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Getting a new rig


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#1 Victor M Macias

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 02:19 PM

Hi everyone, my name is Victor. I have an old master sled with the iso-elastic arm and am seriously thinking of buying a newer rig. The problem is that there are so many to chose from and everyone says get pro when I ask why I hear more about how bad the customer service is at tiffen than people talking about equipment. I have had to go to tiffen for little things and when I have been there, Kyle Young is always so helpful I have never had a problem, it's a matter of fact they are letting me use their G-70 arm for a week and an HD monitor. The arms working great by the way. Still some of the guys aren't sure about them and these are guys I respect wich really makes me think about buying a new rig. I am just trying to get an opinion from more operators and hear what you have to say. Hope to hear from you



Victor M. Macias
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#2 Kris Torch Wilson

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 02:53 PM

Victor,

I have had great service from all the guys at Tiffen. Parts, info, advice. They are really trying hard and I am very happy. I just bought an Ultra 2 and am very pleased. Check out my rather lengthy post under sleds.
I assume you are in L.A. since they loaned you the G70. If you would like to check out my rig it is parked on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Hollywood Blvd across from the Kodak. Shoot me an email and I'll give you my mobile # and set it up. This holds true for anyone else interested. In case you didn't know the show is Live TV and the rig set up accordingly.

Kris
Torchcam@pacbell.net
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#3 chris fawcett

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 03:33 PM

Hi Victor,

I have also had exemplary service from Tiffen. They have Fed-exed stuff out to me in Amsterdam on a moment's notice.

All the best,

Chris
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#4 Lars Erik

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 04:26 PM

Confirmed. Had services done to my monitor, with great help and fast delivery.

And the G-series arms are amazing!!!

PS! Chris; I tried the Flyer the other day, first chance of really trying it. I worked for Hofmann and demoed Steadicam (U2 and the Flyer), for potential customers. I must say, when I got to understand how to behave around the Flyer, I got really impressed by it. This day was the first day I had a chance to try it on for a longer period of time. Great rig! Oh, BTW, the U2 was also pretty good... :lol:

LE
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#5 chris fawcett

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Posted 01 February 2007 - 04:27 AM

LE,

I concur. The Gs are incomparable, and the Flyer is just a delight to work with. So, you want a U2 now? It's a long time till Christmas, but at least I know what to get you.

Chris
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#6 Victor M Macias

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Posted 04 February 2007 - 02:39 AM

Hey guys thanks for the feed back I was just at tiffen on friday looking at the U2 thats a nice rig and Frank Rush took me and some fellow operators on a nice little tour of the systems and all. I think my mind is made up.





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#7 JobScholtze

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 04:54 AM

This week i did experience there costumer service, and its top notch. Much better than in the past. So i wouldnt worry to much

Special thanks to Garret, Robin and Frank
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#8 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 10:50 AM

everyone says get pro when I ask why I hear more about how bad the customer service is at tiffen than people talking about equipment.... Still some of the guys aren't sure about them


Hi Victor, I can't speak to the past but I've bought two rigs from them since August and they've been super prompt with the warranty service / replacements when needed. One instance was a dead pixel cluster on my monitor and they had a new one here the next morning; no questions asked. The second instance was creaking in my G50 arm and I had the fix via email from Tiffen within about 12-14 hours including diagrams. Minor issues no doubt but you can pretty much speak directly to anyone in the company all the way up to the inventor(s) and engineers. Companies go through ups and downs, particularly through transitional periods but I sense a new commitment to growth, product development and service from them; at least in the dealings I've had.
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#9 nealnorton

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 01:44 PM

It really is great to hear such positive comments about the Tiffen equipment and customer service.

I have been a GPI user for more than ten years and my PRO equipment has been very close to flawless. The GPI customer service HAS been flawless! I waited for a couple of years before switching to a PRO rig (from a CP 3a) because I wanted to see what the (then) new CP gear would look like. At that time I felt there were very good reasons not to buy CP equipment - such as a 12volt system and my perception of poor quality control and poor customer service.

Over the past few years the Tiffen products have been improving constantly. The new Ultra 2 and G70 look to be world class products that would be as good or better than anything on the market. The tilting stage is something I would really like to have!

I really do think the PRO arm is the best overall arm available under all conditions, but I have been thinking about also carrying a G70 for cleaner environments such as stages.

The XCS gear is without a doubt first rate and I would not hesitate to work with Greg at some point. You have 3 really good options for top quality steadicam equipment now. We have never had it so good!

Best of Luck

Neal Norton
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#10 Alf Tramontin

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 10:43 AM

It really is great to hear such positive comments about the Tiffen equipment and customer service.

I have been a GPI user for more than ten years and my PRO equipment has been very close to flawless. The GPI customer service HAS been flawless! I waited for a couple of years before switching to a PRO rig (from a CP 3a) because I wanted to see what the (then) new CP gear would look like. At that time I felt there were very good reasons not to buy CP equipment - such as a 12volt system and my perception of poor quality control and poor customer service.

Over the past few years the Tiffen products have been improving constantly. The new Ultra 2 and G70 look to be world class products that would be as good or better than anything on the market. The tilting stage is something I would really like to have!

I really do think the PRO arm is the best overall arm available under all conditions, but I have been thinking about also carrying a G70 for cleaner environments such as stages.

The XCS gear is without a doubt first rate and I would not hesitate to work with Greg at some point. You have 3 really good options for top quality steadicam equipment now. We have never had it so good!

Best of Luck

Neal Norton


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#11 thomas-english

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 07:02 PM

Tiffen make some great arms nowadays. That s for sure, if I was in your position I would get my master arm serviced and get an mk-v nexus sled. Off course there s also the XCS and PRO sled as you mentioned my preference is with the mk-v but they are all great with good service.

A walter klassen vest, serviced arm and a gleaming sled.... great.
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#12 Spencer Combs

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Posted 27 February 2007 - 10:52 PM

All I can say is I LOVE my PRO!!!!
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#13 WillArnot

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 12:57 AM

Minor issues no doubt but you can pretty much speak directly to anyone in the company all the way up to the inventor(s) and engineers.


I also have seen Tiffen rise from the ashes of CP and come to develop much more reliable service and product. My experience was that I purchased and worked with the Master series for many years. I ended up selling the sled due to poor service at CP and starting a very professional relationship with both PRO GPI, and XCS, which has contributed to one of the best career moves I've made.

My MK-V experience has been extremely poor. Although I have equipment in hand it is unreliable and the biggest problem is the quote above, whereby I cannot speak to ANYONE regarding technical issues in an attempt to make things better. Howard is either "on holiday", "taking a break", or "not running the company anymore". I am baffled with the question that continues to go un-answered as to who exactly does run MK-V then? I can't speak to anyone more than a secretary regarding technical issues. Perhaps this is unique only to me, but for investing over $50,000 USD I expect just a little more support than this, like to be able to speak to a technician perhaps?

Several very reputable operators here in the US have sold their whole Steadicam package to invest in MK-V and been so badly treated by the company that they had to sell all their new MK-V kit at a big financial loss - in order to buy back into their old company again (PRO GPI) ... at a further financial loss. Others may have had a better time of it, and certainly if you live in UK it is handy to keep on the good side of MK-V since being in the same country certainly helps, but these are the cold hard facts in my experience and many others both in the US market and Europe.

I like to call XCS the boutique Steadicam because everything is custom made exactly to customer specifications. It may cost a little more but it will be exactly what you could ever dream of having. I have had absolutely 1st class service from PRO GPI as well. I love the new D-Box 3 I bought to handle the weight of the Genesis camera. It is performing flawlessly! Ashley, Jack, Adam & George at GPI are always prompt, accurate, and honest in their business practice, and of course produce a world class product. They operate successfully on an international scope as do Tiffen, and both have legitimate and professional business representatives around the globe. Chris Edwards at Optical Support is the PRO contact in the UK, and Robin Thwaites for Tiffen also in the UK.
Go to http://www.pro-gpi.com/rent.htm for PRO world rentals and
http://www.tiffen.co...lr_locator.html for a list of Professional International dealers.

I also was extremely impressed with Garrett and Jerry's unveiling of the Ultra 2 at NAB Expo last year. I've always been jealous of the tilt stage. They finally redesigned the top stage to be more rigid. And the bottom of the sled is also compact and highly effective from a technical standpoint and in helping to keep the sled short, unlike previous sleds w/ the long 'K' section on the bottom. The G-70 is also an excellent performer, and with Garrett and Jerry producing the details needed to field service the arm, they are showing what is of utmost importance - and that is listening to the customer. If I were making the choice for a new sled today I would be hard pressed to pass up the chance to work with an Ultra 2 from Tiffen.

I was shocked to learn that MK-V thought it was appropriate business practice to run around with the Alien Revolution (AR) in front of the Tiffen booth with Garrett and Jerry standing next to their new Ultra 2. In addition to being a huge slap in the face for Garrett and Jerry, as far as I understand it this is against Expo rules as you have to stay within the confines of your designated display area. This was an issue for the Handsfree Segway as well, and they obliged by those rules despite the obvious temptation to zoom around the exhibit hall. At any rate, even morally speaking this just seems to be a gross lack of judgment on the part of MK-V.

Actions such as this speak volumes about Howard and his company. I still don't think a public or private apology has been made to Garrett, the man to whom we all owe so much gratitude and respect for his original and groundbreaking ideas and patents. Patent holders and original thinkers should be given far more respect than this.
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#14 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 12:57 AM

My suggestions in no particular order unless noted.

Arm:
G70 or Pro if you can't swing the $20K for those look at the Rig Engineering arm.

Sled:
U2
Pro II
XCS

Suit:
Klassen or Pro


Since you're in LA I'd keep my shopping local. It would suck to have to wait for a mission critical part to be sent from overseas and have to wait for it to clear customs when you could just go down the street and pickup the part.

Good luck in your shopping. It's a great time to be buying a rig with the excellent choices that you have.
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#15 RonBaldwin

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 03:09 AM

ditto on staying local. I too am interested in the U2 -- it's very cool rig.

With 9 years of excellent customer service from GPI as well as still flying the sled I got in Jan '98 (a near stock pro 1 sled -- practically indestructible) it would be hard to leave the nest. Greg Bubb is also extremely serious about good customer service and makes a great product. I don't have any experience with Tiffen, but it's obvious from their new products and the above posts that they are right up there with GPI and XCS.

It was easy knowing what to buy 10 years ago. Now, not so easy -- there's alot of good stuff out there.

Will mentioned the AR/Garret incident. It reminded me of some footage I saw once of Garret with Lynn's prototype Alien in '01-ish. I bet he loved it (I would have really enjoyed being there for that dmeo session). I also remember seeing pictures of Lynn showing the prototype to Chris and Howard several years later. I bet they loved it too.

Ron B
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