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Memories of Your First Rig


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#1 Beau Cuizon

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Posted 08 October 2014 - 01:49 PM

For all you Steadicam veterans out there...I'm curious....do you remember your first rig, and how you came about acquiring it?  I tried to get into operating many years ago, and in the process, ended up starting off with a used SK2 (in the year 2000!!!!) that I actually bought off of an ebay-like site that Yahoo used to run.  I wasn't a natural op (or a good one, for that matter), but that  SK2 was very difficult to master -- the vest had only rudimentary adjustments, and you used your body to control the "english" of the one stage arm (Oh the fatigue!). The little 4" CRT was dim and fuzzy, and you couldn't adjust where the monitor or battery went, really.  But it did come with a bootleg VHS of the EFP training video with Jerry Holway and Ted Churchill, which was a revelation...and made me wish I had gotten an EFP instead. Not that I could have afforded one.  That being said, seeing the occasional SK2 on the forum, and on ebay makes me a little nostalgic for that rig...

 

In the end, it was a lot of fun to try, and learn, and even got to shoot some tv and documentaries with it.... but I decided to get out of it...fast forward fourteen years later, and I find myself trying to figure out how to really get back into it! 

 

Anyways, that's my story...what's yours?

 


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#2 PeterAbraham

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Posted 08 October 2014 - 05:40 PM

Heh. Well. Here it is.

 

After getting hooked on wearing a rental Model III at Camera Mart Video Rentals ( long gone ), and lacking any formal training, I set about looking for a used rig. American Cinematographer was all we had to go by back in the day ( 1986 ). I found a used one, and called Garrett up for advice on the price, etc. He gently urged me to get some formal training. I was fortunate enough to train with him a few weeks later- by incredible timing, a workshop had a slot.

 

After my workshop, I hunted and found a used Universal Model I. It was serial # 22, in the first production run of Model I systems. It came with a non-adjustable arm, a Model I vest with the white plastics and the metal pocket on the back for the very first follow-focus system ever made- the LC1 system. My LC-1 controller box had a serial # stamped into it: # 0001. The spare controller box was stamped # 0002. No kidding !

 

It had no docking bracket, however it came with 4 socket blocks. Yes..... 4. One on the vest. One on the old and immensely heavy vehicle mount ( made of steel back then, not aluminum ). And two more spares with the thumb knobs in a bag. Amazing.

 

The lack of dock was tough. Not knowing ANYONE, I found Larry McConkey's phone number and called him up. Quite the overwhelmed newbie call. He was, of course, wonderful and upbeat and invited me over the next day. I was presented with tons of steel shelves in his apartment in Chelsea filled with....gear...and....stuff. He pulled out an old docking bracket and gave it to me. Along with an immense amount of advice and tutoring.

 

The very first mod I did to it was to pay to have the arm upgraded to an adjustable arm. The second thing was in my Uncle's machine shop. He made me a wonderful Delrin handle grip. It fit so snugly over the stock "bicycle handle" grip that it had to be tapped home with a mallet. It was 6" long, and is the inspiration for the Zalex Handles I currently make for Gen 1 Flyer gimbal handles.

 

Additional mods? I made my own battery pivot, crude but based on the brilliantly made Bob DeRose mod. Eventually, I dumped the NiCAD long black packs and went to Anton Bauer bricks. Also NiCAD, metal housing. Better ergonomics, easy to have re-celled, and the world used them. Also custom cut and had welded an angled bracket so I could do Low Mode with the sled. :D

 

It had a monitor that was ( I believe ) 2" diagonal. Green and black CRT ( well. B&W with a high-con notched green filter optically bonded to the face of said CRT ).

 

Many wonderful memories with that first rig. It wound up being destroyed in a fire at a repair shop. Then it was totally rebuilt and sold on to Troy Smith in Seattle, then it went to Dave Chaimides. Because of the fire, and the utterly pervasive scent of burnt electronics, this sled is known as " Old Smokey ". Garrett currently has it in his Steadicam Collection.

 

On the one hand, it's a hunk of metal and electronics. On the other hand, it was my intense dream realized. Love that thing.

The sled went to fire heaven, then came back. ( It shoulda been called Phoenix ). The arm was stolen by a Federal Express employee at the FedEx Terminal at LAX. ( no shit. Brutal tale... ). The vest, I used forever. When the wonderful and brilliantly intense Bex Jennings came in from New Zealand to train, I sold her my Model I vest.

 

:)

 

Best to all,

 

Peter Abraham, S.O.C.


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#3 Beau Cuizon

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Posted 08 October 2014 - 08:27 PM

That's an awesome story, Peter.  I'm a bit of a history buff, so I'm always interested in hearing people's stories -- everybody has an interesting one, that's for sure, and yours is great!.  I find it fascinating that there are so many stories of the "original", or "first generation" Steadicam guys/girls being so generous with their time, experience, knowledge and resources...its certainly harkens back to the days of real craftwork, like the old blacksmiths, or swordmakers,  where there were masters, and apprentices...right down to the part where you guys were always tinkering, creating, and building new parts, and developing new techniques...and then sharing it with everyone else, so that the next generations could grow...it's interesting how this particular profession attracts those with equal parts engineering,educational, and artistic aptitude.

 

It's also incredibly interesting how gear is handed down from generation to generation...(I just picked up an older Transvideo LCD that was used on some recent features by Mr. Brooks Robinson) It's amazing how well those old sleds, arms, vests, etc survive...even with the occasional fire or theft!  It must speak to the quality of the design and construction of the rigs...and it's also interesting how we grow attached to or sentimental about our equipment.  It can becomes such a personal thing!  Anyways, thanks for sharing your stories, really interesting stuff.

 

Beau


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#4 Ryan Brooks

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Posted 08 October 2014 - 08:29 PM

This is an amazing thread so far! Can't wait to read more.
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#5 PeterAbraham

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Posted 08 October 2014 - 09:13 PM

This part of your post I wish to address. As Garrett instructed me in 1986, as Jerry tells all students, and as I learned to tell my 1,300 + students in the last 24 years: "Share What You Know".

 

It is incubment upon those of us who take this art and craft most seriously to be welcoming to all, to respect all, and to share what we know and also ( in my opinion ) ALWAYS be open to new ways. A few weeks ago I learned a new kind of technique that I had not considered before. Being closed-minded is most definitely not the Steadicam Operator's way.

 

I find it fascinating that there are so many stories of the "original", or "first generation" Steadicam guys/girls being so generous with their time, experience, knowledge and resources...

Beau

 

And, because thes are always a bit amusing, me- in my uncut Model I rig. Note the black handle has already been put on the grip, but the battery is still stock. I almost immediately got black plastics and hand-cut new pieces to replace the all-white vest plastics that were stock on the Model I and Model II rigs.

 

I look frightened. :D

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#6 brooksrobinson

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 01:07 AM

Great thread Beau!!!

I dont think a lot of operators out there these days realize what a process it was back in the day. Gear wasnt built like it is now - it would break, and always at the worst possible time. There was really only one steadicam company (Cinema Products), and they werent that great. You needed to be self-reliant, or, failing that (like me), have a lot of friends willing to help with gear, as well as one or two shady electronics wizards who would be willing to come to the set all hours of the day or night to get you back up and running. This was WAY before the internet, so there wasnt any equipment reviews or online forums to ask questions about various cameras and equipment - it was truly the wild west, and you were on your own.

I took my Calamigos Ranch workshop in late 1992 at the ripe old age of 23, after coercing Chuck Jackson that I knew enough to attend class (I didnt), despite being a PA at the time with no prior operating experience. During the week-long workshop (co-instructed by Peter Abraham) I met a fellow operator who went on to be one of my best friends, Steve Adelson, who owned a tricked out CP Model 2. He had stopped by one day to see the newbies running around like fools (me), and I talked to him at length about his sled which was really, really cool. The 3A was the ticket at the time, but this sled of Steves was much slicker, and looked like a formidable machine. Id never seen one like his, and I desperately wanted one.

After my workshop, I was totally addicted to all things steadicam. I talked my father into using the family house as collateral on a co-signed loan to purchase my first rig. I had absolutely no experience as a camera operator, and was running on pure adrenaline and youthful foolishness. My father wanted to support me and believed in me though there were times when that belief and trust were pushed to the brink in the first two years of ownership when the phone wasnt ringing. I really dont recommend this strategy to anyone out there reading this that is thinking of taking a similar leap of faith. It almost cost my Dad his home, and it was sheer luck (and a little skill) that I survived the first two years and went on to eventually do some decent work with talented professionals.

When I finally had the funds from the bank in place to make a go of it, I found an ad in the back of American Cinematographer that Derek Whitehouse had placed offering a Model 2 system for sale for $16,000, and I purchased it sight unseen. It had been sitting in a closet unused at a college before making its way to Derek, and was pristine though I didnt like the original two thin post design. Before I got a chance to use it, I took the sled to Bob DeRoses shop and put another $12,000 into it trying to duplicate my friend Steves sled extendable post with cables up the center, 3A gimbal, Donkey Box 1, Anton Bauer battery mount, etc. It was cool as shit, and I daresay, better than my friend Steves, with bitchin blue anodized aluminum everywhere.

While the sled was at Bob's for two months (it felt like much longer), my arm went to Chuck Jackson so he could put gold springs in the arm and remove the hinge so it would articulate. I believe I paid $6500 for that mod, and I later learned that Robert Luna who did the actual work got boned on the deal and made almost nothing.

Based on a conversation with Dan Kneece (who was pivotal in me getting into the steadicam field) I picked up a John Russell eyepiece tap for Arriflex cameras with a Watec camera. A few months after purchasing it, there was a problem with the optics and I took them back to John to be looked at. We got to talking and at some point, he asked me about my rig. I made the mistake of telling him that DeRose had done the mods and he freaked out. John and Bob were apparently having a disagreement about something and John grew angry and kicked me out of his shop. I didnt dare call him until the next day, when he asked me to come back so he could give me my repaired tap. He was still worked up, but apologized for his actions.

I also had a lot of fun trying to acquire a Seitz follow focus. I cannot for the life of me remember the guys name, but I was told every single lie in the book in reference to my order: we are waiting for a part - it has already shipped - Ill get back to you with the tracking number - sorry, it didnt ship after all because we are still waiting for the part - it will be ready to go next week for sure. This went on for 4 bitter months before it finally turned up and I could go to work.

That sled flew true and was awesome. Now that is not to say there werent serious issues. There was video interference problems when flying an Arri BL (or similar) where youd have to wrap the 3 watt, totally FCC illegal Steve Byro transmitter in tinfoil so you could see an image on the 2.5 inch or 3 inch green screen monitor though the glowing green fog. That is not to say you would not cross your fingers every time you pushed in the breakers and turned on the monitor, as it did not always turn on. Because of this, I eventually bought another hot-rodded base with an Anton Bauer battery mount from Joe Broderick so that if my electronics ever caught on fire (I think Rick Davidsons did while on a job in the Philippines or Thailand), I could swap them out.

I got lucky with my Seitz in that it did not require two sets of marks on the wheel (on set of marks for turning the knob away, and another color set of marks for turning the wheel towards you) like a lot of them, but it was still finicky and required quite a few late night visits from the infamous Steve Byro who could be your best friend or worst enemy depending on many factors totally out of your control. He still owes me a lot of money for something I paid for and he never got around to building, but at least he didnt steal my sled as he did with another operator - allegedly.

My total initial outlay for equipment was $60,000 sled, vest, arm, follow focus, transmitter, eyepiece tap, cables with back-ups etc. It was a great set-up for the time, and rivaled in my mind anything out there. Of course my operating was years behind at that point, but it eventually got better too.

I eventually sold my sled to (then) 2nd AC Jerry Patton. It was a coup because at the time CP wasnt selling arms or vests because they had just lost the patent on the sled (or maybe gimbal) and Pro was starting to sell sleds. It was nearly impossible to sell used sleds unless you sold the entire system - which did you no good if you wanted a Pro sled, as you then couldnt get an arm or vest. Jerry had managed to track down both a vest and an arm, and I was able to sell him my sled. A win-win.

Things got much easier and less exciting (meaning things didnt tend to break) when I purchased the Pro. I didnt need to cross my fingers any more as the technology was well thought out and wasnt reliant on crazy voodoo electronics to power the system, and electrocuting yourself was no longer a valid threat.

Please keep this thread going it is good to hear the stories
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#7 brooksrobinson

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 01:13 AM

Apologies for my last post - I actually know how and when to use apostrophes, but for some reason they didn't make the journey from my word processing program when I cut and pasted my post. Sorry...I look like enough of a dope on my own that I don't need technology to conspire against me as well. I hope there are more stories to come - GREAT thread!

Brooks
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#8 Beau Cuizon

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 03:52 AM

Thanks for sharing your story Brooks!  It's funny how many people get their start in their chosen profession because someone believed in them, whether it be a parent, or a teacher or a mentor, or whomever.  It's also amazing to me how far people can get on passion, enthusiasm, "youthful foolishness" and yes, luck!  Sometimes you meet these people, and think, "how are they going to make it out there ?", and yet, time after time, they do, they make it, and they grow to become very good, and sometimes even great.  Then, every so often, you get those people who remember where they came from, and who always honor that beginning, and those people who helped out.

 

It's pretty crazy, hearing your story about the modded parts, and pieces that went into operating on a professional level.  To think that you can purchase a new system, basically right off the shelf, and start operating is quite the contrast to the idea that things were held together by gaffers tape, back alley engineers, moxe and pure hope, -- it's also insanely entertaining to read about it, so thanks for sharing your stories!  The names, as well...it's interesting to see how small of a community Steadicam was, and is, as many of these names will probably pop up in other people's stories.

 

Here's one for you all...my first experience of actually seeing a Steadicam in action was when I was really young, just got into college...I was working on the set of a movie called "Six Days, Seven Nights", on the island of Kauai, Hawaii (where I am from) as the ENG audio op for an EPK crew there to shoot behind the scenes footage...my first day on set, location was a beach that was accessible via 4 wheel drive van, which took about 20 minutes, over a mountain, into a valley, and onto a secluded beach.  In the van, there was us, a stunt guy dressed as a pirate, and this other guy by the name of Greg Lundsgaard.  The driver introduced him as the Steadicam op on the movie, and I inquired about what that was all about.  He was so nice and patient about explaining what he did, what Steadicam was, etc...and then I asked him what his toughest shot was (up to that point), and he regaled us about working on that famous shot from "Contact", where he runs up the stairs preceding the little girl, and then she reaches to camera, and we discover she's opening a medicine cabinet.  I remember him working tulling us about working with Robert Zemekis, and detailing the rehearsals, and the fifteen or more takes, and the door frame he busted off with the rig's arm, running into bathroom, where the shot ends up.  And I remember being so impressed with the whole thing, because I had just seen the movie the year earlier, and was mystified by how that shot was even possible.  And here was the guy who had executed it, talking to me about it.  Certainly amazing to a young kid living in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. 

 

Later, after lunch, he gave me the tour of his rig, which was, if I remember correctly, was a "new" Master Series, and he showed me how the pieces worked, and how they all worked together.  It's funny...that was almost 20 years ago, but it's still pretty vivid in my mind, and I'm always grateful to learn anything I can from people like him, and people like you all on the forum.  So again, thanks for sharing!


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#9 Beau Cuizon

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 04:03 AM

This part of your post I wish to address. As Garrett instructed me in 1986, as Jerry tells all students, and as I learned to tell my 1,300 + students in the last 24 years: "Share What You Know".

 

It is incubment upon those of us who take this art and craft most seriously to be welcoming to all, to respect all, and to share what we know and also ( in my opinion ) ALWAYS be open to new ways. A few weeks ago I learned a new kind of technique that I had not considered before. Being closed-minded is most definitely not the Steadicam Operator's way.

 

 

And, because thes are always a bit amusing, me- in my uncut Model I rig. Note the black handle has already been put on the grip, but the battery is still stock. I almost immediately got black plastics and hand-cut new pieces to replace the all-white vest plastics that were stock on the Model I and Model II rigs.

 

I look frightened. :D

Thanks for sharing your stories, Peter, and for the wise words.  Being a teacher, or an educator of any kind, is incredibly noble.  To give with the only expectation being excellence, and achievement from your students in incredibly noble.  The funny thing about teaching ( which people who don't teach or never get the chance to teach never know about) is that often times, you learn just as much from your students, as they do from you, and in many cases, you learn so much more about yourself, and what you are truly doing in life, as a professional, or otherwise.    Love the photo too...it's very interesting to see that even as far back as that picture goes, you still have the classic posture, and hand positions that are still the standard today.

 

Question:  what is that box that is on the top of the sled?  Is that a camera?  How old were you in that pic?


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#10 PeterAbraham

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 08:46 AM

Brooks- awesome post ! :) Brings back a ton of memories. Some horrid, of course. Steve Byro. Lawdy, lawdy......  :huh:

 

 As for the box on top of the sled? Hmm. There's the J-Box at the top of the front post, that was pre-integral connections in the stage. Above that is a steel cage, cut as two triangles to reduce slamming my face with it as I worked on whip pans. There is a small box down below on the front angled line of the sled, above the monitor. That's a RF transmitter.

 

I was 24 in that photo. Not to be a media hog in this thread, but Brooks' description of his sled compels me to post this. It's my Model II ( replaced Old Smokey after the fire. ). Chopped. Model III post and gimbal. IIIA  X/Y top stage. ANOTHER stage, upside down, at the bottom of the post. There was a dovetail plate screwed to the long bridging plate. This allowed me to fine-tune the balance of the sled on the bottom, so when I velcro'd on accessories the sled could be brought back into true. Model III monitor arm. Note the home cut battery pivot/mount that attached BELOW the sled at the rear post. I could flip the battery all the way over and aim it up when in Low Mode, if I needed more "top weight". Eventually that was cut off and I went with A/B batts there as well.

 

That thing was a bitch to switch with due to the sled length, but otherwise an utter dream to fly.

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#11 Brian Freesh

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 10:33 AM

What a great idea for a thread! I was gonna jump in early but I figured I would soon be overshadowed by a veteran with an awesome story, and sure enough Peter filled that role perfectly, followed soon by Brooks, both awesome stories.  I've been aware for some time how easy we all have it these days.  There is so much availability now of so much quality gear, and the ability to get a very inexpensive, if lightweight, starting rig. But when Peter and Brooks were starting out, it was all or nothing.  You had to pay for a "big rig" because that's all there was, and they all came with their downsides.  Seeing Peter act out what it was like to turn on one of those old green screens on set is the best part of any story.

 

So I figured my story must be fairly tame and uninteresting. Then I remembered MY story is fraught with it's own, pretty extreme, challenges. Aided by some bad decisions and terrible luck.

I learned steadi in college, where we had an EFP and then an Ultra.  All I knew was Tiffen, no reason I should know anything else.  Technically my first rig was one I built at school out of PVC pipe and aluminum. I don't think I ever used it on a project, but I tested it a few times and it did the trick. It was basically a wobbly Glidecam 2000, no arm, monitor or vest. I still have it.

When I moved to LA I got a job at a camera house, and with all the jobs coming through, so came a parade of different camera stabilizers that had my eyes sparkling with awe.  Old and new, Tiffen, Pro, XCS, et al, I couldn't believe all the options.  I quickly decided my ideal rig was an all Pro system, though there are features of pretty much every other major option that I still appreciate, and sometimes struggled with when deciding on a sled.
 

After a while of being out of school and not operating all the time, or at all really, I decided I needed something to at least practice with, and hopefully get a weekend student gig with here and there.  I saved up as many pennies as I could, got a loan for as much as I could get approved for and called Bank of Mom for the rest and bought a 2nd gen Flyer brand new from the wonderful Steve Fracol. While waiting for it to deliver (they were backordered on some parts) I went to Vegas for a Flyer workshop taught by Peter and featuring Robert Starling. In my head it was a refresher course, something I was investing in simply to get my skill to back where it was when I left school.  In reality it was like starting over.  I learned so much in those 16 hours, more I think than I learned in school. That was truly the beginning of my career, thank you so much Peter.

The Flyer came, 12v, fixed post, too-thin gimbal grip.  2 months later the Flyer LE was released, 12/24v, extendable post, thicker grip, and 4 lbs more lift capacity (turns out so was my 2nd gen).  Apparently my delay was because they'd stopped making the 2nd gen Flyer. If only I'd waited a little longer....  

 

Meanwhile, I met someone with an Ultra he was no longer using, and he offered to let me borrow it if I ever needed a big rig. I did a couple times, then I left it in my car in my gated parking garage because it was pain to get to my apartment.  See where this is going? Everything was stolen save for the sled case, the monitor, and the stand.  I was broke, and insurance fought tooth and nail to not cover it.  My friend was extremely easy-going about it, but I knew my dream was over.  After all, before I could ever buy a big rig I had to buy the one that was stolen. I wasn't really making that kind of money at a camera house.

 

When my warranty was up on the Flyer, I upgraded the wiring in the post to 14g (from 22), had a splitter box installed, and made it 12/24v switchable. I also had a BNC ouput installed on the monitor. As a whole this upgrade was one of the best things I ever did, I'd been planning it from the beginning. Suddenly I was powering hungry Red Ones as well as 24v SR2s, 416s and 235s.

About half a year after the Ultra was stolen it amazingly turned up at a Pawn shop. After some bureaucratic BS I got the rig back a few months later, minus some cases and bags, because when you don't know what the hell a thing is, the only stuff of value is the container. Literally everything came back. I still have the suitcases it was packed in instead of the proper cases. Life was back on track, my friend had his rig back, I didn't owe him any money, and my Flyer was actually doing me some good, and I never left it in the car unless it was within my line of sight. Except for the time I did...

Just as I was wrapping up the issue with the Ultra I left the camera house and tried my luck in the freelance world.  A few months later I stopped by the camera house to pick up a package I'd had mailed there because my new apt was too easy to steal from (oh the irony).  I parked in the lot where millions of dollars of gear was left in trucks and cars every day, and I walked away for 15 minutes.  You can guess what happened next, I almost threw up when I saw the broken window.

This turned out to be one of the best things that happened to my career. I was set up with steadicam insurance, this was my own rig after all, and this rig wasn't nearly as valuable as the Ultra anyway. Tiffen was very kind and took care of me any time I needed a rig while I waited for a replacement.  The Zephyr was announced and I took a good look at it, providing some input that was implemented.  But its release date was unknown and I needed a new rig. In fact, according to everyone I spoke to, I needed a big rig.  My friend with the Ultra offered to sell me the entire turnkey system (cart, wireless focus, wireless video, etc) on a payment plan.  I struggled for a month or so trying to figure out how to buy it. I met my now great friend Will Demeritt and we discussed going in on it together.  Probably best we didn't, who knows if we'd be such good friends now...  In the end I turned back to Bank of Mom, turned out she was in a position to do something similar to Brooks' parents and she bought the rig for me outright to avoid interest on the payment plan. This was my first big rig. the day I was picking it up i got a call for a gig the very next day I could not have done with the Flyer.  Sweet sweet justification.
 

Alls well that ends well. The Flyer was found and returned, the thief was caught and is paying off my insurance company for the rented bartech and modulus that never came back. The Flyer has finished paying for itself and is still working occasionally to this day. It will always be my first rig.  Ahhh nostalgia.  The Ultra has been heavily modified and upgraded (after many a frustrating experience) and as of a few weeks ago I've replaced the last part of that package I was still using, the arm. For now the Ultra is my backup rig and goes traveling on a show every year, and my mom will be paid off within another few months, less than 5 years after her loan, while 10 was the goal.

Somewhere in there I bought a Garfield mount from Brooks and a Zalex handle from Peter. Those two, Will, Steve, and many others have been a constant source of support and advice, I couldn't have pushed through all of that without them.


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#12 Jarrett P. Morgan

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 04:01 PM

Wonderful to hear all these stories! I will add my own (relatively new) story when I get to a computer.

Please keep them coming!
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#13 Beau Cuizon

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 07:41 PM

Peter:  Your pics really illustrate how the rigs were starting to evolve from generation to generation.  I'm curious, though, do you think that the designs began to evolve because of need or was it out of necessity?  Maybe both?  Also, how is it that you guys were always able to find these machine shops to fabricate parts, and stuff?  Seems like everyone had access to, or knew someone with some kind of metal working facility or background!

 

Brian:  That's an insane story.  As I was reading through it, I began to think, "This guy is the unluckiest person ever."  By the end of it, I was like, "I was wrong.  This has got to be the luckiest dude ever."  A story like that?  You couldn't make that stuff up.  Interesting thing to me is that, after that first theft, you could have given up at any point, really, but you didn't.  Why?  Maybe it's a silly question, but I know some people who would have definitely quit while they thought the quitting was good.

 

By the way, you guys have awesome parents!  The fact that they would throw down for you, and for your dreams is incredible.  So, for Brian and Brooks, what do your parents think about where you are now, and what you're doing for a living?  Just curious.

 

Also, thanks again, to all of you who share your stories.  Amazing stuff, and utterly fascinating to see how people find their way into the Steadicam profession.


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#14 Brian Freesh

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 01:28 PM

Interesting thing to me is that, after that first theft, you could have given up at any point, really, but you didn't.  Why?

 

Honestly I probably did give up for a little while.  But eventually I realized, before the rig was found, that giving up accomplishes nothing.

 

And quite frankly, struggle as I did, and proud as I am of my accomplishments, what I went through pales in comparison to the success stories of so many others.  I look to those who have lost more than I have or started with less than I did, just to go on and succeed more greatly than I have, as inspiration.


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#15 PeterAbraham

PeterAbraham

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 06:57 PM

Peter:  Your pics really illustrate how the rigs were starting to evolve from generation to generation.  I'm curious, though, do you think that the designs began to evolve because of need or was it out of necessity?  Maybe both?  Also, how is it that you guys were always able to find these machine shops to fabricate parts, and stuff?  Seems like everyone had access to, or knew someone with some kind of metal working facility or background!


Lemme answer the second part first. True, many of us sought out a machine shop. My first one was in Woodside, NY. The guys were pretty resistant to doing "jobbing"- one-off projects for a small-time customer. I did a lot of hand-cutting and hand-drilling back then. In 1992 I moved up to Orange County, NY and found a godsend. A small machine shop about 10 minutes from the house, run by an older German fellow and his machinist and two administrators. Rolf ( true, his name ) loved the endless one-off projects. His shop also did produce runs of early accessories I sold to other Ops. Even to today, literally this morning, being able to work with a good machinist is key.

The first question you asked is very likely to launch some extremely emotion-laden and political replies. Believe it or not. I think it is not a bad thing to examine your question, but it will utterly hijack this eminently enjoyable and laid-back thread.

If you are game, start a separate thread on that topic, perhaps?
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