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The future is lightweight?


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#1 Sam Morgan Moore

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 11:20 AM

You cannot expect to book any decent paying jobs with a flyer/pilot/scout/jr, etc. Pro cameras are NOT getting smaller and not getting lighter. I've heard many stories from DP's who hired a steadicam operator who showed up to work with a mini rig. Needless to say, their number was deleted from that DP's phone.


Im interested in the big small debate..

Argument - Big rig

Flies anything
Cams might get smaller but theres 3d and all that gubbins
Cams might get smaller but lenses don't
Big rigs have a lot of inertia

Argument - small rig
Low price= competitive (which is different from LoBall if your overheads are lower)
A camera like the BMD is an S16 raw shooter for little money, DSLRs, machine vision, GoPro
Future cameras weigh nothing..

The newb of today should learn a subtle touch and a small rig..

S

Edited by Sam Morgan Moore, 04 July 2012 - 11:29 AM.

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#2 Nicholas Davidoff

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 11:48 AM

I'm certainly not an expert on all things steadicam. And perhaps there are some thriving, niche markets out there for small GoPros or DSLR's, etc. But I've been working primarily on feature films (large and small, 3D and 2D), music videos and television. And I have not flown anything lighter than a fully loaded Red Epic. A fully loaded Alexa (quickly becoming the industry standard) is the same weight as a light 35mm film camera. With a codex it's even heavier. The new F65 is a heavy, bulky camera. 3D is a heavy, honking monster. I flew a DSLR on my rig but once and that was on a tiny spec spot I was helping out a friend with. Sure there are some occasional independent projects and music vids being shot on DSLR's or GoPros or whatever, but from my personal perspective, nothing in "prime time" is using mini cameras, nor will they be anytime soon.
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#3 Sam Morgan Moore

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 12:02 PM

I'm certainly not an expert on all things steadicam. And perhaps there are some thriving, niche markets out there for small GoPros or DSLR's, etc. But I've been working primarily on feature films (large and small, 3D and 2D), music videos and television. And I have not flown anything lighter than a fully loaded Red Epic. A fully loaded Alexa (quickly becoming the industry standard) is the same weight as a light 35mm film camera. With a codex it's even heavier. The new F65 is a heavy, bulky camera. 3D is a heavy, honking monster. I flew a DSLR on my rig but once and that was on a tiny spec spot I was helping out a friend with. Sure there are some occasional independent projects and music vids being shot on DSLR's or GoPros or whatever, but from my personal perspective, nothing in "prime time" is using mini cameras, nor will they be anytime soon.


Absolutely True - No debate

I had a shock being hired as a GoPro operator recently - not on a steadicam but for mounting/hiding and that was for a broadcast kids show for a major channel - it was defo the C camera with broadacst approved camera as A cam - but it was a full paid gig

It made me sit up and take that camera seriously - BTW I think it is a pile of .. as a camera - Ive also used it on a broadcast advert (Bcam)

The BMD (black magic) we dont know - but its similar spec in some ways to the Alexa - (!) apart from chip size - who knows what V3 will be like in a couple of years when a newb like myself might actually start to offer myself as an operator which I dont yet.. I certainly would not 'spring' a little rig on a DP

Kids show..
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S

Edited by Sam Morgan Moore, 04 July 2012 - 12:07 PM.

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#4 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 12:28 PM

Got to agree with Nick. Go Pros are bing used a crash cameras (disposable) but that is about the only place I see them used.

As for the F-65, it is indeed bulky, but it weighs a lot less (largely because of the new deck) than the Genesis/F35. I was pleasantly surprised when I had to dial my arm down a number of turns from the Panaflex XL2 I had on there the day before.
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#5 Tom Wills

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 02:23 PM

As someone who always ends up flying light cameras somehow (I blame the fascination with the 5D on a lot of this - they have money for a RED), I'll offer a counterpoint to the idea that light is the future. I'd say that lightER is the future, but it's still not as light as you'd think.

Most of the DSLR setups I end up flying clock in at between 15 and 20 pounds all up, and that's with still lenses. Even tiny little cameras start to add up when you're being asked to add a rod system, a matte box, wireless audio for a scratch track, wireless video, hdmi to SDI converters, a Bartech (or two), a battery and power converters up top to power all that garbage, and enough aluminum to hold it all in place. Even if that setup only clocks in at 15 pounds, what if they rent you some really nice glass to use? Or what if you show up and they want to pop a ring light on it? A 4 pound onboard monitor? Every little piece adds up, and for a professional operator, you absolutely have to be ready to take whatever they give you - no excuses, no reconfiguring, etc... Slowing down production by having to strip a camera down and build it back up, especially on a small job, is something that should be avoided if possible.

Then there's the fact that a big rig just flies better. Inertia is your friend when doing steadicam. That's just the physics - and that's why even with those 15 pound setups, I'm still flying a 15 pound weight plate, and a fully loaded PRO 1. I'm able to do more controlled slow moves, which I find is a lot of what directors want.

That's just my opinion, but I still think big rigs, and big rig operators have many a day left ahead of them.
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#6 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 03:23 PM

"what if they rent you some really nice glass to use? Or what if you show up and they want to pop a ring light on it? "

Yup, the commercial I did the other day on an Alexa was with Cooke 5s and when I showed up on set "oh, by the way, we have a ring light." That is when all those cables and brackets in the kit pay off. Managed to rig it quickly without Maffer clamps and was able to power from the sled.

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#7 Charles Papert

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 03:52 PM

Having a smaller rig as well as the big one was one of the best choices I made a few years back. Certainly it made DSLR flying more palatable; I did a lot of travel gigs in those weird couple of years and having a complete setup in two cases was a godsend. Plus it was more fun and felt good to fly a lighter rig. They key for me was having a sled that was as capable electronically as the big rig (and shared the cable and accessory collection). A small rig doesn't have to mean a crippled system, theoretically the only variable should be the maximum payload. This is well represented in the newest offerings from PRO that allow one to "build down" the sled to accommodate smaller cameras.

Alexas are indeed an industry standard, but they are by no means universal. I shot my series on the F3 last year and our sister show, "Workaholics" is shot on the C300. I'm sure there are others in the same boat. Are lenses gettings smaller? Kind of--the need for very fast primes is diminishing as cameras become more sensitive, and the slower lenses like the CP2's and Panchros are much lighter. As more low budget folks enter the 35mm sensor world, there is an increased demand for inexpensive lenses to go along with the cheaper cameras, and I foresee some interesting times ahead with that.

I've seen a few Scarlet/Epic shoots recently being done with rigs like Flyers and Varizoom Aviators. No doubt those operators would be flummoxed if they had to fly a ring light like Alec did, but then again--I'm sure they were being paid so little that one could hardly expect them to have the kind of extensive kit that generally comes with a fullsize rig.
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#8 Sam Morgan Moore

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 05:31 PM

I think SmallER is right.

I dont want to evangelise this camera - it equals the Alexa on paper (apart from chip size)- but probably not in the real word

But the next one in a year will meet it

BTW I speak from the background of spending $20k on a 4k Raw shooting stills camera.. something that is now avaialbe for $599

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#9 Richard James Lewis

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 05:51 PM

Alec. Did you ever get one of those rod adaptors that we made a few of a while back that slotted into the XCS plate? That could have made your ring light situation a little easier...

Edited by Richard James Lewis, 04 July 2012 - 05:53 PM.

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#10 Nicholas Davidoff

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 12:30 AM

I agree with Charles, it's great to have both a heavy and lightweight rig. I have a nifty lightweight sled myself that I assembled from leftovers of my old sleds. However I've had this small sled for over a year and have yet to use it. But it's a nice weapon to have in the arsenal. There will certainly be occasions were I might fly it, not only for small cameras but maybe as a viewfinder or rehearsal camera on big mondo 3D shoots. I've also customized my big rig in a way that it can be "built down". The batteries, balance and monitor can be reconfigured into a lightweight version. Although I don't own a small arm, I've discovered that I have a certain minimum weight that I like to work with. Anything below that and I find the rig too delicate, flimsy and unstable. Sure I can make the commitment to get used to this kind of delicate operating, but why bother when I can simply add my 10 or 20 pound weight plate and get myself in the operating weight I'm comfortable with.The heavier rig has better balance and stability with more inertia. I personally don't have a great interest in mastering the delicate finesse techniques of a superlight sled. There are probably some benefits to training with a light and delicate rig and that finesse work would translate to your heavier operating. So having two rigs could be a good idea. But having only a single lightweight rig as your exclusive piece of gear and expecting to maintain a worthwhile career as an operator? I don't see how this could work. Big rigs are certainly here to stay for many more years, I have no doubts about this whatsoever. I'd be curious to hear from an operator who makes any decent income exclusively with a small rig.
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#11 Sam Morgan Moore

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 01:06 AM

I'd be curious to hear from an operator who makes any decent income exclusively with a small rig.


Good to hear the input.

Remember this is the newb section so we might be offering up as ops in three years, not today

A big rig is probably a debt burden, and also for example in air travel, can affect the cost to the production due as CP said to the mass/amount of cases

Of course these costs come in to play more at the corporate level rather than feature/episodic productions..

S
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#12 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 02:37 PM

Richard,

You mean that incredibly useful adapter you (and Peter) made to bring the rods to Arri standard? The one that I was all excited about? Nah, as I told Peter at Cinegear, my bad; I meant to buy it (and should have) but I was on a long term show when you finished them and I forgot all about it. I'm sure it would have helped.
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