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Old May 18th, 2008, 02:58 AM   #1
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Is there a top steadicam?

Hi all! Im looking to buy a top quality steadicam for film and tv use. I need something that can support up to around 50 pounds. Funding for the rig is no obstacle and I now how high some can be. Please steadicam users give me your top 3 steadicam choices for the 50 pound capacity. If you also could, please give me your reasoning for your picks. Thanks to all in advance! Also pictures of rigs would be cool.
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Old May 18th, 2008, 08:18 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Ryan View Post
Hi all! Im looking to buy a top quality steadicam for film and tv use. I need something that can support up to around 50 pounds. Funding for the rig is no obstacle and I now how high some can be. Please steadicam users give me your top 3 steadicam choices for the 50 pound capacity. If you also could, please give me your reasoning for your picks. Thanks to all in advance! Also pictures of rigs would be cool.
50 pounds? That'll be a pretty serious rig. Have you taken a workshop? I can't imagine buying a rig of that level without having some formal training first, at the very least to know if Steadicam operating is something worth pursuing or not, and also because it may be easy to hurt yourself with such a heavy rig if you don't know what you're doing. And even if both of those aren't issues, operating a Steadicam rig is definitely a challenging skill.

Just as a general idea though, Tiffen, XCS, and PRO are the top contenders in the full-sized rig arena. (Though there are a few others) A full rig ready to fly from any of those three will run you at least $60,000, and probably with the accessories you'll need (Preston FIZ, Canatrans/Modulus, hardmounts, etc...), you could be well over $120,000.

Hopefully Charles Papert can give you some advice. He's this board's resident Steadicam expert, and he owns a PRO rig.
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Old May 18th, 2008, 01:56 PM   #3
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Thanks Tom

Thanks for the reply Tom. I really appreciate youtaking the time to help me out. Yes I have taken several steadicam workshops as well as specified training with several units. When I said 50 pounds I was giving the max of what my setup ( now or near future ) would probably ever weigh. Honestly my setup is probably closer to 30 pounds. I own the JVC GY-HD200 with p+s technik mini35c, zeiss primes, chrosziel follow focus and matte box, firestore, marshall vrop7hd 7" monitor. Maybe this will clear up my question, I should have posted this earlier. Also in the near future I will have the Red one so I hae to take that into account as well. Thanks ALL!
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Old May 18th, 2008, 02:09 PM   #4
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Check out [url]http://www.mk-v-ar.com
There is a great piece of video of a guy walking down the stairs, and the
A-R capability. Excellent gear!
If you're in the US, you're going to take a beating on the exchange rate tho'
Good luck,
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Old May 18th, 2008, 02:10 PM   #5
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Matt,

Tom is right...Charles Papert is "the Man". Maybe he will sell you his rig. I think it's just over $100,000 so if funding is no problem then...there you are.

Seriously though, there might be someone of this forum who has a rig that would fit your needs just right or knows of one so you're in the right place.

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Old May 18th, 2008, 03:26 PM   #6
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Thanks

Thank you Tracey and Terry for your replies. Forgive me if I sound as though money is no object when in fact it is. I am only 20 and am looking to get the best equip possible within reason of budget. I have about $20,000 to spend and need something that will support the jvc with mini35c rig I have now and possibly the red in a couple of months. I have a one take film all planeed out, cast, rehearsed, crew ready and rehearsed so all I need is the steadicam. I know there is always the option of renting but I will use the steadicam for probably every film I make so I figure I might as well purchase one if possible. I have batteries, a remote follow focus unit, and the marshall 7 " hd monitor for the steadicam so I do not need it completely "loaded". Keep in mind I am only 20 years old so any advice or opinions will greatly improve my knowlege. Im always open for suggestions! Thank you all!
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Old May 18th, 2008, 03:40 PM   #7
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Well,
That might sound like a chunk of change, but unfortunately it's not going to get you a lot.
Your best bet is to try and find a used rig, maybe a Mark III, that somebody's using as a standby rig. There was one on ebay a while back with a lot of options and accessories.
You say JVC do you mean the 110/210 size?
Even with the lens adapter and all your other goodies, I'd be surprised at your 50lb estimation.
Alternately, the Glidecam V25 might be more in your line.

Charles wrote a good report about it when it came out, if I remember rightly. He said it had some quirks but a whole lot better than the V-20.

Depending on your requirements, you might be able to live without a remote focus, but the V-25 with options, and some shopping around for motors rings, transmitters might keep you under $20,000.
There's tons of material out there, to guide you.
Use "the Google", as Mr. Bush calls it.
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Old May 18th, 2008, 03:44 PM   #8
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****When I said 50 pounds I was giving the max of what my setup ( now or near future ) would probably ever weigh. Honestly my setup is probably closer to 30 pounds*****

****I have about $20,000 to spend****

Take a look at the Steadicam Archer or Clipper rigs. The archer is closer to your price range, but only supports 23lbs so maybe a used clipper would be an option to consider.

-John
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Old May 18th, 2008, 03:57 PM   #9
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Terry my rig is the 200 series. Has any of you heard of a Basson steadicam? Just curious if anyone has used them or heard of them.
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Old May 18th, 2008, 04:21 PM   #10
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It takes quite a few films to make it worthwhile buying over renting kit. You'd probably need to have work on other people's productions to make it worthwhile.
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Old May 18th, 2008, 06:12 PM   #11
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Matt,

Here is a thread from the Steadicam forum about the Basson. I have no personal knowledge of the company.
http://www.steadicamforum.com/forums....php?t167.html

Regarding your question, I am going to take a different approach.

What is your goal in 5 years. I think that is the first consideration.

1. Professional steadicam operator:
Purchase an industry standard rig (for the type of camera you plan to fly the most, maybe Red? and it's permutations?) and do the kind of projects on your own and for others that will give the practice and exposure/contacts you need for work if you turn out to truly be a professional level steadicam operator.

2. Producer/Director, either or both:
Spend equipment money on equipment that is standard for your work, camera, tripod, selection of mics and other standard sound equipment, etc. However, do not spend money on equipment that cannot be operated at a professional level for your kind of projects except by a professional operator with years of experience. A one-take movie might be a good example. Spend some of your money on hiring a professional for a day or two and work on your producing and directing skills. The producers and directors secret weapon is to select the right people and get them to work together according to a unified vision. Doing eveything yourself and operating all the equipment is a style onto itself and has its own rewards (e.g. Cassavetes), but it is also very limiting and limited.

3. Hobbyist:
Buy everything you want and can afford, whether you end up using it very well or even at all. Make sure your real career takes off so you can keep pouring money into your hobby, and you can have your friends over on the weekend to impress and boss around as your crew.

4. Something else:
Take a path that gives you practice and teaches you the skills for that.

Regarding your current one-take project. How long is it? Is there a good script? Are you using professional actors? Is sound covered for a professional result? (Or is it mos?) Are other technical considerations being handled in a professional way?

Chances are very good that you will be totally unable to film this in an adequate way yourself, especially with new equipment. If this is a top-notch little project, it would be worth it to hire a rising professional who wants to try something like this. It sounds like you have the money a make fair deal for a one or two day shoot -- which I guess this would be since it's a matter of how many takes you are going to do. A day or two prep is probably required, but I think you will be amazed at quickly a professional learns the "choreography," and points out all the problems, as well.

You say everything is rehearsed and ready to go. If you haven't done so yet, I would handhold a one-chip or a small 3-chip and see how the tape looks. Despite the shakiness, is the framing and the transitions good all the way through. Are there sound problems? Etc.

Actors can make a huge difference in the success of something like this. Most professional actors are much better at hitting marks, keeping a rhythmic flow, staying in character in every way, adjusting to problems that come up and so forth, than you might imagine.

If this is a project for you to practice using the Steadicam, that's one thing. If this is a project with greater ambitions, consider using a professional operator.

Anyway, there are some other things for you to consider.
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Old May 18th, 2008, 07:03 PM   #12
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thanks Jack

Thanks for your reply Jack. In regards to my occupation, I am a Director/Cinematographer. At the age of 20 I have won awards for both at festivals across the country as well as in Japan ( not just for student films). My main mode right now is to aquire the equipment necessary to finish off my small indie production company. I have a cinekentic car mount, jonyjib 21' crane with remote head, cartonic c-40s with miller legs for my camera rig, jl fisher dolly with 50 feet of track, all kinds of live computer recording equip for HD, wireless follow focus, wireless video, of course my camera setup, several arri, lowell, litepanels, and kino flo lighting kits for just about every location I will shoot in for indie films, portable green screens and blue screens, sennheiser mkh-416 & me-60 mic with 18 foot ktek boom poles, shure fp33 mixer, edirol r-4 pro, 4 sennheiser ew112p g2 wireless lavs and receivers, etc.. All I am trying to do is get a decent steadicam that will suffice for my smaller projects now. When I get a budget for my next project I can always buy a more professional tiffen rig etc. As for the one take film, it has been rehearsed, positions marked off, lighting rigged, crew in positions, PROFESSIONAL PAID ACTORS rehearsed and on que perfectly. As for sound they are rigged with lavs to help as a refererence for ADR. I am simply posting this as a question as to which rig is best suited for my needs. Please lets keep this to the original question and not question whether I am capable of doing a one take film. Professionals are hired on the crew therfore all I need is to know what steadicam to purchase for my use. Thank You
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Old May 18th, 2008, 07:39 PM   #13
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Sorry Matt

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Ryan View Post
Keep in mind I am only 20 years old so any advice or opinions will greatly improve my knowlege. Im always open for suggestions! Thank you all!
I was misled by this comment.

A couple of other comments that fooled me were "money is no object," "best steadicam," "50 pounts," "$20,000."

The JVC camera doesn't weigh 20 pounds. Best steadycam for a 50 pound load is way over $20,000.

To answer your last post, in my opinion the best rig suited for your needs for the current project is owned and operated by someone else. But that's just my opinion.

You didn't answer the critical question of the length of the current project. But with your high level of skill, all the workshops under your belt, and your awards, I am confident it is a feature. Probably 120 minutes. (The Russians could only pull off 90 minutes in the hermitage, but then that operator wasn't so well-rounded. And I'm afraid they might have had inferior equipment. If I remember right, the hard drive array was hand-built, not even out of a professional factory.)

Nevertheless, I still hold the opinion that directing and steadicam operation on even a one-take 20 minute short is a two-person job. But I'm sure Jerry Lewis and Barbra Streisand would have a different view. (I think Rodriguez might actually agree with me, but I don't know.)

It is great you are using paid actors. I hope they are SAG. SAGIndie now has some great options:
http://sagindie.com/
(Or maybe you are working under a full SAG contract. That would be great!)

But now I'm off topic again. Get an industry standard rig of the weight class you need. Specifics to you shooting style, strengths and limitations of your technique, limits of your natural-born steadicam appropriate abilities, and the vagaries of the cameras you expect to use will dictate which are your best options.
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Old May 18th, 2008, 07:55 PM   #14
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A little more info

Thanks for the reply again Jack. I did not mean to snap back at your post but to inform you about my situation a little more. For this one take film it is going to be from title to credit roll around 70 minutes. Not trying to break any records, just trying to add a cool one taker to the resume. We plan on shooting over 2 days with 2 more days if needed. On this shoot I am just direction, I should have made that more clear. As for my DP he is very accomplished. His name is vince Toto and he has been a DP and special fx dp/ supervisior for close to a hundred films. He is bringing a camera operator with him that is supposed to be great with a steadicam but does not own his own as he is more of a traditional operator. We are using SAG and SAGIndie actors, its pretty much a mix. We have pyrotechnics, weapons, car chases, etc. I t will be extremely tough but I feel things will go well. I just wondered what the best rig for my setup would be mainly for this film and also for other films that are in pre pro. I will definatley get a better rig later on but for now I just need something in the 25-30lb weight capacity that is under $20,000.00. This is not a one man production for sure. (P.S. I am a big fan of Mr. Robert Rodriguez.) Thanks All!
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Old May 18th, 2008, 08:02 PM   #15
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my age

I hate bringing up my age as I think age has nothing to do with ability, but when I said im only 20 I was meaning I have not had the opportunity to use that many rigs. The main reason for this post is my lack of experience with various steadicams which is why I was posting here with so many great users who have incredible insight, opinons, facts, and research. Thanks

(p.s.) I have workshopped with the lighter weight rigs such as the glidecams and one of the tiffen's but I wanted tomove up to the mid level range so I dont have much experience.
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