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New Low Profile Arm for the DSD Harness


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#1 Erwin Landau

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 11:36 PM

I got an E-mail from Jennifer Klassen concerning new Products and developments at Walter Klassen F/X. What I'm very happy and impressed to see was the new Low Profile Arm for the DSD/Klassen Backmounted Harness.
http://www.walterkla...ilowprofile.htm
That could be the end of damaged door frames, scrabbed wall's, etc...

Check it out.

I'm just confused about the new handles on the Vest, some people will miss the "carrying handle".
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#2 ericoh

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 03:16 PM

I'm just confused about the new handles on the Vest, some people will miss the "carrying handle".

Hi Erwin,

The new handle position is a result of Jeremy Benning's suggestion to Walter. He (and I) prefer the handles further up so that when a grip spotting you grabs on them, it moves your body as oppsed to just your hips as with the old style of handles, which can throw your hips out of position and as a result create a wobble in your shot. I'm sure for those who like the handles lower, it should not be a problem.

Best wishes,
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#3 Erwin Landau

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 05:54 PM

Hi Eric,

I don't miss the lower two, I never use them anyways...
No, I would miss the top one the "Carrying handle", how are you putting your Vest in the carrying bag, or holding it while opening the car door, etc... It's in the perfect spot almost in the CG of the Vest.
I don't like to hold the vest on the suspenders... an AC dropped mine because the buckle let go... his comment after I told him that he just dropped a $9000.- piece of equipment into the sand: "Oops... sorry..."

Just a thought, I have mine... what do I care... right?
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#4 RobVanGelder

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Posted 15 February 2004 - 10:10 AM

The new arm design is nice, but I have made more scratched with the knob that holds in in place on the harnass than with the arm itself.
Also I find a good use sometimes for the space that was there with the original design: a walky-talky that connected me to some screaming director behind a monitor 200 meters away......

But it sure looks nice!

Rob van Gelder, Bangkok, Thailand.
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#5 RonBaldwin

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Posted 15 February 2004 - 02:47 PM

the first thing I did when I got my harness was to have a smaller knob made. Tom Gleason made mine and maybe he could crank out a few to save the doorjams of the world! I've been waiting for a lower profile arm for awhile. The way the original carbon arm sticks out is the one thing that always bugged me...and doorjams.

Ron B
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#6 WillArnot

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Posted 15 February 2004 - 05:29 PM

Last week I was able to inspect the latest evolution of the Walter Klassen vest. I urged him to make known the new arm profile, since that has drastically improved the overall 'presence' of the vest.

To stand back and look at it now is extremely impressive. I have been contemplating this harness for several yrs now, and monitoring it's development. The general bulk and clearance was I think a concern for many people on the fence. I can say with great enthusiasm that this vest has certainly evolved into a magnificent product.

Aside from the drastic reduction in bulk and clearance due to the new curved arm design and 'straightening' of the shell, the mounting block/slider to which the arm mounts, has also been decreased in profile. So that the arm is as close as it possibly can be to the carbon fiber shell, and therefore your own back, with a shallower knob too. This setup is now radically slimmer, and more adjustable, than the old two-knob hinge mechanism.

As we front-mounters know, the further the rig is away from us, the effort involved increases exponentially. I am not going to open up the physics can of worms pertaining to point of attachment just yet ... needless to say the new 'sleek' feel of this vest is very noticeable. As we know, clearance is a game of inches, and can sometimes mean everything to making a shot.

Point being, Walter's vest has evolved into something remarkably different than what was available even a year ago. In fact, the thought and consideration that goes into the tailoring of each vest for the particular operator, often will cause Walter to utterly re-design one whole aspect of the vest. Hence the new arm design.

As we know, this attention to operator feedback is priceless in our industry. Walter's cross reference of knowledge and skill is paramount to actualising this feedback. He is a fascinating character who started life as a mechanical engineer. He then apprenticed as a shoemaker in Europe in the '70's to become a leathermaster. Returning to Canada roughly 25 yrs ago, much of his engineering was rooted in special effects, motorised props, & flying harnesses. I can't do his breadth of knowledge justice here, just to say that he draws from so many aspects in his life to deliver something unique in the current vest designs.

Just as say Larry's love of flying evolved into the motorised stage from his knowledge of optimal trim, and Garret's love of sailing brought about the 'stiffening' system on the Ultra from looking up the mast of his sailboat.

This to me is what life is all about. Our ability to draw from all parts of our life to deliver something unique to the particular table we currently sit at. That ability to think laterally and integrate into the situation at hand. Wether it is our kids, a song we hear, a building we admire, a film that moves us...

My trip to Walter's studio was truly an inspiring event.

In summary, the new knob clearance has been further reduced even in the past 2 weeks. If the "old" carry handle is a big deal it would be easy to just add your own 6" loop of webbing to the 1" loop (no slop) that is there as an integral safety (heavily riveted in-and continuous from the core of the shoulder straps) between the shoulders. This is an excellent pick point for safety and immoblising left to right movement (walk on/off crane/vehicle). However, the new handle positions I think will more than suffice for AC/car door carrying purposes, although yes, not dead center; but certainly in a more logical position if guidance is needed.

The other important development is that of the New 'Light' Harness. The conclusion we came up with in Walter's studio is that the 'Traditional Deluxe' is perhaps best differentiated by having a marginally bigger 'footprint' on the body. Therefore more carbon fiber / leather, and + 1.9lbs & + manufacture time. This would be most applicable therefore to heavier loads, say if you predominantly do 35mm work, in order to better distribute the weight. Also the addition of the air bladder has an immeasurably good effect on achieving an optimal fit. They are both exceptional pieces of work.

Ultimately, a personal trip is highly recommended.
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#7 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 15 February 2004 - 07:37 PM

The other important development is that of the New 'Light' Harness.

So how much is the new lightweight vest going for? Am I correct in assuming that it's a bit cheaper than the traditional?
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#8 Anthony Hardwick

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Posted 15 February 2004 - 08:32 PM

$7750.00 USD according to walter's site:

http://www.walterkla...steadilight.htm
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#9 Charles Papert

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 03:07 AM

Having just "traded" my older (now known as "deluxe") shell in for the new Light because of some major fit issues, I'm a little concerned about the appropriateness of the Light for 35mm work as you suggest Will...since that is mostly what I do, do you suspect I'm in for problems with the Light? In what ways?
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#10 WillArnot

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 12:56 PM

Hey Charles,
Walter was talking about your fit when I was just up there. As far as the Light goes, the most noticeable difference for me was the point of contact of the vest up between the shoulders. This pertains to two measurements that must be accurate, since the general force applied through the vest is still pulling your hips back and pushing your shoulders forward. One is still therefore leaning back into it, hence the need for an accurate fit around the waist (no slop around tail bone - air bladder rocks) and that the length of the back comes to a comfortable and mechanically advantageous spot between your shoulders; not too high that it is uncomfortable at the top of your back, and not too low that you lose mechanical advantage of leaning back into it.

Forgive me, I think I digress from your question Charles. The width of the back, from the waist up, feels slimmer (side to side)between the shoulders, therefore slightly less surface area to lean back into. The hip/waist area is also very slightly shorter maybe ¼ - ½" in height. This difference is primarily because of less semi-rigid leather extended trim for comfort than on the deluxe, rather than the hard edge of carbon fiber shell with leather wrapped directly over the edge.

Now all this may work just fine for some no matter what load they carry. It's really down to one's relative body size. So Charles I don't think you will run into problems per se. In fact if this is a better fit than your old one I'm sure you will be quite happy. If you have a particularly wide back then the Light may not feel like it presents enough of a footprint. Larry also has pointed out some of these differences in a previous thread. Walter told me Larry called him after using the Light all day to tell him that he thought he didn't even need to make the deluxe anymore. That call was followed a couple of hours later with Larry retracting that statement after he had stepped back into his deluxe at the end of the day. Ultimately I think this pertains to just that little bit more material and craftsmanship that goes into the Deluxe, hence the extra ~2lbs. 3-4 more days of manufacture time, and the higher price.

The Light I think is still just as effective. As I said it really feels like you've shed both alot of effort and alot of gear, but remember this was my first time ever trying a back mounted harness.

Not to get personal, but the analogy that springs to mind is how my girlfriend likes to sleep with all of the comforter and bedding wrapped around her, and I prefer just a sheet over top... or is that just b/c that's what I end up with? :P Anyway

Point is its a personal thing I think you just have to feel for yourself, and with Walter's exceptional attention and support to the right fit for you, I don't imagine you will have trouble finding what is right.

Remember also that the fit across the front needs to be fairly exact since it is a single door design on the Light, and not two overlapping. But now that I've said all this I went back and read the threads by Eric Oh and Larry In "New Back Mounted Vest" started by Mitch Gross, and there is very good info there.

To be perfectly honest I don't think the weight is that radically different. Remember, to make the comparison between the deluxe and light, both need to be the same size & dimensions also with the same amount of padding and the same carbon arm. With this in mind and each vest in either hand I'd say it's only a marginal difference, and one that your whole body will not notice after a hard days work. However the scale said 2.1 lbs. difference.

Another interesting thing Walter told me why he came out with this design, and why it says on his website that it is designed to be easily adaptable to fit multiple users, is for those poor buggers who run the sidelines of the soccer and rugby pitches around the world. Wisely tho, it's done with 2 operators and one rig. While one rests, the other jumps in the rig and off he goes...sweaty pads 'n all.!!

Hope that helps Charles. Best to you. Many years since I met you in NYC at the show before you moved to LA-LA land. :)

Will
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#11 guillermo nespolo

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 01:20 PM

can any bodie explain to me haw realy the air blader works on the wkv
this tegnologi can be aply to a regular vest?

thanks and sorry for my english :rolleyes:
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#12 Mitch Gross

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 01:31 PM

The air bladders fit between the carbon fibre shell of the vest and the leather pads. There's a small tube to inflate or deflate them to fit your body, even adjusting them after a heavy lunch. Since there is no hard shell in a front mount design, I don't see how air bladders could be effectively used in one.
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#13 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 01:47 PM

So if the fit of the Klassen/DSD vest is so crucial to its successful use, how much leeway is there in the design for your body shape to change i.e gain or loose a few pounds? If you gained/lost a lot of weight would you need to have a whole new vest built from scratch or could you just have the padds re-done?
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#14 WillArnot

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 02:12 PM

Good question Stephen. One of mine too. Walter and Kornell absolutely take that into account. Generally what is done is they will make the vest a touch bigger on the outside, the carbon shell, to bias for the weight GAIN side of things, and then beef up the inside with the appropriate density tempurpedic? foam. The vest I tried on was being made for David Crone who apparently has a 30 lbs weight differential.

Alot of the real custom feel has to do with the foam too. It is things more like the length in the back that are more critical and that wont change with weight. And with weight gain it's more like a front to back differential at the waist. Hence the front door design. You can always leave the door ajar :P Add foam, take it away too. In this way the optimal fit is not utterly reliant upon the dimensions of the carbon frame shell.

Will
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#15 Anthony Hardwick

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 02:15 PM

Stephen,

There is some leeway in the padding that comes with the DSD vest. In fact you are encouraged to try different (i.e. more or less) foam padding to optimize the fit. The hard shell is a fixed size, however, so if an operator was to really "pork up," or lose some considerable weight (less likely, no? :P ), there's only so much that you can adjust via the foam padding material. At a certain point one would need to get a new vest.

Just more incentive to stay in shape and trim - as if the benefits to operating weren't enough incentive alone.

Anthony
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