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FF recs for a operator with a new rig


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#1 SeanHoward

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Posted 15 February 2004 - 02:27 PM

Hey all,

First, a thanks to Erwin for his amazing site. That links page is my salvation. Now if only I had a few more zero's in my checking account... ;)

I am just getting up and running with a starter rig after a year of sitting on the sidelines after taking the SOA steadicam course in Philly. It's a lower end rig, but I just can't put off getting in a rig any longer. What I'm lacking now is a follow focus unit.

Price is a concern at the moment. And follow focus devices tend to be the topic of much heated debate. And while I would kill for a Preston, my budget does not currently allow for it.

Looking to operate with DVC, Mini DV and some Super 16 cameras.

So, my question is two fold: Does anyone know of a decent used FF on sale out there? And what are some of the factors to consider when looking at a lower priced Seitz or BFD etc. solution?

Sean <dreaming that I'm find with a temporary solution while I get up to speed on the corporate drek jobs> Howard
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#2 Anthony Hardwick

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Posted 15 February 2004 - 03:03 PM

Sean,

Welcome! Great to hear that you got a rig. As many will no doubt attest to it's rock solid performance and value, I would say that Jim Bartell's BFD/M-One motor combination is a great route to go. I have a Preston, but many of my friends have BFD's, and I have played with them. They're solid, and I may buy one down the line for backup and HH/jib arm use (so I don't have to constantly strip my MDR-2 off my steadicam rig for those shots).

The value is unbeatable, Jim provides great customer service after the sale of his product, and you can depend on his unit to be about as reliable as a remote focus unit can be. You can also start with one or two channels, and add more down the line as your needs grow.

Best of luck in your endeavors.

Anthony
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#3 SeanHoward

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Posted 15 February 2004 - 06:07 PM

Hey Anthony!

Great to hear from you and thanks for the advice. I've only used a Preston assisting another operator. Was afraid I'd have to spend more on a follow focus than I did on a rig. ;)

Hope things are rocking for you in LA!

Things are just starting to pick up again up here in TO. Thank god. :blink:

Sean
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#4 Mitch Gross

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Posted 15 February 2004 - 09:01 PM

The BFD is time-tested and operator-tesed, and it is an wxcellent unit. You should also look at the Benz units, available from Abel Cine Tech in NYC. You mentioned shooting a lot of video, and there are two different Benz systems which can work with one another. You can get the system designed for video that partly uses the servos and controls built into the lens' handgrip (zoom, iris, rec.) as well as a separate focus motor, then turn around and stick the same unit or a different receiver onto a film camera and use it for that. Just add some additional cables for the individual camera type and you're good to go. If you're shooting a lot of video and occassional film then this may be the more versatile system for you.
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#5 SeanHoward

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Posted 17 February 2004 - 12:16 AM

Thanks Mitch,

Was totally unaware this beast existed. I'm going to follow up and see if the cameras I'm likely to be using are compatible with the in-lens servo control option.

What do people think of the Seitz packages? Have an opportunity for a used Seitz package and am unable to find much on the web about these units.

Sean
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