person, as it did change my order a bit. Originally, I was in love with the dual ratchet system to attach the front plate as I felt that it offered the most diverse fitting options (notably the ability to angle the aforementioned plate). As the fellows at the shop patiently watched me go back and forth between the two front plate styles (the second being the new metal hinge on one side and the ratchets on the other), putting the various demo vests through their paces, I slowly began to change my mind. In the end, the hinge won out as I felt it provided a more rigid connection and a stiffer feel. No question, a personal choice and a close call for me, but I have all the confidence that my vest will fit having been measured by Walter, so I opted for a bit more rigidity versus a bit more diversity (two important, but often competing qualities in our world). As I always say, to each their own, thus my point is check out both styles before you make up your mind.

Regarding the front mounted socket block on the Klassen vest - interesting indeed. In the end though, it was not for me. Theoretically, I?ve always maintained that it should work fine because we are still dealing with two masses (the sled and you) and their relationship (distance from one another). If we could place ourselves in a perfect carbon fiber ring, then I think there would be no difference between having the socket block attached to the front versus having an external arm that brings it around front. This is of course impossible as we couldn?t take the vest off and our significant others would get even more annoyed with this whole Steadicam thing. So let?s get to my impressions of trying this system out for real. For the most part, pretty impressive; I think many people will opt for this system as it is a huge improvement over many front mounted vests without the commitment to retrain yourself. But, I did find that the front of the vest did torque out and put added stress on my front side. In contrast, any flex in the vest with an external back mounted arm pushes into your lower back, acting as lumbar support. Furthermore, I like the ability of sliding the carbon arm up and down the rear. To have this option on the front, requires losing some of the openness associated with the back mounted vest as the front plate needs to be bigger (or there needs to be more hardware there). Just my two cents.

Now, a little bit of fun. My wife, Jendra, who joined me for the trip took some great photos of Walter?s shop. For the record, we did not bore her to death ? she knew what she was getting into and she is a DP. So, here is the link: http://share.shutter...1&x=1&sm=1&sl=0
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#13 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 04:55 PM

Greetings all. For those of you using a Klassen vest with the curved carbon fiber door AND as metal hinge, Walter has come up with a great add on part. I had mentioned in a previous posting that I was torn between buying the hinge for ultimate rigidity and the duel ratchets for fitting diversity. In the end, the hinge won out. Now, you can have the best of both worlds as Walter has come up with a metal spacer that extends the hinge side of your vest by 1.5?. It simply slides between the back of the harness and the door?s hinge and is held in place with a pin (just like the door). Two seconds to install (or remove), solid as a rock, and keeps the curve of the door in the right place. So, if you want to put another layer of clothing on, but don?t like the fit of the front door when this is done, just add the piece. Yet another simple and elegant solution from them chaps up North.
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#14 benedictspence

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 07:25 AM

Hey All,

Wanted to drag up this old thread as I had a few questions... I use a Klassen Universal vest, which I love dearly but have always had a bit of discomfort near the end of a hard day. Normally this isn't much more than a bit of a tingling on the front of my upper leg (my lap for want of a more accurate word!). On very hard days I occasionally get a bit of a sore spot where my hip bones are, but nothing too drasitc so I've never really worried about it before. Like Will mentioned back in 2004 at the start of this thread, I too am quite slim with boney sticky-out hips; not classic Steadicam-op build!

However yesterday I was on a shoot for the Descovery Channel (thanks Thomas- see attached photo- you'd be v. jealous), shooting low mode almost all day, on a 14 hour day without any real breaks. I must have had the rig on for 12 of those hours, at-least, with some real tricky angles trying to keep lamps out of shot etc. Yesterday when I got back I noticed my hips were v. red and sore and my right leg (where my arm sits) was still dead... infact as I sit here and write this it is still quite dead (only round the front and only on the surface of my leg).

Before I decide to be measured up again, refitted etc. I was wondering if anyone else has had this bad a result from a backmount vest. Don't get me wrong, I've had my vest for 9 months or so and REALLY don't want to go back to front mount, but equally I've just finished buying my ideal steadicam kit so I don't fancy shelling out for a Deluxe vest or too many upgrades.

Anyone??

Many thanks,

Ben SpenceAttached File  schoolgirls.jpg   53.67KB   392 downloads
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#15 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 10:33 AM

Ben,

I was having bruised hips & we found a solution:

http://www.steadicam...797

As for the tingling, sounds like you don't have the vest tight enough so it slips down on you (which is what I found myself doing when the hips stated to hurt). Call Walter & tell him to send you a small belly pad like the one they made for me (he'll know what I'm talking about - it is a small tapered pad that just goes across your mid-section, reliving the hips a bit). Walter also had me tighten my shoulder straps just a tad so the harness couldn't slide down (but still not too much pressure on the shoulders).

Hope this works.

Cheers,
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