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Erwin Landau

Paddocks Radical Options

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Paddocks Radical Options or "The GPI Story..."

 

George Paddock was an engineer in the Navy, later became a Steadicam operator/owner when buying his EFP in 1990. Imidiately he started to modify it and that became his first brush with Steadicam modification/manufacturing. He was the person behind the modification that made Dynamic balance with the EFP possible/easier possible. The construction of a for and aft to the bottom of the sled. It was so successful that his upgrade was even sold trough CP directly.

 

Paddocks Radical Options (PRO) came about as an upgrade for the stagnated Steadicam Model 3/3A that was not majorly upgraded in 12 years (Most of the parts and technology, like the Arm, electronics, etc. was basically the same since 1976).

The PRO basically incorporated design aspects from Bob DeRose, using his "tele-post" later the GPI Center Post, as well as his DA-1 (the upper Junction box), the lower for and aft and all the little and big brackets and widgets that he had made for the 3A for years. Chris Haarhoff added his Donkey Box to it and George Paddock came up with the Monitor, Housing, the Power Supply, Batteries. (They were sold in parts as the Steadicam patents were still very much power. Many Steadicam hardliner believed that that was in direct violation and competition with Steadicam... It was a well deserved Option.)

The interesting part about that was that for years many Workshops were conducted by CP and PRO with CP/DCE/PRO hybrids until that day when the war/break came about... And No I don't know exactly what happend...

 

You will notice that many parts from the 3A will fit the PRO and vice versa... as the PRO design was initially meant as an upgrade and not as a replacement for the 3/3A.

The Master Series was the answer to the PRO or at least got pushed quicker in production, which came with different diameter Post, Gimbal and Arm Post which were not interchangable with the PRO. A try from CP to dry out the supply of Arms and Gimbals for the PRO system. Which eventually turned out to be a shot in there own foot. (As we know CP went down... GPI is still here.)

 

All customers of the first PRO were disappointed or fed up 3A owners that needed something more reliable. (Remember? Everytime you flipped the switch for the Monitor with anticipation... will it glow or blow up...) You still needed the 3A Vest, Arm and Gimbal to compleat the set up as Cinema Products did not sell single parts, actually they decidet what they sold you at the time.

Later the PRO Gimbal got introduced as well as much later the Arm and the Vest which compleated the PRO set up and marked the departuer from all parts Steadicam. And the second compleat System (Sled, Arm and Vest) as an alternative to the original Steadicam.

 

GPI was the first to introduce an interchangable Super Post as a standard item as well as the Gyro Module, Stand-alone Monitor, quickly disconnectable center post, drop in Camera plateform, true 24 Volt system (okay second as the Panaglide was first) and many more things not available to the Steadicam Community until the Master Series Steadicam.

 

Besides George Paddock, Chris Haarhoff and Bob DeRose, Mark O'Kane, David Emmerichs and Ted Churchill were named additional Designers. (As Ted is not named on any patents, he was closely involved with the development of the monitor, and some technical aspects.)

 

"Guineapigs", Testers and first Costumers were Chris Haarhoff, Mark O'Kane, David Emmerichs, Ted Churchill, Jimmy Muro, Andrew Rowlands, Colin Anderson, Steve St.John, Randy Nolan, Bob Ulland, Greg Lundsgaard, Scott Sakamoto, Mark Van Loon, Rusty Geller, Ian Jones, Jim McConkey, Mark Emery Moore, Rick Raphael, Bob Gorelick, Dave Knox, Guy Bee, Dan Kneece, Dave Luckenbach and a couple of others that I can't remember off hand...

 

And again please feel free to correct me or add anything that I missed or compleatly screwed up... please...

 

 

Here a 1993 picture (from an old GPI add), showing Mark O'Kane's PRO.

 

With: 3A Gimbal, Donkey Box 1, Scissor Monitor Arm, 3 cable Center Post, Preston UHF and the original Leightweight Panaflex. I believe the rig is Serial #002.

(Chris Haarhoff used to own #001, which went to Kurt Jones and now is owned by Brian Hart.)

post-2-1077710741_thumb.jpg

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Hey BJ,

 

I do know. You have the Donkey Box 2 Serial #001. Brian Hart Has the Donkey Box 1 Serial #001... at least I believe so as his came with the sled Serial #001. The Prototype of the D-Box 1 was Blue anodized with Red Nobs.

 

BTW: Geoff Shotz owns the Donkey Box 2 Serial #000. The D-Box 2 Prototype... he just learned about that when he brought it in for service for the first time last month...

 

Here a picture of the D-Box 2 Prototype still sitting on top of a DCE Junction Box and Post.

post-2-1077754745_thumb.jpg

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That brings back memories. My 3a also had those two leds on the side of the junction box (along with Bob DeRose's post and a D-Box 1). For those who don't know, they were indicator lights for the Seitz follow focus. Green = good; red = bad. Those posts had follow focus signals wired through them so you could put your ff receiver on the bottom of the sled, keeping less stuff up top.

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Hey Erwin,

You do come up with great stuff.

The rig i have for sale is #28, which was bought by Ian Jones for Clear and present Danger. It had the 3A gimbal, which i keep as a spare.

Macca

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Legendary account, well done Erwin!!

This entry was published at a volatile and fast changing 5 years period in the world history of "Steadicams".

Jim Bartell's BFD was born (1999) - unbelievable peice of equipment!

Lynn Nicholson's "Alien" was shown to the world 4 years prior.  The beginning of a new 'radical option' [I personally tried it at Lynn's Las Vegas appartment (1999), before Howard Smith did ;)]

Glidecam produced the 1st Body-Mounted System for cameras 10 lbs and under. (1998)

Cinema Products/Steadicam Bankrupt (2000)

Sachtler Artemis (formerly know as the 'Eclipse' system, developed by Curt Schaller of the company 'Move' Stabilizers) was announced at NAB 3 years prior (2001).   

MK-V had recently arrived on the market from the UK.  

Tiffen acquires Cinema Products (2002)

Tiffen/Steadicam had just filed Bankruptcy (2003) for the 2nd time.

Ed Di Giulio (legend and Founder of Cinema Products) passed way (2004) - End of an Era!

###

 

 

 

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