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Old May 24th, 2006, 10:45 AM   #1
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Formatt Matte Box Flags

I own a Formatt FM500 matte box and a handfull of the beautiful Formatt 4x4's (Schott glass). The box is big and light and comes with a big top flag, but no side flags. Recently, I have perceived the need for side flags, especially in artificial lighting conditions, but can find no reference that Formatt even make them.

Are there any other Formatt owners out there? Any ideas?

Last edited by Jack Barker; November 20th, 2007 at 10:05 AM.
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Old July 3rd, 2006, 01:04 PM   #2
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Yes, I own a Formatt FM-500 as well, and also reached the same need for sideflags as you. I recently contacted Formatt regarding the issue, and they informed me that they do not produce side flags, and do not know if any other sideflag kit would work with thier mattebox. I've been looking for a useable alternative for a while now...........

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Old July 3rd, 2006, 03:24 PM   #3
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I had heard that the side flags for the Cavision matte box would fit the Formatt box, so I have emailed Cavision for confirmation, and will post here when I get a reply.
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Old October 24th, 2006, 05:42 AM   #4
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Did you guys ever get an answer? I'm just about to pick up an FM-500 and it would be good to know that side-flags would be possible at a later date.
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Old October 24th, 2006, 09:47 AM   #5
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I had forgotten all about this, since Cavision did not answer the email I sent them back in July, and no one else posted here to remind me.

These are the accessory flags:
http://www.cavision.com/matteboxes/more/4x4flaps.htm

But, this is very interesting since it is NOT connected to the box and is completely variable in it's positioning and would work with any matte box, or even no box at all.
http://www.cavision.com/matteboxes/more/clamponflap.htm

If you want to email them yourself, it's:
info@cavision.com

In the meantime, I'm going to reach out to the U.S. distributor of Formatt filters and boxes (Bogen Imaging) and see if they have a suggested solution.
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Old October 24th, 2006, 09:53 AM   #6
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Hey Jack,

I would bypass Bogen and contact Formatt directly in the U.K. They've been extremely helpful on each occasion I've contacted them and are easy enough to get in touch with as long as you're aware of the time difference.

You can find contact info here:

http://www.formatt.co.uk/home/contact.asp
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Old October 24th, 2006, 10:18 AM   #7
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Oh Tim, I did that ages ago. They said simply, we don't make them.
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Old October 24th, 2006, 10:45 AM   #8
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That's unfortunate news Jack. I too am a happy user of the FM500 and wish there was an option for side-flags as well. Sadly it seems that their main cash cow are they're wonderful filters and that the FM500 is an off-shoot. It would be nice for them to have optional offerings, but it seems that we may need to look at the Cavision options.
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Old October 24th, 2006, 11:10 AM   #9
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You are right, Tim, but I swear to God that a few years ago, before I bought the box, it was advertised with side flags available. On the other hand, I think you put you finger on the main thing about Formatt - their glass is drop-dead gorgeous. It is my understanding that the actual glass comes from Schott, the lens-maker.

I fired off an email to Bogen Imaging and will post the reply when it comes. If all else fails, a trip to a metal shop to have some flags made probably wouldn't break the bank.
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Old October 24th, 2006, 11:45 AM   #10
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Have you noticed that you have to really tighten the heck out of the thumb screw on yours? That was my only complaint, mine started drooping in our tests. I guess you can get creative and put a washer in there.

I heard from a Bogen rep that they were supposed to come out with a new and improved version of the FM-500 by the end of the year. Both a less expensive budget model and a more expensive model with additional features.

I'll give a shout and see what they say. Stay tuned.
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Old October 24th, 2006, 11:50 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy Cochran
I heard from a Bogen rep that they were supposed to come out with a new and improved version of the FM-500 by the end of the year. Both a less expensive budget model and a more expensive model with additional features.
Thanks for the heads-up Guy. I'll certainly keep an eye out for any new products.
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Old October 24th, 2006, 12:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy Cochran
Have you noticed that you have to really tighten the heck out of the thumb screw on yours? That was my only complaint, mine started drooping in our tests. I guess you can get creative and put a washer in there.

I heard from a Bogen rep that they were supposed to come out with a new and improved version of the FM-500 by the end of the year. Both a less expensive budget model and a more expensive model with additional features.

I'll give a shout and see what they say. Stay tuned.
Ah, yes. The box more or less freely rotates around the lens, no matter how tight you make the set screw, though I never had a drooping problem - not in this context, anyway. The principle of bringing a chamfered edge (bottom of set screw) to another chamfered edge (back of screw-in adapter) on two pieces of smooth metal was never going to work well, and was a poor design choice. I had a long email conversation with a Formatt engineer about it and concluded that they should have put a dimple in each of the adapters they sell, for the screw to seat properly. In the meantime, I found that a piece of electrical tape on the back of the adapter works pretty well. Not the shiney type of electrical tape, but the old-fashioned kind of cloth electrical tape - sort of like gaffer tape, only stickier. It's a pain in the a**, but it works pretty well against the rotation problem.
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Old October 24th, 2006, 02:02 PM   #13
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Dang. Inside scoop is...

"Prototype arriving in a few weeks"

Which sounds like we mostly likely won't see the new model shipping until next year.
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Old October 24th, 2006, 03:25 PM   #14
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Hi Jack, hi Tim, hi Guy,
maybe we are able to produce sidewings for you. Have a look on www.geardear.com , our sidewings are maybe attachable and we can maybe adapt, if we have the measurements of your hood and top french flag( with maybe closer and bigger pictures ).

mail@geardear.com

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Old October 24th, 2006, 03:32 PM   #15
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This is interesting news... another "aye" to the desire for side flags.

The only other issue I've seen with the FM-500 is that you really can't use the on-board mike (on the XL2 at least) with it when handheld (I can hear a metallic "wafting" sound when doing this). Doesn't really make a difference since I (and I suppose most people) would only use a matte box on a production that's big enough to be using a boom mike or sync sound (ie not run-n-gun), anyway.

As for sideflags, there's always the option of making good clamp on hinges with flags attached. It would be a very easy project.

And yes, the thumb screw is annoying... and the attachment method to the lens ring... BUT the FM-500 has got to be the best value out there, especially considering it has a rotating stage.
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