I made one, because it was the cheapest option. Weight is not a big concern for me, and I just need something with 4 wheels and shelves, so I made it. I also have a Magliner ( not for Steadicam) and it has withstood many years of abuse - I can recommend them for build quality. Sometimes heavier can mean sturdier .
I have the Filmtools Magliner conversion w/ Backstage Steadicam AKS. it's a great cart: It's strong, maneuverable, and I like that it fits easily in elevators; it is VERY heavy for its size, though. I do want to look into an Inovativ, but I can't justify the cost at this point in time. Carts do seem to hold their value pretty well, so when the time comes, I know I can easily sell it.
I own the Backstage Steadi Cart which you can see tons of photos of with my custom case system somewhere buried here in the cases section and I also own an awesome Inovativ cart.
I use both for Steadi, the Backstage and it's custom cases was built more for heavy AKS big camera Steadi jobs where I have to bring and secure all the spare bits and pieces including everything being flight ready. It's the system I pack and leave on the camera truck or stake bed.
The Inovative is actually more capable and a much finer piece of equipment in every way but I choose to use it for live and other jobs where I only need one side of my casing / drawer system.
Actually I don't think the Inovativ is any lighter than my Backstage cart minus cases but WOW does it roll the same amount of weight with 1/3 the effort! That may not seem like a big deal but rolling in and out of the back halls of the casinos and convention center here is monumental especially across the carpeted areas. The Inovative saves time and a lot of physical effort. Producers like you to save time which is money and at the end of the day we all like to save some energy.
When I was going through the options from Backstage I couldn't imagine why on earth you'd consider a motorized version. That changed the first day I pushed that sucker on carpet across the Las Vegas Convention Center and down the Strip for an evening of b-roll. The Inovativ makes it a whole lot easier... a LOT easier. With the Backstage I sort of blew off the value of the brake until we shot on location in a hilly area where the cart with gear that weighs over 300 lbs wants to run away from you and you are the brake. The Inovativ handbrake lets you easily control the descent with minimal effort and maximum control.
Steve, you have to ask yourself where you are with your overall gear, finances and business. The Inovativ is undoubtedly slick, sexy and first rate quality but you are paying for that. With two rigs now I needed another cart and wanted something that matched the quality of my PRO Cine Live and XCS Ultimate 2 sleds. If you have all the basics and backups covered and the extra $2000 isn't going to impact your finances it's up to you whether you value the quality and ease of use over your money. The other side of the coin is are you at a point in your career where your gear and career are solid enough to afford versus want. Looking back over the years and miles pushing the Backstage around I might have bought a Inovative to start.
There is nothing at all wrong with a Backstage, it is a solid workhorse with a proven track record and great service behind it. It is also a cart you can use for a few years, refine your system and then build a custom system with Inovativ top to bottom.
In all fairness I want to remind you that Inovativ is a Strategic Partner with The Stabilizer Workshops. But, I paid for my cart, it was not gifted to me. Just like welcoming all rigs, I welcome and try to show gear from as many manufacturers as possible so our students can touch, feel and decide for themselves. I never approached Sig at Backstage for a partner because Inovativ beat him to it. But, my students do get to use a variety of gear across the board.
I have the first cart inovativ sold and the first Steadi-Cart. Before that I had a Magliner. I use a "Coffin box" with three drawers on the bottom of my cart, with the magliner EVERY time you pushed the cart it would "Lozenge", squeek and generally feel like shit. This is a cart that is transporting hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gear. And while this is petty when a producer sees that they wonder why they are paying you so much. Hate to say it.
I couldn't be happier with my inovativ cart and honestly I'm buying my cart for two things, to move and protect my gear and to keep my AC happy. This cart does that. Rolls easy, very easy and has real brakes that actually hold the cart in place. Two Disc brakes off a tandem bike vs the dinky little foot lever brake on the magliner, you want to watch a AC panic and run faster than you've ever seen them run? set that brake on a hill.... Squeek, Squeek, Squeek "Holy crap!!!!!" run run run....... it' would be hilarious if it wasn't so tragic. The construction quality on the inovativ is second to none. It's the last car you will ever buy and it will look smart from day one till the day you retire.
I would not call the Magliner Jr heavy, nor the TR-05 lightweight. Just the opposite really. Though I'll concede the Jr. may be heavy for it's size.
Also, not sure why you say the Magliner is not collapsible, though you acknowledge it assembles. It does collapse, just not as cleanly as the other two.
I've owned the Jr. and currently own the TR-05. I liked that the Jr. was small and light(er). But the TR is 5 times as stable, and I actually find it easier to lug around when collapsed despite being significantly heavier. It's designed that way. I have to go up and down 11 steps every time I load in and out of my building. I was worried when I got the TR that I would hate myself for it because of the weight. Turns out it was the best decision ever, so much easier than the magliner! The TR is smaller than the AC carts (other than the occasional magliner I see) which makes maneuvering a breeze. But it's still plenty large enough for my gear and to leave table space. Lastly, it does not take long at all to assemble. perhaps a bit longer than the magliner, but not noticeably so.
I have seen the innovativ's in action for steadicam, and if I ever get another cart it will be one of those. Just as rigid as my TR, lighter than the magliner, easier to build/collapse than either of those. But I have no regrets with the TR and do not plan on switching any time soon.
Sanjay, could you please post some pics of your cart!? Just out of curiosity! and... BTW sorry for that time you came in Venice and you needed a Rickshaw, Matteo Quagliano told me that but I was shooting in Rome that time!
Anyway... I can say for sure that a rickshaw or a segway for a running shoot in venice isn't a good solution because the floor is full of pebbles and there's no level or a flat surface where you can run with it.
Back to the post...
Robert, I saw your cases and your post about a few months ago, very impressive!
Reminds me one of the firsts Erwin's carts. I'm always fanatic about this kind of "on set ready cases setup"
Eric, maybe we can bring a inovativ and magliner cart one day and drive them on one of most steepest streets in San Francisco and make a test to see what happens! Anyway, I never had any problem with the magliner's brackers... but to be honest, I never tried stopping a magliner on a non-horizontal surface, so... I can't say it doesn't move.
Brian, very good post! About the collapsible term, yes, I know, you are right!
About a year ago, I bought a Backstage TR-04JR cart directly from Backstage, and I've been very happy with it so far.
Background: I wanted a shorter length cart to accommodate my apartment's narrow hallways, but still rugged enough to work on set. Plus, it still collapses and goes compact if you need to ship it.
Cost: $1,280 (When I bought it)
Spanner bar with baby pin: $120?
Vest hanger: $105
The cart is 36" long, so it isn't as short as the shortest Inovativ carts, but I really don't think you'd want a 30" cart (topheavy, space issues, etc).
When on set, I have 3 Pelican boxes I work out of: a Pelican 1560 (slop box), Pelican 1600 (batteries and charger), and Pelican 0450 (toolbox with most of my kit organized). Everything fits pretty nicely, and I find it's the right mixture of extra space for additional boxes (for when bringing a Preston, etc) but also not so much space that I start carrying additional camera boxes.
We have had our scout 42 for a while now and it is quite the work horse. Inovativ builds a hell of a product we often have several hundred pounds of stuff on it and it rolls far easier than any magliner I have ever used. It works so well in fact we ordered a Ranger for our dedicated steadicam cart. Expensive, YES but I looked at it this way... every time I am on set my gear is on a cart of some kind and I want what makes my life easy whether I am pushing it across the national mall or in a vacant buildings loading dock ramps it makes life (mine at least) easier than any other cart I have owned.
Edited by dash adamson, 08 October 2013 - 03:59 PM.
We also have a Scout and Echo. After receiving these cart they became our workhorse especially when traveling. We carry all our gear to the airport; check in all the equipment, collapse the cart (including the wheels on the scout). Pick it all up at the other side. They also store really well compared to other carts:
Quick update regarding the TR-05. While I've never felt like it took terribly long to set up, I thought it took longer than it does.
Today I timed my build for the first time. Didn't use a stop watch, just looked at the time. Didn't rush, just standard speed. Started at 10:00, finished at 10:03. So that could be anywhere from just over 2 minutes to just under 4. Surprised, cause I figured it was 5-6 minutes, I used a stopwatch to time myself taking it apart: 3 minutes, 32 seconds.
Perhaps of note is that this does not inculde taking the wheels off, which I only do for shipping. But the wheels stayed on when I had the Magliner, so for me at least it's a 1-1 comparison. I feel like the magliner is probably closer to 1 minute than 3, but I don't feel like this is a significant difference when considering the value of the cart on set. I'm always early and built by call, so all this means is I need to be 2 minutes earlier than with a magliner.