the Baer Bel...
Posted 27 February 2008 - 07:19 AM
I'm considering buying a baer bel rig as my first rig and was just wondering what people thought of it...? i've done some research and people seem to be very hot or cold about it ....but there's not much in-between.
Does anyone in LA have a Baer Bel? i would love to take he/she out for a coffee to talk about it and to check out the rig if possible. I probably wouldn't get to fly the rig i'd get before i bought it (as its in another country half way around the world!) ...and i don?t want to buy cold without ever trying, if not this rig, then a similar one...
Posted 27 February 2008 - 09:52 AM
One of the great advantages to being an LA based operator is that a number of the manufacturers are here--being able to pop by if you need a part or service is a major asset. In the event of component failure, you can be back up and running within hours rather than days/weeks, not to mention the cost and hassle of international shipping.
Do I remember correctly that Daniel Stilling has one? (had one?)
Posted 27 February 2008 - 06:47 PM
Yes, I do have one, and I'm very happy with it!
You can PM me if you like if you have any questions
Posted 29 February 2008 - 12:28 PM
Last week I bought a new Baer Bel 2" Fiberpost model.
If you want, I can send you some pictures or some info about it.
Send me an email.
Best to all,
PS: here a link to my photoalbum.
Far picture of the equipment, but picture at least.
Posted 29 February 2008 - 01:41 PM
Daniel: Hope you are doing well!
Posted 29 February 2008 - 06:44 PM
or some photos
The stuff is bulletproof.
The above comment is intended in the manner of a joke or humourous comment and is not intended to be taken literally. Under no circumstances should one fire bullets at any steadicam especially if it is being flown. The writer accepts no responsibility for actions taken out of this context.
Posted 29 February 2008 - 07:23 PM
Job Scholtze and I spend an afternoon at markus' workshop to check out the Baer-Bel system. My thoughts on the system:
I need to point out that I'm used to the Glidecam Gold vest. The first impression on the B-B vest is that it fits me better than the GC vest.
Putting the B-B vest on is a bit cumbersome, because the shoulder straps are riveted to the chest plate, so you have to put it over your head (newby style). The mid straps and the waist strap have the commonly used buckles.
There is enough padding on the vest for a comfortable fit, I have to say: better than the Gold vest. Adjustments on the other hand have to be made with an Allen wrench. I also prefer the ratchet buckles on the GC vest for fine tuning.
Better fit (although that?s very personal)
Riveted shoulder straps
I expected a lot of this arm, because it has the springs inside the bone; GPI-like. It didn?t feel anything like a pro unfortunately, more like a 3A / Gold.
It feels like there?s quite some friction in this arm because it?s pretty stiff, and really not better than the Gold arm ? I?ve tried them side by side. The X elbow is a very nice feature: no banging elbows!! And there?s no lock-up when you boom down. Well, there is, but it's so far down you can?t reach it: I had to push down on the camera to get there?
But because of that, the lower part of the arm tends to jump up when you boom up again: mechanically the spring crosses the pivot of the bone when you boom fully down. The arm weighs about the same as the Gold arm, which is pretty heavy to start with, which is strange because the arm seems to be lighter with all those holes cut out
Rod-end free socket block
Little torque in lower section
Too much lower boom range (jumps back)
We set out that day to check out the B-B sled. First impression: Solid looking, modular sled.
The stage has a drop-in camera plate design. The clamp that locks the plate had to be pried loose with a screw driver, and an Allen bolt loosened before the plate went in. Then lock the clamp again and tighten the bolt. It was a brand new stage so it could be that it has to be worn in slightly. The trimming is done on the side with two knobs. The threads are pretty large, so half a turn would adjust the stage quite a bit in any direction. The fine trimming also felt rough and as if it was slipping.
The connectors on the J-box are on the side and I don?t like that: it makes the whole upper part wider than it already is, and I like a small footprint, same as below. Because it uses 4 pin XLR for power, the connector stick out too much.
A lot of options for power / video outs, including a multi terminal for video/power/tally.
A nice 2? post. It?s a two stage titanium post. Very solid. The lower section is a ½ centimetre thick tube with a line machined into it preventing the upper and lower post to rotate on eachother. It might be the thick lower post that makes the sled so heavy, and I?m not sure if that?s titanium as well. If you again look at the GC post, it?s two thin aluminium tubes that weigh a lot less, and don?t flex much either.
To adjust the length of the post you first have to loosen the gimbal clamp and then the post clamp? I sometimes adjust the drop time on the fly, and that would be really cumbersome with the B-B sled. Markus told us that this happens when you over tighten the gimbal clamp. But I don?t think we over tightened anything. What we experienced was some flexing in the post.
That brings us to the gimbal.
Although it looked like it can do the job, we had a lot of trouble balancing the sled with this gimbal: Not all axis were aligned properly, so when you balance the sled one way and rotate the sled would hang to one side. It took a lot of tinkering to get it 90% right. The way it?s designed doesn?t seem that logical to me: to post-calibrate the yoke alignment. I assume you can machine a yoke within tolerances so you can calibrate with a shim at the most. I really can?t see myself working with this gimbal. A small bump to the gimbal can screw up the alignment ? during transport, assistants etc - and that?s just crazy.
The basic gimbal handle is a bit short, but he can machine one tailored to your hands.
This was the part that I was most enthusiastic about. The modular design, much like the Jerry Hill base, allowed the batteries to be placed anywhere on the base by means of dove tailed AB Gold mounts. You can mount no less than six batteries at the same time, although you ?only? have 4 power ins. If you need another plate for accessories you can add one in seconds. The locks on the plates are plastic clamps and are prone to wear and tear.
Adjusting the battery plates has to be done with precision: when you un-luck the clamp it can easily slide too far, and that messed up our balance twice?
All connectors are in-line with the base, creating a small footprint, not unlike to upper J-box. Also lots of power and video outs, including a multi connector like the on top.
The monitor bracket that was on the sled had a fixed length, although he showed us a rod type bracket as well. And I?d prefer the rod-type bracket, and that one looked well build.
Awkward placement of connectors
Loosening gimbal and then post clamp for adjusting post
That pretty much sums up the things I experienced with the B-B rig.
With my experience flying the GC Gold, and then looking at the B-B, my conclusion is that these rigs are not far apart.
Posted 01 March 2008 - 02:43 AM
I have a feeling that you did not understand a few features of the system. The top stage can be rotated 90 degrees, so the connectors are front-back. I did that on mine.
The dovetail plate sits solidly and has never moved a millimeter after tightened
The gimbal is excellent. Once you calibrate the screws on the gimbal, you are set. I have not done any further tweeks since, and it's very smooth and precise.
I've never had to loosen my gimbal to set the length of the sled. And I've done so many Panavision shows where the lenses are so different that you have to change the length pretty much every time there's a lens change. Never any issues there.
The battery plate plastic clamps are made of plastic so they don't scratch the bottom of the battery module when they are tightened. Never had to change any, works great, no wear and tear.
Once you learn the sled, you know what combination of plates/batteries work and where they should be located for the best dynamic balance. You don't have to change that often. But more than once, because of awkward set-ups (vehicles on low mode or the like) I benefited of being able to move the batteries around on the fly to help on balance.
I use a Masters arm and a Klassen vest.
All in all It has been a very solid piece of precise equipment that has not let me down. My set ups are fast and proven over time, as I've had this sled for about 6 years now, being my third sled. It has worked with every camera on every type of production.
Hope this helped shed some light on this.
Posted 01 March 2008 - 04:34 AM
On my rig I have:
No flex in my 2" titanium post. At all.
Topstage no odd travel or slip. Rock solid.
Open and close the topstage "drop-in style" clamp with my thumb after the safety is opened with a tool. Baer Bel is not tools-free yet.
My Gimble is perfectly balanced - and no loosening is required for post adjustment. No tweaking of gimble ever.
My arms won't get anywhere near the full range of the BB arm's travel and people actually mistake me in the street for a 6' tall Orang Utan! The arm cannot be bottomed out by a normal human – or this sub-normal one for that matter.
My BB arm is very smooth, makes no noise at all (unless you crash into a wall) and this “spring back” effect doesn’t exist – unless, perhaps, you are pushing down on the top of the camera (?!) – I don’t know I never tried this…
I preferred a different vest to the BB.
Also, and perhaps most importantly, anything you wish to change/modify/re-design on a Baer Bel will be done quickly and affordably by Markus.
The quality of the materials and workmanship are top notch and I have had comments on this by other operators who have seen and flown the kit.
My (biased) 2 cents.
Posted 01 March 2008 - 07:55 AM
We weren't told that you could simply rotate the stage, or J-box to get the connectors in a more convenient place. The gimbal did bind the upper titanium post to the lower section when 'over' tightening it (when is it overtightened? I don't want it to slip) And it was impossible to get the gimbal aligned properly. Markus as well as the two of us spend an hour trying to get it balanced. You can image that by that time we weren't that thrilled about the gimbal anymore. The same goes for the stage and post and base. When the sled's hanging from the stud and you want to adjust any of the batteries, and there's no friction to keep it in place after you've loosened the clamp, it wouldn't take much to throw off balance.
The rig we tried was, of course, brand new. So all that tweaking is something that Markus does when you're not around.
I agree that you would never reach the lower range of the arm in normal circumstances, but I had to try
After a while you can get used to just about anything. Perhaps if I were to take the rig home for a demo period it would grow on me. Suffice to say that we weren't blown away by the design and functionality.
Posted 03 March 2008 - 08:19 AM
Last week I was working with the new model of Baer Bel.
I am very happy with the equipment.
I was working with BL's cameras & HD, and I had no problem to get Dinamic Balance.
The gimbal is really smooth. Maybe is not the most beautifull Gimbal, but is v-e-r-y Solid, and I can rebalancing the same as an EFP or Artemis. On the gimbal and in the telescopic inner Post you have to use Allen wrench, but I changed the Allen for No tool screwes.
The top stage the same, I have to use Allen wrench.
I didn't find yet a "No tool screw", but I will change it.
The top stage is very solid.
No vibration and a long Dovetail with 15 or 19mm rods.
I rotated the Top stage in order to have the Camera Power back, and not on the side.
(I did it because I thought I can touch with my shoulder the XRL4 canon)
Well. I don't know how was the Baer Bel before, but now a day is great.
The only thing that I don't like is the Docking Bracket.
I miss my Jerry Hill...
In a few month I will buy a new one for 2"
Best to all,
PS I use Artemis or Walter Klassen Vest, and IIIA or Artemis Arm.
I haven't opinion about Baer Bel Vest or Arm.
Posted 03 March 2008 - 10:57 AM
Posted 03 March 2008 - 03:09 PM