So its been good time now, and im ready to move up to the big rigs. Im flying loaded Alexa, EPIC, 45lb+ set ups weekly, but its a cheap knock off and is not going to cut it any longer. It's time to move up.
What would anyone recommend for my first professional sled (with $$$ of course being the #1 factor here).
Looking for something with dual AB mounts, 24v, solid LEMO taps for my Bartech and accessories.
I'm looking to get a master series arm, and thereby also looking at the master sled (good pricing) but I'm worried it's not modular enough for future upgrades. Or would it be more beneficial to just get one and sell it later one down the road?
There are a lot of great choices out there, both new and used. Almost everything used can be refurbished and brought to like-new condition, but the older rigs can be limiting as far as power, rigidity, HD compatibility, etc.
I'm selling my Ultra arm (on this site) even though there is nothing wrong with it, I just have schoolboy crush on the PRO arm. I replaced the adjustable, and fragile titanium socket with a solid steel one and its bulletproof.
Dave Chameides is selling a perfectly good PRO sled that has a damn impressive reel to prove its function, only needs a BNC cable to run HD to the monitor.
A used Preston FIZ is like getting a nice, used hammer. Easily made to function like new.
But new is nice.
It doesn't have to be the last rig you ever buy, but a good one might be.
I've owned three brand new Tiffen sleds and currently own an XCS Ultimate 2 and a PRO CineLive. The XCS and PRO both being modular.
If I could only own one rig for the rest of my career doing the variety of work I do now which ranges from live broadcast and small cameras to fully built Alexas it would be the PRO CineLive. If my work was all episodic television, MOWs and features I'd stick with the XCS or upgrade the CineLive to a DB 3 and a Gen 3 battery hanger. Modularity is the key to not buying and then having to buy all over again as your career evolves. Take it from someone who learned the hard and expensive way.
As they are configured now, the XCS and PRO CineLive will do all kinds of work very well but I obviously wanted the best that both have to offer.
Buy buying modular you are buying that "one sled" buying into the Tiffen system and you need toy multiple sleds. That's their business model, it's their goal to sell you three plus rigs as you progress
I know their rigs are not so popular in the US, because it´s a swiss manufacturer. But they have now a shop and service in the USA.
I just recently bought the new Raptor rig and I could not be more happy. At the price range of a Zephyr (Raptor plus Transvideo 6"sbl) I´ve got a grown up rig (until 38lbs). What I especially like about it- beside it´s smoothness- is the modularity. Just as a example: It´s possible to buy longer tubes to make a 2m sled, I wire different cables through the post within minutes, it´s possible to add breakout boxes wherever you need it, rod spacing from 15mm/ 60mm large until 19mm/100mm large, 12volt or 24 volt swap packs...and so on. Have a look on their website. It´s a small company with a great quality and service...and reasonable prices.
Edited by Marc R. Berger, 15 October 2013 - 11:10 AM.
Pardon me for leaving out Artemis. I've never owned one but I've flown and looked them over very carefully and it is a quality product, modular at that. Vitec owns brands like Anton Bauer and many others. They are a very very solid company that stands behind all their products.
i am currently flying the older ACT1 Artemis. (i am based in germany so it was just logical to start with Sachtler)
i absolutely can recommend the new ACT2 Artemis CineHD Sled with 1.8" Post.
It is very versatile and durable. Big Setups are no problem at all.
What i realy like is, that it is very short when not extended. you can be very compact, especialy if you dont use the C Batterie under the post. The Center-of-Gravity Yoke for Transvideo HD6 and HD8 or the new cinetronics is awesome, when you need to change the angle of the monitor (when using an HD6 it is crucial because of the not-so-good viewing angle) or when you are doing a 'dirty lowmode'.
-speaking of lowmode there is another great feature! You can quickly remove the topstage for flipping over the gimbal. That means you have the grip of the gimbal down below. -instead of griping just to the post itself. That's realy neat!
and there are nice small features like integrated tally electronics, a illuminated bubble level at the topstage or a fine-triming ring for adjusting the drop time in a split of a second.
if you want to stay open for different situations and may also work on broadcast the Artemis CineHD would be my advice. My opinion may be a little one sided as i never have seriously flown other rigs besides just for fun at workshops friends or exhibitions. But if you can try the new Artemis somewhere in your area, do it
But be aware of the cheaper Artemis ACT2 EFP HD. It has no 24V and the battery plate can't be angle adjusted.
The CineHD is also available in 1.5" post, but it is without the drop-time triming feature in that version.
Big rig features like four-stage post or tilting stage is not available at artemis. -if you are looking for such features.
'Modular' has two distinct meanings here. One is that if you have a problem with any part of your rig, you can swap it out for a replacement. I'm all for that kind of modular, and I wish I had it. However, three rigs on now, I haven't had any problems where having modularity would have helped.
For the other kind, where you can progressively upgrade your rig, I have zero interest. Thinking back to my first rig, which was all I could afford at the time, what would I have upgraded first? The gimbal? Then I'd have needed to change the post, that would have meant changing the stage, and then the base. I'd have needed a bigger arm to carry that, and a sturdier vest as well. Then I could have put it all back together and sold it as a system. Well, skipping all that, I just sold it off as a system, loosing about 2% of what it had earned me in the short time I owned it, and bought another system.
I'm on my 3rd Tiffen rig now, with no complaints. All the rigs retained 100% functionality, their resale value was great, and they were snapped up within days of putting them on the market. No messing around.
I've said this before: The two parts that one might upgrade of the Tiffen big rigs can be easily swapped out: the monitor, where technology changes rapidly, and the battery holder – again where types of batteries (AB or V mount) and the technologies are also advancing rapidly. The stage and the stage electronics (in the Archers, Shadows, and Ultras) can also be upgraded with different electronics and even motors.
It takes a few minutes for some of the swaps, longer for the others, but it can all be done non-destructively. It takes a bit longer to remove the stage and get to the gimbal, it's true.
However, as Chris says, I don’t think having a "modular" rig that starts with a big diameter post and $5K+ big gimbal is a useful starting point for a Flyer-sized rig. What would you do, put in a big, inaccurately machined gimbal with bad bearings to keep the price down? Better to start with a small but accurately made gimbal with excellent bearings and a proper diameter post – maybe one that doesn’t telescope, but the whole kit – sled, vest, and arm – is relatively inexpensive, with everything appropriately matched to each other, worked out for balance and size.
As for standards, like swapping out between brands, there’s only ever been one standard – the arm to vest connection – and PRO for some reason is a few thousandths of an inch shy of the standard. Curious. But making any standard for say, swapping out posts the way PRO or others do it (which is absolutely fine by itself) might not work if one has a different idea, like the tilt head as in integral part of the stage, or if one wants more flexibility in the wiring loom, which is difficult with a specific connector at each end of post. More or different wires up the post is both modular and customizable on some rigs, but not on others.
There are some standards shared by different car manufacturers, some they don’t. Tires are modular, steering and suspensions aren’t. Paying for the ability of swapping to a Porche suspension makes no sense on a Ford Fiesta.
Regardless, I would characterize Tiffen’s approach as providing a large variety of high quality sleds, arms, and vests for many markets and wallets. Within a given size (the bigger rigs), a lot can be swapped out and up-graded. If you need to sell your old rig, you can. If you don’t need to upgrade, you haven’t invested in that possibility. If you want to upgrade, you can without having lots of old bits lying around, and you haven't even locked yourself into the Tiffen brand.
I talked with Curt about putting his post and gimbal on my Pro sled and it definitely works. His 1.5 and 1.8 inch post have a Pro threaded option available for purchase, and both of the lower posts can work with existing monitor brackets built for 1.5, I believe the 1.8inch has a 1.5 inch inner post and the smaller 1.5 post uses the sleeve. I was going to go with the 1.8 inch setup and I think the only thing I would have had to change was to either have curt make me docking rings to fit my Hill bracket, or use Curts docking bracket. Curt was very very helpful and sent me some pictures of a Pro conversion with the 1.8inch setup post and gimbal.