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Old November 23rd, 2003, 08:03 PM   #1
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Hall of shame

Come on. Admit it. Everybody has a drawer full of stuff they bought that either didn't turn to be what they needed, or just plain doesn't work.

Here's my list:

Bogen retractable spike for monopod -- It won't stay fixed in place. The "spike" appears to be a regular screw that was mangled into shape by a pair of pliers. Bogen, shame on you!

Frezzi mic/light mount -- This thing is supposed to hold a microphone alongside a post to mount one of their mini-fill lights. Trouble is, the foot is too long and thin to sit firmly in the hotshoe. There's a screw that's supposed to apply enough pressure to keep everything in place, but all it does is gouge a hole in the hotshoe. No way I'm mounting $1,000 worth of equipment on top of this. Frezzi makes good stuff, so I'm assuming this thing was never meant to work with prosumer camcorders or something. Easily the most expensive mistake I've ever made. I've yet to find a good run and gun solution that will let you mount a light and microphone in seconds.

$50 tripod -- Enough said. Landfill food.

Cheap XLR cables -- Same.

Mini-jack splitter from A2Z Cables -- I wanted this gadget to split the signal exiting an XLR adapter and send one half to a minidisc and the other half to the camcorder. Too much interference or something. I don't know if it's because of the voltage coming out of the mic input from both pieces of equipment, or signals canceling each other or what. No slam on A2Z Cables. It's really well made. I ended up splitting the XLR cable before it enters the adapter, and that's working fine.

Sennheiser MZS-Cam (on-camera shockmount) -- crappy plastic mount shattered. Too bad. It worked fantastically until it broke.

Pistol grip handle for mic shockmount by Mighty Wondercam -- Too clunky, and has a tendency to make pinging noises.

Bogen rubber flexhead for monopod -- This actually works, but only with no wide angle lens or anything else mounted on the camera, including a real battery. I guess it would be great for a tiny one-chipper. You also can't pick up the monopod without the camera flopping all over the place. It's pretty neat though. I don't mind keeping it.
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Old November 23rd, 2003, 08:26 PM   #2
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Yup,
Editing systems from Matrox, FAST & Pinnacle Systems.

Libec model 20 tripod.

Nikon R10 Super8 camera (dropped when new, batteries left in for 20 years) given to me free. Too much time invested. Landfill.

Radio Shack passive mixer (never worked)
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Old November 23rd, 2003, 09:58 PM   #3
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Heh, I don't have a drawer full, I have a closet. Here are the highlights.

Some Smith Victor lights.
A Mightywondercam.
A cheap-o mixing board (possibly from Radio Shack).
I'm gonna stop, starting to get depressed.

I have some $50 tripods. I use them for holding LCD monitors up. They work great for that. One time, on a dare, I put my XL1 on one. Heh, scary....

Mike Rehmus:
I could use a Libec M20 tripod for something, if you want to sell yours.
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Old November 23rd, 2003, 10:38 PM   #4
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MS930 (Sony external camcorder mic)
noticeably worse than the on-board mic. :/
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Old November 23rd, 2003, 10:51 PM   #5
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Location: Barrie, Ontario, Canada
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Smith Victor lights
Some cheapo kit stands
a refelctasol from years gone by
Tiffin UV filters

I've been really lucky with DV so far. The Smith Victors, light stands and reflectasol were from my still days. I've made lots of mistakes but luckily very few in this realm.
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Old November 24th, 2003, 02:28 AM   #6
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So the Libec model 20 tripod is no good? Someone here with lots of posts recommended it for my Panasonic PV-DV953. Shucks.
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Old November 24th, 2003, 03:21 AM   #7
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Pinnacle Studio DC10+ capture board back in the analog era... Glad I swiched to digital.
Some battery charger that burned before charging its first battery.
Some bad VCRs.
Allot of bad cables...
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Old November 24th, 2003, 03:35 AM   #8
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Following Cosmin's lead, I think my Truevision Bravado 1000 is still sitting in a file folder in a drawer somewhere. My very first capture board. Blocky MJPEG compression and always dropped frames. But hey, it edited!
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Old November 24th, 2003, 07:38 AM   #9
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The Libec LM-20 is not so bad. I have one. You can't really pan with it, but it's fairly stable and the ball head is nice.
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Old November 24th, 2003, 07:43 AM   #10
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My old analog capture board (Iomega Buz) that actually wasn't
used for much real stuff would be the prime thing. Oh and the
8 MB flash card that came with my digital still camera. Doh.
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Old November 24th, 2003, 09:25 AM   #11
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If you cannot Pan with a tripod, it is fairly useless.

The problem is that when you loosen the lock knob, the entire head then bobbles around like one of those dolls in the back window of a car. If you try to tighten down on it to just prevent the bobbles, it then jerks.

I think my first one was OK for a brief period of time. Then it went bad.
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Old November 24th, 2003, 10:05 AM   #12
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"If you cannot Pan with a tripod, it is fairly useless."

Well, yeah, but if the choice is between the Libec and a plastic piece of junk from the mall, then I would say the Libec is the way to go. That might not sound like it's saying much, but the thing is under $200 bucks. For someone who is just starting out, it's not a bad way to go.

Mine has play in the head too. With the vertical knob locked down, it will still rock, but you have to really be heavy handed before it's a problem. With both knobs locked down, it's rock solid.

Still, I'm definitely saving up for a Vinten.
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Old November 24th, 2003, 11:17 AM   #13
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I have said this before, and will say it often- I spent over $300 on a Bogen/Manfrotto head and legs. I have seen $60 cheapies from Walmart that are as good, if not more fluid. To this day I think it would be nicer to have the $240 difference in my pocket, than to have the name brand stamp.
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Old November 24th, 2003, 11:18 AM   #14
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A Powerbook 5300cs. A legendarily unstable machine. Haven't touched it in years. Surprising to think I never bothered to throw it out the window.
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Old November 24th, 2003, 11:45 AM   #15
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"Mine has play in the head too. With the vertical knob locked down, it will still rock, but you have to really be heavy handed before it's a problem. With both knobs locked down, it's rock solid."

The rock shows up in almost any Pan unless you push down on the handle before you move. And that shows up in the video.

If you try to add enough drag with the Pan lock to help out, the leveling ball joint can slip.

The problem with no Pan capability is that Pan is the most often used camera motion and a jerky Pan is worse than no Pan at all.

If one wants to just lock down a camera, even the cheap plastic stuff does that OK if you don't touch them.

I have a Bogen 3031 head that I got somewhere. Think it cost around $75. It isn't bad . . . much better than the Libec head although it doesn't come close to my Miller Senior Fluid Head.

The Miller cost me $150 used. Probably 30 years old but that's OK, they can be rebuilt to like-new condition. I had one owned by the local Community College rebuilt by Miller for $300. Probably good for another 30 years.

The ball on the bottom of the good fluid heads normally will just screw off so you can mount them on a set of Bogen sticks that don't have the ball head.

My take on all of this is to buy a set of used Bogen sticks and put a good head - like the Miller on top. The sticks are clumsy and heavy but at least, once down, the system works very well.
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