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First big Steadicam Purchase; Questions and Idea's

Newbie Steadicam Purchase Kit

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#1 Emily St. Pierre

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 05:33 PM

I'm looking to invest in a better/bigger rig. I started out with the merlin a couple years ago. I took the Steadicam course and got a flyer after that. I'm finding it more difficult to work with the bigger the shoots get so I've decided to invest in a Zephyr. I mostly work with RED camera's (Scarlet and Epic) and DSLR's. I've done research and I think I have a list of things I will need. I'd love if someone could take the time to look through it and see if i'm missing anything or something is unnecessary for this kit. I also have a couple questions to end it with. 

 

-Steadicam Zephyr HD AB mount Standard Vest -$10,000

- IDX A-AB2E V- mount Adaptor  - $160 

-AB H50 Digital HyTRON 50 Battery or AB DIONIC HC Lithium Ion Battery ($280 or $470, not really sure which I should invest in) 

-Ikan C 2KA Portable Dual Battery Charger- $300 

-3007901 Mini Low mode F Bracket - $200

-Bartech Follow Focus Kit -$4,000  (Don't know if this is the best option for a beginner) 

-Teradek Bolt Wireless 1080p60 SDI- $2,400 (best option for beginner?)

-Cables for RED (Scarlett and Epic)  Lemo(Steadicam) to DTap, Dtap to Red, D Tap splitter $200-500 each 

-Cables for Canon DSLRs  (not really sure about cables needed yet) 

 

Questions: 

1. I'm not sure if the cables for RED camera's are all there or maybe some of them don't need to be there. Cables for the Canon I still have to research.

2. The Bartech and the Teradek are both pretty expensive and I'm not sure if those models are really necessary for the stage i'm at now but I know those models are reliable and maybe worth investing in for the long run? 

3. I don't know if I should invest in the Digital HyTron batterys or the Lithium battery ones listed above? 

4. Any idea's for a monitor for the receiving end of the wireless video system? 

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this :) 

 

 


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#2 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 06:51 PM

Hey! I own a Zephyr and here are my notes on your list.

 

-Steadicam Zephyr HD AB mount Standard Vest -$10,000

- IDX A-AB2E V- mount Adaptor  - $160 >> Why do you need this? If you have your own batteries then you are good to go.

-AB H50 Digital HyTRON 50 Battery or AB DIONIC HC Lithium Ion Battery ($280 or $470, not really sure which I should invest in) >> I went with 3 HC batteries and I would recommend it to anyone. They have a special promotion right now and I am planning on getting a fourth battery.

-Ikan C 2KA Portable Dual Battery Charger- $300 >> I'm not sure if you can charge Anton Bauer batteries with that charger. I would recommend staying with the AB charger anyway as they have a certain way to charge in order to keep them healthy. The T2 Charger is on promotion right now.

-3007901 Mini Low mode F Bracket - $200 >> yes you will need this.

-Bartech Follow Focus Kit -$4,000  (Don't know if this is the best option for a beginner) >> Look for a used one on the marketplace here on the forum. IMHO, Bartech is a great tool for a low price, Please, stay away from that RedRock piece of junk.

-Teradek Bolt Wireless 1080p60 SDI- $2,400 (best option for beginner?) >> Go with it. (I have the Paralinx arrow, but I wish I went the Bold way)

-Cables for RED (Scarlett and Epic)  Lemo(Steadicam) to DTap, Dtap to Red, D Tap splitter $200-500 each >> I have the Red Epic power, I never use it. The camera is so small that I always place a battery on it's back to balance it and add some weight to the rig. (weight is good, it gives inertia) I just bought a Red Trigger cable for the bartech though. I also made a Lemo to Female P-Tap cable and got a P-tap Splitter.

-Cables for Canon DSLRs  (not really sure about cables needed yet) >> You will need a HDMI to SDI converter for that. I recommend the one from Atomos.

 

Besides that. I also bought a Hyperdeck Shuttle to record the footage for myself. I was tired of running after the prods to get it for my reel. Not mandatory but I'm glad I have it. 

 

Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Fly safe.

 

EDIT: For a monitor on the receiving end I would recommend a SmallHD AC7 It is cheaper than the DP7 and still has a great image.


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#3 Kevin Stiller

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 07:17 PM

Woohoo Emily!

 

I worked for Ikan over the summer and used the AB charger a lot. The portability is nice. Sturdy too

 

Good luck with your new rig. I still love my Flyer LE I got from Adam  :D


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#4 Emily St. Pierre

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 07:32 PM

Victor, Thank you! Your response cleared up a lot. 


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#5 Blaine Baker

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 08:59 PM

Hey Emily,

Just food for thought here, take it for what you will...

I went straight for the big rig after my workshop, but heavily considered the zephyr for some time... and didnt get one!

 

7800 got me in the door with a PRO 1 sled and PRO vest, then leased my steadyrig arm for a 3 year period (the lease is so good, if i get one job a month i can pay 3 months of the lease, consider that)

 

I can carry 65 lbs (carried a BL3 w/1000 ft mag last month) or 13 lbs (zephyrs minimum, right?) for a few thousand more.

 

Maybe a few thousand is significant to you, but if I didnt have the weight range options I would have turned down two jobs since I finished my rig in October. And I dont ever have to turn down a job quite frankly, after the 1000 ft mag BL3 I'm confident with any overloaded digital package on my rig.

 

-HD? who cares, decimator costs next to nothing and all you are looking at is framing anyways

 

-BFD? Im finally considering one now, but every production that has needed a wireless FF has brought one on, SEPARATE from my rate, so you won't be loosing a ton there.

 

-Transmitter? Same story, unless you just wire yourself like I've done and Dave Chamides heavily suggests

 

-Batts? Call Aanton bauer for B-stock, deals galore

 

If you are in a situation like I am/was, you're really working for every penny you plan on putting into this business. I thought about it all for a long time and saw so many big rigs, available on the forum, for the same cost as an HD Zephyr. Not that thats a bad route, but it wouldnt have worked on two jobs for me, and I would have been left with renting from my mentor... no that its a bad thing, but it sounds like at this point, you are ready to make some actual income.

 

Hope this helps, patience counts in this regard entirely.

 

Best,

Blaine


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#6 Mitch Mommaerts

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 09:22 PM

I agree with Blaine, as hard as it may be, try and push for a big rig or a system which contains components for a big rig. I've seen some great deals on big rigs here.

I'm wondering if you're better off renting the wireless and focus systems and investing that money into a larger rig. Too many stepping stones may cost too much time and money in the long run.

Anyways back to your post, I would recommend anton bauer chargers, if you have the right cables you won't need a vmount adapter although it's good to have at some point if you're powering vmount cameras with your ab's.

Very excited to hear you're moving up!
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#7 Nils Valkenborgh

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 06:14 AM

I'm on Blaine and Mitch's side as well, try snooping around the marketplace and I'm sure you'll find something that both fits your budget and exceeds your needs (for now at least, once word gets out that you've got a big rig, the Alexa's will come flying in!).

 

I've seen plenty of secondhand archer/clipper/master/pro packages slip by in the past few years that would suit your needs ideally (at a fair price of course).

 

As far as wireless focus and monitoring is considered, more than often production (or a well equipped ac) will provide this for you. If after a few jobs you can afford to buy these "luxuries" yourself, you'll only increase your eligibility for any job. That being said, there's no need to buy everything in one go. my vote for best single channel focus unit is the Axis one by the way.

 

On the battery front, AB or VM, look at what's most common in your working environment. Though it might seem weird, I can highly recommend the new swit batteries and charger, they're a little cheaper than the original AB's, available in both AB/VM high current output (suitable for RED/Alexa), and some of them have hot swap capabilities.


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#8 Blaine Baker

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 03:41 PM

Market place, Jessica Lopez is selling her old EFP for the new zephyr price, it can hold double and surely functions as good as the zephyr. COMES WITH BATTERIES! Perfect example of waiting to see what you can get used on the forum here!


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#9 Andre Perron

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 09:19 PM

...

As far as wireless focus and monitoring is considered, more than often production (or a well equipped ac) will provide this for you. If after a few jobs you can afford to buy these "luxuries" yourself, you'll only increase your eligibility for any job. That being said, there's no need to buy everything in one go. my vote for best single channel focus unit is the Axis one by the way...

100% with Nils, here. Especially regarding the Axis1. 

 

Which city are you based at? If you're nearby Montreal, send me a message; you could try it!


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#10 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 09:37 PM

Emily,

 

There are many good suggestions here. If you go with a Zephyr, I second Victor's comments. Regarding the batteries, skip the Hytrons. Not nearly enough power reserve, particularly if you were to fly a camera with heavier power consumption (such as a broadcast camcorder). Go with the Dionic HC's. If cost is a big factor, you can go with recelled Dionic 90's (search the forum for John Ritter's contact info). Not quite as good as the HC's but still better than Hytron 50's.

 

You didn't mention live TV as your application, but you should know there is a whole 'nother world of accessories specifically for live TV. The Zephyr V configuration includes tally wiring in the sled as well as the tally sensor and light kit, HD Marshall monitor and a 3.5" return monitor. You may still be able to order the regular Zephyr with a "tally-ready" upgrade, but I don't know. Live TV will require other options too, such as a Stanton zoom/focus controller.

 

Used gear from a trusted source can be an excellent value, and you can be ready to fly bigger cameras. They also often come with a lot of cables and other extras already included.

 

That said, if you don't mind starting out flying a camera payload under 24 pounds, the Zephyr is a great value. The Zephyr will fly most broadcast HD configurations, Epic, C100, C300, Sony F3, and F5, etc.


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