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Upcoming features with F900 and RED on Flyer LE


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#1 Mike Germond SOC

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 09:48 PM

Hey guys,

It looks like I've finally been able to break into the Film side after 9 months of owning/operating. I have 2 features coming up in August and September, and I'm looking for some tips and what to look out for. Obviously I want to make sure that I'm totally prepared.

~~~~~~~~
1st Feature
-Sony F900

What sort of things should I be able to tell/ask the DP to make sure I'm prepared for this camera on my LE? Also, I'm a non-union guy so I need some help clearing up what the Producer means with this statement: "The rates will be IATSE Tier 1, with some negotiated flexibility as to the usual union contract." I will also be onboard as 1st AC for this, so my question that generated that response was in regards to how to handle rates for days when I'm doing both. No word as to what AKS they want yet. I'm preparing for wireless SD video and have the Seitz on hand as well.

~~~~~~~~
2nd Feature
-RED ONE Body, EVF & LCD
-18-50mm Lens
-POWER PACK & 2 BRICKS
-Dovetail, Rail Systemsx2
-UMount, Cradle, Handlesx6
-320GB RAID Drive
-Arri 15mm Base Plate w/ 15mm Rods
-15mm Dovetail Plate
-Arri Follow Focus FF-5HD
-Arri Matte Box

I'm already familiar with the hype on this one. I made mention to the producer that we should start looking at CF for the Steadicam shots. Once the terms are firmed up for this one, I will place the order for a Redbyte Decimator (been meaning to buy but hadn't had a purpose). Producer also opted for no wireless FF. I will also be Camera Op for the rest of this feature, and I'm told I have a Fischer Dolly at my disposal.


I know both cameras are doable with this rig, but I want to hear from the guys who have used them and know the qwerks and tricks of each. These are my first shots at getting some Film credit on my resume, so obviously I want to be the most prepared guy on the set. I like when nothing can possibly be blamed on me :P
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#2 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 10:48 PM

Hey guys,

It looks like I've finally been able to break into the Film side after 9 months of owning/operating. I have 2 features coming up in August and September, and I'm looking for some tips and what to look out for. Obviously I want to make sure that I'm totally prepared.

~~~~~~~~
1st Feature
-Sony F900

What sort of things should I be able to tell/ask the DP to make sure I'm prepared for this camera on my LE? Also, I'm a non-union guy so I need some help clearing up what the Producer means with this statement: "The rates will be IATSE Tier 1, with some negotiated flexibility as to the usual union contract." I will also be onboard as 1st AC for this, so my question that generated that response was in regards to how to handle rates for days when I'm doing both. No word as to what AKS they want yet. I'm preparing for wireless SD video and have the Seitz on hand as well.

~~~~~~~~
I know both cameras are doable with this rig, but I want to hear from the guys who have used them and know the qwerks and tricks of each. These are my first shots at getting some Film credit on my resume, so obviously I want to be the most prepared guy on the set. I like when nothing can possibly be blamed on me :P


A F900 setup for a film is a no go on a flyer. not only is out of the camera net weight limits but that small center post on something with that much inertia and torque... Well let's just say that I wouldn't do it.

If it's a union show and you're not union you're a no go. Also the union ain't gonna be happy with you AC'ing then operating, that crosses many bounds including minimum staffing and honestly any IA600 member is within their right to grieve you and the production if that's the way they are staffing it.
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#3 Mike Germond SOC

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 11:36 PM

Well let me shed some more light that may put the project in prospective for everyone. It's an independent film being shot in Grand Rapids, MI because of the tax incentives we have in Michigan now. The producer/writer is from LA. From what I'm gathering, all he means is they are basing their pay scale off of the Tier 1 chart (which I've looked at). I can't imagine it's a union show, since there are little to no union affiliations on my side of the state and they are looking to hire all locally.

But about the F900, I've seen other threads with the thing on the old Flyer. I can't imagine that it's going to be over weight running off sled power on the new LE's. The camera is under 10lbs with no VF, Batts, etc.. Granted I don't know the specifics on the camera package yet.

IMO, if they want to keep it low budget, I'm using a Flyer. If they want to fly a package that requires something bigger, they're going to have to cough up for the rental.

Edited by Mike Germond, 07 June 2009 - 11:37 PM.

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#4 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 11:49 PM

Well let me shed some more light that may put the project in prospective for everyone. It's an independent film being shot in Grand Rapids, MI because of the tax incentives we have in Michigan now. The producer/writer is from LA. From what I'm gathering, all he means is they are basing their pay scale off of the Tier 1 chart (which I've looked at). I can't imagine it's a union show, since there are little to no union affiliations on my side of the state and they are looking to hire all locally.

But about the F900, I've seen other threads with the thing on the old Flyer. I can't imagine that it's going to be over weight running off sled power on the new LE's. The camera is under 10lbs with no VF, Batts, etc.. Granted I don't know the specifics on the camera package yet.

IMO, if they want to keep it low budget, I'm using a Flyer. If they want to fly a package that requires something bigger, they're going to have to cough up for the rental.



The camera BODY is 10lbs, no lens, no support, no batts, it also consumes 11amps. I've flown it plenty, it's a bad idea on flyer.

But hell what do I know, I've only been doing this for 24 years.....
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#5 William Demeritt

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 02:48 AM

I just went through a job where I quickly learned the RED One, in most real world scenarios, is too much camera for Flyer LE.

The CF cards aren't a luxury item, they're a necessity for flying the RED on the Flyer. If you're not flying a wireless follow focus, and you've got the CF cards, then you'll probably be in business.

Strip the RED One down to just the body (no rails, nothing), add the lens and maybe request a clip-on mattebox. You're flying bare bones, but you'll fly. However, that's with a prime and nothing else. Your equipment list seems to include a zoom lens, a standard mattebox, and you mention you'll need a downconverter.

"These are my first shots at getting some Film credit on my resume, so obviously I want to be the most prepared guy on the set. I like when nothing can possibly be blamed on me"

If you want to be the most prepared and blameless, I would think maybe arranging for a heavier rig would be the very best preparation? I made the mistake of thinking a production would arrive with everything I requested to be able to fly with a Flyer LE (lightweight matte box, CF cards, etc), and I had to scramble to borrow a heavier rig to complete the job (many thanks to those that helped!).

I know Alec wrote a great thread a few weeks ago about his experience flying the RED, and how flying just the RED turned into flying the RED, some unexpected accessories and some LED Litepanels. I didn't heed that kind of warning, but I lucked out and completed my job.

I'm pretty new to this game, so please take with a grain of salt. However, having learned this firsthand, I gotta say: you can crunch the numbers and the theoretical weights, but if you're anywhere close to the maximum weight on paper, chances are you're going over in the real world.

**On another note: they're only getting 2 RED Bricks to power the RED? Do they realize what a power hog that camera is? You'll probably be out of power and running off an AC tether after 3 hours powered up.
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#6 Sydney Seeber

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 03:56 AM

It's an independent film being shot in Grand Rapids,

That doesn't make a camera weigh any less...
There's no freakin' WAY that camera weighs 10 pounds. I hauled one of those fuckers around the world for almost 3 years, and do I wish it only weighed in @ 10 pounds. FF, down converter, (depending on version of F900) etc. etc. will bring that thing in at well over 10 pounds, I assure you... I may not be an expert Steadicam guy, but I know my HDCAM.
I do notice that Tiffen is selling a branded "Steadicam FLYER-LERED Flyer-LE Red One Camera Stabilizer System"
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#7 Ed Moore

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 05:37 AM

Mike - you really will struggle. And even if you get a build of either camera onto your rig, you will be so limited in configurations (your gimbal will be all the way up and the post telescoped all the way down whatever you do) it'll probably be a bitch to operate.

Is it a possibility to get to the camera rental houses first and try to build the rig with the camera as described well before the shoot?

It's great news that you've got yourself a feature. Now you need to not blow your reputation on the first one by not anticipating the demands of the camera package. Better to lose out on your margin by having to rent in a larger rig than struggling to operate on every shot.
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#8 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 05:50 AM

Which version of the F900? If it is not an F900R then you will not have HDSDI out but component analog HD out which most monitors and down converters will not handle (and even if they do, you are screwed if the DP wants to hard wire you because you will have three BNCs running off the sled). With early model 900s you will most likely also have an Evertz or other brand "back" on the camera which provides HD SDI out as well as NTSC out. Great, except that it weighs a couple more pounds and makes the camera longer.

Sorry Mike; not trying to gang up on you here - just letting you know you are asking for trouble.
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#9 Janice Arthur

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 08:49 AM

Mike;

I really am not trying to make you crazy but you've got some stuff going on here that has red flags all over it, which is why you've gotten so many responses.

1) IATSE union is all over Michigan, they've organized even lots of the industrials, most of the commercials and certainly most of the features low budget or not.

2) You've posted your job on the internet, now you've got lots of competition taking aim at your job which won't happen for months and they know all the details. Next time quietly ask some Steadicam friends, don't post it. Post it later, after the job, maybe.

We're all pals but when it comes to work its every man/women for himself! Everyone is quietly making mental notes of who is doing what.

3) "The producer said" I won't need wireless. They don't know.

4) Operator and ACing, very tough, if not impossible, still don't understand that one.
(If you can get on a Non-union job and if they organize you can get your union card, cheaper or a good in with the union.)

5) What all the other guys said about the gear not up to the challenge of the cameras I agree.

I do wish you well but you're maybe about to get steamrollered for all your efforts to be prepared.

JA

Good luck.
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#10 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 09:52 AM

Unfortunately while this may seem like a great opportunity for you, probably it is only going to be a great opportunity to tarnish your reputation. No one will remember that you "told them XYZ" or that they told you the rig would be stripped down; they'll just remember that when they needed focus, iris, audio, video transmitter, matte box, filters, fill-light and downconverter that you couldn't do it. No one here is trying to rain on your parade, we're trying to stop you from falling off the dock into the lake.

I commented on one of the Flyer promo posters in the lobby at the Tiffen / Steadicam open house last week showing a stripped down, bare-bones RED on a Flyer; basically Tiffen is doing themselves and their clients a disservice since they're not showing a real-world camera package. At CineGear this weekend, just about every other booth was all about how to add MORE AKS to the RED which is exactly what they'll want to do to you whether its the RED or F900. The F900 has not gained the nickname Hindenburg for nothing.

Here's a great ugly rig example from a music video I worked on last month. The camera was to be a HPX-170 ( <6 lbs ), with a Letus 35 adapter and Nikkor lenses; still not much more than 12 pounds so I brought a weight plate to give it some more mass. HA!!!

At the shoot they decided to add a large ring light to the front which in and of itself only weighs about 5-6 pounds. However, they had nothing to properly mount or rig it with and of course the limitations of the Letus / 170 set up was that there was no place forward enough to mount my dovetail plate, thus I had to counter balance the back of the rig.

The result was four IDX batteries stacked on the bottom, two more taped (covered in the shot) to the rear rails, my Preston MDR2 and my Canatrans all stacked on the rear to get it balanced. Oh, and it was low mode and tethered for power to the ring light. You can see the weight plate which never got used sitting on my cart underneath the handheld directors monitor. The total rig/sled/camera weight was 56 pounds just at the edge and limit of my G50 arm. Of course the camera mounting plate / rails only provided for ONE 1/4 x 20 camera mounting screw holding all that crap to my dovetail plate.

Posted Image

Good luck!

Robert
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#11 Mike Germond SOC

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 10:20 AM

Everyone,

Thanks for the replies. This is exactly the type of information that I suspected but wanted to know for sure. I understand how reputation is everything in this industry, and like Robert said, I'd like to keep myself from "falling off the dock into the lake"

I have not yet talked to the DP about the F900 so I don't know what model it is or the details of any of the AKS that will be necessary. I am basing my assumptions about weight off of the factory specs:

Mass - Approx. 5.4 kg (12 lb. 2 oz) with microphone, HDVF-20A viewfinder, BCT-40HD cassette and BP-GL95 Battery


And yes, I realize that is without a lens. There's been so much hype about some of these cameras that I've seen them on Flyer's all the way up to Ultra2's. I guess it all depends on the package. Someone commented on them only getting 2 RedBricks for that camera. That supprised me too. I have 2 powercubes as well, but I think we're going to be running a little short! I'll talk to the Producer today and find out if I have to be union or not to even work on this production. I don't understand a thing about unions besides the negative conotation that comes along with Teamsters, so I wouldn't even know what my options are.

These are the things that I'm glad I'm finding out now instead of later..

Thanks!

Edited by Mike Germond, 08 June 2009 - 10:27 AM.

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#12 Brant S. Fagan SOC

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 11:25 AM

Mike--

Basically, what Janice said X2 and the following.

No matter what the producer "said," there is the real world that happens all around us as operators which has little bearing on what was promised ahead of time.

Take a look at this configuration with the RED One on my full size rig as seen below. They will tell you whatever it takes to "break" you and your rate to make things work on their budget. You are left trying to make it happen in the real world while the clock is ticking and they are watching.

Ask all the questions and demand reasonable and factual answers; your reputation rides on your ability to produce results no matter what "they said."

MysteryTeam_4355X

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#13 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 04:40 PM

RED:

http://www.steadicam...=...ost&p=44832


Sony F900:

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#14 Mike Germond SOC

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 04:56 PM

Haha, I get the point. Not that I didn't before (I just questioned it)..

I'm not worried about the RED One shoot because the film has such a small budget that they already realize that compromises are going to be made if they want a Steadicam.

I made a joke about the F900lbs once and someone quickly shot back with proof that it could be done on a Flyer. Time will tell of course. I'm expecting a reply from the DP in the next few days.

There is no question to whether or not I can do it, the question is which rig will it take..
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#15 Brant S. Fagan SOC

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 06:48 PM

OK, Alec, I'll see your '900' with the following "package:"

Attached File  McGruff_5258s.jpg   85.05KB   126 downloads

Varicam, Pro35, Cooke 15-40mm CXX zoom, 6x6 clip-on matte box, 2 trays, on board battery and downconverter: OAL = 49"
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