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The Archer sled's real world weight range


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#1 Rich Cottrell

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 09:15 AM

I was wondering if any of you Archer owners or former Archer owners could chime in. I am looking for a second rig for flying lighter camera setups.
I have a Pro Arm so I just want a second sled.

My current sled is an XCS U1 sled so with the lighter setups, i have a way overkill system...
[and this lower end sled might work to have a more competitively priced system for these "smaller" jobs].

so I am looking at the Archer for my #2 sled, and i was wondering if anyone could give me an idea as to heaviest camera setups they have used on this sled. I do live TV stuff so this lighter sled might work for some of these jobs too.

I will contact Tiffen on monday but their web site says this sled can handle 30lbs. net camera weight, but that does not tell the whole story...
The question of what monitor and how many batteries starts, so i am just looking for some real world feedback.

My arm can handle anything, so the real question is what can the gimbal handle and at what point does that smaller center post not handle the heavier setups.

thanks for any info...
and the first person who turns this into a Tiffen hater session will get a slap over the head with a philly cheesesteak!
rich
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Richard J Cottrell
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#2 Aaron King

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 09:37 AM

I work with the Archer 2 and havent' had any issues yet with going over it's limits. I can successfully handle anything ranging up to a fully equipped Alexa. This is including compact zoom, 3 Channel FI+Z, matte box, Boxx or CamWave transmitter, Cinetape... I still work to reduce as much unnecessary items as possible, but it works fine with no issues. The only thing is the Archer 2 is not very bottom heavy, so when working with that kind of set up I attach weights to the bottom so that I can have a much shorter post.

There are other operators who can go into much more detail for you, but the Archer 2 has not let me down yet. I bought the Archer 2 based on the cameras and budgets used in my market on a daily basis and we do not exceed the Alexa which with everything fits perfectly at the top end of the rig. I have been very happy with it's performance.
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#3 James Davis

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 11:12 AM

Can't speak for the archer 2 but I have one of the original archer set-ups and it handles bigger cameras no problem.
I've had an alexa with onboard battery, cinetape, Preston single channel focus system, a camwave mounted to the bottom under slung on my second battery plate which I run in parallel with the original battery plate and a d-tap to d-tap cable.
I would say that's probably close to the limit of the rig but it handles it find.
I've also had a red one/red mx on there plenty of times, I power it off of the rig using the cameras red bricks to power everything, this is where the second battery plate really helps as it gives you the ability to hot swap batteries.

I always work to strip off as much weight as possible removing all unecessary brackets where possible and always requesting a clip on matte box.

With both the red one/red mc and alexa this means you can save a significant amount of weight by losing the bridge plate and lower rails.
If shooting on the red always try and insist on using compact flash cards on steadicam too, as this saves a lot of weight and prevents the unecessary use of weighty drives and possibly very heavy combined drive/battery mounting cages.

With the alexa I use the little viewfinder rod that protrudes from the handle if I only need to mount one motor, you need a small torx driver to remove the sliding sleeve but once that's done it works a treat.

Hope that's helpful.
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#4 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 05:38 PM

Check out the new PRO-Lite sled. I too have a PRO arm and an XCS Ultimate sled which is as you say a lot of overkill with smaller cameras and even live TV. I'm definitely on the list for the new PRO Lite plus I'm adding an Atlas arm to my collection. You could eventually get an Atlas chassis, use your existing black / blue canisters and have a whole new lightweight rig that is full featured.

The Archer / 2 is fine rig but the build, gimbal, electronics and top stage don't hold a candle to the new PRO Lite, plus the PRO Lite is completely modular and upgradeable for the future.

Robert
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#5 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 05:49 PM

I was wondering if any of you Archer owners or former Archer owners could chime in. I am looking for a second rig for flying lighter camera setups.
I have a Pro Arm so I just want a second sled.

My current sled is an XCS U1 sled so with the lighter setups, i have a way overkill system...
[and this lower end sled might work to have a more competitively priced system for these "smaller" jobs].



PRO-LITE

(There are even parts that will let you use your XCS center post and gimbal.....)
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Eric Fletcher SOC
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#6 William Demeritt

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 05:59 PM

Does the guilty party get to eat the philly cheesesteak once whacked with it? I'll say all sorts of things for an authentic cheesesteak!

On a more serious note, if you wanted to just get enough components to swap to "lightweight sled mode", maybe consider the PRO modular components they just announced? I think you can use your U1 centerpost and gimbal, so just invest in the UJB/LJB, DB2, Gen IV battery hanger and whatever else. Cuts out the cost of a new gimbal and centerpost.

Or, you can build a full modular "light/live" sled (with Tally) for around $16k.
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#7 James Davis

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 06:34 AM

Hey guys,

Out of interest where can you see details of the Pro-lite sled, I don't see anything specific on the pro website?

cheers
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#8 chris fawcett

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 10:49 AM

Hi Rich,

The heaviest setup I've flown on the A2 was Alexa, Codex, Scorpio + two motors, mattebox + three filters, 6" Transvideo HD monitor, Transvideo Titan HD, Cinetape, one large 12V V-lock battery, and one 24V battery. The camera payload up top was 18kg, and the was about max for the sled I'd guess. However, if those are the weights you're thinking of carrying regularly, you should probably buy a bigger sled, but that's what the A2 will manage in extremis.

I'm loving the A2 features: motorised stage, tilt head, the ability to radically alter the pan inertia, and to trim the tilt and roll inertia by means of the accessory balance weights. For me, it's the perfect rig. Some pics of that setup:

http://steadivision....source/106.html
http://steadivision....source/107.html
http://steadivision....source/108.html

All the best,

Chris
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#9 JobScholtze

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 01:35 PM

Hey guys,

Out of interest where can you see details of the Pro-lite sled, I don't see anything specific on the pro website?

cheers

Ask GPI-PRO, the will answer all your questions. Its like sayd by many others, great stuff there at pro, and easy to upgrade bit by bit. You cant go wrong with them.

+ if you ever decide to sell it, it sells in a heartbeat.
There new arm is another smart idea. Love to have one. ( i owne already 2 pro arms )
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#10 Jens Piotrowski SOC

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 02:31 PM

Hey guys,

Out of interest where can you see details of the Pro-lite sled, I don't see anything specific on the pro website?

cheers


http://www.gpiprosys...I/mod_sled.html
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#11 Rich Cottrell

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 05:22 PM

so how many cheese steaks do i have to buy for this beat down?
And NO, i eat them after i hit you guys!

Seriously, the Archer 2 does have a few things that make it stand out.
Things that are not just bells, but real features that make it stand out for its price point.

The Tilting stage is one thing that i am thinking about.
Tiffen will have the upper hand till that patent expires, at which point every sled will probably have one as an option of some sort. A tilting stage is something that i would use if i could, and when i used to rent Ultras i did use often.

As to the Archer's smaller post, for little cameras i feel this is a good thing. Here is my reasoning:
For heavy rigs, a 2 inch post is great. it is rock solid and it gives you more torc on pans, but...
for a small camera, the extra rigidity of 2inches is not needed as much. In turn, the smaller post gives less torc in pan so you have a more inert "feeling" sled with the lighter camera.

NOW for the fellas I need to beat with cheesesteaks,
Wiz or no wiz?
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Richard J Cottrell
South Philly, PA

#12 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 05:29 PM

"radically alter the pan inertia, and to trim the tilt and roll inertia by means of the accessory balance weights"

Chris (or anyone), exactly what are you referring to and describing? Outside of something like Antlers I don't think I've ever needed to do anything to alter my sled "radically" other than the typical adjustments for drop time, balance and pan inertia, nor have I had to add extra non-functional weight(s).

Thanks!

Robert
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#13 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 07:43 PM

Rich,

I do feel the need to point one thing out. I have a custom light weight rig. It's a Pro Lite (original - not the new one which is actully called a gen 4 base). I had a 1.5" post on it with a 3a gimbal but I wanted it to feel like my main rig (Pro 3 with XCS post & gimbal). I ended up putting an XCS post on it becuse I discovered it does not weigh more (give of take a tiny bit) AND the XCS gimbal with a sleeve for a 2" post is a mere 2.10". Most post wraps/gimbal sleeves on smaller posts are 2". In short, no differance in feel but damn nice to know that I can put a big monitor on there, extend the post a bit (its a shorter post than my main rig) and add a third battery to make it a true back-up sled.
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#14 chris fawcett

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 05:33 AM

Hi Rich,

No whiz for me, please.

The tilt stage is great if you don't have a superpost. There's so much elevation lost when you have to tilt the whole post. I usually set the tilt to suit the shot. For example, on a recent music video, the star's people wanted me always looking down at her from an exact angle that they were annoyingly adept at identifying, so I set that tilt on the stage and was able to operate with a vertical post most of the time. I guess if you don't have a tilt head, you'll never miss it, but I'd miss it like bejezus.

Another thing you get used to is the motorised stage. On a feature last year, the AD was puzzled at first when I would do a lens change at one when we were pressed for time. "Don't you need to balance?" he'd ask. I guess he was expecting to see me twiddling knobs. With the motorised stage, I was able to balance without anyone noticing. The AD loved that I always looked ready to shoot. It made my job easier and quicker, and it made me look good on set (in my mind at least).

As for rigidity, of course you can always make a post more rigid. The question is, how rigid do you need it to be? I'm content with the balance between weight and rigidity of the A2 post. I run around with it and shake a lot, and it doesn't vibrate. Running around and shaking it keeps me happy, I find that, generally, I don't need to sit on it. As for the gimbal, I would be academically interested in a side-by-side comparison of different gimbals, but as it is, I can walk around my gimbal, hands off, without the rig panning. Since I have never needed to perform this deranged manoeuvre in a shot, I figure the gimbal is more than good enough for my needs. It's certainly stood up to 50% more weight than Tiffen recommends without any problems (sorry Robin). As for grip size, well, maybe I don't have a big manly hand, so I don't need a big manly gimbal to stick in it. The torque I can exert through the A2 gimbal in pan is amply sufficient.

As to Robert's point, I adjust pan inertia all the time because I can. The way the monitor and battery mounts rotate at the end of the A2 rods allows you to add a huge amount of pan inertia to a light rig. Alternatively, I can tuck the monitor right in, and flip the batteries in under the post when I have to push through crowds, shoot amongst dancers, or just require a whippy, reactive rig. Yep, setting pan inertia is a big deal for me, and again, I guess if you don't do it, you won't ever miss it.

And while we are on monitors, how on earth could I ever be bothered with a monitor that wasn't mounted on a centre-of-gravity mount? Surely every other rig on earth has this feature now. I do like changing the angle of my monitor now and then without having to rebalance the rig.

And now to the concept of 'useless weight.' I'm glad you brought this up, Robert, because I sure as hell wouldn't add it if it were useless. I add it exactly when and where I want it. For example: I need to shorten the post; I need to add inertia (pan, tilt, whatever); I need to augment payload weight to counterbalance an accessory on the lower dovetail. I don't add it so I can have a workout, so I'm delighted that my sled does not have that weight built into it all the time—call me lazy. I'm also happy to have the option of adding 'spot' weight exactly where I want it. Depleted uranium might be better, but I'm content with the density of steel. If I don't actually require another battery on the sled, I'd rather have it sitting on the charger, or preferably in the store I didn't have to buy it from.

There may be a perception that somehow we Tiffen owners buy Tiffen Steadicams out of some form of ignorance, misguidedness, perversity, bribery, or insanity. I put it to you that it is nothing but pure personal preference. I made an informed purchase, that was not limited by available funds, for the the rig I liked best. I came to my decision after trying and evaluating every other system that was available, and rejecting it, and out of respect for those manufacturers that do an admirable job of pleasing their customers I find it beneath me to state in a public forum what it is that induces in me various states of bewilderment, hilarity, and loathing regarding their systems.

With my A2, I am as happy as a dog with two dicks. My A2 sled doen't vibrate, my G50 arm doesn't bounce—my LX vest has an odour reminiscent of cheez whiz about it, but for that, I have only myself to blame.

Whichever of the immaculate contraptions you fly, may you fly safe.

Chris
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#15 William Demeritt

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 02:02 PM

With all due respect Rich, I don't see any Tiffen bashing. I see numerous people trying to offer you helpful insight into purchasing the equipment that's already compatible with your ecosystem. If certain functions of the A2 and Tiffen sleds in general appeal to you moreso, then disregard people's input urging you towards sleds compatible with what you already own.

However, as far as I can tell, nobody has bashed Tiffen here. To encourage another manufacturer for any reason does not construe bashing.
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http://www.wbd3.com





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