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Old April 18th, 2011, 11:18 PM   #1
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ultraCOMPACT vs CPM Film Tools... OR?

ultraCOMPACT vs CPM Film Tools... OR?
hey guys theres talk about both of these, but i hope to hear from experience. I have the money to get the Redrock rig and some more (about $1000), but feel that getting an expensive rig wont make me a better shooter, and it wont transform shots into movie quality production. so, i am looking at the indisystems ultraCOMPACT, which generally has great reviews and especially loved for its price. then i am looking at the not so reviewed CPM Tools Flyer Shoulder Mount. either one is under $500 so i can cope with that. Which one would you guys go for? i know its a hit or miss with the indisystems rig, but i guess i am willing to take that gamble :). and if you honestly think investing in the redrock is that much worth it then lemme know why, i would generally only buy them used on ebay and they dont come up that often!. i am going to be using these rigs for short films and documentary style shooting...thanks again!

here are the links

CPM FILM TOOLS
http://www.cpmfilmtools.com/DSLR_Fly...r%20-%2082.htm

INDISYSTEMS ULTRACOMPACT
indiSYSTEM - ULTRAcompact
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Old April 19th, 2011, 07:43 PM   #2
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Re: ultraCOMPACT vs CPM Film Tools... OR?

I have a CPM cage and like it quite a lot. The plastic extrusions with threaded inserts are strong and light, as are the carbon fiber rods. Nice products, I recommend them.
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Old April 20th, 2011, 10:24 AM   #3
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Re: ultraCOMPACT vs CPM Film Tools... OR?

A little long winded, but these are my experiences…

I started a search about a year ago for a great run and gun setup that would allow me to move from a tripod and easy shoulder shooting. Most of what I do is ENG style shooting, covering events with interviews and b-roll, so I need to be able to get good sound in addition to the amazing video the 5d can produce. My criteria was pretty simple - it needed to be light (very important), sturdy, well made and easy to setup and breakdown. Seems simple right? My journey started with Gini's stuff and has ended with Redrock's Nano and a few other choice bits.

Cavision - played with one at B&H, that shoulder pad is atrocious and it weighed a ton. Combine that with the spacing of its handles - much too close together - and it was a no go, especially for the $$$.

Gini - like many I wanted something affordable and functional so I ordered a Gini dsl-17 rig off ebay. No communication, but it showed up on my doorstep a few days later. It was o-k, but the shoulder "pad" was a brick, I've been hit by hockey pucks that were softer than the Gini pad. It was also really heavy for the few parts it had - over 5 pounds - I wasn't very happy. My camera would also twist a bit when tightening. Very annoying. I put some grippy rubber between the camera and the plate to help. I could get past all that if it actually worked. A couple of the 90 degree clamps wouldn't grip the rods when fully tightened. Can't have a rod slipping out with $5k in camera gear sitting on top. I complained and got no response. I filed a paypal dispute, got an apology and nothing else - so I asked for a refund and decided to go another route.

Redrock DSLR plate and shoulder pad. I decided to piece together a rig with various parts and I really liked the look of the RR baseplate. The quick release makes things so handy. You can just pop the camera from rig to tripod and such. And its incredibly well made. There's a big thumb wheel to thread the camera on - no wrench needed - and with the spotter pins it doesn't move at all. I liked it so much I bought a shoulder pad, again very nice and its comfortable. The clamp has a number of different size holes for mounting accessories and RR included a lot of bolts in various sizes and allen wrenches that fit all the bolts. Nice touch. These are keepers. As a bonus the baseplate was lighter than Gini and CPM. I never would have guessed that. RR has a great tripod adapter for its baseplate too.

CPM, great stuff, really nice rods, very versatile, but the baseplate and such is surprisingly heavy. I ordered a mix of parts to try and construct what I was visualizing. I was hoping for lighter than Gini since its carbon, but there's a lot of material so that bulked up the weight. There is also a bit of flex in the cage (not the new Cube cage, that thing is burly) and z brackets, I would have needed two to make my setup work - which would drive the weight up. The CPM clamps squeak a bit on the rods when the rig flexes - annoying to no end. In order to make things work I had to bolt a lot of extra stuff on to mount a light, a mic and an audio recorder. I kept the rods and exchanged it for the new Cube cage – but I have no use for it since I decided to ditch the monitor and external batteries - so I sold it.

Easom - I bought half an Easom solo cage hoping to get less flex than I got from CPM. It still flexed with nothing more than the 5d and a 50mm lens. My plan was to mount a top handle and use this for low shots. The parts are nicely machined and finished, all in all very well made. But after starting to set things up - once again I got to the point of adding a lot of stuff and for a simple rig I didn't want 5 pounds of stuff. I started to rethink my approach. I would need another one to combat the flex as well and that would take me well into RR territory price-wise.

Cinevate - after seeing the Uno rig I felt like that was the direction I wanted to go, simple, adjustable and hopefully not too heavy. My plan was a RR/CPM/Easom rig for a loaded shoulder rig and the Cinevate for light and fast. I had CPM rods so I just ordered a Cinevate handle and shoulder stock. I liked the double joints - allowing you to position the handle and the stock exactly where you want. They were very well made, but... they flexed - A LOT. I cinched the adjusters down tight and there was just a lot of flex in the handles. When I braced the rig against my shoulder I could see it flexing from both the stock and handle with very little pressure. I just kept picturing one of the joints popping and my 5d crashing to the ground. Off to ebay and the search continued.

Zacuto – a friend has a bunch of Zacuto stuff and its sweet - but its out of my price range. I will say though, some say budget options like the Gini compare, they don’t. The Z stuff is so well made and so precise, everything goes together silky smooth and it just works. For my needs the Striker would have done the trick. Hindsight being 20-20, I could have gone that route as well and saved some money. I did buy a Z-Finder after comparing it to other options and I'm very happy with it.

Redrock Nano - the Nano looked like everything I was looking for and after trying to avoid spending Redrock money I just decided to try it out, after all what did I have to lose with all the previous failures. I saw a video from last years NAB and immediately wanted one. They weren't available until late last year, so I was trying to re-create a Nano with a mix of other parts and I failed. It was nice - right out of the box the quality was obvious. I put it together and once I got everything where I wanted it - perfection.

I picked up an extra clamp to hold my H1 or my new Videomic Pro (VMP)- depending on whether or not the light is on the camera. I also added a shoe mount to the threads on the shoulder pad (standard 1/4 20 threads - smart) so I can attach the H1 or a wireless transmitter. I can easily pop all this off the Nano and mount it on the tripod. Its nirvana. I can move the clamps and handles around to depending on where I want to place the light, the mic, the H1 and such.

For a true run and gun setup - I have a Sennheiser wireless lav and handheld along with the VMP. I keep my headphones, unused mics, filters, batteries and such in a small National Geographic sling pack. After a lot of trial and lots of errors - I have my perfect setup.

All in all its been an interesting search, with a lot of configuration experiments followed by testing in the field. I started with a giant shoulder rig - a mattebox, a Zoom H4, a 7” monitor and plans for a follow focus and such – then after a lot of trial and error (heavy on the error side) I’ve pared it down to the Nano setup and a Sony Nex5 to use as a backup or a super portable pocket cam if needed. My primary need for the mattebox was ND filters when shooting outside in bright light, but with the Vari-ND thread-on filters you can have about 5 stops of ND filters in one $140 package. For the amount of money I sacrificed flipping all the other parts I could have bought the Nano and then some. Lesson learned I guess.

A final note, if I really want to go fast and light I can just use the Nex5 and the H1 for the ultimate portable HD setup. The Nex is also great for lazy/casual shooting since it has a brilliant autofocus when shooting video.

I've been able to configure my Red Rock stuff in many ways beyond the original Nano with an extra grip rod and handle. I can post photos if you're interested, but basically I've replicated various configurations that others have created. Spending more $$$ will not make you a better shooter, but if you can afford it, you'll spend less in the long run.
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Old April 20th, 2011, 01:45 PM   #4
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Re: ultraCOMPACT vs CPM Film Tools... OR?

chris that as definetly is the best explanation iv gotten of the rigs :)...although it depresses me a bit since i ordered yesterday the DSL 17 magic plus gini rig for $380... i thouht i couldnt pass up the offer since it got generally pretty good reviews and the rig is supposedly a "$900 rig" or whatever he posts it at... is the heaviness really a factor? ... i went out on a limb thinking that the product is a solid piece of construction, hopefully i wont have the same problems you had with it :-/... did you have to return the rig once you got your money refunded? was it from paypal or the gini seller himself.
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Old April 20th, 2011, 04:29 PM   #5
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Re: ultraCOMPACT vs CPM Film Tools... OR?

I got a partial refund from the gini dude. After that I put it on ebay and bid it farewell. It depends what you're going to do, but I decided an outlandish setup with a ton of counterweights and crazy arms sticking out everywhere just isn't my thing.

Those that say the gini and indian rigs are zacuto and Redrock quality at a fraction of the price have never touched anything from RR or Z. You get what you pay for. It costs money to design, prototype and produce quality stuff, the way my RR stuff goes together is light years better than the gini. Everything just fits.

I had an issue with one of my rods, it had a little play in it, I sent it to RR and they promptly shipped me a new part. I had an issue with gini and he never responded to any of my complaints until I filed a paypal claim. Then he did nothing to resolve it. Never again. Hope your experience is better.

About the heavy part, just a basic setup weighed about 6 pounds, add a few more for a camera, mics, light, audio recorder and suddenly you're looking at 10 pounds in counterweight to stabilize a relatively small camera. Then youre talking close to 20 pounds, crazy. To me those huge rigs are a little overkill for such a small camera. I find the Nano and the "MAN CAM" setup are more than adequate for about 95% of my shooting situations and the tripod handles the rest.

Last edited by Chris Joy; April 20th, 2011 at 05:55 PM.
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Old April 20th, 2011, 06:38 PM   #6
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Re: ultraCOMPACT vs CPM Film Tools... OR?

Quote:
Those that say the gini and indian rigs are zacuto and Redrock quality at a fraction of the price have never touched anything from RR or Z. You get what you pay for. It costs money to design, prototype and produce quality stuff, the way my RR stuff goes together is light years better than the gini. Everything just fits.
I've used all of the 4 above. I don't know if Gini has gotten a lot better since your experience, but the quality, fit and finish was excellent. Not Zacuto, but 90%. The shoulder pads are still bricks, would be nice get a Zacuto one in place. However... I had to file a chargeback through Visa/Paypal before he even shipped mine (a month later). WARNING: for anyone thinking of buying Gini stuff, use your Visa, never pay through Paypal out of your bank account. Zero communication.

The Indian stuff is terrible. Bad bad bad bad bad bad bad. I bought a rig a year ago. The metal actually ripped apart. Great customer service though, they replaced everything twice over before I ditched it.

Wasn't impressed by CPM. Indiesystems, you get what you pay for (not in a good way, but better than the Indian stuff). Cavision, agree with you there. Like some Redrock, but not all.


The hottest thing I tried out at NAB, and the only thing that got my attention, was from a new European company called Edelkrone. edelkrone® - Stay Tuned for More info! Very hot. Pricey, but nicely built. The battery grip shoulder mount is awesome.
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Old April 24th, 2011, 07:12 PM   #7
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Re: ultraCOMPACT vs CPM Film Tools... OR?

i love my gini rig :D...yeah its heavy but for the $$ its aweesome.dude ships QUICK
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Old April 25th, 2011, 06:19 AM   #8
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Re: ultraCOMPACT vs CPM Film Tools... OR?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dylan Couper View Post
The hottest thing I tried out at NAB, and the only thing that got my attention, was from a new European company called Edelkrone. edelkrone® - Stay Tuned for More info! Very hot. Pricey, but nicely built. The battery grip shoulder mount is awesome.
I agree- very nice.

And exactly what we need.... another $2000+ rig company... :(

To me, the high end rig market is extremely saturated. What we need is a $600 rig with this type of cleverness and finish.




(nothing against Edelkrone at all. I love this type of thought through, clever design. I wish them all the best)
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Old April 26th, 2011, 01:19 PM   #9
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Re: ultraCOMPACT vs CPM Film Tools... OR?

for the meanwhile, Gini is that sturdy, well priced rig. it went way over my expectations for $400
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Old May 10th, 2011, 12:07 AM   #10
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Re: ultraCOMPACT vs CPM Film Tools... OR?

Edelkrone is now selling their NAB demo rigs on Ebay. I'd probably wait for full production models.
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