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Mark Karavite

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Everything posted by Mark Karavite

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. Andrew, Do you have any photos of the vest mount (PRO or Klassen?)
  5. Alan, All IA contracts specify when you click into X1.5, X2, etc... It sounds like you are doing some non union work, but it still makes sense to discuss this ahead of time with the producers, and get it in a deal memo. Normally (at whatever the prevailing hourly rate is), you are straight time for 8 hrs., X1.5 until 12, then X2 after 12. 6 days in a row are X1.5, and 7th day is X2. If you are a distant hire, then you might go into X2 after 14 hrs., but you are paid portal to portal. I'd never consider a flat rate. They could work you for 16 hrs. and you'd have no recourse (or no one to blame but yourself). You are correct to use the hourly rate to derive the day rate, and to separate the labor from the equipment rentals. Specify whether your equipment rates are on a 3 or 5 day week. A 3 day week is better, because once you work 3 days, they owe for the whole week. On a 5 day week, say there's a holiday during the schedule and you only work 3 days, then they would correctly pro rate your rental for 3/5 of a 5 day week. Less money for the same time frame. As Robert states, always get the insurance before your gear leaves it's home. I add that production is responsible for replacement value, and all deductibles should there be any loss or damage. I heard a nightmare story of an op who's rig was destroyed on set. The producer had a $25,000 deductible, and the op got stuck for the $25,000 to replace his rig. In business, you don't get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate for. If you don't put terms into a deal memo, when there becomes a question, the producer will almost always err in their favor.
  6. Harley bracket by Hocus Products: http://www.hocusproducts.com/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=2&zenid=b1ffe4591446250c43d37c71b0e73b6f Thanks Benjamin.
  7. I forgot to mention more attractive lens support options than my midnight dog bone fix. You could use the lightweight rods off the front of the Alexa to provide lens support. The mount on the Hawks probably is designed to line up with studio rods, but something could be rigged. Also, check this forum for lightweight rods that mount into the XCS dovetail plate (someone help me remember who made these). That would be ideal for lens support for anamorphic lenses. Benjamin makes a good point about Sal's Alexa plate working on all Alexa models. The one I bought last year from Optical Support is very rigid and light, but I don't believe it works on the Alexa Studio, so I'll end up buying Sal's as well if I ever have to fly the Studio. Good luck, Mark
  8. Jamie, I feel your pain brother. Last winter, I got a last minute call for a Jennifer Hudson music video in Chicago. I arrived the afternoon before the first shoot day to find out we were using the Hawks with a 435. I built the camera with the Arri baseplate as you are considering, and the combined weight of the camera + baseplate + lens was brutal. I ended up rigging a dogbone on the end of a 15mm rod coming out of my XCS baseplate. The AC looked at me cross-eyed and before he could say that's no good, I told him that this was the only way I was going to fly this pig, so please say it's OK. Maybe that was a bit rude, but it was midnight :-). You are going to need a baseplate for the Alexa to balance the lens. I think the 135mm weighed about 24lbs. There are other options in the states for baseplates. I know Sal Gonzalez (former machnist at Otto) 310-259-7348 makes one, and I believe Greg Bubb at XCS does as well. Both can be there in a day. Here's the bigger problem. The front elements on those lenses move about 1" in and out as you pull focus. I was doing 4 minute takes with a 135mm (that the Director unfortunately fell in love with after we did the 1st shot with it) and as you move in, the lens goes forward and you fight the tilt going down, and vice versa when you move back, tilt goes up. This was a complete nightmare, and there is a lot more leeway on a music video than a feature. I can't imagine doing precise work with that lens going in and out. You'll end up gripping the post so tight to fight the tilt that I'm afraid all precision will go out the door. I'd bring it up to the DP while you might have a chance to avoid this syndrome, but you want to go to him with a fix to the problem. So what are your options? - Arri's new anamorphic lenses: guessing that's a $$ issue if they're using the Hawks, but worth a try. - Panavised Alexa with Panavision anamorphic lenses (Primo or G series or both): probably too late unless you're a Panavison show. - Assuming you're 2:40, shoot Steadicam shots Super 35 with spherical lenses instead of the Hawks. I don't think this is a huge drop in optical performance because the Hawk's frankly don't look that good. A small Steadicam spherical lens package is your least expensive option. Maybe add a streak filter to give the look of anamorphic flares. Sorry to be a bummer, but I know you're going to be handcuffed by the lens movement. There's no way an experienced operator can feel good about their moves with all that weight distribution going on every time your AC changes focus. I've attached a couple pictures of the rig I ended up with. Good luck, Mark
  9. After about 8 years with my MK-V monitor (which has performed very well), the anti reflective glass that is bonded to the LCD panel is coming undone. It first started in the corners, and slowly growing. I chased MK-V for a few months without a solution. Finally Howard told me it was not an MK-V issue (???), and to speak with the manufacturer. I had contacted Gill Ashby at Lumavec (manufacturer of the Hummingbird) before because MK-V could not tell me if, or how to hook up the heater they touted as a feature in their MK-V LCD. Gill gave me the draw specs so I could buy the right switch, and the pin out for a D connector inside the monitor that fed the heater, so my local engineer could hook it up. The Tsumani in Japan held up replacement panels to Lumavec, and I never got any answers from them either, and Lumavec says MK-V sends the monitors to them for repairs, when MK-V told me they do it at their office. After chasing this issue for months, I was speaking with Chris Bangma about purchasing his new Cinetronics II, and told him of my repair woes for my MK-V LCD. Chris had me ship it to him, they assessed the repairs needed, and are hunting down a replacement LCD panel for me. Whether I keep this monitor as a backup to the Cinetronic, or sell it with my rig if I upgrade, it needs repair. I'm not slamming anyone here, but simply stating facts of the timeline in trying to get this monitor repaired. It's been a year since the problem arose, and we're finally close to a fix. The company that sells the monitor couldn't repair it, the company that manufactures the monitor couldn't repair it, and a totally different company that had nothing to do with it stepped up and is repairing it. You do the math here. Guess who's getting my money?
  10. go with a radiant heater in the garage. If it's not feasible to run natural gas, then a propane tank could provide heating fuel. Good luck & stay warm, Mark
  11. We built our house in Michigan from the ground up, so it was easy for me to design a secure, heated storage room in the garage. I still load my truck in the garage the day before a day playing gig, so my gear does sit in garage certain nights. A couple ideas to avoid the frigid garage syndrome: 1. Well insulated, including an insulated garage door with a good weather seal. 2. Can you run natural gas to your garage? You could do a small wall heater, or a radiant heater. 3. Is there room to enclose a shelved closet to store your gear? Better for security and easier to heat. 4. Check with your insurance company that the method of storing your gear meets their security requirements. Mine requires it's under lock & key, and a break in occurred. My gear is under alarm, but not required by my insurance. Besides keeping your gear warm, there's nothing like getting into a warm car when it's freezing outside. My garage never gets below 50 degrees. The dual furnaces are in my equipment storage room, and I pump the warm air (via a cooling thermostat & fan) into the insulated garage, while it regulates the temp in my storage room. If I didn't have that setup, I'd definiley
  12. There's a cold weather trick I adopted a few years ago while on a feature in December with mostly night exteriors in Michigan. I wear a wristband with a hand or toe warmer tucked into the wristband under my palm. The heat warms the blood going to your fingers, and allows for gloveless operating under much colder conditions than without. I will throw a glove on until the last minute on my post hand, and of course can leave a glove on the gimbal hand. I go to the North Face thin gloves if it's colder than that. I need to move to a warmer climate :-).
  13. Dave, I also found zero learning curve with the Klassen harness. I've had mine about 7 or 8 years. Even though the harness is heavier than a FM vest, I still find it less fatiguing to operate with the Klassen. For me, it's more stress into your larger muscle groups (glutes, quads & hamstrings) and less strain on your lower back. My first gig with the Klassen was a music video: 8 hrs. of performance stuff, 2 hr. dinner break, followed by a 2hr. nonstop concert. I would have been crippled with a FM vest, and although tired, simply felt like a ran a lot with the Klassen. The biggest detraction of the Klassen is the width. I find I can navigate 32" openings, but smaller than that (which we all run into with frequency) you need another plan. For me, I bought a pilot version of Garrett's Duo mount. It's a front mount that screws onto the front door. You need a reinforced Universal harness and a hinge on the side you're mounting the Duo mount to. The Duo doesn't feel like a back mount, or probably as good as a PRO, but I can switch in :30 seconds, so I do the shot through the narrow opening, then go right back to back mount. I know other guys have simply held onto their FM vests, which is probably a better option. I sold mine with my old rig when I upgraded. Make sure you get a great fitting. I went to Walter's shop in Toronto (worth the visit). The other considerations are hinge on one side or straps on both sides, and whether you have a drop down on the carbon arm that comes off the back. Since I'm tall, I have a 2" drop down. It gets me into a "low high mode" and finds that in between height easier. I never have the carbon arm all the way up on the back adjustment, so I don't loose any height with the drop down arm. Play with different drop downs and see what fits your style. The Universal is a great harness. You won't be sorry. I remember a thread where Larry McKonkey said the Klassen harness may add 10 years to his Steadicam career. I tend to agree. Best, Mark Karavite, SOC
  14. Sal (formerly at Otto) has his own company now. He makes beautifully engineered stuff. http://www.cinematicprecision.com/home
  15. I'm doing my first Epic show now. I'm using the lightweight rods in the front to mount the Preston motors. There's also 15mm rods on the top (cameras from Keslow), which also could be used for motor mounting. For me, the camera needs the additional weight of the rods, plus I have the Boxx and on board battery on the 15mm rods for extra ballast. I'm not sure if all Epics have the lightweight rods in front of the body, or if that's an aftermarket item.
  16. Hey Brooks, Sounds like you've got it worked out very well to your liking. I elected to fly the Codex on the back of the Alexa & be wireless. It's just a preference of 5 1/2 more lbs. over a cable. I had a Boxx transmitter, but I'm interested in the HP HD transmitter. Do you have a link or more info on this one. I've held off buying a transmitter, because I think the Wevi and Boxx are just too big for Steadicam, and I knew if I bought one, someone would come out with a smaller unite the day after I cut the check. It's funny what you said about not breaking a cable. I had a Codex issue in studio mode, because the DIT used inferior cables. It's the weakest link in the system for sure. Fly safe, Mark
  17. Hey Guys and Gals, I'm starting a show in a couple weeks with the Epic. I've seen the camera at the rental houses, but I haven't rigged it for Steadicam yet. Considering that I build up a Red One for more weight (with an Arri baseplate), I assume the tiny Epic will need some ballast. We're using a Boxx, so there's a candidate for flying behind the camera. Optimo short zooms are the DP's preference, so that helps a bit. I'm considering putting a Dionic HC on the camera as well. Any photos or comments about the preferred Epic setup would be greatly appreciated. I've heard about the Epic breakout cable. I'm already investigating the Preston start / stop. What's the best way to feed timecode? I hate having too much spaghetti hanging from the camera, so I'm taking the time now to figure out the cleanest way to deal with cabling, and of course, the best handling setup. Thanks, Mark Karavite SOC
  18. "Given the aforementioned circumstances Chris, I find this a little hard to believe. Can you show some sort of working proof or photos of this alleged Epic run/stop cable of yours. If it works, I'll buy one. But given that the geniuses at Preston and C-motion can't devise a solution, please understand my skepticism." In response to Richard James Lewis's comment quoted above, I can personally vouch for Chris Konash. Chris makes as professional a cable as anyone in the business, and is know very well on the east coast. I bought a few cables for a pilot in New York from Chris this spring, and they were very well built, and as any good cable man, he had all the pinouts on file. Do you think maybe you were a little harsh on the man, Richard. Chris is not selling vaporware here, he knows his stuff. Maybe an apology is in order, or better yet, a cable order :-). Mark Karavite, SOC
  19. September of 2010 is when we first asked Arri to add the flip feature. I can't imagine what took so long, but glad to hear it's coming. Most good DIT's can accommodate an image flip at their cart before distributing they image to monitors. I always call them prior to prep with the request.
  20. I'm certainly not an expert on live Steadicam shooting, but I ran into Rob Vouna in January, and he showed me his new HD Tiffen rig that he helped design. If you're serious about a rig for live TV, then it's worth checking out what Rob has.
  21. I just bought the Alexa plate from Optical Support for a TV pilot. It's made very well. With the exchange rate, I paid about $675 USD + shipping from London. Sal (former machinist at Otto) just came out with an Alexa plate for $475. Sal makes great stuff. I used this plate on an Alexa / Codex job at Otto last year. Sal's is $200 cheaper, but I believe it's a bit heavier than the Optical Support plate. Sal's plate can be seen at: http://www.cinematicprecision.com/camera-assistants Optical Support: http://opticalsupport.co.uk
  22. Dear Ariel, That cable was made by Fred Davis, who I believe is no longer in the business. I would try Chris Konash at East Coast Cables. You can reach Chris at 201-522-5030. It's a weird connector on the Archos side of the cable. Also, you need to know what voltage your sled outputs for the on board recorder. The Archos is not 12v, so either you need a selectable voltage output from your sled, or a voltage regulated cable. I don't remember the Archos voltage off the top of my head, but Chris would know. I've been using the Archos AV 500 for years, and I love it as an on board recorder. It's small enough that I lost the recorder bracket and just velcro it to the Dionic HC on the back of my sled. I saw that Robert Starling was selling an Archos on this forum for a great price. I bought a spare one, because they don't make that model anymore. The new ones are bigger, and probably too big for my liking. I think I paid twice as much for my spare as Robert is charging. Good luck, Mark
  23. Sal (who used to work for Otto & is now on his own) machined a very nice plate for Alexa that Otto provides. I wonder if he is able to make that now, or maybe the design belongs to Otto. Matthias's plate looks interesting,as does the other one shown. Matthias, I'd be interested in a plate,as yours seems lighter & shorter than the rest, which are 2 good things in my book. I have your original small plate, but it scares me with the codex on the back. Can you confirm Janice's question about the kipp handle. Is it possible to make the bottom flat? Thanks for your relentless R&D on this kind of stuff. It's very cool of you.
  24. You're right, as long as I can get $3500 a week for the Steadiwings, I'm in. Really Mikael, sell your rig? Please tell us you're joking.
  25. On the last digital show I did, my 1st AC had a tiny Y power block made. Everytime the sled sat on the cart, he plugged in shore power off a block battery that lived on the bottom shelf of my cart. It saved my DIonic HC's for when we were shooting, but kept the camera up. It worked great, and I've used it for Alexa & RED jobs. I have a 4 pin to cigarette plug that I charge my iPhone with on the cart, right off the block battery 4 pin 12v outlet, or an Anton Bauer brick to 4 pin adapter. I can't say I've ever had enough down time on set to kill the battery on my MacBook Air. I imagine that would be a pretty slow B Cam day. I hate having my cart plugged in. It becomes a major pain every time it moves. We always charge batteries somewhere off the cart.
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