Like the title says, I'm looking to put together a complete package starting from scratch. This will be my first rig and I know conventional wisdom would suggest I put together some older less expensive bits and build from there; however, I'd prefer to simply start out with a kit that is capable of flying the heavier packages and that I can expect to be viable for another 5 years or better.
Some background so you know where I am coming from; I've been working in the film/TV industry full time for nearly twenty years and as a dolly operator for the last eleven or so. I've been interested in camera operating for some time and am now (obviously) looking to make that transition. I recently participated in the five day workshop in Pennsylvania and had a blast (thanks to all instructors and participants!). In the time between then and now I've been fortunate enough to have a few ops let me try out their various rigs and offer some input.
So what am I looking for? I'm not 100% sold on or dead set against any particular product, but...
Sled: I know I want a rig from a manufacturer with a good CS record and a reputation for high quality. Having said that, most ops around here fly PRO and it has been suggested that it's much easier to beg, borrow, and steal in case of an emergency than if one were to operate a different brand. I like the look of the XCS products as well but have never tried any. Something HD ready with good power management would be ideal.
Vests: I have tried an Ultra2, an Exovest, a PRO, and a Klassen. None of them were perfectly fitted for me obviously so it's somewhat of an unfair comparison, but I generally preferred the feel of the front mount. The Exo was nice, though I don't expect to find one of those around unless I get on a waiting list and buy new. The Ultra I found bulky in the chest straps (I'm a bit barrel chested to begin with) but otherwise comfortable.
Arm: As far as the arm goes I am leaning toward a PRO though, again, am not opposed to entertaining other options. I've tried most of the newer line of Tiffen arms and they generally felt good. The older arms I've tried felt annoyingly clunky and I'm not sure the cost savings would offset that annoyance.
I'd welcome any suggestions, questions, or equipment offers either through PM or at the email address below.
Thank you and I look forward to being a working/contributing member of this community in the future,
Humbucker FIlm Services