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Old December 3rd, 2013, 12:25 AM   #16
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Location: Fairfield, Dunedin, New Zealand
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Re: O'Connor Heads and Leaking


First up, good to have you "treading the boards" here on DVinfo, about bloody time too, if I may say so.

You're too valuable a support manufacturer to have out in the cold (I do realise that there are "business model" reasons, and more, the "others" aren't here, but the "big three" are indispensable. Why the "others" haven't figured out they're shooting themselves in both feet, knees and hips in the process, eludes me).

Thanks for clearing up that counterbalance thing.

I'd been informed previously by Charles that your story was the "real story", so I was somewhat surprised to see an entirely different message being broadcast from that site. I wonder why they do it if it's complete boll**ks? Very strange.

Whilst you're here and this is most definitely an O'Conner themed thread, may I refer back to another (thread) where this rather esoteric sentence (from yourself) found air space:

Without seeking council with anyone within our business that may be inconvenienced by this, I am not against the idea of loaning systems on a trial basis.
Erm, what?

I apologise for lifting this from the other thread, but that thread was "intended" to get firm statements of policy (and I do mean firm) from the companies concerned with regard to their presales equipment testing - the lot, inclusions, exclusions (including geographic), in short, the whole deal.

That Barbara couldn't even attend the game and Andrew dropped the ball doesn't really let you off the hook.

In my mind, and possibly others, the quoted sentence appears to offer little in the way of clarity as regards company policy, if there is any such beast.

So, do you want to make some, er, policy, that is?

There's bods here (on DVinfo, me included) that would be interested but haven't seen an O'Conner head in their life and won't ever if you don't loan them one.

Heck, I haven't seen one in 8 years here in NZ. (I'm actually better equipped [Read: I get sick of them drooling over my rig!] than any single crew, whether tv or film, I've seen here in the South Island, not one of them using O'Conner heads. Not saying they ain't here, just that they're keeping a pretty low profile if they are).

So, what say you? Policy, the whole policy, nothing but the policy? Deal?

Might want to up the manufacture rate at the factory, you never know how many new customers might just want a piece of the action. And it's a poor excuse for not loaning out gear, they can't play with it, they won't buy it, pretty simple.

That's where Sachtler and Vinten started mining a rich seam, stack it high, give out freebie testers, watch the sales roll in.

Don't think O'Conner is ever going to be camera supports Wall Mart, but you never can tell. A slight change in the business model, who knows?

A new head for the 0 to 15 lbs range (with a price tag more Toyota than Bentley) might just wipe the others off the planet.

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Old December 3rd, 2013, 02:15 AM   #17
Product Manager - O'Connor
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Re: O'Connor Heads and Leaking


I don't think it is any different to any other head. The drag fluid is simply a high viscosity silicone fluid mixed with trace additives, and is virtually identical to the fluid in Vinten TF heads.

Typically, as with all equipment, it is best to try and keep it warm. At very cold temperature is may feel a but rough at first and need 'warming up' by making a few pans and tilts. Try and keep inside the tent on an arctic shoot for example (if possible) if you want it to perform at its optimum.

The cold will not damage the head (obviously we design for low temp (-40c.) As with all heads it is the grease in the 'off-shelf' bearings that can stiffen up and make it feel a little rough (not the drag fluid or other bespoke designed parts.) Once warm again it will work as new.

Hope this helps.

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Old December 4th, 2013, 03:02 AM   #18
Product Manager - O'Connor
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Re: O'Connor Heads and Leaking

Hi Chris,

Indeed the counterbalance note on the other site is definitely incorrect and countermines our most important USP. We didn't help with our naming convention in the 90's! Should have been the 030, 060, 075! Thing is there such well known names now is hard to change them.

Regarding your 'firm policy'...simply put I hadn't spoken about it with anyone. Obviously I carry some influence within my organisation but I cannot make policy decisions without discussing them. Usually if people want to try an OConnor head they go to a reseller and try it out but I agree there is no substitute for trying it with your own kit.

Following our discourse however I have spoken with the Loan and Demo department (that also deal with Sachtler and Vinten.) And they have agreed that they can offer the loan agreement that Sachtler and Vinten do with the OConnor 1030D/DS system.

This is subject to availability (I know stocks are low right now but we have discussed increasing these) and of course to terms and conditions.

Regarding the smaller OConnor head, this is exactly what the DV and 515 were. They were discontinued because when we set the 'Toyota' price there was zero margin in it for us.

If you use the same OConnor architecture with all heads the manufacturing costs are not significantly different. i.e a small OConnor head is not orders of magnitude less than a large one.

This is because number of components and complexity and tolerances of these components have a much larger contribution to cost than simply volume of material and, the number of components is not significantly smaller for the DV (is just a miniture 2575 with a few less springs.)

So the options are to change the drag and balance mechanism to a cheaper one which means it loses the characteristic OConnor feel!

I am open to re-developing these smaller heads because I think the market is right for it and because manufacturing technology improvements may mean we can be smarter with how we do things, however, they would still be a premium price I think, and, it is not OConnor's current priority. Certainly will not see anything for the next couple of years I am afraid.

Kindest Regards,

Steven Turner
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Old December 4th, 2013, 12:21 PM   #19
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Re: O'Connor Heads and Leaking

Thanks Steve! It's great to have a direct contact into all things O'connor. Speaking for myself, I appreciate your 'lurking around'. : )

Interesting insight into the current video market. I don't have a great deal of experience in DV, but I can see the 'marketplace' seems to be going in the direction of smaller form factor camera platforms. At the same time, everyone is expecting high-end HD 'filmic' results.

With HD resolutions seemingly increasing every couple of years, along with increased resolution HD TVs and monitors, every little bump, hitch and hesitation is noticeable in the final product. This is why I've spent so much time and energy searching for the best tripod and fluid head combination 'I can afford'.

Like many, I hate to 'buy twice'! I'd rather back my ears down and spend the money upfront instead of upgrading after only a short while and ultimately spending twice as much or more in the final tally. I've done it before and it really aggravates me. Almost as aggravating as buying 'premium equipment' and not having it perform 'as advertised'.

You and others have pointed out, a good tripod/fluid head combination is a long-term investment that should outlast several cameras. I agree. Buy once, buy good.

Best regards,


Last edited by James Kuhn; December 4th, 2013 at 12:22 PM. Reason: Deleted words.
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Old December 5th, 2013, 03:15 AM   #20
Product Manager - O'Connor
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Re: O'Connor Heads and Leaking

Thanks James,

I certainly think that if someone has a very small camera without all the paraphernalia you could definitely find a smaller support than a 1030D out there. It would certainly be an annoyance to be carrying unnecessary weight if you don't need it.

Cinematography is the total focus for OConnor. We are not interested currently in moving into broadcast, newsgathering etc.

Typically when shooting movies, shorts or drama with a DSLR. The cameras are augmented with other kit (lenses, base plate with rod mountings, matteboxes and filters, remote follow focuses, external batteries, data recorders, monitors or evf's, handgrips and shoulder mounts.) It is to these customers, or customers who plan to be working in this way in future, that the 1030 is aimed at. It then has capacity to also expand to use the same kit list on a slightly larger body digital cinema camera (C300, F3, FS100, Black Magic, etc.)

I was on the set of the US version of Wilfred earlier in year. The whole thing is shot by 4 camera operators each armed with Nikon D800 cameras. All guys have a shoulder rig with all the kinds of equipment above. They also each have a 1030D and sticks and they can take the whole shoulder rig, clip it straight into the top of the 1030, balance it perfectly and continue shooting without the need to disassemble anything.

You could of course, because of the 'down to zero balance,' also simply just have the camera and lens. It is this great flexibility of OConnor heads that have made them the favourite of rental houses in Hollywood.

This is what the 1030D/DS are really made for.

Kindest Regards,
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