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Old March 10th, 2011, 05:35 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
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3D Mirror Rig any good?

Found this listing. Are mirror rigs getting cheaper? Thoughts?
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Old March 10th, 2011, 09:57 PM   #2
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Re: 3D Mirror Rig any good?

Hi Jeff,

This looks like one of 3D Film Factory's rigs. 3D CAMERA RIGS

I used one once with EX3s and wasn't impressed with the design. On the low end of the cost spectrum I am now in love with the Hurricane. It's twice as much as the 3DFF rig but it has much more bang for the buck.
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Old March 11th, 2011, 07:47 AM   #3
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Re: 3D Mirror Rig any good?

This kit seems to be a mirror image of a 3DFilmFactory rig - but - some with improvements (e.g. easily adjustable top camera distance to mirror setting).

The 3DFilmFactory approach (which is to construct the structure out of pre-fab 80/20 parts) results in a big, somewhat clumsy rig. I've had one from their early days. It's not very portable and certainly not shoulder-luggable. If you set it up right, it's pretty square and not too difficult to get proper results from (your mileage may vary).

That all said... $1500 is a pretty darn good price for all of this kit. If you don't need portability and want a good, square, tripod-mounted mirror rig... this is a good value.
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Old March 11th, 2011, 10:40 AM   #4
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Re: 3D Mirror Rig any good?

It's definitely a 3D Film Factory rig. Spend a little extra and get one of Alister's Hurricane rigs, you won't be sorry you did.
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Old May 11th, 2011, 07:43 PM   #5
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Re: 3D Mirror Rig any good?

The 3D Film Factory rigs have made a lot of nice improvements in the past month. The beam-spitter glass quality was upgraded significantly, we redesigned the camera mounts and redid several key parts for ease of use. The rigs don't look very "sleek" but they are very functional. We are also in the midst of designing a whole new line of lighter, more custom 3D rigs - due out this summer.

The Hurricane rig looks nice, but it has it's downsides like any other. For example, it doesn't handle larger cameras (ie Reds, Alexa) well (it's too flimsy) The 3D Film Factory's Pro Rig does great with large cameras. The Hurricance rigs is over twice the price of most 3DFF rigs ($10,000 total). You have to be careful moving the hurricane rig on the tripod - it's easy to smack the bottom camera. The glass quality of the Hurricane rig is average at best - according to new users.

Our feeling is that different rigs serve different purposes. The Hurricane rig is a great, lightweight rig for steadicam shots and light production usage.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 07:26 PM   #6
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Re: 3D Mirror Rig any good?

Thanks for stopping by Karl. I met your director of stereo Keith at NAB and I am very interested to see the new stuff coming out of 3D Film Factory.
I too agree that there is a rig for every job. I've used the Tango, the Freestyle, the Quasar, the Dark Country, the Hurricane, the BS-Indie and my own designs all on different shoots and there isn't one rig that fits well with every production scenario or budget. There probably never will be.
The documentary sector needs reliable, solid, lightweight, small as can be with wide FOV under $10,000. So far my personal favourite that meets these specs is the Hurricane but I would love to test out one of your newly designed rigs when they are ready. I love testing out new gear!
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Old May 16th, 2011, 02:02 AM   #7
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Re: 3D Mirror Rig any good?

Some important points Karl:.

For a start the Hurricane rig is not $10,000 it's end user price including a nice Pelican style flight case is $8,500. We are putting in place a global, trained dealer network. Everyone of our dealers must have the ability to train users and fully support the rig at a local level. We feel it is important that the end user has a local point of contact wherever they are. That costs money to do.

One important thing to consider is that the underslung layout of the HR significantly lowers the CoG of the system which means you can use a tripod with a payload capacity typically half that of rigs that use an over mirror camera. When you raise the CoG of a system you must significantly increase the tripod payload capacity, otherwise you will never achieve satisfactory counterbalance and you risk the entire system toppling. When looking at pricing you need to look at the cost of the complete set-up, not just the rig itself and good, big tripods don't come cheap.

Our mirrors are best in class, same as element technica's, quite possibly the same as your new mirrors, as I'm sure your aware there are very few factories around the world that actually make high quality 50/50 beam splitter mirrors.

The Hurricane rig will take Red Ones and many of our customers use them. Alexa is not ideal but it can be done. For those using heavy cameras we have a $500 upgrade kit (shipping now) that makes our already stiff rig one of the stiffest in the market. In addition this upgrade improves the way the rig interacts with the counterbalance on the majority of tripods when using heavy cameras, helping keep the overall system weight much lower. The design of the rig with it's wide spaced rods and ingenious clamping and locking system make it surprisingly rigid.

Of course it's more expensive than the 3DFF rigs, it was designed from the ground up as a 3D rig, almost every single part of the rig is custom machined from alloy blanks, most parts to tolerances of less than .001mm. We have very simple, easy to understand, no-tool alignment that typically takes an experienced user no more than 5 mins. Full assembly of the rig from it's 1600 size pelicase style case takes around 15 minutes and requires a single allen key. If your using Red's or F3's with PL lenses a lens swap and align can take as little as 5 mins, far faster than most rigs.

As Tim say's there are a multitude of budgets and requirements for rigs, so different users will have different needs and anyone considering buying a rig should do there own in depth research. When budgeting for 3D you need to consider the cost of the entire system, not just the rig.
Alister Chapman, Film-Maker/Stormchaser http://www.xdcam-user.com/alisters-blog/ My XDCAM site and blog. http://www.hurricane-rig.com
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Old May 17th, 2011, 09:17 PM   #8
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Re: 3D Mirror Rig any good?

Hi Tim -

Yes, Keith our Director of Stereography mentioned meeting you. Keith is preparing to go back to Africa for one of the cable networks. They shoot wildlife with our 3D-BD Indie rig.

And yes, we do have a new line of 3D rigs coming out soon. They're significantly more custom than our current line and offer a host of new upgraded features. We've learned a lot in the last 3 years.

We're also just listed our 2011 LA summer schedule of 3D Training Workshops on our site.

We'll keep you posted.

Karl Kozak
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