I had just thrown up a photo of my new case on another thread and already got someone interested, so I figured Id put out a review on it.
I had my case custom built by Thermodyne. It is inspired by the Archer2 case that I used to have, also by Thermodyne.
Thermodyne was used to the Tiffen sleds and cases claimed to have never seen another rig, so they did whatever scanning and 3D mapping they needed. They let me meet with the gentleman who was actually doing the scanning and cutting and treated me like I was putting in an order for hundreds even though it was just one case. I had to leave my rig with them for a few days so that they could come up with a configuration.
I asked them to cut the mold for the sled and to cut several cavities for aks since I knew there would be room. I can fit my plates, cables, kneepads/AB twin charger and 2 Dionics. There is enough room to keep my hyperdeck attached to the back of my monitor as well. My arm (atlas) folds in 90 deg and I had them put my spare canisters in as well. I asked for a two-tier system and the shelf is not flimsy foam, but is a 1/8" thick plastic shelf which is sandwiched in foam.
The case also has an extending luggage handle and two durable wheels, as well as three very sturdy spring loaded handles for lifting. Just to let you know, the case with the rig is beefier and heavier than I was expecting, but I have come to not mind, because it is holding my first born and I feel very confident putting it on a plane, as I used to do with my Archer2 back when. So I guess second born. Here are the dimensions in the laying position (as photographed):
30" wide x 22.5" tall x 23.5" deep and its weighs in at about 40 pounds. It has 4 mickey mouse twisting clasps and a place to lock it with TSA or padlock.
With tax it came to $640. The whole process from dropping off the rig to picking up the case was probably 14 days, which may have been a little long, but I think it had to do with mapping, configuring, testing, cutting, etc. They sent me the sketches along the way.
So far the case has been excellent in every way, except maybe lifting. The large flat top has been nice as a small table of last resort, with a few grooves so my screws dont goin spinning around. It is heavy, maybe close to 40 pounds, and it is wide, and Im not a big dude, so I ramp it up into my truck typically and have an AC help it out of my vehicle.
you can see it on the thermodyne website (thermodyne.com) It is the third picture in the slide show.
I dealt with Bill Morgan, and he was super easy to work with. Thermodyne is about 45 minutes straight shot east on I-10/60.
If youve got any questions, let me know or contact Bill. They can set you up with this configuration for a PRO CineLive and Atlas, but if you have a different rig they may need to get it inhouse for a day or two, except maybe Tiffen rigs, for which I am pretty sure they have already built cases.
Just so that youre aware, the arm is not laying flat, but is bent at the elbow so that it folds to 90 degrees. If I had it laid flat, the case would have been very long or three tiers or somethin else entirely, but I don know that it owuld have been bigger. The only reasonable alternative would be to have it on a diagonal going from "floor to ceiling" but you still would loose a lot of real estate.
it is a bit bulky but I have found that it is great for travel, which was probably my number one reason for going with a one-case system. I have done one-case and two-case setup and I came back to one-case for travel overall.
My "Libor Edition #13" arm is really what decided the configuration
38kg! It is good to keep every individual case under 22.5kg for costs on airlines and your carrying on a hangover. 36kg is the limit on some airlines for larger bags. I am sure you could lose 2kg from that case.
Nice design. I prefer two cases and two assistants and an ice cream.
2 assistants?! AND ICECREAM?! Thomas, thats livin. Icecream just got added to my deal memo.
A few things -
First, technically it is not allowed to travel with LiOn batteries in a checked bag. As far as Ive been able to tell, there isnt any really good way around this, you have to store them overhead or rent at location. That being said, weve all gotten away with having some checked, but I wouldnt go with 4, maybe 2.
The recorder would probably come out, the docking bracket could go somewhere else, etc. For a flight, I would slim it down.
That also being said, I pretty much fly Delta everywhere (hometown pride, what can I say). The Delta website has this page dedicated to "Special Baggage" including film and video equipment, explicitely.
This means that an 85 pound / 38 kilo case makes it on to the plane for at most $75 but usually $50 (sometimes they hit me with a baggage -$25- and then overage-$50-but usually they just make it a special baggage rate of $50)
This doesnt necessarily mean it will be easy. A lot of those who are doing the scanning and checking of the bags may not be aware of this special baggage rate (I heard a Delta manager tell on coworker "put K in the rate"), and very often they need to have a manager involved. I always have a prinout of the page for which I provided the link above, just so that they know I am not screwing with them. Almost every airline has this, just check in to it.
Valid photo ID with company insignia is required. I used to work full-time with a production company and we made IDs for this purpose. Literally we just put our passport photos on a 3x4 card with our name and title/position, company name and logo, a barcode that goes nowhere, and "MEDIA PASS" emblazoned across the bottom. Then we laminated them. Once or twice I got a questionable look, but every time I just refer to the Delta website page, and they have to comply, because Im following the rules. I dont really mind $50 / bag and almost always production foots most or all of it. Could also be part of your kit rental...I no longer work with the company but I use the ID all the time without a problem.
This case looks really nice. I had Thermodyne re-do my Archer case when I rebuilt it. They did all the custom foam and replaced the wheels with heavier duty ones and replaced all the latches. It was around $300 and took less than a week.
I have since purchased a Pro Cine Live and need a case. Is this the same size case as your Archer 2? I can't believe you can fit all that in there! Also, what docking bracket are you using? I don't see it in the case.
Jess-Good to know about Southwest. My only concern with them has been their electronics damage policy-they wont do anything about the cost of any damaged electronics, but that may be the case with any airline, However I do have a buddy whos brand new DB3 side-side handle was just knocked about 20 degrees off kilter. They gave him about a hundred bucks right ff the bat, but I am still waiting to hear about their contribution to the whole repair/replacement. It was in a pelican too...dunno how that happened...
Colin-The case is about 20-25% larger than my Archer2 case. The only reason why this case is larger is because I had them design a space for the Atlas arm, as I dont like storing the arm through the vest, and I was using the G40 back in the day which conveniently split in half for travel, so a smaller thermodyne accommodated the arm and Tiffen rig well. The Atlas is folded into a 90 degree angle, but this still widens the case several inches. I bet you could have the sled mold created without the arm cavity and then store the arm in the vest, which may then be the size of an Archer thermodyne. If you call Bill Morgan (info in the original post) he can talk to you about it, as he still has the designs and images for my case. It is ready to be mass produced! I have an old PRO (1?) docking bracket with the plastic knob. I dont like it much as I cant do a "normal" dynamic balance spin test because its a little short, but after buying a new rig and arm, I had to cut a few costs. The bracket travels in the upper deck of the case in a lens wrap. You are more than welcome to check out the case at your leisure. I will be going to PRO tomorrow to have something checked out sometime in the middle of the day. Feel free to call text or email me if youre around (info in my profile). Otherwise Im on the westside