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#1 Katerina Kallergis

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 01:20 AM

First off, I want everyone to know that I am very thankful for this forum. I'm sure everyone on here is. I've been reading and reading to the point where I think my brain will explode, but here is my question... if I bought an Archer, how much would I really be limiting myself?

I have this impression that the Clipper and Ultra are the only "big camera" rigs (made by Tiffen, anyway) and buying anything smaller would be useless. I mean I'd prefer the Clipper but money IS an issue.

Thanks for your time,
Kat
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#2 chris fawcett

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 04:30 AM

Hi Kat,

I have an Archer, and have been in the financial position to upgrade to an Clipper for a couple of years now. I was especially tempted when the Clipper 3 came out, as I regard it as the ideal rig for my work. There is no doubt that the Clipper is the better rig, and for many reasons. Having said that, the Archer does everything I want it to do, and is 2 kg (5 lbs) lighter. i just got back from a 4-week 16 mm shoot in the Amazon, with 40 C (105 F) temperatures and 100% humidity. The director had me filming 12 minute takes along jungle trails, crossing streams, and climbing a mountain of mud in an illegal gold mine. Atrocious. I was glad not to have to carry that extra 2 kilos around with me, as I was barely able to cope as it was.

Counterintuitively, the Archer can carry more than the Clipper, since you use the same arm, and the sled is lighter. When I fly a heavy camera (up to 18 kg / 40 lbs), I tape a spare battery or two to the rods for ballast. Operators such as Mikko Wilson and Lars-Erik Kristansen (who flies his Archer sled with a G70!) have home-made double-battery brackets, and Hofmann of Sweden offers a double-battery bracket upgrade. I'm too lazy for all that, and admit that I like the look of my rig best when there is an unsightly bodge somewhere. It's a personal thing. Laziness probably stops me upgrading to a Clipper too, as there is no doubt of its superiority, and I likely shall one day soon. But will you be limited with the Archer? If you plan to fly cameras heavier then 12 kg (25 lbs) every day, then you would be foolish to push the Archer so far, and so often, beyond its design specifications; but you might be more limited by not having the cash to buy some good accessories, and food.

Good luck in your decision,

Chris
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#3 Dave Gish

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 07:19 AM

Counterintuitively, the Archer can carry more than the Clipper, since you use the same arm, and the sled is lighter. When I fly a heavy camera (up to 18 kg / 40 lbs), I tape a spare battery or two to the rods for ballast. Operators such as Mikko Wilson and Lars-Erik Kristansen (who flies his Archer sled with a G70!) have home-made double-battery brackets, and Hofmann of Sweden offers a double-battery bracket upgrade.

Hi Chris,

Thanks for this info. I'm also eyeing my next purchase. A few questions:

1) Why does Steadicam limit the specs of the Archer to 23 pounds?

2) What is the difference (from an operator's perspective) between the Archer and the Archer SE?

3) How does the Archer work with the RED One?

4) How about a G-50 arm and LX vest with another sled, like this?
http://www.mk-v.com/?cat=170

5) What do you think about the Klassen vests?
http://www.walterkla...adicomments.htm

Thanks again,
Dave

Edited by Dave Gish, 17 November 2008 - 07:22 AM.

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#4 Ed Moore

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 07:51 AM

1) Why does Steadicam limit the specs of the Archer to 23 pounds?

2) What is the difference (from an operator's perspective) between the Archer and the Archer SE?

3) How does the Archer work with the RED One?

4) How about a G-50 arm and LX vest with another sled, like this?
http://www.mk-v.com/?cat=170

5) What do you think about the Klassen vests?
http://www.walterkla...adicomments.htm


1) The Tiffen figures take into account the load capacity of the gimbal, which is designed to perform under certain parameters up to a certain weight. You can put more load on it and it won't fail (in the same way that you can overload a fluid head without the camera falling off) but it's possible you'll notice a drop-off in performance (probably taking the form of an increase in drag)

2) Used to be the Archer SE had the tilt head but now all Archers do. I think you get a upgraded vest and they 'throw in' batteries, the low mode kit, and a few other bits and bobs. I have to say I thought the difference in price was quite extreme between the two options, but then I already had loads of batteries. And I ended up buying the low mode kit shortly after in any case.

3) I use the Archer with the RED all the time and it works great. Unless you have practically no AKS on the RED you're going to need to add weight at the bottom of the sled somehow (I go for the same 'gaffer tape a spare battery on' method as Chris (although I've found when I do that I can never quite get the finesse in dynamic balance that I might otherwise). Tiffen (and others) make a power cable to run the RED from the 12V out at the top of the sled, and whilst expensive, that's a worthwhile purchase if you're doing a lot of RED as it gives you a lot more options for how you can build your rig.

The main catch is that you need a downconverter to turn the HD-SDI output from the RED into composite standard def video; unless you invest in an HD-SDI compatible monitor for your sled. The downconverter most use is by AJA and I think costs about £700 these days. The bodgy alternative is to use the RED LCD monitor, but the viewing angle sucks. Although apparently the new 7" RED LCD is a lot better in that respect.

4) Haven't tried it, but depending on where you're from, exchange rates make a difference. For me in the UK I got a lot more bang for my buck (well, quid) by buying Tiffen rather than MK-V (who are based in Manchester). Although it's fair to say that the MK-V option gives you a greater degree of flexibility in terms of upgrading in a modular manner, whereas other than the Hofmann AT-AT upgrade for the Archer, the 'upgrade' path is to sell it and go to the Clipper or Ultra.

5) Never tried one myself but my understanding is they make working with very heavy rigs a lot more bearable. Whilst I'm sure they help with all manner of rigs, for the price of the Archer a WK vest is probably overspend. I would first buy wireless follow focus and video send before I upgraded my vest.

Hope this helps!

Ed
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#5 chris fawcett

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 09:40 AM

1/ That's all you can balance with one battery. The gimbal is fine. Many of us have been 'overloading' it without difficulty.

2/ Agree with Ed.

3/ Agree with Ed, except no probs with dynamic dalance. I have the Transvideo HD Steadicam monitor, which is amazing. So no HD problems either.

4/ I'd go for the tilt head any day.

5/ They don't work for me.
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#6 Ed Moore

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 10:00 AM

3/ Agree with Ed, except no probs with dynamic dalance.


I'm definitely not using enough gaffer tape :)
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#7 chris fawcett

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 10:22 AM

I'm definitely not using enough gaffer tape :)

More bodge please. :ph34r:
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#8 Richard James Lewis

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 10:35 AM

Before I changed to my new rig, I used to have an Archer (which incidentally I used with my Klassen harness)
I was always using the system to its limits, and although you *can* overload the gimbal, performance will suffer, and you won?t be working at your best. I noticed a phenomenal change, and my operating improved when I switched to using the V2 Gimbal, but you would expect that and to compare the two isn't fair.
I had a really nice battery plate machined to go on the rods at the bottom, without which, I?d be challenged balancing most setups I encountered; even a Digi would have the post at full extension. But that's also down to battery choice.
If you were to put a brick at the back then that would help, but you would be a bit restricted with DB as the monitor is so light.
I also switched the gimbal grip and upgraded it to the mk-v toolsfree design, which made a big difference and I?m glad I did it. Slippy fingers and having to use an Allen key every time got frustrating.
I also had issues with the folding section. I could never get it tight enough to stop it twisting where it was keyed into the base. The whole folding idea always puzzled me, considering a Clipper or an Ultra fit into the same size flight case as the Archer...
I'm not sure if the Archer design is long for this world, I'd imagine that it will be being changed in the not too distant future. It's a bit of cobble together from the Provid era.
Overall the Archer is a good rig depending on your market. I personally found I quickly outgrew it.
If you are thinking of buying bits, then I would definitely say go for the G-50 it's a really amazing arm.
The Clipper 324 looks sweet and is a much better design approach on behalf of Tiffen.

Best,

Rick.
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#9 Ed Moore

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 11:11 AM

The whole folding idea always puzzled me, considering a Clipper or an Ultra fit into the same size flight case as the Archer...


That is a bloody good point, and I can't believe I haven't noticed that before!
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#10 Dave Gish

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 11:18 AM

3/ ... I have the Transvideo HD Steadicam monitor, which is amazing. So no HD problems either.

Which Transvideo monitor do you use? Do you still need an AJA downconverter to run wireless video?

5/ They don't work for me.

Is it the back mount that doesn't work for you?

If you are thinking of buying bits, then I would definitely say go for the G-50 it's a really amazing arm.

I'm currently thinking about a V2 Lite Genesis:
http://www.mk-v.com/?cat=170
with a G-50 arm and a WK vest. Would there be any way to try out this combination before I decide to buy it?
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#11 chris fawcett

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 11:20 AM

That is a bloody good point, and I can't believe I haven't noticed that before!

I think the Archer actually gets bigger when you fold it up; but take the pin out of the hinge, and it squeezes into a little Peli case.

Chris

Hi Dave,

This monitor: http://www.steadicam...?showtopic=7860 Sure, you need a downconverter for SD TX, but delay is no longer an issue.

I just hate the feel of the vest. It really f***s up my posture. Larry Mc Conkey loves it, so I'm probably just weird.
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#12 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 11:23 AM

"If you are thinking of buying bits, then I would definitely say go for the G-50 it's a really amazing arm."

While I agree the G-50 is an amazing arm, I'm amazed at how often people seem to overlook the fact that a 50 pound payload is very limiting. Obviously, it depends on the type of work you are doing, but real world situations with almost any 35mm camera (meaning multiple motors, cinetape, etc) as well as many HD situations will send you past 50 pounds. When I first got into Steadicam, I had a 3a arm with black springs (it was very hard to find used gold spring arms then and CP would not sell arms by themselves). That arm was rated at 51 pounds and I was always nervous about the lift until I was able to get gold springs put in.

If you can do a G-70 or a PRO arm, you will never have to worry about weight range again. If your budget does not allow, but you you are pretty sure you will need the heavier capacity, then you may want to consider a used 3a arm or Master arm. Of course they are not as silky smooth but they work fine. The flip side to this though is that these arms don't have the low end weight range if you do fly really light set-ups!

Just food for thought.
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#13 Richard James Lewis

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 11:42 AM

Agreed Alec, but if you are considering buying an Archer in the first place, then that would not really be the type of work you would be catering for...
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#14 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 11:56 AM

"Agreed Alec, but if you are considering buying an Archer in the first place, then that would not really be the type of work you would be catering for..."

Richard, I should have pointed out that this may be a reason to buy an Archer ( a sled that matches the arm for a lot less money). The Clipper 24 I tried at NAB was a fabulous rig that could handle 35mm work as far as the sled goes, but it would seem better suited to a G-70 arm. I believe Tiffen offers this as a package as well. I guess a lot of this was just on my mind because a friend of mine (who flies a PRO sled) is buying a G-70 and selling his 3a arm. We both agreed that the G-50 has hurt the resell of 3a arms, yet the 3a arm handles a lot more weight which is what you need for 35 work.
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#15 JobScholtze

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 12:14 PM

I'm currently thinking about a V2 Lite Genesis:
http://www.mk-v.com/?cat=170
with a G-50 arm and a WK vest. Would there be any way to try out this combination before I decide to buy it?


The statement MK-V makes that HD-SDI is standard confuses me. As there expensice V3 unit dasnt work at all at HD-SDI. Also the power management in the NEW v3 needs some work. ( most cables used are microphone cable :blink: ) There gimbal and post is super B, i cant say that about there electronics, and i am sure there are others that have the same issue, i wonder why the not speak up? But the best thing you could do is a long test drive, perhaps this base and electronics do work? I wonder ......

Regarding the arm, an arm is a peice of equipment that last very long. As much as i loved the g50, i am much more happy with the G70. Never have to deal with weight at all makes it all very easy. If i ever change a sled :rolleyes: then i keep the arm. Consider this in your investment.
( Or of course the pro arm, thats up to you )


Regards Job
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