Kessler KC Lite with HMC150: A good combo? at DVinfo.net

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Old January 2nd, 2011, 11:11 AM   #1
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Kessler KC Lite with HMC150: A good combo?

I am looking at getting a Kessler crame, probably the KC Lite to shoot concerts with. I will be using it with an HMC150, maybe an XHA1 occasionally.

My questions are,
1. Is the KC Lite a solid enough crane for the 150, and
2. Would my current Bogen 475B tripod with a 503HDV head do it, or should I go with the Kessler K-Pod system?

I read some negative things about the optional Davis and Sanford set-up Kessler carries, suggesting that it was perhaps too lightweight. I also have a Bogen 3221 with an earlier 501 head that looks beefier than the D&S.

Any other suggestions for crane/ support would be welcome as well. This will be my first crane.
Thanks in advance,
SW

Last edited by Steve Wolla; January 2nd, 2011 at 11:14 AM. Reason: Added info
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Old January 2nd, 2011, 11:56 AM   #2
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I've used several cranes and used to have a 150. The camera is light enough to go on just about any crane.
Having just taken delivery of a Kessler 12' Ultra Complete, I will say it blows away everything else I've used. (though on different points of concern)
The biggest areas to look at with a crane are the tripod and the arm torsion.
The KC Lite with the single arm might be a concern as it will want to twist with any load. Though Kessler stuff is built like a tank so it shouldn't twist like some of the cheaper cranes I've used. Also, at 8', it should resist twisting a lot better.
The tripod is a major concern too. I wouldnt trust any crane to a 501 or 503 head as it will be overweight once balanced. The legs you mention are rated for 26.5lbs which is pushing it a bit IMHO. Remember you have the camera weight, crane weight and counterbalance weights to support. If you add a remote head, even more.
Compared to the K-Pod, almost all tripods will seem like drinking straws. The downside of he K-Pod is it's freekin heavy....which is also it's strength. The head is made to hold a ton of weight and the locking pin is a very nice feature.
You really don't want to skimp on a crane as if there's a problem, it's not going to be pretty. I've used more expensive JonyJibs mounted on Sachtler System 20's and for a fraction of the price, you will get the same results with a Kessler. If you can swing it, go for the dual arm Kesslers, if not the single looks beefy enough.
In a nutshell, get everything from Kessler. It's designed to work together, overbuilt, reasonably priced and will last forever.
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Old January 4th, 2011, 12:05 AM   #3
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Thanks for the response, Robert.
But are you saying that I should get the KPOD to go with the KC Lite? it does look bomb-proof practically, but does its weight affect portability much? I was hoping to get a little lighter more portable set up, but if that really is not safe I can go with the KPOD.
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Old January 4th, 2011, 12:24 AM   #4
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Yeah... Portable and k-pod shouldn't be used in the same sentence. Although the kit I got has casters. I'll post up after my shoot tomorrow where I will be moving the rig all over a resort.
For me, the stability and safety outweigh the portable need. If you prioritize portable at the top then go with the lite and use your tripod but please don't use the 501/503 head. They just arent strong enough. See if you can pick up a used 526, 519 or 516 if you want to keep Manfrotto. Otherwise, look for something to handle a lot of weight.
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Old January 7th, 2011, 09:14 PM   #5
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OK..first off, the Kessler 12' on the K-pod ROCKS!!! Used it at a golf resort and there aren't enough "o"'s in the word "smooooth" to describe it. Shots turned out better than I had expected.

The only thing I had trouble with was seeing the monitor while controlling it at it's extremes. I ordered the rear control station which looks like it will solve this. Will know as I have another shoot with it next Friday.

Since we had a "stretched" golf cart, transporting the crane was pretty easy. Just removed the two bolts that hold the arm to the tripod and laid the rig across the cart. (camera and counterbalance weights were removed as well)
The 6" casters worked really well even on grass even though they were the standard, not offroad ones.

This is truly a pro piece of gear and the client even mumbled to the scriptwriter about how impressive the rig looked. Showing them the shots in the monitor...their chins hit the floor.

So in a nutshell, I can only rave about the Kessler dual arm cranes and the kpod. Works exactly as advertised!

I mentioned it before about concerns with the single arm and a lighter tripod. I don't think I would have been able to comfortably do this shoot with those. Even with the heft of my rig, the wind fought it a couple of times but the thing never hinted at tipping even on grass. My recommendation is get the heavier rig and find an intern to help lug it around!
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Kessler KC Lite with HMC150: A good combo?-refuge-1.jpg   Kessler KC Lite with HMC150: A good combo?-refuge-2.jpg  

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Old January 21st, 2011, 03:12 PM   #6
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Steve - you don't need the heavy duty equipment with the KC lite. I've got one and a 501HDV head is perfect along with a set of SLIK 700DX sticks. the crane is very, very lite duty, but perfect for DSLRs and probably would be just fine for an HMC150. If you use the 501/503 head, just disengage the spring since you won't need it anyway, and then adjust your pan/tilt tension to taste.

the whole point of the kc lite coupled with the lighter head/sticks is to be able to use this kit in places where the heavier setups simply would not be practical to either tote along or physically locate inside a structure.
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Old January 30th, 2011, 07:55 AM   #7
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It really depends on what you are trying to do. If you want Hollywood type compound moves for you film or commercials you will not get them easily with a 150 on a KC lite. I own a Pro-Am 8 foot which is very much like the Kessler Lite. They are fine for simple moves when balanced properly but I use it mostly for getting the camera up high on locations. Remember you have no pan control on the head just tilt and crane up and down and pan of the arm. Wide shots or scenics are fine but if your shot is of a person moving or object and needs to be framed and centered ...not so simple.
Cranes like any other tool fall under the "you get what you pay for" rule. The Kessler 8/12 is a superb tool when set up properly and with all the accessories and is excellent value for the money. But good crane shots require patience and practice and did I mention practice?
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