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Everything posted by JamieSilverstein

  1. Jay you are asking several questions........ As a local 600 member and a member of the Executive Board, I can only answer that being in a Union is a good thing for anyone who is a technician. It provides protection while on the job, standards, pension and welfare, as well as generally a better wage. As for working non-union, the answer is our policy is generally to turn a job around rather than turn it down. You generally only get opportunities to work on larger shoots if you have a union card, so if you desire to branch out and try the "big leagues" having a card is a good way to start. The only catch is that you are a company as well as a member and there are certain conflicts between the two. You should get in touch with the local union rep down there and he or she will be able to go through the ramifications of billing through your company, insurance etc......
  2. Can't say it more simply than this. Greg is great and his products are just as good. No, I'm not his brother in law, just a very happy owner of an XCS Gimbal, Level, and Monitor Bracket. If I had to do it over again, besides coming back as a blonde, I'd buy one of his sleds and monitors, with out hesitation. His service and his attention to his customers is of the best in the business. No operator is too big or too small for Greg to listen to and try to help. You gotta appreciate that.
  3. So if both Mitch and Jerry are right, then its not the point of attack , but the over use by an FM vest on your shoulders (many injuries reported to date concerning shoulders and fm vests, and back, I need not report on that part of the body to any of us here). The hips bearing the brunt of the weight allow us as operators to use our brains for more operating and less survival. In other words, a back mounted vest is more energy efficient........... The only question I have concerning point of attack is if your back begins to tilt forward as is the case after a long day in an FM vest, aren't you effectivly bringing your center of gravity foward and placing more and more stress on your lower back. Additionally, in a non rigid vest, if the vest twists as you work, say in low mode, doesn't that also place different stress on the body at different points? Finally, the design of the BM vest, provides for a "hinge effect in the back, pushing the vest into your back as you walk, rather than pushing the vest away from you as is the case with an FM vest. If the vest pushes into you rather than away from you, doesn't that affect the where the weight affects you? So maybe its not about where the Center of Gravity exists on a vest, if all equal, but how that CG affects you in a rigid vs non rigid vest. For my body, and career the back mounted system has made a tremendous difference, all of which has been explained. The bottom line, regardless of the science, is that there is a notable difference between the two systems. I personally prefer the Back Mounted to the front.
  4. Erwin; I think that there are several reasons for the switch to Hytron from NiCad. First and most crucial is the fact that NiCads are very very very very toxic and polluting, and I would imagine that there is pressure being placed to stop producing them. Secondly, the 120 carries a tremendous amount more "umph" per pound than the PRO Pack 14.4. Only 1/2 lb heavier and twice the power. Finally they might be cheaper to make in the long run, but that is only speculation on my part. I hate the idea of buying new batteries, but its a choice I don't really have. Ultimatly, I am going to go with the little bit of extra weight, and twice the power. It doesn't hurt that I am hurting the environment a little less also. Jamie.
  5. I too have a Jerry Rig and I have used the AB Digital 14.4 Propacks with the Proformers combination for the past 3 years........ My Proformers are holding up very nicely, whereas the Propacks are dropping like flies. I had one replaced under warranty, and two are on their way to the exchange program shortly because they just don't hold a charge any longer and are out of warranty. I have used them on all types of cameras, the most demanding overall being the Sony Cine Alta 900 with a hungry downconverter and a couple of other power sucking devices to boot. In the field, I have found that the film cameras used were never a problem (with the execption of the 435 in sub zero temps at high speeds, which just required constant battery changes). Video cameras, specifically HD cameras with downconverters attached, because they are generally on all the time tend to suck more in less time Now that I am on the road to new batts, I am thinking that I will go with the HYTRON 120's. I have used them on the rig with The Sony 900's and they work like Channuka batteries. For you non-Jewish readers, that means that they virtually last for 8 days on one charge!!!!!!!!!! And the cost difference with the trade in of my old PROPACKS is only $50.00 more per battery over the cost of new PRO PACKS. Twice the Amp hours at only $50.00 extra. I like that cost to amp hour ratio! If any of you have any thoughts as to why I shouldn't buy the 120's please speak now or forever hold your peace. Is it true that you cannot transport 100's or 120's via an airplane??????? That would certainly change my thoughts.
  6. This is a very tricky topic...... One that has people in the Unions all over the US, Canada and elsewhere in heated arguments over how to deal with the loss of work to other nations. I know the debate is heated because I am an Executive Board member of IATSE Local 600, which is the National Guild for camera people in the US. First of all understand this, ITS NOT ABOUT THE WORKERS, ITS ABOUT THE PRODUCERS. None of us begrude the fantastic technicians all over the world the right to work and work for a living wage, under safe conditions. HOWEVER, if producers decide to go to the cheapest place available without any conscience towards people and communities that they have employed in the past, then we all as Steadicam operators are in grave danger of losing our livelyhood, whereever we live. Remember they can always go to the next place to shoot, as long as its cheaper, so none of us is safe from Runaway Production. There are always people out there willing to work for less. Are you? Runaway Production is not soley an American problem, its a global workers problem. There is nothing socialist or communist about that last statement, we are all workers, well compensated, but workers nonetheless, and as such Runaway Production threatens all of us all over the world. Please don't fight amongst oursleves about this, there are better arguments for us, like which is better back mounted or front mounted. Rather, we must figure out ways to fight producers who are more than willing to abandon any place to find the next cheapest country, and labor force. I hope this helps to clarify to issue and helps people understand why I for one support Robert Altman's sentiments Peace.
  7. Regarding Front Mounted Vests: I bought Steve Campanelli's old Sauve vest last year. I decided to buy it, after I had found myself in bed for several days not able to move as a result of a rather long day of low mode in well below freezing temperatures. The low mode torque along with my extra clothing added enough shifting of my old Masters vest to put me in terrible imobilized pain the next day............ Since I bought Steve's vest (which fits me very very well) I have had no back strain whatsoever, and that has been under a variety of conditions with a variety of cameras from Arricams, BL4 (believe it or not), Millenium XL and a number of HD cameras with and without cables etc.. Back support is superb and energy use is lower than it is with a front mounted vest. Stability of the camera and balance of my body are better with the back mounted vest and control of the arm is easier. Low mode shots and those shots when you end up locking off at a place that was not too comfortable with the front mounted vest are generally a breeze with the back mounted vest. Recently I had to send the vest in to get repaired, and was forced to borrow a pals front mounted vest. The vest was a brand new Ultra Vest, which is a very nicely engineered vest. Comfortable, easily adjustable, rigid enough and light; very well modified since the original Masters vests. The shot was a crane walk off and then a slow walk for about 150 feet, following Dennis Leary around a bunch of Fire Cadets. By the end of the 3 or 4 rehersals ( they had problems deciding what they truly wanted from the shot), I felt that familiar ache in my lower back that I had gotten from my old front mounted vest, and I was getting tired. Tired of holding my body upright, working against the sleds weight. Don't misunderstand, the shot was fine and I did the job without a hitch, BUT, there was a definite difference the energy exerted, and the comfort felt over the course of the shot. With the back mounted vest, the job would have been easier, plain and simple. Do I miss my old front mounted vest? Not really. I just wish I had enough cash to buy another back mounted vest and use one as a back up and another a my primary, so that in the event that I had an accident I wouldn't have to borrow anyones front mounted vest again.
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