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Old July 10th, 2007, 07:41 AM   #1
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Flyer: not many sold?

This doesn't bother me, but it does surprise me.

I got an AB mount Flyer from B&H ($600 less than the other two mounts!), and they packed Tiffen's carton in a bigger box. The inner box still had a UPS shipping tag, so just out of curiosity, I looked up the tracking number. They received this particular Flyer in Sept '06 -- almost a year ago! So does that mean there's not much turnaround with these stabilizers?
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Old July 10th, 2007, 01:12 PM   #2
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I'm not really surprised. If you really think about it, it's a high-dollar item, which require months (if not years) of diligent practice to work properly, and which is not really that useful for the majority of video shooters, certainly not at almost or above $6000 (more than what most people spend on cameras). Put simply, it's a specialty product with a small market.
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Old July 15th, 2007, 11:10 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Wills View Post
it's a high-dollar item, which require months (if not years) of diligent practice to work properly, and which is not really that useful for the majority
But still great to watch in the hands of a professional - kind of like a back hoe excavator (aka 'digger'):

http://www.jcb.co.uk/products/overvi...x?RID=1&IID=-1

To try one out is the Steadicam experience from hell. Sure it looks easy, why so expensive? And then it hits you...

If you think you want one, it really REALLY pays to invest in a course first.
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Old July 15th, 2007, 07:03 PM   #4
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Or at least within a short time after acquiring one--having the basics of flying down before taking a course is helpful because you can focus a bit more on the subtleties, although I have taught many complete novices and they do well also.

I had about 6 months of hacking around in a rental rig before taking my workshop and I think it was a good way to go. The critical part is not developing bad habits that you have to unlearn (like wearing the vest upside down, that sort of thing)
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Old July 16th, 2007, 07:03 AM   #5
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Charles, no worry. I'll only wear the vest upside down when standing on my head.
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Old July 16th, 2007, 02:26 PM   #6
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Tom has a point... It is an expensive item, but I think what really keeps it from flying off the shelves is the fact that its hard to quantify its capabilities on paper (or web). Spec-wise, it has about the same, if not less features than many competitors. Also, many "similar" rigs sell for a lot less. For someone coming from the DV world, where every penny could be saved for this or that, the idea of buying a system "only" capable of flying 15lbs, when something capable of flying 25lbs is cheaper...well, the low-budge logic sees the bottom line.

I sold a flyer a little while back, and it was interesting because even after selling it, I got a number of emails from people in the market, all very curious if the Flyer was "worth it?" All these guys came from different areas, experiences, etc... but the universal unknown was weather the Flyer was indeed worth the price premium and weight limitations over its competitors. They were all looking between the Flyer and something cheaper...wondering if it was worth a few months more payments to make the jump. This is, in my opinion, why these things sell slower than their knockoff competitors. Unless you've actually tried one, it's hard to reason where $7000 goes into such a seemingly simple device. I mean, you can build one from hardware store parts for $14, right? Seriously though, anyone I've met who was ever skeptical took about 2 minutes hands-on with the rig to determine that yes, it is far and away the finest stabilizer anywhere near the price range. And I have yet to meet someone who bought a Flyer and was disappointed by its capabilities. For the time I owned one, it treated me extremely well, and certainly made me a much better operator when I moved up the line. (It also started the downward spiral in the steadicam world concerning the value of money - "yeah but this motor is only $2500, and that cable is only $250!")

The old adage goes - if you think you'll use it in the long run, save yourself the cash and buy the best up front. Unfortunately, in this world few people (and even fewer line producers) see that sometimes investing more in the beginning saves money in the end. That goes for skilled crew as well as gear. And that, in my opinion, is why the Flyers don't sell as fast as other like-priced units.
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