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PRO I - To upgrade or not to upgrade?


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#1 Tom Wills

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 04:59 PM

I've just taken delivery of a beautifully cared for PRO I sled. I love the thing already, and I can't wait to get it out on its first gig. The kit I bought included 10 recently re-celled PRO Chocolate Bar batteries. They all work fine, save for one which works, but has a broken voltage meter.

The dilemma I'm running into is that I already had 8 Anton Bauer ProFormers, and I was thinking of picking up some new Dionic HCs for if I have to fly RED (or, god forbid, something even more power hungry). I've been a real big fan of how the Anton Bauers perform, and I think that it would be lovely to be able to use a rental camera's batteries whenever I can, and save some of the wear and tear on my own.

So, what do I do? Should I sell the batteries and upgrade to an Anton Bauer system? If I do, what systems have worked well? I know there's Hugo Langer's, but at the moment, it's probably a little expensive for me. I've also gotten some ideas from Charles Papert about making something using 15mm rods. I do have a PRO I Gyro system (the whole thing, including inverter, only missing the gyros themselves) which I could convert into something like a PRO-Lite, but I don't know if that would have any value on the used market, and if I would be shooting myself in the foot by modifying it instead of selling it.

Hopefully somebody has some wisdom on all of this. It's a wonderful thing to be finally up and flying something so nice, now I just need to figure out where to go from here!
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#2 Janice Arthur

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 05:32 PM

Tom;

Relax.

1) You just got the thing and you don't know what the hell is going on yet.
The batteries you've got were just recelled and work fine right?
So use them for now until you've got a few job under your belt with it.

2) Give yourself time to figure out the options you have.

3) If you get a RED job right now use the on-board batts; problem solved.

4) Save your pennies for the upgrades when you finally figure out what they are.
Maybe you'll need that money for something else???

Just my two cents but you've got all the fun of 'pondering all your possibilities'.
(The kid at the birthday party who opens his presents too fast.)

JA
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#3 Louis Puli SOC

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 05:39 PM

Firstly congratulation on your new rig I know it will serve you well for many years to come.
With regards to your ProFormers why not use then to power other items like your receivers ,tuners ,directors monitor power , I have several battery plates with 4 pin xlr's on them which power all of my accessories.

In many ways you have answered your own questions All of the current batterys work fine stay with them use them .When using the RED use their batts .I would be saving my money up and when your chocolate Bars start to go I would buy Hugo's base and then buy all new Dionic's HC's.Hugos Base is great just think plug and play no down time no machining No" if only I did this" or that his base is simple it just works very well .
Thats what I would do .
All the best
Louis Puli .
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#4 Michael Fuchs

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 11:52 PM

Yup--Janice, as always, right on point along with Louis. I started with all Pro1 in late 2008 as well and have upgraded everything but the base at this point. I have yet to run into a situation where having the old Pag batts has been an issue--although I do have an anton bauer plate that i can throw on instead of the pags (via some custom wiring) when im in a more "live"/tv type of situation.

For all other situations u just gotta deal with flying an onboard batt, unless it's a camera that accepts film of course (an endangered species). You can totally still survive I'd say and look to make that upgrade down the road. I am waiting to see what the new module is going to look like from Pro--then I'll either take the plunge with that or someone's used Pro2 base-- but to each their own on that end and finding what works/is affordable.

Some still say that the pro1 base was the "best-feeling". Correct me if I'm wrong but I think Jacques Jouffret still swears by the pag's and youll see others on the forum speaking quite highly of the design even after they have moved on. "Just needs a little more juice" i saw written on one of the past conversations somewhere.
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#5 RonBaldwin

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 12:25 AM

I have flown a lot of sleds - the pro1 just feels the best to me. I got the hd pro and a bunch of ab batteries about 13 months ago and love the many different configurations, the rigidity, the butt-loads of power from the newer batts, the better wiring and using an hd monitor is great but I miss the feel of the old sled (I still have it...can't bring myself to sell it yet). And btw -- lcd's still suck balls when it comes to daylight viewing and balancing.

Tom -- most who still have the pro1 will mount an ab gold mount on their rec bracket and run an exterior cable to the camera. I did it for a few years before upgrading to the newer sled and it worked great. Hugo's battery hanger is a great option as Louis has mentioned. Enjoy the sled.

rb
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#6 Tom Wills

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 09:53 AM

Thanks for all the good points across the board. It's easy to get wrapped up in the "must have new / upgraded / highest-tech" cycle, but it is true - this sled works, it's got a ton of batteries, and I've got more than enough payload capacity to fly an onboard should I ever need it.

And Ron and Michael, I might just cook up something to allow me to put an extra battery or two on the rig, just for those times when I really need some extra juice. That's a whole lot simpler than trying to re-invent the wheel!
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#7 RonBaldwin

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 11:16 AM

Tom,
here's a shot of my sled from about 3 years ago with the prototype ssr deck on the genesis (there's a write-up with more pics somewhere on the forum -- I think it was '08?). fwi the camera was about 33 lbs.

Early on I ran the extra battery through the sled via the banana plugs (basically replacing the pro batt I pulled). I stopped doing this after a while thinking the shiite was getting kicked out of the poor pro battery in parallel with the h-140. I ran a separate cable externally to the cameras after that, but still pulled one of the pro batts or the sled would be waaaay heavier than it needed to be. In the configuration pictured adding the h-140 added about 3 lbs to the sled. If I was still using this sled I would not use the 140's (too wide and too heavy). I would use a dionic 160 or put a hotswap on the bottom of the sled and use two hc-90's.

rb

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#8 Brant S. Fagan SOC

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 07:40 AM

While it's true that LCD monitors are different from the green screen monitors, they can be placed to allow a return to dynamic balance without great difficulty. The reason the rig feels different from the dynamic balance state of the green screen setup is that the masses are in different places and are of different values. I agree with Ron that the "loving feeling" of which he speaks is gone, it can be reclaimed by simply working consistently with the new configuration.

As to the image quality, I will not start that debate here since we are talking about other issues here.

Use what you have, pay for it all, and learn from your experiences so that your next upgrade purchases make you a better operator and build a better mousetrap/light saber.
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#9 Ron Schlaeger SOC

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 03:03 PM

Tom,
I went through this last year. First thing I did, after a little research, was to get in touch with Ron Baldwin. He was a tremendous help, not only with how he went about adding the batteries, but with input on how he would do it differently, if he had to do it again. Rather than mount the battery on the recording bracket, I drilled and tapped a couple holes on the very bottom of my PRO-I to attach a sliding base plate with a quick release. I had a buddy machine an interface between the QR plate and a Gold AB battery mount. I run an external cable, from Terry West, to the camera from the Gold mount, and I'm using Hytron 140s. The sliding base plate and where it is placed on the rig are all Ron's ideas and it works like a champ. Now, if I were to do it differently, the hot swap Ron mentions would be something worth looking into. This setup works so well, that at this time, I don't want to mess with it. If all this sounds like I owe Ron Baldwin several drinks - I DO!

RS
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#10 RonBaldwin

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 03:35 PM

thanks for the kudos -- but I just did it out of desperation and I am sure I wasn't the 1st. Some unsung hero not on the forum probably did it before I had my scotch induced dream of a donkey wearing a tu-tu with an anton bauer gold mount strapped to it's tail with a cable powering tiny wipers on a set of ass-friendly arabian goggles. Seems an easy mod could be done to a hot swap to make it 24 volts for cameras (or wipers) requiring that voltage!

but thanks Ron!
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#11 matthew pearce

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 12:29 AM

Ron - looks like you have given this a lot of thought already.
You mention the idea of a hot swap on the botom with two Batt's . My pro 1 has a modified base and I'm wondering if you would still think the external cable would be best or would you run the power thru the existing sled wiring - my post wiring was updated 4 years ago when I bought the rig.
The idea of a more permanent/ removable bottom of the sled system appeals, especially if I can fly two rented AB's
thx
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