Modified the Steadicam Pilot vest from velcro straps to buckles - Page 4 at DVinfo.net

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Old May 7th, 2009, 01:14 AM   #46
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Hey Peter,

Any chance you can give some info on the ratchet buckles you are using? Where you got them? Pics would be a bonus.. I am hoping to upgrade a system soon.. any help would be great..

Thanks,
Scott
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Old June 24th, 2009, 03:46 PM   #47
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Got my pilot today and this velcro business is a pile o' poop! Seriously Tiffen. ITs the most fiddly, stick to everytyhing, noisy thing going. Glad I got a roll of seatbelt material, buckles and some velcro to make my own quick release clips.

I have a Glidecam smoothshooter vest which is metal and buckles and that feels more solid (but not as portable). So will be spending this week modifying the whole vest.

The actual unit is wonderful, really well done.
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Old June 24th, 2009, 06:50 PM   #48
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I have had discussion about the Pilot vest with various folks at Tiffen including Garrett.

The intent of the design was to make something that was extremely adjustable, very lightweight and simple, could fold flat to make transport easy and could be worn under other clothes (good for wedding photographers who have to wear a jacket, for instance).

They are aware that folks who don't have those specific concerns would like a vest that has "proper" buckles on it and, last I heard, are considering offering one as an option. However don't quote me on this, nor go calling them up and saying "Charles Papert said...".

I myself have never been able to get in and out of the thing without completely confusing myself or ending up holding a loose piece in my hand with no clue where it goes.
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Old June 25th, 2009, 03:19 AM   #49
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Haha, I put it on yesterday and ended up with a piece in my hand. I was worried I missed something and it was going to fall off :)

I instantly said "Uh Oh" when I put it down on my carpet and when I tried to pick it up I had to peel it from the carpet. My main concern is I work in quite close quarters sometimes at weddings and the last thing I want is for some exposed hook to catch somones expensive outfit and get a slap.

So I have a 10m roll of nylon (seatbelt) webbing, 4 meters of hook and loop velcro. 5, high quality buckles and a sewing machine at the ready. Im going to fully buckle this badboy and still maintain its ability to fit many sizes. Photos when done.
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Old June 25th, 2009, 03:31 PM   #50
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Danny-

If you have not looked at them yet, check out the modifications at the beginning of this thread. Peter Chung kind of got the ball rolling, and several of us have modified our Merlin/Pilot Vests.

I shoot in a lot of backstage environments, and boy do those velour drapes love to grab onto exposed Velcro hook!

I work in a Camera Strap factory by day, so I was able to cobble together some nylon webbing, Velcro taps and some side-release buckle style hardware to make replacement straps for mine. I have not looked back since!
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Old June 26th, 2009, 03:38 AM   #51
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Hi Frank,

Im actually int he middle of modding my vest based on your design. Difference being the shoulder straps will double back on themselves much like the side ones and I will use more velcro to secure in place rather than the triglide.

This is similar to the flyer and glidecam vests.

Just need somone to sew the velcro on now and both mum and the mother in law are on holiday.
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Old July 1st, 2009, 02:28 AM   #52
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I have now modified my vest to completely use quick release buckles and all mounted to nylon webbing for smooth changes to the size and added strength.

I mostly went with Franks design although added nylon webbing to the shoulder supports too. Also I opted to double back the webbing and use velcro to secure it which is much more like the flyers vest.

Also on the arm is a stitched piece of webbing for the arm stay.
Attached Thumbnails
Modified the Steadicam Pilot vest from velcro straps to buckles-steadicam-pilot-vest-quick-release-buckles-nylon-webbing.jpg  
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 04:42 AM   #53
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I just bought a Flyer vest. Anyone wanting a spare Pilot/Merlin vest, make me an offer.
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 06:40 AM   #54
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Nick - is that a Pilot with Merlin arm & vest or just the vest or ?? I may be interested
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 08:04 AM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Mailath View Post
Nick - is that a Pilot with Merlin arm & vest or just the vest or ?? I may be interested
Just the Pilot Vest is for sale.
I will now be using the Pilot with the Flyer vest.
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Old July 4th, 2009, 03:34 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Simpson View Post
The main reason I went this route is because I do a lot of shooting in backstage areas, and I get tired of my vest sticking to every curtain I brush up against.
There is a famous Austrian fashionista who had this same problem. He didn't figure out a solution like you did, and he ended up losing his job.
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Old July 12th, 2009, 04:06 AM   #57
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Just had my gimble recentred by the very helpful James from Tiffen UK and he confirmed they are working on an upgrade kit for the pilot vest to give you adjustable straps.

He said my vest modifications were very similar to their own and he was keen for a look. Prolly just checking I havnt copied it exactly with stolen secrets or something :)

I know Charles said some time ago the upgrade was coming but it seems it cant be too far off now.
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Old July 12th, 2009, 06:29 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny O'Neill View Post
Just had my gimble recentred by the very helpful James from Tiffen UK and he confirmed they are working on an upgrade kit for the pilot vest to give you adjustable straps.
The velcro straps on the Pilot are easy to adjust. I tried the Flyer vests with the buckles in class - both the regular and the leather versions, and I found them much harder to adjust than the Pilot vest, especially making adjustments as you are wearing the sled.

The only issue I have with the Pilot is the velcro straps wearing out, but extra straps are are available from Tiffen, so I buy an extra set once a year. See my earlier post in this thread for details.

I can see how some people might not like the velcro straps, especially if you work around stage curtains, but implying that the straps that come with the Pilot vest are not adjustable is incorrect.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 01:41 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
I myself have never been able to get in and out of the thing without completely confusing myself or ending up holding a loose piece in my hand with no clue where it goes.
-) Try doing it after you have already been going for 12 hours, your exhausted, starving, dehydrated, the venue's lights are dimmed right down and the frigging straps have all peeled off when you picked the the vest up off the carpet! Just unwrapped the Flyer vest and love it.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 02:48 AM   #60
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How much was the Flyer vest?
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