I am a novice in the Steadicam arena but would love to ultimately own REAL (40K-60K Equipment). Right now I fly my GH4 with battery grip & Rokinon 14mm on my Glidecam HD-2000 with GlideGear's Vest & Arm. The payload is 2-6 lbs. I am ready for a real rig. I have been eyeballing the Pilot for a long time, as well as the Scout. Then I had this phase where I was mainly concerned with Came-TV's chinese knockoffs. Knowing they were probably crap, I still heavily considered buying one of their rigs. Not to fly on set right away, just to practice framing, horizon control, etc. However, after spending frivolously on Camera, Lenses, Cages, and Rigs over the past two years I want to really take my time before I purchase a Steadicam Rig. I have been told there are more rigs out there than Tiffen's. I have seen MKV, GPI pro, ActionCam, Movcam's and Sachtler's Artemis's websites. There was another brand named EEMOV??? Has anyone heard of these rigs? Are they decent??
Bottom line is I am caught between Pilot SD Sled only with AB mount. I feel like the Vest and Arm that comes with pilot is just not worth buying, when I can purchase a cheaper vest/arm from one of these chinese knockoffs (Laing, Wondlan) and still fly the Pilot. That is one conflict.
The other is should I just forget flying the pilot and look for a Scout. I know I am always going to want to add more weight to the rig. There are a lot more compact cameras today but I still would like to eventually fly a heavier rig.
If I buy the pilot should I buy the whole system with Pilot Arm and Pilot vest? Or should I just buy pilot sled and maybe a less expensive vest and arm? Or should I buy this less expensive arm and vest and buy EEMOV's EG-11 sled??
Or should I see about selling some of my current gear, save up, and purchase the complete Scout system??
welcome to the forum. Your question is probably one of the most commonly asked here. Search the forum, and you'll find tons of info.
Chinese knock offs are usually a piece of shit. Stay away.
If you want to use heavier set-ups, you'll probably outgrow the Pilot and Scout quickly. I don't know your budget, but I'm guessing up to $6K area, since you're looking into the Scout?
Perhaps save up a bit more and go for a Zephyr? It will probably last you longer. They are usually some on the Marketplace here. GPI don't have rigs in the 6K range. But they have a great product. Sachtler rigs are also good.
Yes, I am brand new to the forum. I have been reading posts for a while now but only recently created my own account lol.
$6K is really way above my budget. I am actually just starting out. (Operating Steadicam, I mean). I am a grip/gaffer on most of shows. The only times I really have the pleasure of operating is on super low budget indies that I usually operate for free. However, I am merely trying to gain experience operating and flying a rig. Hence, the glidecam hd2000. I bought that when I didn't know any better and was just starting out. It is great, but there is no cables running through the post for monitor & anton bauer.
I supposed it is feasible for me to consolidate $ 6,000.00, if I was aiming for the scout. But I would prefer to spend half that, $3 K. That's not to say eventually, after I have had more jobs and experience I would like to operate a zephyr. Ultimately, I would like to be considered a REAL steadicam op, with MK1, Shadow, Clipper, something like that. Preston follow focus, wireless transmitters, the whole nine. But until then I just wanna fly something. If I become real anxious, I suppose I could buy the pilot.
Save your money, stay away from the knock offs . . . . they look good on paper but theres issues you can't imagine that pop up.
if 3K is your budget, wait and save twice as long and keep building your client base and practice with others who have rigs. Then imagine what kind of camera's you'll be flying in 10 years and invest in a used rig that will fly those. Maybe in the 10-12 K range
I still own and fly the second rig I ever owned . . . . It has treated me well over the years and it was a second hand rig that I modified and repaired myself.
I was in the same position as you a couple years ago, owning a Glidecam (the 4000 model, which I find quite a bit better than the 2000) and trying to decide between upgrading to a Pilot, used Flyer, Scout, or Zephyr. I like to buy either expensive or cheap, because if I buy cheap I haven't lost a lot of money and can still buy expensive later when I can afford it. So, I bought a Steadicam Merlin/Pilot vest & arm for $500 used (it sells for $800 new) which I adapted to the Glidecam so I could start learning how to use a vest and arm system in general. For $500 (or $1100 if you include the price of an HD4000) you can't go too wrong. It's way better than the Chineese knockoffs or the $1400 vest that Glidecam sells. Then once the time came after a couple years when I found myself with $10k for a Zephyr, I bought that instead of spending a large sum on a lesser system at an earlier time.
The Scout may be good if you fly lighter cameras for yourself, but I don't see many freelancers or Reds for example being flown on Scouts so they don't seem to be as good of a long term investment.
I agree with Eric. When I first started I got a ridiculously cheap bad rig. I modified the hell out of it and it ended up being a great starter rig that I soon outgrew. But it got me in the vest and practicing.
It is all about payoff for me. Is the amount of money you are going to spend going to worth the use of the rig to you (i.e. practice and learn and fly on friends projects for the time being) or is it going to need to be reliable and good and make you money on jobs. Then Rob's advice is spot on. Don't buy a small rig that will limit you.
if you can't afford a good used rig I suggest getting an old glidecam V-16 or similar from somewhere (many places are just giving them away basiclly). modify it and get a camera that you can fly around your house.
And keep saving. once you start spending it just keeps happening.....
I completely understand that bigger is better. If I could, I would not hesitate to purchase a Zephyr. Even without that much experience operating.
However, for the time being, I believe it is feasible to purchase the Pilot System to fly mainly my own personal GH4. The camera itself is barely over a pound. I already use battery grip and will trick it out with rods, mattebox, etc. to gain as much weight as I can. With all the lighter cameras coming out anyways, I feel I would be able to fly a few cameras. Of course not the Red or Alexa.
My ultimate goal would be to own a full size rig like the Shadow or Clipper. And of course, work on the bigger union shows lol. But I don't see that in the imminent future. So for now I will probably just get the Pilot system and fly, fly, fly... and take a workshop.
In time, I would love to own a Zephyr. I just thought it more realistic to scrape together 2 - 3 grand, with my $3,000 budget for a Scout right now, than to sell my car and probably all of my gear, to get a Zephyr.