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New vs. Used gear: starting out now, which path do you take?

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#1 William Demeritt

William Demeritt

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 06:51 PM

Greetings all, I'm a new operator (flying for just over a year now), and I just had a question. You're starting out now, and upon hearing you're a Steadicam operator, the immediate follow-up question by producers, AC's and DP's is: "Oh, do you own your own rig?"

So, you know it's crucial to your business that you own your own rig. Now, for the big question: Do you get your financing together and purchase a used rig, or do you purchase something new?

I feel like my decision is guided by the work I'm getting (mostly prosumer cameras, RED One, etc), the resale value, the total cost of getting up and running, etc., are there any other factors to consider?

If anyone can chime in with some guidance, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!
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#2 Jess Haas SOC

Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 05:51 PM

You will most likely be best served with a used larger rig. If you want to get a rig that can only handle lighter cameras than a new Flyer LE might not be a bad option as you might have trouble finding one new and the price difference won't be that big. That being said you can often find big rigs for sale with all the accessories you are going to need for not much more money than you would spend in the end with the Flyer. Now is a great time to buy used gear if you have the cash since everyone seems to be hurting for money and clearing out their closets.

When budgeting keep in mind you are really going to need to get a wireless follow focus as well. A BFD with motor is going to cost you a little under 5grand new. Wireless video is important as well but for lower end stuff you may be able to get by without it for a little while.

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#3 Brant S. Fagan SOC

Brant S. Fagan SOC

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 07:22 AM

For folks getting started, I usually recommend getting what you can afford and upgrade as your skills and resume expand.

Start looking for a rig that will handle your needs based on a business plan that includes 1, 2, 5, and 10 year goals.

Of course, it's the accessories that can bury you! Keep looking for good condition used components as your needs develop as there are always operators upgrading around you and the globe. Thanks for the internet and this Forum, you can find almost anything almost anywhere! Back when I got started, almost twenty years ago, it was word of mouth or the quarterly SOA Steadicam Letter.

Try to keep in mind that some jobs will come up with little warning and require additional gear. That is the beauty of the Steadicam brotherhood and community. Make friends and back them up as some day you will be able to return the favor.
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