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Tom Wills

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Tom Wills last won the day on June 23

Tom Wills had the most liked content!

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About Tom Wills

Profile Information

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

Contact Methods

  • Website
    http://www.willsvideo.com

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  1. One of the main things that’s kept me using SmallHDs as my primary monitors (though I will soon be picking up a couple of the off-brand new super bright monitors as backups) has been the ability to zoom and scale the picture, along with the addition of custom, easily changeable guides. I have found that in the past couple years, there has been a proliferation of DPs wanting to use old anamorphic lenses, sometimes producing odd aspect ratios, and then cropping down the sensor to fit the proscribed aspect ratio. On one particular show last year, we were using a 2x anamorphic lens on an Alexa Mini, cropping for 16x9, but not in the center - from the side of the frame! It was truly bizarre (horizons always were oddly bent, no straight lines existed on one side of the frame, and you had to be cognizant of where you put the actor’s face to make it not get too bendy... but that’s another story), but the biggest thing for me was that after you go to anamorphic, then crop down, you end up with a tiny box of picture in the middle of a giant black area. SmallHD’s cropping and scaling tools meant that I easily had available a crop which I could toggle on and off that gave me the picture area we were using, with only a little look around on the edges. No text, no giant black bars, just my frame blown up to full screen. I don’t see how I could commit to using a primary monitor at this point that didn’t give me at least that flexible of an option, and so far, the SmallHD has seemed to be the most intuitive, easy to use version of that.
  2. Fiber jumper and a few other things have sold - please check the website linked for an accurate list of what is left and pricing! Thanks!
  3. I’m helping a friend who is retiring from Steadicam operating clear out his gear package. He meticulously cared for this equipment, and it’s all in fantastic shape, ready to get out on set. Ideally we would love to sell the whole gear package to someone who’d be able to use it to start up or upgrade, but I’m willing to entertain offers on individual pieces as well. All prices are asking prices plus shipping. Tons of pictures, prices, and contact information are available at the link below: https://willsvideo.com/used-equipment-for-sale/
  4. FYI to any interested parties - I will be taking over the sale of Rich’s gear for him, including this PRO arm. Please contact me if you’re interested: 215-796-8938 willsvideo@gmail.com
  5. Just as a little signal boost for Rich, I’ve personally operated with this arm, and it’s in wonderful shape. Testing out this arm was actually the reason I ended up buying a Titan for myself!
  6. I tend to run the inverter on the back of my Klassen harness. I’ve added a bunch of soft-side Velcro back there, which means I can just slap the inverter there, but still easily remove it when I dock (very important! Otherwise you end up stuck to the rig when you’re docked!). I power the inverter from either a block battery (I carry a shoulder strap so that my dolly grip/spotter/spare 2nd AC can carry the block behind me), or from an AB Plate with a belt clip on the back of my harness as well. I also like this as it works the same for vehicle mount and Rickshaw work, which is one of the cases where I often positively need gyros. Since the inverter is already separate from the sled, it’s no big deal to put the inverter somewhere on the vehicle (I often put it on the hard mount itself, so it’s easy to switch on and off as needed), and then run an XLR cable back to the block battery, either strapped into the vehicle or tied down to my Rickshaw. I do carry short cables with the gyro so if I absolutely need to mount it on the sled, I could, but so far, I’ve never had to.
  7. Hello Wei, From what I recall, the A-30 and Zephyr arms are identical - just different names for the same arm. The difference in weight capacities you’re noting is from the difference in what they’re saying - the A-30 arm holds 30 pounds of total payload, which includes the camera, accessories, and whole sled, while the Zephyr’s rated 23 pound payload only includes the camera and accessories. The 7 pounds remaining on there is a combination of the weight of the sled, and possibly some safety overhead, to prevent parts from being damaged. I will also note that pushing this level of rig to its absolute maximum is probably not advisable. I’ve heard many stories of people breaking gimbals and dropping cameras when they’ve overloaded their sleds. So be mindful - these are not full size rigs, and they’re not designed for incredibly heavy payloads! And also important to note - I have heard that some arms may have a slightly higher weight capacity than specced, due to variations in tolerances in the spring. Just because the arm supports the load, doesn’t mean it’s not making out a part somewhere else, like the pin that holds the tilt axis in the gimbal.
  8. I totally forgot to include the price on this post - $250 USD shipped for the pair of 2 plates. Thanks for those who let me know!
  9. Just got in a new batch of these plates, and I’m keeping the price down at the previous sale price, so hopefully these can end up in more people’s kits. These can be used for balancing a camera in the vertical axis on the Wave, or for adding a little riser to clear lens supports or anything else you might need. 1/4” rise with one plate, or stack 2 for 1/2”. Demo video here: https://youtu.be/9S0q3N0mG1A Includes: - 2 “Blue Plate” riser plates - 10 extra-long 3/8” camera screws (5 for 1 plate, 5 for 2 plates stacked) - Free USPS flat rate shipping in the US willsvideo@gmail.com 215-796-8938
  10. In the spirit of the times, in which many of us are picking up new skills, like the new 3D printers in many people's homes, I've decided to take some of my projects and parts I've done and put them out in the world, for printing, machining, or making as you see fit. Hopefully more to come soon, so watch this space. https://willsvideo.com/parts/ Good luck!
  11. Steadi-to-sticks plates sold. The rest remains!
  12. Since I have some forced downtime, just like everyone else, I’ve gone through some gear that I could use to get rid of. Everything is priced accordingly with global circumstances at the moment. Item 1: SmallHD 702 Bright Monitor (1) This monitor was bought as backup-of-a-backup, and while it has been used, it hasn’t been abused. The back looks almost brand new. It does have a couple of little marks on the screen, but they aren’t visible once powered on. Includes a SmallHD LEMO to LP-E6 dummy battery (which has been disassembled and glued back together to fix a design issue, see pictures). $500 Item 2: SmallHD 702 Bright Monitor (2) This monitor was my primary Steadicam monitor for a few years before I upgraded to the 703, and it shows the use. The outer casing is worn, and some of the “soft rubber” on the plastic parts is worn off completely. There are no marks on the screen (always had a screen protector on it), but it has developed a bit of a bright spot in the middle of it (see picture) Also includes LEMO to LP-E6 dummy battery, also with some marks from the surgery performed on it. $400 Item 3 & 4: Steadicam Dovetail to Tripod Plates These are 2 prototype Steadicam-to-sticks adapters that I made up a couple of years ago. They accept any full-sized Steadicam dovetail, and have 3/8” holes on the base for mounting a tripod quick release plate to. Extremely handy, and because these are my design, I ensured that they lock down extremely tight. No slipping, unlike some of the commercially-produced other ones! They are a little rough (I wasn’t interested in finish, just function), and not without their quirks, but they’ve worked really well. Only selling because I’ve replaced them with newer versions, and figured these could help someone who didn’t have any, rather than having 6 for myself! $100 each Item 5: Steadicam 3/3A parts Here’s something I put together as the start of a project, but don’t have the time to finish. It’s a Model 3 stage and plate, a side-to-side addition (maybe DeRose?), a Model 3 extension post, and a Model 3 gimbal, which I recently gutted, cleaned, and re-lubricated with the same oil I use for my M-1 gimbal. Would be a great start to a sled project, or a running rig! $800 Item 6: Custom 1.5” - 5/8” Dock This came with the rig above (and I’d prefer to sell it with), and is beautifully machined. Some history behind who made this, I’d be happy to share with the buyer. Includes aircraft pin and all the works. Discount available if you want to buy this and the sled parts! $250 Contact me at willsvideo@gmail.com if you’re interested!
  13. Hi Josh, I remember being in your shoes clearly - it was the late summer of 2012, I was on my first feature film, having operated “semi-professionally” for about a year, and on two occasions I had to either put the 85mm up, or do a shot on the 50mm in low mode, and I remember both being seemingly impossible. So, you’re not alone in the difficulty of doing long lens work on Steadicam when starting out! I’d say about 1/4 of my work is tighter than a 50mm. Generally I don’t see many lenses above 135mm (though I have from time to time), although especially when doing anamorphic, 135mm is a pretty typical lens, and I regularly fly 100mm spherical lenses. A 65mm or 75mm is a sweet lens for Steadicam, and if you can get well in-sync with your actors, you can produce some truly beautiful tracking shots. I’d say to get to the point where I was completely unafraid of long lenses took me about 3 years of operating, and probably about 5 years to actually be able to back up my big talk with the skills to really pull it off. I will say that with long lenses, not only is it a technique issue, but it is also a physical feat with your body, and there is a significant component that the quality of your rig plays. When I upgraded my rig after that first feature, one of the biggest things I noticed in going to a new gimbal was that there had been some friction and play in my previous gimbal that just destroyed any chance of precision in long lens operating. Even the slightest friction in your gimbal will translate your body’s movements into the lens, and those errors will become much more pronounced on longer lenses. The same goes for your arm, although to a lesser degree (as the issues will be translational rather than angular). Additionally, having your rig trimmed for the tilt you will be holding is crucial, as is keeping your speed consistent. If you’re holding pressure with your hand to hold tilt, any little twitches and tremors in your hand will get into the frame, and if you’re speeding up and slowing down, any pendular swing of the sled will also get in, unless you’re good enough to keep 100% of it out (which very few are, although I think we all hope to get close!). And biggest of all, relax! I even get called out on this by DPs I’ve worked with for a long time. If I’m tense, that tends to telegraph into the shot, and sometimes I just need to take a deep breath and shake out my hands and try again. I hope that helps and gives you a few things to think about! Best of luck on your adventures!
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