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#1 JasonHenderson

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 11:16 AM

I am a new "want to be" steadicam guy and have recently ran into an opertunity to purchase a package, the seller has suggested I use this forum to come up with a propasal on prices. I have been able to get some prices from the posted classifieds but the site will only let me view the postings as far back as when I joined (October of last year). Any ideas of how I can view posting from earlier than this. All help is much appreciated.
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#2 Marc_Abernathy

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 12:00 PM

hi welcome!

what kind of package is it? how old is it? which series is it? (master, provid, sk, efp, etc.. glidecam...)

is the seller offering any accesories outside of the basic package you could get on your own?

if its in good condition then 30K US is kinda a standard price i have seen. if s/he has more items or a much newer Rig it could cost a bit more...
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#3 Erwin Landau

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 07:25 PM

Look out there Marc,

Generalising is not a good idea. Every package is different especially here where everybody and I mean everybody is modifying changing adding or subtracting from hid rig and/or set up.

Important parts are:

- Manufacturer: PRO, Steadicam, Glidecam etc.
- Model: is it a model 1 ore a PRO2, Ultra, Master, Video
- Age: A Pro rig from 1993 will not be as expensive as a Pro made last year.
- Condition: Was it used daily or was it a Back Up.
- What kind of AKS do come with it, Cables, Transmitters.
- What Arm, is it a arm capable of handling a 535 or only a PD150.
- What Vest, is it an original steadicam 35 or a last years DSD.
- Are batteries included or not, how many, in what condition, anychargers?
- Follow Focus?
- How high is the modification factor
- How much is original on the rig
- When was it serviced, if ever...
- Where was it used, country and enviroment...
- Was it ever crashed or salvaged (bought from an Insurance claim and rebuild)
- How many time did it change hands... is something wrong with it if it changed hands 5 times in the last year alone?

All this factors have to be taken in consideration and will change the price quite drastically: (An extreme example)

A beat up Model one rental rig that was used for stunt Camera in the jungle of Argentina and was never serviced will be a bad deal. (rentals are always beat up, used in countries that have only older cameras like the BL's will secure that the Arm is probably trashed and has hair fractures trunions rusted due to the humidity, as well as mold in the monitor and electronics.)

As versus a privately owned PRO used as back and spend the last 5 years in a enthumidified case , alwys serviced together with the primary rig and actually only taken out of the case to be serviced... I would say that that is the better deal.


Get my draft?


Having owned 8 rigs (ough that hurts...The ill fathed quest for the perfect set up...) and having started by assembling the first one out of junkyard parts and used parts and build many parts my self... and with a lot of help of fellow operators... I learned a lot... especially never to do it again, once was very educational.

Ones piece of trash could be somebody elses treasure... ALWAYS.

And how much money can or do you want to spend... and what are you going to use it for... Film, Video, Broadcast, Weddings, for school projects, to have it sitting in your living room... (makes for a nice $120'000.- piece of furniture...)

Jason:
The reason that you can't find anything older is that the classifieds are deleted after 90 Days actually I wanted to make a post about that... I will later...

Check other websites for prices, like the SOA classifieds or check with Derrick Whitehouse, you can find a list of them and related sites on my website:[URL=http://www.landaucamera.com/links.htm]

Ask a used parts broker or a friend that had sold or bought used. The prices are very subjective, most of the time some sentimental attachment to the gear existent and will show up in the pricing. Or some people have to sell very fast etc.
Don't offend anybody by trying to pay nothong for a very nice piece of equpment...

Do your research and you will find what you need for the price you are willing to pay. But you will always have to compromise...


Hope that made any sense...


Erwin Landau, SOC
www.landaucamera.com
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#4 JasonHenderson

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 09:31 PM

wow, Erwin quite the response. Thank you so much for the indepth information it has not gone on deaf ears. many thanks.................
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#5 Marc_Abernathy

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 09:39 PM

wow, Erwin quite the response. Thank you so much for the indepth information it has not gone on deaf ears. many thanks.................

which is why i want to continue to see him post! (another thread)

erwin, thanks for the feedback.
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#6 joe mcnally

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 06:27 AM

Hi Jason
can you tell us some more information about the equipment you are buying ?

Erwin in your reply to Jason you mentioned you have had 8 rigs.
Can I ask you if you are happy with the XCS set up with the DS vest or are you still searching ?
I am looking for a new rig and if you have a spare moment I would be interested why you chose the XCS over the Pro and Ultra or any other rigs out there.

Do you know the what's the latest with the DS split up will the vests still be supported ?

Jason sorry to sidetrack your question but not sure yet how to target my question good luck with wahatever you buy.
Cheers now
Joe McNally
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#7 Erwin Landau

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 08:28 AM

Hi Joe,

Firstly...
Just for the record... Anything I'm writing here is only my private opinion, don't take me literaly or word by word... try everything and make up your own mind.

I could write 20 paragraphs on why and how and whatever...

Secondly...
I think that the rig is, as everything you buy, is very personal and very subjective. As everybody has a different taste for cloths, cars, friends, men, women... the shadding of black that the rig is platted. (mine is dull, pale black... don't like the shiny stuff.)
It has to work for you.

I could keep on telling you what to buy and what not to buy and going on forever why... but at the end of the day, it's your money and you have to be comfortable with it, be able to afford it, be able to do your best work with it. If you can create "Larry's quality" of work with a broom stick, why should I, or anybody else for that metter, tell you to invest in tens of thousands of Dollars worth of equipment? (that will not happen... trust me, but anyways.)

To answer some of your questions more specifically:
I owned 7 PRO rigs, I guess that says it all... I owned 4 Vests (3 PRO ones), 3 Arms, 2 Follow Focuses...
Hell on my last primary rig I went through 5 center posts, 3 donkey boxes, 4 gimbals, 4 monitor arms, 3 monitor and 2 battery systems... had 5 different battery styles... and 30 Batteries at one time.

I didn't know what I wanted I just knew what I didn't wanted... very bad (and expensive) way of figuering out what to buy.

I learned on a Master Series and an Ultra, I was dreaming of a PRO and practiced on a 3A. All of my equipment was either made by George or Greg, the only piece of Garretts Steadicam equipment (Hey is that a prerequisite to have a name starting with a G???) I ever owned were my 3A arms.

I loved my first PRO Vest (unfortunately stolen) I really like my DSD... try boths and make up YOUR OWN mind.
If I ever find a PRO vest that fits me like my first Vest, I will buy it on the spot, even as I have my DSD Vest, and still sometimes I'm running into a situation were the Front mounted vest would be the better choice. Ask around how many of the DSD owners stil own there Front mounted one...

Did all of that equipment made me a better Operator? Hell no, I still suck... (don't tell my clients...)

Did the equipment get me jobs? You bet ya. LA is strange with these things. You get calls like okay we saw all your credits, great... but do you have a PRO-Preston-System?

I also learned to finally be fed up with equipment (buying and selling) I went in my short career through more rigs then most in there entire operating career, I will try and concentrade on operating for a change...

Am I still searching for the perfect setup? Of course... and for the perfect frame, the perfect composition... If you I ever say no, then you can put me in a box and close it up for good...


Erwin"equipment junky" Landau, SOC
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#8 joe mcnally

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 09:31 AM

Thanks Erwin for taking the time to reply.
I can empaphise a little with the painful process youve been through.
Also agree that at the end of the day its personal.
I am still intrigued though as after having been through 7 PRO kits you are now using the XCS.
I have never seen the XCS rig close up, only on their website and yours of course, so am interested in your opinions as to how it compares with the PRO rig, if at all.
I have a mod 111 kit and a Master series kit at the moment.
cheers for now
joe
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#9 Erwin Landau

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 10:38 AM

Oh, Oh... playing Devils advocate and comparing the PRO with the Ultimate...

Let's try and explain it with terms that I'm and most people are familiar with: Cars!

Let's imagine, just for the sake of an example, the Ferrari F40 beeing the PRO and the Ferrari Enzo beeing the Ultimate. Boths are higly sophisticated street legal racing maschines, that boths will reach over 200 mph at about the same time, that have the same orgin, the same physics, etc...

The F-40 has a 6 speed manual gear box that changes gears exactly and gigantic brake calibers that stop the car on a dime... and a Bi-Turbo V8.

The Enzo has a F-1 style tiptronic shift, with ABS and traction control and a computer aided F-1 style V10.

Which one is faster which one is better to handle? Give them both to Michael Schuhmacher and he will run exactly the same time on the track.

What is your driving style... ?

SO:

The PRO is based on the EFP (Nobody wants to admit it, but the PRO is just a very fancy EFP) as Georges first rig was an EFP, which he immidiately highly modified and later derived with the use of 3A parts and new parts from DeRose to the first generation PRO back in 1992/3. No fancy electronics, or electric parts that could blow up, the monitor is the only unit with electronics. Just wires connected to batteries, without possibility of shorting out or false connecting of wires with isolated video and Power, idiot proof made to last forever it seams.

The Ultimate is based on the second generation PRO which Greg used to own. Again immidiately he started to modify his rig to adapt it to his operating style, and adding his parts like the TB-6 the DUO and the UNO, the PDL etc, which picked with the eventual development of his rig.
The rig is filled with modern electronics and nifty improvements like the integrated digital level, a transmitteable frame line and a very efficient High Voltage Power supply that makes running a 435 2 150 fps on one battery possibel. This rig was solemly ment to suite Greg operating style which resulted with the X-Y stage been moved to the bottom, and most of the aks beeing tooless and designed to be flown neutral.

Again a experienced operator will deliver the same quality picture on both rigs, it just comes down to your style of operating and you preference of functions...

What are you willing to sacrifice, you always gain something on one side and lose on the other...

George did let me try one of the rental rigs when I came to him the first time back in 2000, and didn't wanted to sell me anything until I tried it.

I used a demo rig from Greg on a feature to familiarise myself with the different style of rig, again he was denying any order until I had it for a while to make sure that I liked it...

Try boths than deside... get in and take'em for a spin...


Erwin"should have stayed in school to design cars"Landau, SOC
www.landaucamera.com
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#10 Anthony Hardwick

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 01:39 PM

"No fancy electronics, or electric parts that could blow up, the monitor is the only unit with electronics. Just wires connected to batteries, without possibility of shorting out or false connecting of wires with isolated video and Power, idiot proof made to last forever it seams."

Erwin, the only thing I would disagree with in that post is the part I quoted above. Anytime wires and electricity are involved, there exists the possibility of shorting out, etc.

In fact, I witnessed a Pro rig go down due to just this sort of thing... twice on the same shoot to be exact.

Come to think of it, in that incident, you came to lend the operator your rig while his was being serviced, so you know nothing's fool proof and anything can fail... especially in the world of electronics.. ;)

I do agree with you in principle though... simpler circuitry has less that can fail... BUT... more complex circuitry that is of superior design and construction (i.e. proper guage wiring, etc.) and has been well field tested and then adjusted as necessary can be more reliable than a simple circuit of inferior execution and quality control.

Basically I'm saying that I think Greg's XCS designs are very reliable, despite their electronic sophistication. I know you agree, and there's no argument here... :)

By the way, Happy New year, man. Where are you right now?

best,
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#11 PeterAbraham

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 04:56 PM

Originally Posted by Tony Hardwick  In fact, I witnessed a Pro rig go down due to just this sort of thing... twice on the same shoot to be exact


Then there's the Operator who fired up his brand new PRO monitor on set, and half the monitor was incredibly dark. Then, after an hour, all dark. Then, it shut down and that was that. Brand new, out of the box. So yes, things do break down. No matter who builds them. :unsure:

I adored my Master Series Elite. The chipset design meant that I had the best of all worlds. A single battery, BUT with zero ground hum, and perfect full-strength video signal. Why? Because there are video D/A chipsets, and 12v-to-12v filter chipsets in the rig. Ditto with the frameline generator. It's NOT in the monitor. If something fails, it can literally be pulled and a new chipset popped in- in the field in under 60 seconds. THAT'S nice. And yes, Master Series rigs have electronic problems too- ALL rigs develop them.

The underlying question has always been, what have the designers of a particular rig done not only to advance the needs of operators, but to advance the needs of in-field emergencies. Not everybody lives in Topanga Canyon, frequently an Owner/Operator is incredibly far from any kind of support/spare rigs or parts/repair services.

So, you look at what might go wrong, what likely WILL go wrong on a shoot, and how your rig will fare. My Model I and Model II rigs were dangerous beasts to have out in the boonies. Even after I learned how to insulate an errant high-voltage tripler wire leak! They were by design NOT user-friendly as far as repairs went. That was a long time ago, and things have progressed.

I would recommend keeping the problem of Problems In The Field, on your list when considering what rig to get into. Being penny-wise but pound-foolish can cost you a career move, if you burn the wrong producer by not being able to overcome an emergency.

There's a fine art to what people carry as far as repair items and spare parts. Ted Churchill said it best in his Steadicam Operator's Manual of Style. ( paraphrasing ) " Since the vest is unlikely to break down, you are left with the arm and the sled. Purchasing spares of each of these is advisable" :o
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#12 Charles Papert

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 05:16 PM

In the interest of disclosure, once I came to realize that the "that sounds sort of familiar" aspects of Anthony's story were, in fact, about me and my rig (!):

The issue with my PRO 1 was that the two camera breakers failed. The second issue was that there was a problem with the replacement breakers. Problem quickly fixed and back on track.

It left me somewhat dazed, as I had never previously (in the six or seven years since I bought the sled) had experienced an electronics issue and had forgotten what those were like. As Peter points out, Models 1-3 sleds were a very different animal in this regard. High-maintenance, literally and figuratively.

Peace of mind was the original intention of the PRO sled, and I will give it high marks for this--as I said, six or seven years before the first component failure and a quick fix. I should also point out that my TB-6 is in its fifth or sixth year and has never hiccupped.

I think Erwin's car analogy has relevance, although not being a car-head I wouldn't know an F40 from a C47--going to the LA Auto Show with the man is like having a guided tour--and everyone has a personal priority with their gear. I value reliability over everything else with performance a close second, and bells and whistles last. I've often said that if my rig suddenly bit the big one tomorrow and I needed to order a new one tomorrow, it wouldn't be an easy choice, because there are a lot more out there now.

Good luck with your journey...
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#13 Michael Stumpf

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 06:08 PM

George did let me try one of the rental rigs when I came to him the first time back in 2000, and didn't wanted to sell me anything until I tried it.

I used a demo rig from Greg on a feature to familiarise myself with the different style of rig, again he was denying any order until I had it for a while to make sure that I liked it...

As it should be! I personally know of another "manufacturer" who could seriously learn a thing or two by doing this very thing.

Would of saved me A LOT of time and some money as well.
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#14 Ruben Sluijter

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 06:19 PM

George did let me try one of the rental rigs when I came to him the first time back in 2000, and didn't wanted to sell me anything until I tried it.

Wow, I honestly wish more people worked like that...it makes perfect sense and creates a wonderful loyalty (atleast it would with me,but then..I'm easy).
That's a very honest and sincere way of doing business and also keeping your reputation high!
Good stuff and an example to others!

Peace, Ruben "Feeling much better about the world in general" Sluijter
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#15 Anthony Hardwick

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 08:17 PM

Chas...

I wasn't naming any names! I was just making the point that an electronic problem can happen to anyone's rig where there are wires and current present. I also don't want anyone to think that I was dissing any particular brands of rigs. PRO rigs are proven to be very reliable and great workhorses. Chas' rig has been very reliable for many, many years as just one example.

In any case, I am a firm believer that it's the operator, not the rig that matters most (wacky LA producer's calls regarding equipment aside). Look at the great work that was done in the very early years with Model 1's and 2's.

By the way, Chas, I'll say it again... the work you did on American History X is some of my favorite steadicam I've seen.

Happy New Year...

Maybe I'll see ya tomorrow atthe LA Auto show... I'm looking forward to having that guided tour from Erwin!
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