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SimonChamp

Walter Klassen Vest

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I was an early adopter. #48 I think. originally built in 2001. Service is fantastic. The Klassen parts have held up extremely well, and the harness adapts well to EZ rig with several after market adapters, Klassen makes one and Lentequip markets another that is a bit faster to change back and forth. I use the air bladder system, which allows for adjusting fit , but have found that once i finds the setting i like i leave it. The original bladder lasted for 10 years. the ratchet straps and buckles do sometimes need replacing, but i can do that in under 4 minutes ( three if the AD is looking at his watch). The ratcheting strap system does eventually wear, and i keep a good stock of strips . If they look worn i just change then out. Again, easy two minute job. Klassen always gives you spares of buckles and straps when you buy new.

I will say this. I do use an aftermarket MK-5 male PRO socket block, which is solid steel, with a double thickness shoulder piece. Klassen also makes a solid PRO arm adapter . I have both sheared a titanium male block, and blown out the tie rod ball ends. The ball rod ends are not at all necessary with the Klassen harness as the tilt angle is adjusted by a knob integral to the rear Klassen arm. The same is true for the Klassen Hard mount adapter. Most of my local colleagues have made this adaptation too to continue with the Klassen rear mount harness, which is still the most comfortable thing I've used. It is a bit wider getting through doorways, small corridors like airplanes etc, but for live work, its awesome.

All of this equipment is intended for professional use and it is assumed that as a steadicam professional you have a basic understanding of basic care and mechanical maintenance. I like the fact that some manufacturers are posting Videos online to demystify this process.

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I also use and love the Klassen harness. However Pro will say that using the MK-V socket block adapter with the Pro arm will void the warranty as the rod ends are the first line of defense in the eventual event of a failure, replace it with a solid block and the next thing to go will be a lot less pretty and more expensive to replace than the rod ends. It's been discussed here before, so I think it's worth mentioning.

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Can you clarify what the "rod ends" are? The left/right threads on the WK block? Something else? Thanks.

The rod ends are the pieces in the arm that allow for side to side adjustment on the front mounted vest. Accessed via an allen key into the socket block.

 

The WK vest (and all back mounted vests that I know of) change the forces on the socket block by 90 degrees, thus putting forces onto the rod ends that they were not particularly designed to take.

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