I noticed the mod thing too...funny how operators would do their own nods in their basement/garage or go to people like Seitz or Derose or Russel to make stuff for them that we take for granted today. Seems that most of those cool mods ops came up with were copied and integrated by CP
I have a copy of the first Pro manual somewhere...love flipping through it. Imagine Teddy when he first saw the pro sled...I would have LOVED to have been there to hear the discussion
I owned one of the DeRose XY plates. It was a solution, though it was neither elegant nor lightweight. Bob did deliver some remarkable mods in there early on- and I was glad to put out the sheckels needed to buy his plate. Larry McConkey turned me on to his XY plate before Bob was making the one he sold. Larry's was a one-off and when Bob produced his I heard about it from Derrick Whitehouse immediately, and bought one.
I wasn't in Ted's apartment when he brought his first PRO Sled home but I was at his place when he first got the MovieCam Compact. He was the first person/ company to own one in the United States. He'd not even had it a week when we went to visit him. Chuck Jackson, myself, one or two other Ops...I cannot remember why Chuck was in NYC?.... Might have been the trip he made with Chris Haarhoff when Chris did some instructing and I helped out. Not sure. Anyway, we all trooped up to Ted's place in the WestBeth building. Stood there admiring the damned thing. Sitting there. On his sled. On the docking stand.
Then Ted says, " It's running". My jaw dropped. Next to every 16mm and 35mm body I'd ever stood next to, I could have sworn this device was not on. He put my palm against the door. VERY faintly I could feel the movement. I asked, what about a flashing light to be able to TELL you've got the film running? He cracked up and said it could be dimmed and disabled, and he'd done so just to have it purring along without our being able to tell.
For me, that evening and the concept of a Compensating Pendulum set the bar high in terms of gear geek.