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Tom Wills

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Tom Wills last won the day on May 29

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About Tom Wills

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    Advanced Member
  • Birthday 02/21/1990

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  • Rig
    M1, Wave, PRO Arm, and Klassen Harness
  • Location
    Philadelphia, PA

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  1. Tom Wills

    M1 volt vs betx wave

    I've been holding off on saying much, as I know many who've gone the Volt route who I don't want to discourage, but I've had a very different experience than many with the Volt and the Wave. My experience with the Volt was that while it did offer some immediate advantages over the Wave (like its size and weight, and also the added bonus of having a rig that is neutrally balanced and thus can be moved around without any pendulum effects), it significantly changed my operating, and not for the better. I do a lot of tilting in my operating (something I wasn't aware of until I switched to the Volt), and the M1V electronics altered the way tilt felt, which required a lot of retraining, and additionally, I always saw a little pan wobble at the beginning and ends of tilts, no matter how much I turned the tilt strength down. There was also the issue (that I'm hoping eventually gets fixed) of the M1V tilting on a diagonal, and not in a straight vertical line, amongst a few other things that I found over my year and a half with the device. The work I did with the Volt was simply not as clean or good as the work I could do with the Wave, so I have since moved back to the Wave and sold my Volt. I urge each operator who is moving towards any augmented stabilization technology to try using both (and make sure they are both set up correctly, as many do not balance the Wave correctly), and see what they prefer, and most importantly, to analyze the footage critically.
  2. I designed these plates out of a frustrating need that kept popping up at camera preps - cameras often needed just a little extra height, either to balance properly on the Wave 1, or, as with the Alexa Mini and some Panavision builds, needed a little extra height so that some part of the camera or lens support would clear my dovetail. I’ve resorted to using washers in between the camera and the dovetail occasionally, but no more! These spacer plates are 3”x5” and 1/4” thick, and weigh 0.15 pounds (.06 kilo). They’re still quite strong, however, because of their design. And the slots are long enough to fit almost any camera hole pattern. If you use the Wave, you’ll be even more pleased with how these work. Balancing the camera vertically can sometimes be a chore - moving motors, adding tons of weight to a Noga arm, etc... Now, if you’re faced with a very bottom heavy camera, use one (or even two!) of these between the camera and the dovetail, and you can use a lot less weight on the Noga, and have a stiffer, simpler build. I made these to be a simple Swiss-Army-Knife type gadget, and small enough to fit in your usual AKS case to be there when you need them! Includes 3/8” socket head extra-long screws, for easy and secure tie down of cameras on the riser. $175 each. Email me to purchase - willsvideo@gmail.com
  3. I’m selling a used, but decent condition Technovision Geared Head. In the time I’ve owned it, about 6 months, it has never been on a job, only been used for my own personal training. Sadly space in my storage unit has gotten tight, and as this is something that I haven’t used on set, I have to let it go. The head is in reasonably good shape for its age. The previous owner I believe had it rebuilt, but if you were going to use this on set as a “daily driver” head, I’d probably have it tuned up again. Both handwheels have a tiny bit of backlash in them, but it is quite minor. I replaced both of the bubble levels in the head as well, so they look fresh and work well. Included in the kit is: - Technovision Head - 2 Handwheels - Low Speed Reducer Gearboxes (add an extra-slow gear for really long lens moves) - Mitchell Nut - Bonus - old ARRI Bridgeplate for mounting cameras on the integral ARRI dovetails of the head I also can include a Mitchell Hi-Hat to sweeten the deal for a local buyer. The case has seen better days, and is quite heavy (around 80 pounds), so I’d like to sell it locally rather than ship it cross-country again. Ideally looking for someone within a few hours of the NYC area who could use a practice head to teach themselves wheels. Having this head was quite useful for me in honing my skills on the wheels, and I can imagine it’d be quite helpful for you as well! Asking $5000. Paid $6000 in August of last year. Email me for more info. willsvideo@gmail.com
  4. Tom Wills

    The Betz Wave system review??

    Hi Mark, The big question is - are you balancing the camera's vertical CG in the Wave? As in, can you unlock the Wave (when powered down), roll the camera to either side, and have it stay there without issue? It should be balanced so that the camera is totally neutral inside the roll cage of the Wave. If it is "bottom heavy" (aka seeks the center) in the Wave, it becomes almost impossible to operate as any deviation from absolute level will cause the rig to want to fall further and further off level. The method Larry McConkey figured out early on, and that I also use (and many other ops) is using a set of small counterweights on a Noga arm to raise the CG and be able to adjust it precisely to where it needs to be. I am also working on the design of riser plates that will allow you to raise a camera's CG with a very light, small plate, rather than the heavy and often too-tall Wave Rider, to limit how much weight is needed.
  5. Tom Wills

    Steadicam M1 Volt

    The simple answer is to swap out the post in the low mode bracket and add in one with the hole in the correct location for the Tiffen handle. The Tiffen handle's hole placement is fine by me, and I've had no issues with my low mode brackets actually having both holes (one for the Tiffen hole placement, one for the PRO). Seems far easier to me (and easier to swap out if something should fail) than drilling on the rather expensive Tiffen gimbal handle.
  6. Dual Bartech setup is sold. Thanks!
  7. Trying to get this Bartech system out of my shop to free up space for new gear, so I’ve sweetened the kit quite a bit. Included in this kit: Bartech Hand Unit with Iris Slider ($1900 new) Bartech Hand Unit (almost brand new - $800 new) 2x Bartech Digital Receivers ($800 each new) Bartech Analog Receiver (brand new - had as a backup) RedRock Micro “Torque” motor with custom Preston-compatible gear (Rarely used - $700 new) 3 Motor Cables 3 P Tap to Bartech Receiver cables Bartech to ARRI R/S Run Cable Bartech to Red Epic Run Cable 4x Rechargeable 9v Batteries 9V Charger Tons of marking strips Pelican Case This was a system Larry McConkey and I used on the MoVI, but it hasn’t been used since we moved to a WCU-4 system. I’ve added a motor, Pelican case, batteries, and a bunch of other extras to ensure a quick sale. Price for the whole kit - $2750 Contact me if you're interested. willsvideo@gmail.com Also available - one more Bartech Hand Unit and BFD Digital Receiver with a couple of cables for $1300.
  8. Tom Wills

    Replacement Breakers/Fuses for GPI Pro

    They are Klixon breakers, available from Aircraft Spruce, an aircraft parts supplier. They’re not cheap, but here they are. I’ve also gotten them from Peerless Electronics. https://m.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/elpages/klixon7277.php?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIitPVhbb93wIViorICh0fXQBIEAQYAiABEgIy2vD_BwE I’ve used the 7277-2-# series, where that last number is the ampacity.
  9. Tom Wills


    Hello Tomasso, The quick answer to your question is - "it depends". For most full-sized rigs (I.E. M1, Ultra2, XCS Ultimate, GPI PRO, MK-V, etc...) the sled is not sold with a specific weight limit, or is sold with a weight limit that exceeds the weight limit of arms on the market. This is not always very helpful, as some sleds are built more rigidly than others, and will cope with heavier weights better than others. In real terms, I'd expect any sled in this class to be able to support 40-50 pounds of camera payload (though some will support much more, and some may support this in a less than optimal way). With smaller rigs, sleds are often built down to a specific size, weight, or cost level, and may not be capable of supporting the heaviest of loads. The Archer2 is a prime example of this. The post diameter is smaller (although not much), the stage is smaller and uses a smaller size dovetail, and the gimbal, most importantly, is designed to be small and lightweight. The combination of these factors mean that if you overload the suggested payload of the Archer 2, you will almost certainly get vibration in your shots, and there have been many people who have broken their gimbals (I have known at least one personally), either dropping the camera and causing damage, or at least taking their sleds out of commission for some time while they are serviced. For an even more extreme example, a lot of Zephyr owners found that even though their rigs were rated for 24 pounds of camera, they could put over 30 pounds of camera on it before the arm started sagging, and did so. Later many of these same owners had to send their rigs back to Tiffen for new bearings and new gimbal parts, as they had destroyed their gimbals. For each rig, and each manufacturer, things may be different. For instance, with Tiffen's smallest rigs, the "payload" designation often refers to everything you add to the sled - batteries, camera, focus units, etc..., and sometimes even just refers to the weight carrying capacity of the arm. So the Aero 30 doesn't support a 30 pound camera, but has a 30 pound capacity arm. The Archer's weight limit is likely in the sled more than the G50 arm, as the sled doesn't weigh 20 pounds (the G50 arm supporting 50 pounds, and the Archer2 saying its payload is about 30 pounds). The Shadow is basically a full-sized rig, so I would trust reasonably heavy camera packages on it. Another issue to consider when weighing which rig to buy, although harder to tell via pictures and spec sheets, is how the weight of a sled is distributed. For instance, my M1 is a heavier sled than an Archer is, and so for the same camera payload, and number of batteries, my M1 will not be extended as far as the Archer would be. Post extension, especially at really long lengths, is one of the main causes of camera vibrations (which are a big, big issue, and have gotten many operators fired, including myself!). So if you are flying heavy camera packages every day, getting the biggest, beefiest rig you can makes sense, so that you're flying it within its comfort zone, rather than flying a lighter rig at the end of its useful range. I hope this helps in your selection!
  10. Off the market. Thanks.
  11. Tom Wills

    Low mode - docking position

    Deke, While it is true that it’s now easier to reload the camera when right side up, I can’t remember a job that I’ve done where people don’t want to look at a frame before I put on the rig. Whether for lighting, or set dressing, or HMU and Wardrobe, someone always wants to look at a frame, and generally they want an approximation go what the frame actually will be (I.E. it doesn’t help the DP much in setting lights if the camera is about to be 3 feet lower than it is on the stand!). So I dock in low mode. It also helps me to have as little time flying the rig as possible. When I pick up the rig, it’s in the right orientation, pointed at the set, and I dock in a direction (lens to the right, contrary to what is taught at most workshops) that means that the rig is ready to fly the moment it comes off the dock. No flipping the rig, no spinning it around my body, no delays. With heavier cameras I’ll enforce this even more (such as when I did a music video on Primo Anamorphic lenses recently... 17 pounds for the 50mm) - we roll and slate on the stand, and I pick it up once everyone is ready to go, not before Vanities run in for a moment of touch up or before the artist puts away their phone. Hopefully that clears up why I still dock in low mode, and still think that it’s a useful thing to do.
  12. Systems are still for sale, and now offering: 1 System with Iris Slider, 1 Receiver, and cables - $2000 1 System with basic handset, 1 Receiver, and 1 P Tap cable - $1750 Contact me if youre interested! Also could be negotiable on adding a Redrock Micro motor and cable for $500 to either kit.
  13. Here's my "garage sale" post for the season. Currently clearing out my storage unit, so some of my old gear needs to find a new home. 3A Gimbal - $800 or best offer ​Purchased as part of a "project rig" that I ended up parting out, as it needed more work than was reasonable. The gimbal is in beautiful shape, however, and looks like it's had very little use over its life. 1.5" Low Mode (short) wrap grip - $150​Looks to be either a PRO wrap grip, or a copy of such. It's covered in nice grippy rubber tape. I'd keep it if it fit on my M1! 3 1.5" Docking rings - $30Also salvaged off of the "project rig" - 2 are solid, one hinged. AB Plate with 4 Pin XLR Cable - $40 ​Super handy in all sorts of situations to add a battery to something, but I've got a ton of these plates, so this one can go. More gear to come soon. Contact me at willsvideo@gmail.com if you're interested in any of this gear.
  14. This was Larry McConkey’s system that he and I used with his MoVI package on many feature films, television shows, and commercials. It’s a quite full package, minus the motors (which we are still using with a new system). Motors are easily sourced, as this package works with Heden, Preston, Axis 1, RedRock Micro, and many other motors. This system is set up for use on a proper film or TV set. With the main handset, you can control focus with the knob, and iris with the slider, or you can take the 2nd handset and give that to a DIT or DP for doing remote iris control from video village. In addition, however, having 2 full handsets and 2 separate receivers means you can separate out the 2 systems and use them on 2 cameras, or have full redundancy if one system fails (though BFDs are notoriously reliable). Also included are motor cables, power cables, and RS cables for ARRI and RED, as well as a ton of antennas, both normal length and extra-long (perfect for helping cut through New York RF noise). Looking for $3500 for the full system. Pickup available in New York or Philadelphia, or shipping at buyer’s cost. BFD Handset with Iris Slider BFD Handset Receiver 1 Receiver 2 BFD to Arri RS cable BFD to Red Epic RS Cable 3x BFD Motor Cables 1x BFD to PTap 1x BFD to Bare Wires 2x BFD to JST Pkg of Antennas