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#1 Ricardo Casco

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 07:27 AM

Aloha all villagers of Steadicamforum. Let me introduce myself, my name is Ricardo, but call me Ricky. I'm a Director/DP, and 17. I've been starting a small video production company in Houston, and its going pretty great, but one of the last pieces of equipment I need is a Steadicam

I'm actually thinking of becoming an op, I've been running camera from broadcast to film related projects in music videos, churches, corporate videos, etc
I've flown a few rigs before, but limited to what people here have to offer, which is terrible (Glidecam V20, and some other chinese copies), but I can't really get good at it without owning one to practice all the time, and I don't feel like I want to be renting a terrible rig to practice

So my budget starts at 3500, maybe until 5500, preferably something that holds 20lb max of camera weight, or total weight (As I may be putting a Red on it)
I was thinking of getting the Pilot, thats my backup but the 10lb limit is just depressing

I'm sure you guys have spoken about these rigs, I've searched but havent really been satisfied, so I'd just like "rating"


MovCam
EEMOV
BassonSteady
Comfort Arm Vest Flycam5000 (I'm kidding)
KONOVA Pro201

I'm not really sure on which one I should go with, or if you guys have any other rigs you recommend that would be great

Thanks!
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#2 Tomas Riuka

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 07:31 AM

17 ???
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#3 Ricardo Casco

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 07:45 AM

17 ???


Let me make sure....
Yup, unless my birth certificate is a fake :)
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#4 Janice Arthur

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 09:04 AM

Ricardo;

Good luck and you should keep looking at the archives until you find it because I've personally read at least 10 of these separate threads myself.

Take a class and have fun.

JA
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#5 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 12:13 PM

Ricky,

If you are not a member of DVinfo.net forums, try seaching there, too. Lots of discussion on lower end/lighter weight rigs. Charles Papert has an authoritative comparative review from a couple years back.

Basically the consensus seems to be:

At the lower end of the weight/price range, nothing compares to the Tiffen rigs, and most anything else is just throwing your money away. Honest.

For about $4000-4500 you should be able to pick up a used original (aluminum post) Flyer. 15lb camera limit. For $5000-6000 a used second generation (carbon post) Flyer LE (19 lb limit). Price varies by the extras included. Buy from trusted sellers on this forum, DVInfo.net or DVXUser.com. Or wait a little and spend a little more to buy a new Scout.

Here's the thing. It's like a guitar, it doesn't play itself. So spend $500 on a workshop and another $65 on the Steadicam Operators Handbook and EFP Training DVD.

If you buy a crappy rig you won't be good enough to realize what a waste of money it was and how it's holding you back, until months from now.

Good luck!
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#6 Tom Wills

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 03:58 PM

Ricky,

I do understand where you’re coming from. Like you, I started my “business” (at that point, it was me with a MiniDV camera and a copy of Final Cut… but hey, it was a business!), and I got infatuated with Steadicam at a young age too. Hopefully I can give you a helpful perspective, and maybe one I wish I had gotten back when I was rushing into a purchase of a rig.

I would caution you to think about how much money you’re spending, and where you’re spending it. Realistically, if you are serious about the craft, any rig you can afford with your budget will be a “starter rig”, and you’ll eventually grow out of it. I know I did. Then, you’re forced to sell that rig, obviously for less than you paid for it. Non-name brand rigs will have even lower resale values too. (as in not Steadicam, Glidecam, Sachtler Artemis, etc...)

I think there are a few things that might be a little wiser than trying to get yourself a Steadicam right away. You could spend $500 of that money to go do a 2-day Steadicam workshop - that’s the kind of knowledge that will stick with you for years to come. Perhaps your future college will have a stabilizer of some kind. Or perhaps in a few years you’d have the money to get a much nicer rig, or a bigger used rig. Plus, you can meet up with some local new operators at the same time, and if you decide that you don’t really want to commit to Steadicam as a field, you could hire them to operate for you.

Another option for you, and an option I worked with for a while, was to own a very nice light rig (something like a Pilot, which you could easily get used within your budget), and if you get a job with something like a RED, rent a rig. If you have the money to be renting (or buying, god forbid) a RED, you can afford to rent an EFP, or something like it.

I know in these days it’s become trendy to be a do-everything own-everything jack-of-all-trades, but Steadicam is a lot more difficult than it seems, and is a whole lot of investment. It says a lot that not many of the top-level Steadicam operators are also DPs, editors, and directors. This is really a craft, and to do it well requires a really significant commitment.

Go do some more research, watch a ton of videos, read a ton of reviews, and really appraise your situation. You’re still young, go out and make some films, and see what you really need, really want, and have at your disposal.

Hope that helps you with your decision making. (And just for reference, I'm 21, and own a PRO sled and a Master arm... crazy world out there when someone my age can do something like that!)
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#7 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 04:34 PM

o my budget starts at 3500, maybe until 5500, preferably something that holds 20lb max of camera weight, or total weight (As I may be putting a Red on it)



Not going to happen and the rigs you list are crap
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#8 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 09:26 PM

Give him a little break guys! He properly introduced himself and presented his case which is better and certainly no worse than others who have come before him.

Also, don't underestimate 17. I know a 16 year old who has a 3 camera multi-cam studio in his basement and has been incorporated in his own production business since he was 11. Yes, 11. He may still be a teenager but he's got the jump business wise over a lot of people.

Welcome to the Steadicam Forum Ricardo!

You definitely need to do additional research in the archives here and the search function is your friend. There's probably not a topic that hasn't been discussed and argued over the years more than once.

If you're really serious about Steadicam, the first thing you need to do is take at least a two-day workshop with Peter Abraham or whoever offers workshops in your area. It's worth flying to LA or NY if needed... yes it's that important. You find that advise permeating the past postings and from almost every operator.

Ultimately Eric is right but you have to find your own answers in life.

Robert
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#9 Ricardo Casco

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 07:01 AM

Give him a little break guys! He properly introduced himself and presented his case which is better and certainly no worse than others who have come before him.

Also, don't underestimate 17. I know a 16 year old who has a 3 camera multi-cam studio in his basement and has been incorporated in his own production business since he was 11. Yes, 11. He may still be a teenager but he's got the jump business wise over a lot of people.

Welcome to the Steadicam Forum Ricardo!

You definitely need to do additional research in the archives here and the search function is your friend. There's probably not a topic that hasn't been discussed and argued over the years more than once.

If you're really serious about Steadicam, the first thing you need to do is take at least a two-day workshop with Peter Abraham or whoever offers workshops in your area. It's worth flying to LA or NY if needed... yes it's that important. You find that advise permeating the past postings and from almost every operator.

Ultimately Eric is right but you have to find your own answers in life.

Robert



Yup I've done enough research to see those chinese/korean/indian knock off brands are pretty bad and so much research to probably already know how to use an Ultra2c without looking at it, just wanted opinions on them. I may be going with the pilot now, to kinda test it out.

I've always loved the idea of operating, as I mentioned I own a pretty decent sized prod. company (lights, cameras, jib, Mac workstation) and really the last thing we're missing is a good Steadicam
Specially how we've been doing SO many projects, and all these times I hit myself in the head wishing there was an operator nearby, but the only thing available is that terrible v20

I'm not even sure if its something worth to not go to film school about, and instead of spending 85 grand having someone tell me how a tripod works, or they need me to wax the c-stand because it isn't shiny enough, I could spend those 85 grand on a great rig, wireless follow focus, tally marker, transmitter and remote monitor, etc. And if I ever do break and ankle, I'll have this nice system I can sell and take me back to film school

I'll be considering that course strongly

Thanks everyone, I'll be wandering around the forums and posting my work to get everyone's opinion

Edited by Ricardo Casco, 07 April 2011 - 07:02 AM.

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#10 James Davis

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 08:07 AM

If you have 85 grand to spend at your age, from money you have made as a business then well done to you Ricardo, you must be doing something right!
Personally having started out on the likes of pilots, and flyers, I then moved up to buying an archer 1, and am now in the position where I will probably be picking up a big rig in 4-6 months time and building up a second steadicam kit, my journey so far being 2-2.5 years with regards to steadicam.
The one thing I learned and have seen in terms of resale value with regards to steadicam, is that I think personally the minimum buy in point for anyone considering getting any sort of basic rig, should be a flyer/zephyr, this gives you the scope to expand a little in terms of weight range beyond minimal DSLR set-ups and so on.
The second you touch any of those crappy knock off brands and are you talking about your kit dropping down in value astronomically the second you take delivery of it.
Branded high quality camera stabilizers hold their value very well compared to other types of camera kit (digital camera bodies for example).
I would say until you can afford to purchase the likes of a flyer or better, your best bet is workshops, and renting a flyer/zephyr to practise on as often as possible. That way you will gain useful knowledge and skill for minimal financial outlay, and even if you decide after this that steadicam is not for you, at least as a DP you will have garnered a good insight into what it's like to be a steadicam operator, whats possible in terms of shots, and how you can better work steadicam into your shoots.
It's a win win situation, and then ultimately you should at that point be much clearer as to where you will progress with steadicam both as a DP and as a potential/future operator.
I know another DP who is doing the same at the moment, he has 10 years plus experience in the industry, access to experienced operators, and no particular designs on being an operator himself.
However he feels that it can only be a good thing as a DP to expand his knowledge of steadicam.
Food for thought, good luck whichever way you decided to go, and well done for getting a business off the ground at such a young age, that's a noteworthy achievement on it's own.
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#11 Ricardo Casco

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 08:12 AM

If you have 85 grand to spend at your age, from money you have made as a business then well done to you Ricardo, you must be doing something right!
Personally having started out on the likes of pilots, and flyers, I then moved up to buying an archer 1, and am now in the position where I will probably be picking up a big rig in 4-6 months time and building up a second steadicam kit, my journey so far being 2-2.5 years with regards to steadicam.
The one thing I learned and have seen in terms of resale value with regards to steadicam, is that I think personally the minimum buy in point for anyone considering getting any sort of basic rig, should be a flyer/zephyr, this gives you the scope to expand a little in terms of weight range beyond minimal DSLR set-ups and so on.
The second you touch any of those crappy knock off brands and are you talking about your kit dropping down in value astronomically the second you take delivery of it.
Branded high quality camera stabilizers hold their value very well compared to other types of camera kit (digital camera bodies for example).
I would say until you can afford to purchase the likes of a flyer or better, your best bet is workshops, and renting a flyer/zephyr to practise on as often as possible. That way you will gain useful knowledge and skill for minimal financial outlay, and even if you decide after this that steadicam is not for you, at least as a DP you will have garnered a good insight into what it's like to be a steadicam operator, whats possible in terms of shots, and how you can better work steadicam into your shoots.
It's a win win situation, and then ultimately you should at that point be much clearer as to where you will progress with steadicam both as a DP and as a potential/future operator.
I know another DP who is doing the same at the moment, he has 10 years plus experience in the industry, access to experienced operators, and no particular designs on being an operator himself.
However he feels that it can only be a good thing as a DP to expand his knowledge of steadicam.
Food for thought, good luck whichever way you decided to go, and well done for getting a business off the ground at such a young age, that's a noteworthy achievement on it's own.


Thanks for your comment. I've been really looking into the Flyer or Scout, but it seems for now my budget is kinda cut short. As soon as I'm able to finish paying off the camera, I'll sell the Pilot to go for the Flyer, even if it means a little loss, but having one is better than not having one
And I'm loosing many resources and shots I'd kill to have by not having one

I appreciate it
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#12 Scott Jason Gill

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 09:32 AM

Ricardo,

Welcome to the forum. I'd second many of the comments here. Definitely take that two day Flyer Workshop. Well worth the minimum investment even if you have to fly to one, but they do occasionally pass through Houston/Austin/Dallas. I would also advise you to look at the used Flyer market and make that your minimum entry point. Anything else, would be a very short term prospect. In the meantime, maybe hire an operator for your Steadicam shoot days. Most production companies don't own systems unless it is going to be a key part of their business model. You're not an island there in Houston, you have Patrick Neese (EFP) in Austin, George Niedson (XCS) in DFW, Marco Naylor (Ultra2) in El Paso, and of course me in DFW with a Nexus. Not to mention no less than 7 big rig operators a few hours away in New Orleans. Most all of us work Houston on regular basis. Best of luck to you, FWIW, I started my production business some 20 years ago at age 15.
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#13 Ricardo Casco

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 10:07 AM

If you have 85 grand to spend at your age, from money you have made as a business then well done to you Ricardo, you must be doing something right!
Personally having started out on the likes of pilots, and flyers, I then moved up to buying an archer 1, and am now in the position where I will probably be picking up a big rig in 4-6 months time and building up a second steadicam kit, my journey so far being 2-2.5 years with regards to steadicam.
The one thing I learned and have seen in terms of resale value with regards to steadicam, is that I think personally the minimum buy in point for anyone considering getting any sort of basic rig, should be a flyer/zephyr, this gives you the scope to expand a little in terms of weight range beyond minimal DSLR set-ups and so on.
The second you touch any of those crappy knock off brands and are you talking about your kit dropping down in value astronomically the second you take delivery of it.
Branded high quality camera stabilizers hold their value very well compared to other types of camera kit (digital camera bodies for example).
I would say until you can afford to purchase the likes of a flyer or better, your best bet is workshops, and renting a flyer/zephyr to practise on as often as possible. That way you will gain useful knowledge and skill for minimal financial outlay, and even if you decide after this that steadicam is not for you, at least as a DP you will have garnered a good insight into what it's like to be a steadicam operator, whats possible in terms of shots, and how you can better work steadicam into your shoots.
It's a win win situation, and then ultimately you should at that point be much clearer as to where you will progress with steadicam both as a DP and as a potential/future operator.
I know another DP who is doing the same at the moment, he has 10 years plus experience in the industry, access to experienced operators, and no particular designs on being an operator himself.
However he feels that it can only be a good thing as a DP to expand his knowledge of steadicam.
Food for thought, good luck whichever way you decided to go, and well done for getting a business off the ground at such a young age, that's a noteworthy achievement on it's own.


Thanks for your comment. I've been really looking into the Flyer or Scout, but it seems for now my budget is kinda cut short. As soon as I'm able to finish paying off the camera, I'll sell the Pilot to go for the Flyer, even if it means a little loss, but having one is better than not having one
And I'm loosing many resources and shots I'd kill to have by not having one

I appreciate it


Ricardo,

Welcome to the forum. I'd second many of the comments here. Definitely take that two day Flyer Workshop. Well worth the minimum investment even if you have to fly to one, but they do occasionally pass through Houston/Austin/Dallas. I would also advise you to look at the used Flyer market and make that your minimum entry point. Anything else, would be a very short term prospect. In the meantime, maybe hire an operator for your Steadicam shoot days. Most production companies don't own systems unless it is going to be a key part of their business model. You're not an island there in Houston, you have Patrick Neese (EFP) in Austin, George Niedson (XCS) in DFW, Marco Naylor (Ultra2) in El Paso, and of course me in DFW with a Nexus. Not to mention no less than 7 big rig operators a few hours away in New Orleans. Most all of us work Houston on regular basis. Best of luck to you, FWIW, I started my production business some 20 years ago at age 15.



Sounds good, believe me I'd kill to go with a used Flyer, even a Flyer LE, I could stretch my budget to get a used non-le flyer, but I've googled to the 2000th page and can't find anything
For now the Pilot would have to do, we don't use a Steadicam a lot, but whenever we have a bigger project with a Red or anything like that I'd have to bring over one of you big rig operators

Hopefully something will pop up before I hit Checkout

Thanks
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#14 Scott Jason Gill

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 11:26 AM

I'd throw a a WTB post. There's a number of original Flyer's lurking out there! Good luck.
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#15 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 04:06 PM

Guys, go easy on the quoting. You don't need to keep incorporating the complete thread in each post it plays havoc with the search feature
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