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Old October 17th, 2006, 04:51 PM   #16
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I'm going to print this thread out and go pick somebody's brain at the workshop ;) Then, maybe i'll know why I would need two batteries at the bottom instead of 1 (maybe to counter the weight at the bottom?), and for that matter, which batteries i should go for.

If i'm powering the camera from the batteries at the bottom, and assuming i have enough spares, can i go with ANY make? dare i say the cheapest? I thought it was just SONY and anton-baur...

thanks a lot for the info guys....
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Old October 17th, 2006, 06:53 PM   #17
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batteries and chargers, low mode parts, hard-mount parts, wireless video, wireless focus and motors

Right there your kit is around $14,000, if not $16000. It depends what you're expected to show up with, but these are basic things that eventually may be called upon. You probably don't need to start with Larry McConkey's trailer full of goodies, but you'll see that it can make your own life easier if you have the gear. If they ask you to fly some antiquated focus system, you can point out that AC's may perfer yours for its speed and accuracy (meaning you may get hired back). Or, they may cut corners and get the worlds cheapest video sender...which may not work. Are you comfortable operating cabled...from a flyer? How about a set that has toys and good grips, and you're asked to do a 100 yard run, backwards in a straight line. Wouldn't you rather hard-mount to a dolly, or have someone fashion a rickshaw?

There are a lot of factors, and the basic "kit" is all over the board, depending on who you talk to. But you seem to be going in the right direction at least, by starting with a workshop. I met people at my first workshop who bought gear first, then after the workshop decided not to continue with Steadicam. Luckily, the stuff holds its value well, but still - know what you're getting into. $16,000 is getting off CHEAP... it only goes up from there. The flyer is an excellent rig, and while cameras are all getting smaller and lighter, from DV up through 35, we can't kid ourselves and expect it to be the end-all be-all rig.

It fits my needs, for now, and it sounds like it fits yours too Vasi. Some good advice I got at the workshop - make a list of everything you'll shoot with it right now, and everything you'll need for those shots. Write prices next to each item and totals at the bottom of each section. This is the cost of your steadicam hobby. You shouldn't expect to make a penny of it back within the first year, and some people plan to make $0 for 3 years. If you can afford to do this as a hobby for a full year, you know what you're getting yourself into.

Steadicam can be a very very very expensive hobby. Or it can be an obsession that eventually and magically pays itself off. One thing it's not is an easy way to make extra cash, or a toy for a couple of cool shots. We are all gear-heads to some extent, and we've all been lured by cool toys which we don't really need. Just be real with your expectations and needs up front, and decide for yourself if $14000-$1600 and a year of dedicated practice fits in your plans. If not, you're ahead of a LOT of directors/field producers, in that you will have gone to a workshop, and you will better understand what a steadicam can and cannot do, so you'll know when to make the call and get a talented operator on set.
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Old October 18th, 2006, 03:17 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Charles Papert
Note: previous advice about having spare hot batteries may also be applied to laptops...!
Funny Charles. Har har.

Maybe I should just build a V-lock mount onto my laptop... hmm...

Excellent comments by Jaron, and very true for the most part.
There are *some* exceptions to needing quite that mcuh kit though. If you will be workign regularly with the same kit - and not trying to offer a complete set of services, you can get away with notably less, at least to begin with.
All the Flyer *really* needs to work, if for example you need to fly a DV camera with autofocus (*cringe*) and no real options, then you can get away with just a Flyer and a couple of batteries. If you are usign a DV camera under it's own power, most battery systems for the Flyer will run the monitor (on it's own) for around 6hours per battery. Meaning that you can get by most days with just 2 batteries and a charger if you only need the one battery to balance your camera. With a heavier set up you coudl forably squeeze by with just 3 batteries, 1 on the charger, 1 running the rig, and a full one on board for extra balance.

This is completly bare bones though, and if something breaks you ahve no backup. If a battery - or the charger! - dies, you may run out of power too soon. You have no way to control focus, no way to send a video feed to monitoring. There's no low mode in there, etc etc. You can still do a lot with the "Flyer & Endura Starter Kit" pagkage, but as allready mentioned, you will need to spend more to offer a full service which is considered a standard steadicam operator package.

I think the $14k for a Flyer, batteries and all the normal acessories is prety reasonable.

- Mikko ... off to find more batteries.
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