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Everything posted by MarkKaravite

  1. I'm curious what everyone is using for a monitor rain cover. I have a new Boland, which is a great monitor, but not even close to watertight, as the monitor housing has venting holes. Looking for a good rain cover option. Thanks!
  2. Sasha, if you're looking for a fantastic level, take a look at XCS HD PDL. It's expensive, but as with every XCS product, it's top notch.
  3. I just had my first 6 Dionic HC's recelled. The report came back that they had between 310 & 352 cycles on them. 2 had died, and the others weren't preforming as well as my newer ones. If you have a AB 2702 charger with the DDM, it can tell you how many cycles each battery has. I recelled my batteries at Ritter Battery in Florida. Compared to $450 for a new Dionic HC (and they don't make them anymore, so I've only found them at Abel), it's $180 per battery to recall, and they are hotter than new ones. Great service and quick turnaround: http://www.ritterbattery.com/services.html My original Dionic HC's lasted a very long time for 2 reasons. 1, I always leave them on a Lifesaver Charger when not in use. According to Paul Dudeck at AB, this will greatly extend the life of the batteries. 2, since the onset of digital cameras, I have the policy to run the cameras off the rental houses batteries, and my gear off of my batteries. I always make sure there are at least 9 Dionic HC's on the order. That way, I can run an Alexa on Steadicam all day, and not run up the cycles on my batteries. If you're busy, and you always use your batteries for digital shows, you are using up thousands of dollars of batteries to run someone else's equipment. I just don't do it. For the rare case that the rental house is all V mount, I have them sub rent Dionic HC's, or re rent mine. That way, at least I'm being compensated for the usage on my batteries. Of course, I still use my batteries for film jobs, but those are becoming more and more rare.
  4. Hey all, just curious if anyone has Greg's new HD PDL. I'm looking at the Basic unit. As all XCS gear, I'm sure it's bulletproof, but just curious who owns them and their reviews. Thanks, Mark
  5. Clarification, per Jen's & Walter's comments. MDR2 cables.
  6. Selling the following cables in excellent condition: Preston cable # 4543, RED One start / stop for MDR 2/3 Preston cable # 4533 Panavision Genesis start /stop for MDR 2/3 Preston cable #4520 Arri 11 pin start / stop for MDR 2/3 These were backup cables and rarely used. $50 each or $100 for all 3. Please email at mkaravite@comcast.net. Thanks, Mark
  7. Hey Brooks, I'm using the F55 for the first time. It is much lighter than the Alexa, so a Boxx, battery, sandbag, etc... on the back is helpful. Panavision has made a nice dovetail top and bottom, so that is helpful. With all the cabling on any digital camera, I just fly it upside down for low mode. I can switch in 3 minutes, which would never happen going old school. Our DIT has an AJA flip box which corrects all the monitors when I'm flying the camera upside down. Although Panavision modified the viewfinder bracket, the actual viewfinder panel is horrible. Don't plan on being much help to your AC with focus when operating conventionally. I have a 2nd 5" TV Logic on board for me, so I can have a better image to view when setting up a shot, even though I'm almost always in the eyepiece when rolling. The power in is a standard 4pin xlr. The bodies we have, the xlr comes out the dump side near the rear of the camera. I operate with the camera on my left, so the power outlet would point right into my shoulder. Even with a 90 degree connector at the camera, it would still be in the way. Putting a battery on the back would fix this. If you wanted to power the camera from your sled all the time, I'd suggest an Anton Bauer plate that is gold mount to 4 pin. I have one of these plates and the camera thinks there is a battery on the back, but it's really getting power from the sled. This camera is probably too light for that setup. With a battery on the back, we use the side xlr for shore power from a block when docked. I did have one vibration problem. The camera does not have lightweight rod attachments in the front like an Alexa. I initially set up my Preston motors using my lightweight 15mm rods coming from an XCS plate. There was a ton of movement when the motor was turning (we have some stiff Primos). We really didn't have time to fully diagnose the problem. We fixed it by screwing a short 15mm rod into the Panavision cheese plate on top, so the motor was mounted directly to the camera. I'm still curious why there was so much play. PM me if you have any further questions. Fly safe, Mark
  8. I demo'd this new wireless transmitter. It is lightweight, uses little to no power & sends a constant signal. Unfortunately, it only works line of sight.
  9. Rob, Glad to hear your rig is back safe at home. You mentioned the $25K deductible. Everyone should make sure their deal memos have language stating production is responsible for all deductibles & full replacement value. Years ago, I remember a rumor about a totaled rig and production stuck the operator with a huge deductible. Not sure if it actually happened, but why leave yourself open to any potential loss.
  10. Terry West fixed mine. 310-374-5711 office 310-621-5063 mobile techrat531@verizon.net
  11. Joshua, attached are some photos of the Klassen Duo. The Duo was a combined effort of Garrett & Walter. It requires a Universal or Traditional vest with a hinge on one side of the front door and reinforced carbon fiber. I use it strictly for narrow doorways, but it allows me to quickly switch back and forth using the same harness. The Duo feels more like a front mounted vest, but works well. You'll notice mine has custom angles built in to work better with my harness. Klassen says this item really never took off in popularity, but I find it invaluable for me, since I only carry one vest. Best, Mark
  12. Looks like everyone on the east coast was approached for this film. It makes me feel special that I was one of several who they attempted to exploit :-) The best low rate story I have is, while confronted with a similar situation, the DP simply went to production and told them to remove Steadicam from the budget, saying he didn't want to work with anyone who would accept their rates. He explained that he would do the entire show on a dolly, and take the extra time to lay track or dance floor to complete the moves. Nicely done!
  13. Hey Guys, I'm not looking to call anyone out on this. They know who they are & what they agreed to. The point of my post is to simply reiterate the fact that if Steadicam Operators take work for scale, not only will that particular operator lower his own economic bar, but he makes it more difficult for everyone to make deals. I currently have a nice mix of studio & independent pictures. Well respected DP's I know are taking independent features, and these are the jobs that come up with these low rates. As Steadicam ops continue to take lower rates on Indy's, it's only a matter of time before we start seeing similar offers from the studios. I agree that independent features cannot pay the same as the studio films, but there is an established and respectable rate for these films, and it's certainly not scale. I agree with Jeff, that none of us know what a persons financial situation is. Maybe, just maybe, if an Operator held out for normal rates throughout his career, he wouldn't be in bad financial shape. Fly safe, Mark
  14. I recently received a call from a Producer I know who is prepping a film in Boston that starts shooting in early October. It's a Tier 3 job, with a high profile lead actor & a very well respected DP. The first offer was scale rate for labor, including Steadicam, and around $2000 / week for the gear. My agent tactfully explained that no one in his stable works for scale, and $3000 a week is customary for a film of this size. He had several other deals from Tier films to back up his negotiations. After some back and forth, the producer agreed in principle to come up to a reasonable Tier 3 combo rate, and pay $3000 a week. I just heard back from him last night, to tell me he found someone who would do the film for the original offer of scale + $2000 / week for rentals. I'm posting this in hope that the operator who took this job reads this forum, and realizes that not only did he leave several thousand dollars on the table, but he'll likely be working for this rate in the foreseeable future, as producers and UPM's all tell each other what they got you for on the last one. We all know the argument that once you drop your rates, you'll never get it back. It seems that producers are being more aggressive this year in their exploitation attempts. Whether it's asking for us to work for scale, or day playing gear when you're on the entire show, it's clear producers are intent on bringing down our rates. Personally, I have turned down 3 films this year because of unacceptable rates. And 2 were with high profile DP's I have worked with in the past. I know it's hard to turn down work when you don't have anything in the pipeline, but I've managed to do 2 films and 2 pilots this year at normal rates, so it works out. As producers get more aggressive, our future incomes will rely on our strength to hold the line on our rates. Just look at what camera rental houses are doing. What were 25% discounts 4 years ago are now commonly 65% - 70% discounts today, and everyone is forced to match those discounts or not even be considered. If we stick to our guns on rates, then they'll be forced to pay us what we deserve for the hard fought skill we've acquired and the physical wear and tear we endure. Don't let our Steadicam rates follow the path the rental houses have taken. That's my rant for today, Mark
  15. 2 shows, 2 different outcomes: Show #1: Bad 2nd AC, $900 L&D (which I ate most of to maintain relationship with a good producer) and missing / broken parts galore. Show #2: Great 2nd AC, $0 L&D, everything back home at wrap clean and safe. Just sayin'
  16. I find the V mounts have too much play in them for any Steadicam applications. I have seen AC's using them for various mounts in studio and hand held mode. An AC in NOLA had an interesting rig. Now that most AC's work off the Preston 100% of the time, the most frustrating thing is to be setting up a shot, and you can't get focus because the AC has stepped away for a second. This AC had a V mount on the dumb side of the camera. Every time he stepped away, he mounted the FIZ handset on the side of the camera. When I needed focus, it was always there, either with him, or on the side of the camera. It's a simple thing, but avoids so much frustration when you're trying to show the DP something and you can't get focus.
  17. I've done a very similar rig to what Brant is describing. I had a key grip place a larger piece of plywood down, which didn't move at all. He bagged down the plywood & screwed a hi hat to it, then we put a short offset out the back to get the rig away from the back of the truck. It was very comfortable operating. Two safety factors: 1 - wear a safety harness or belt so you can't go out the back door or fly forwards if the driver has to hit the brakes quickly 2 - pick the best driver on the set, usually the key grip or a teamster with driving experience. Be safe, Mark
  18. In cleaning out the equipment room, I have a few items I'm looking to get rid of: 1. Preston cable 4421: Arri 3 pin camera start / stop cable for MDR1 - excellent condition $90 ($190 new) 2. Anton Bauer QR-Gold Universal Gold mount bracket model #ANQRGOLD - brand new $75 ($109.95 @ B&H) 3. 2, XCS 8" precision ground 8" arm posts (2 posts, 1 collar) - used in very good condition $125 for both ($280 new at XCS) Please contact direct email at mkaravite@comcast.net or 248-705-4500 with inquiries. Thanks, Mark
  19. Terry West fixed my Decimator 1, then just to show off, he switched the silly power connector to a Lemo. Terry is my jam!!
  20. Peter, First of all, big congrats on being back in the game. It's been way too long. I guess the love never dies! I'm curious if you've tried the back mounted option? I've been flying a Klassen for the last 8 years, so having all that weight out in front of me will feel very odd. I love having the weight centered over a comfortable stance. I read where the Exo can back mount, but does it do it well? Since you haven't had years in a Klassen, is there a Klassen die hard beta testing the Exo? I love the idea of not compressing my organs. I love my Klassen, but I find that if my bladder is not empty, it's not as comfortable. Also, the second arm option off the back (to allow huge boom ranges & a very low "low high mode" is very interesting. Do you have any practical experience with either of these options? Welcome back brother, Mark
  21. I followed up with Charles's contact, Perry Drogo, and he said they don't make replacement boards for the older Decimators anymore. I'll try Terry and see if he can do board level diagnostics. I'm buying a new Decimator V2 & maybe 2 of them if I can't get my older one repaired.
  22. Hey Guys & Gals, Anyone know who does service on Decimators? I was prepping a 5D today for a shoot (my first 5D job), and had a problem. The problem happened when we were testing the signal path. I was using the following gear: 1. Canon 5D Mark 2 2. TV Logic monitor - used to cross convert HDMI to HD SDI. This monitor handles the rescaling of the signal when the 5D goes into record and changes the signal. 3. Decimator (old version) HD SDI to composite downconverter. We were powering both the TV Logic monitor and Decimator via an Anton Bauer P Tap splitter. The prep tech was hooking this up, and apparently both units wouldn't power at the same time when he hooked them up. I was on the phone, and when I came back, we tried powering them separately, and my Decimator would no longer power up. The cable tested good, but the Decimator would not power up. I'd preferably find someone to service it, or any ideas on any tricks to reset it (if possible). Thanks, Mark
  23. Andrew, Do you have any photos of the vest mount (PRO or Klassen?)
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