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SK1 and SK2 - All about


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#1 Nikk Hearn-Sutton SOC

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Posted 13 January 2004 - 11:23 AM

I have a SK2 and I really don't know the weight limit on it I've heard up 22lbs and 26lbs I just don't want to damage especially myself or my rig and is there any reason that my monitor goes in and out when I'm shooting and the only way I can get it back is if I (and I HATE DOING THIS) hit it on the back for it to come back and suggestions or answeres would be great. Thanks.
Nikk
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#2 JobScholtze

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Posted 13 January 2004 - 12:00 PM

Hi Nikk, ( is it nikk?)

The weight limit of the sk2 arm is 9-19lb. Hitting your monitor is NOT a good idea, bring it to a steadicamdealer for repairs.
It's not save taking any jobs without monitor repairs.
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#3 Fred'sDeadCat

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 04:41 AM

I'd like to hear some opinions on the SK2.

Over the years I have shot many backstage and rehearsal reels for various bands, the last couple of years using an XL-1. I've always wanted a steadicam rig but till now the cost was just beyond my reach... that is until I had my taxes done last week.
The only system I have had a chance to play with, and it really was just play time, was an SK2. It felt great and natural, something I could really get into. But is the SK2 a good value? Is there a better system/company I should look at in the same price range?

Thanks for your opinions.
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#4 RobVanGelder

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 05:49 AM

The SK is a system that does basic Steadicam but don´t expect too much from it.
It is limited due to the light size and almost no flexability in the configuration and the one-segment arm doesn´t really help either.
To my opinion, this is a system for corporate videos where you sometimes want a move, a small walk-and-talk but nothing fancy.
It´s quick to set up and light to travel.

There are some rigs that have been modified, and with a two segment arm, which improves the system .

If you are looking for something to work with your XL-1, have a look at the Mini system from Tiffen ( Ask Peter Abraham), and there are more brands that have similar lightweight systems or rigs available.

Anything bigger than an XL-1 (16mm cameras) and you really want to save some more money as all money spend on too light and bare rigs will be a disappointment in a later stage.

Rob van Gelder, Bangkok, Thailand
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#5 PatrickvanWeeren

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 12:00 PM

I'd agree with Rob. I'm familiar with the Mini, SK, Provid, IIIa, Master series, Pro and Ultra. I still love to fly the mini.

You've got to choose your steadicam to the budget and market that you are working in. So if you are working with small camera's in a small crew and fast setups, the SK is fine.

The biggest disadvantage of the SK is the single arm section and the adjustment features are limited. The top stage and the gimbal are the same as the PROVID and are basically good (price-quality). I've worked with a PROVID top stage and gimbal for a full 6 month period without any problems and a Aaton PROD 16mm film camera with a zoomlens, focus motors, transmitters etc.

If you want to start with a smaller rig but be ready for the BIG job, you might want to consider buying a good vest and an arm with steel socket block.

This way you can smoothly upgrade your rig whenever a sophisticated job comes your way. Having your own vest and a good quality vest is something very important, and vests will not age or brake easily.

Don't expect the same quality for 1/6th of the price; it just isn't possible but it's still a lot of fun.

Kind regards,

Patrick van Weeren
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#6 JobScholtze

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 01:21 PM

So if you are working with small camera's in a small crew and fast setups, the SK is fine.

:blink:



I think i can react about the sk2. I own one for many years now (second rig). I fly digital betacam with primelens and pro35 adapter, follow focus, transmitter, etcetc. Ok, the sk arm has some limits, ( a lot ) but it fly's. You can upgrade ( i did ) to a provid arm, and that gives you more boom range. I do a lot of music clips and television specials. Because the sk2 is not that heavy, i can keep it on for a long time. Sometimes when i fly a hdcam or something more heavy, i rent a elite. So, yes it has his limits, but it depends of what you want. It works for me do.

I agree about the vest. The sk vest sucks


Job
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#7 Ron Bolte

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 04:05 PM

Hello Mr. Deadcat!

I too have used an SK-2 for a few years. I recently upgraded to PRO, but stll get the SK out on ocassion. I work mainly on industrial film/video, a smattering of commercials, and some music.
I find the SK-2 very usable for music because of its small size and weight. Seems like the people I work for on music are more "freeform" about what gets shot, so I can work around the limits of the rig.
As far as industrial stuff, thats why I bought the PRO. Seems like the directors I work for in that arena are less experienced with Steadicam, and expect a much higher level of precision in my shots. ("its like a dolly that sweats, right?")
All of that said, When I was researching the SK-2, I found that resale was higher on it than competing rigs of its capabilities. Also, I found it easier to sell my services to novice/inexperieced producers not having to explain, "its like a Steadicam..." I could just point to the logo. Unfourtunate but real situation in my market, I have to explain my PRO rig is actually MUCH better...

Just my .02
Ron Bolte
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#8 PeterAbraham

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 09:14 PM

The Mini is actually the perfect system for an XL-1 and XL-1s. I say this not because it's the system I currently fly ( after a Model I, Model II and Master Series Elite with many bells and whistles ).

I say it because there are some factors to consider when chosing a rig, and money is not the only one.

If your market is primarily Mini DV, and DV Cam, then you would be extremely wise to consider a Mini. With a 5- 15 lb. camera limit, you can put a lightweight Mini DV camera onto it and get away with extremely nice stuff. You can also put a regular DV-Cam up ( sans eyepiece and battery, typically) with normal Canon or Fuji optics, and go to town.

Consider this, for a moment. I can take a 9 lb. camera and balance it very well on the Mini. I can do so without adding a 15-20 lb. block of steel underneath it. The ability to operate with extreme precision ( to me, at least ) has always been tied to how far your hand is from top stage. If you have a camera on your rig that allows you to slide your gimbal far north and keep a good drop time, and your hand is 3 inches from the bottom of the camera, you are likely to have a finer feel for the rig than you will if your hand is 12-14 inches below the camera. With a very light camera, your hand will be far from the c.g. of the camera body. I've always found this to be vexing, and more difficult to do precise work with, especially very fast pans.

So, if your career encompases everything from Mini-DV Cam to a 535-B, you're in for a lot of weighted steel plates. If, on the other hand, your current career is filled with lightweight video cameras, then I would recommend chosing a rig that will allow you to fly those cameras with ease and total control. Use a Mini, and keep an eye out for larger rigs for the time when you suddenly find your equipment needs not served by the capacity of a Mini. You won't ever sell the Mini. Trust me. It's the perfect running rig for an Aaton XTR Prod, or an A-Minima. ( or, as shown in a photo I think, Chuck Papert's SL-Cine, yes? ).

This is going to sound like frantic justification, but bear with it. I find this rig to be the most demanding I've ever owned. Why? Because there is zero forgiveness, due to overall low weight. I spent about an hour yesterday at SUNY Purchase college campus. My son had a flute lesson there, and I wanted to play around in very long hallways with people walking in them. Vanishing Point and whatnot.

It was a great reminder of just how delicate a touch is demanded by lighter rigs. Yes, it's so light it's easy to wear for very long periods of time. The flipside is that it's just as precision and delicate as any rig, but the camera and sled lack inertia found in bigger rigs. A genteel touch is required, moreso than with heavier Steadicams. It's fun as hell to operate, and I have learned just how much Less is More with this system.

Good luck with whatever rig you chose to buy. Remember, you're not buying just a label, you're buying engineering that goes back to the first prototypes and has been incessantly refined in the last 30 years. The Mini Arm and Mini Gimbal are complete wonders of lightweight precision fluid design. This thing kicks ass.

Peter Abraham, E.M.T.
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#9 Ron Bolte

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 09:49 PM

You obviously bring up some great points Peter.

Given the parameter of smaller DV cameras, the mini is sounds like the answer.

I will totally agree on the "attention to details" aspect of the smaller, lower mass rigs. Putting on the SK, with my XL on it, after a few gigs with the PRO with the DigiBeta or SRIII with all its gack, can be a wrather humbling experiece! The revearse is also true, kinda like practicing with a batting weight in revearse, going back to the big rig... ahhhhhhh...
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#10 Fred'sDeadCat

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Posted 05 March 2004 - 04:58 PM

Thanks to all for the feedback, it is greatly appreciated.

For the most part I am the sole member of the crew, so lightweight and easy setup are two important features. In reality I know I will never move to a Pro or Big Time situation, for me this is closer to an expensive hobby that pays for itself. I'm actually a studio engineer and music editor by trade. Over the years I've always had some type of camera in the studio, and many musicians I have worked with started to call me to shoot when they went on tour, I guess they just felt comfortable around me, and thus my current situation was born.

My goals are...
With lots of practice (maybe a workshop if I can swing it) I'd like to achieve a fluid walk-and-talk, maybe a few "cool" shots from time to time.
Also I am looking for better support from a health stand point. Working on my own I wind up with a camera on my shoulder for as long as the tape and batteries last. I believe that even when factoring the added weight of a steadicam the distribution of that weight will be better in the long run.

Peter -
You bring up some great points on the mini. When I started my search for info I somewhat glossed over the mini as an option due to the weight limit. Since whatever sound I get into the camera is the sound we use, I tend to have a couple of wireless receives velcroed to my XL-1, along with a shotgun. Sometimes I even wind up with a light in the shoe. All this can put me right near the top rating for the mini. I was concerned that steadicams where rated like everything else in the world... how often do you really see the MPG your car was rated at? or Have you ever tried to run software on a computer that just met the minimum requirement? Based on your (and the others) suggestion I will definitely give the mini serious consideration, I've waited this long to get a steadicam, and I'm in no rush to make the wrong choice.
Hopefully I'll be able to make NAB fit into this year's schedule so I can take a better look at my options.

Once again, thanks to all for the feedback.
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#11 PeterAbraham

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Posted 05 March 2004 - 05:05 PM

Your member name slays me, Fred.

The XL-1S is So light, that I can see a few small digital audio recievers and an obie light, and not hit 15 lbs. Seriously- try it. You might wind up with one hell of a sexy rig there, around 12-13 lbs, with full audio and light.

:)

Peter
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#12 Mitch Gross

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Posted 05 March 2004 - 07:39 PM

Do you know that there's an SK on eBay at the moment?
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#13 PeterAbraham

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Posted 05 March 2004 - 09:12 PM

Boy. That's one cheap Steadicam....... I wonder why the guy's selling the rig off. For a little money you could upgrade the arm to a 2 section arm and have a very tasty rig.

For Betacams and 16mm and what not...
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#14 MichaelStewart

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 10:34 PM

Can anyone explain the difference between SK and SK2 when did they come out with the SK2 and why?


Thanks
Mike
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#15 charlesneufeld

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 11:04 PM

Hi Mike,

OK this is what I know...Please chime in if I have mis-informed :unsure:

SK introduced in 1991, SK2 in 1998

They have the same vest, top stage(I would imagine some modifications on the sk2), both are dynamically balanced, and the monitor/batt mount is invertable for low-mode.

The differences on the SK2 are a lighter greenscreen, carbon post, it was available with a two-section arm, and weighed 1lb more at 14.5lbs.

I beleive that the SK2 came with more options for battery mounts aswell.

I hope this helps.

Charles
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