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Buying a Rig. Mixing top brands. How does it feel?


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#1 Tom Wilkinson

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 04:35 AM

Hi there,

 

I am new to the forum.  It's exciting times for me as I am currently researching buying my first set up.

 

Over the past few weeks I have become pretty much obsessed with reading the forum and speaking to every operator I know in order to get advice on my preferred rig.  It's all pretty crazy and on many occasions I have woken up in the middle of the night with my head full of operating and equipment, much to my girlfriend's bewilderment!   

 

I have a hundred questions,  however there is one big question on my mind this morning as I approach a time this week when I will need to make a decision...

 

When it comes to the top brands does anyone have experience with mixing and matching the arms, sleds and vests?

 

For example,  has anyone had experience flying say a PRO sled with a G70 - X arm?

 

Or an Exo vest with a PRO arm and sled?

 

OR more importantly as it might well be the way I go - an Exo vest with a G70-x arm (tired this at Tiffen the other day and felt very good)  and PRO sled??

 

 

Never mind the pros and cons of the items themselves, what I'm interested in is how they feel as rigs when mixed up.  Is it considered unwise or do many of you do it?

 

Thanks

 

Tom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#2 Afton Grant

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 07:37 AM

In an attempt to vaccinate this before it becomes an epidemic... the short answer is "yes".  Almost all of us mix and match gear, simply based on personal preferences.  Most of the top gear out there can be mixed and matched without much problem.  My advice would be to do as much research as you can.  Learn the pros and cons of all the components out there.  There are more opinions on this forum alone than you could ever handle.  Ask your friends.  Ask strangers.  Try things out.  Decide which parts suit you the best.  


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#3 Martin Stacey

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 07:54 AM

I'm not sure where you are based but try and get along to an event like Cinegear or the stabiliser expo and try the various types of equipment out for yourself. What works for one person might not be right for you. It is all about personal preference and what works best for you in the market that you are based. Form your own opinions because you're not going to get anyone agreeing on what is best for you here.
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#4 Jerry Holway

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 09:00 AM

Take a workshop first and try everything, but especially experiment with how any vest fits you. In terms of "feel," vests will be the most different.

 

If you closed your eyes and were given a hard-mounted arm and rig to fly, I doubt if you could tell one brand or mix of brands from another. Arms and sleds all work well and are easily intermixed.

 

BTW, at the last SOA workshop, (finished Friday), we had 7 or 8 different vests, both old and new; including modified vests, vests with custom padding, and a variety of brands and types of vests as well.


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#5 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 11:23 AM

If you closed your eyes and were given a hard-mounted arm and rig to fly, I doubt if you could tell one brand or mix of brands from another. Arms and sleds all work well and are easily intermixed


Well maybe you couldn't, but many of us here can tell the difference between say a g series arm and a PRO arm. Same goes for sleds and gimbals.

Vests are very personal, so you pick what works for you
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#6 Tom Wilkinson

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 12:42 PM

Thanks very much chaps.  I'm from England Martin.  

 

Jerry,  thanks for your input,  I was on your Oxford course in November 2011  (can't believe you don't remember me !  ; )  )

Very good it was too. Totally inspiring.

 

I have been practicing and doing low low budget jobs for the last year and a bit and now feel ready to go for it.  I have tried just about every vest, arm and sled now i think.  

 

On Friday i tried the G70 -x arm for the first time and thought that it was silky smooth and worked amazingly well with the Exo vest. They just seemed in harmony....  Do you think another arm would behave so well with the Exo vest??  


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#7 James Davis

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 08:13 PM

Assuming the arm is set up correctly, the performance of the arm should not be affected by what vest it's attached to.
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#8 Evrim KAYA

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 08:31 PM

the feel of the arm, vest and the rig are not very linked to each other. you can go and try different options out-there and get what feels right individually and create your own setup without the separate elements affecting each other.

 

Gun to my head, the only thing i can think of as a link between arm and vest would be an arm with narrower boom range could potentially benefit from a vest which has the ability to move the socket block up and down. That way said arm could reach higher/lower than its design limits without the use of a longer arm post or a J-bracket. Even than the effect would be just a few centimeters.


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#9 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 08:46 PM

Could someone please show me a shot where the "narrower" boom range of an arm made or broke the shot? I know that tiffen leans on that heavily when selling the g series arm but we could make the counter point that because the Tiffen sleds suffer from being absurdly long you can't really use that "Extra" boom range of their arm.

 

In the end you can only boom as much as your arms are long, you could have an arm with a eight foot boom range but half of that would be lost simply because of the length of your arms...


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#10 Lars Erik

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 02:44 AM

Hi Tom,

Welcome to the forum. Buying your first rig is a really big deal. A lot of people will say buy PRO, Other Tiffen, some Mk-v and so on.

The problem is that there is a lot of BS going back and forth from all types of owners with all types of gear. So being able to come to an understanding about what gear to invest in, can be difficult.

But in short, listen to Afton on this thread. Ignore all the others. Try it out. I wish I had been more patient with my first investment, not that I regret it, but I would most likely done it differently. The problem is, when you're starting out, you don't know shit. As I did. So don't rush it. You'll be with your first rig for a few years probably.

Good luck on your investment.
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#11 Evrim KAYA

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 02:58 AM

the feel of the arm, vest and the rig are not very linked to each other. you can go and try different options out-there and get what feels right individually and create your own setup without the separate elements affecting each other.

 

Gun to my head, the only thing i can think of as a link between arm and vest would be an arm with narrower boom range could potentially benefit from a vest which has the ability to move the socket block up and down. That way said arm could reach higher/lower than its design limits without the use of a longer arm post or a J-bracket. Even than the effect would be just a few centimeters.

 

-Gun to my head 

-the only thing

-potentially

-Even than

-just a few centimeters

 

These are the words i used in my post in order to properly minimize the importance of the "feeling link" argument which i presented ONLY as a brain exercise to the original question. In this argument i didn't name brands and certainly didn't poo on one of them.

 

and i did all of this only after saying that there is no real link and he should go out and try all the options out there.

 

good night and good luck!


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#12 Tom Wilkinson

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 04:06 AM

Thanks Lars and Afton, and thanks Evrim for your unbiased opinion.

 

Yes,  a little more research / testing will be done this week before committing. 

 

However the time to buy is now!   The wave of important retail decision making is coming to a crescendo.  Here we go!


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#13 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 09:29 AM

If you ask a simple question such as can we mix gear, i think the answer is that you are not ready to mix anything. I have been operating for a year and a half now and i attended to a workshop (and i very very strongly recommend you to go to one, it will allow you to see some more gear and learn how to use it) now for the time of my purchase, here is my story, not a guideline, just as an indication: A few months ago, I was like you. I looked into a used Steadicam Ultra 2C, they looked at the cheapest option from PRO (the cine live wasn't there at the time), then turned to look at a MK-V and contacted Mike O'Shea to see his rig. After all this I looked at my finances, I could have bought a big rig with no real problem, but after some math and extrapolation, I realized that: being new on the Steadicam scene, it will be hard to gain momentum and get that many high pay gigs to pay back the rig and that by the time I was good enough at operating it, I might be out of a lot of money to pay back and still unhappy with my purchases. I also realized that I work almost exclusively with Red Epics which is a lighter camera. This unlocked the possibility to get a used Steadicam Zephyr rig for a low price (about 9K) use it for a couple of years and pay it back quickly, train more, discover what I like and don't like about it and what I would want in a future big rig (pole size, accessories, tilt head, type of monitor arm, ultra post, weight, type of vest and so on). I am very happy with my zephyr and am learning how to customize it to my needs. If I ever need a larger rig, I know a couple of people that I can rent from and get the job done. Right now I am doing my first feature (Bollywood movie) with the rig and am having fun and learning everyday. Being in NY, I can't go to the next expos but I am planning on getting a plane ticket to one of the shows next year (unless the stabilizer companies come to NY for the Cine Gear East coast) if you buy 40K worth of gear it might be worth it to grab a ticket to try before making the big jump. My advise, take a part of the money for a workshop (or contact a local operator to get a few days of training with him) get a first jobs and rent a sled for them, in the meantime, plan what you would buy and wait for a good time, do not rush yourself because so and so said this was the best. Look at your available market see what could work (if only dslr maybe a big rig is overkill and unadapted etc) Take your time this is not a decision to be rushed. You only have one bullet in your gun and you need to get the bullseye, don't shoot yourself in the foot instead. Good luck.
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#14 Jens Piotrowski SOC

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 10:43 AM

Think about service availability in your area, stuff breaks or needs to be serviced.

Go with manufacturers you can reach easily and have good service records.
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#15 Tommy Stork

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 04:07 PM

Tom, Jens raises a good point with service.  At PRO the top priority is the servicing and repair of customers' gear if it goes down. They literally drop what they are doing to take care of you and get you back operating ASAP. When you call the PRO shop you will speak to one of three people who build the gear you own and are intimately knowledgable about it.  If your gear does happen to go down, (even if it's a holiday or weekend, even in the middle of the night!) PRO gives you the two head guys cell phone numbers to call so you can be operational again quickly! 


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