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Margaret Livingston

What kind of ActionCam is this? Any good?

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Hi,

I have found this ActionCam rig for sale. I cannot find any information about it? Can anyone help me identify what kind it is and if there are any known issues or pros/cons? ActionCam is out of business, so I realize that could be a setback, but it seems to be for a reasonable price as my first rig. Thank you!

Midge

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Hi!

 I would stay away from these lower end products.  It will cause you frustration and you'll want to get rid of it quickly. Best to stick to the main brands, even if they are older units that can be serviced/upgraded by the same manufactures who are still in business today.  

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While I've never seen the ActionCam sled in person, I seem to recall they were considered one of the better "lower end systems." But considering the number of used options out there today combined with the fact ActionCam is out of business, unless you are a serious "do it yourselfer," I'd look into a used GPI PRO as they are bulletproof and the parts plentiful. Obviously, there are a lot of used Tiffen rigs as well that would serve nicely.

Edited by Alec Jarnagin SOC

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As far as arms, the classic 3a arm is reliable and inexpensive. 

For example: 

* I don't know this seller, but Robert Luna does great work rebuilding arms.

 

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Thanks guys. My research shows that this company created some pretty hardy, affordable rigs. $30k when new! Not something to blink an eye at. Not having current technical support for it could be a downer, but I might be able to get by with a little help from my friends. Just seeing what's out there at the same current price-point (the true limiting factor for me), I feel like this is my best choice. We shall see! I appreciate all the feedback.

Edited by Margaret Livingston

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Margaret,

What market are you in? This always factors in. What do clients expect? What can you borrow form friends? What can you have custom made to modify?

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If they were selling a new rig for $30k, what year was that? In 2008, new rigs were much more expensive than they are today. That being said, it really may not be as good as you think it is.

Of course there is more to look at in a rig but how's the gimbal? That's a huge factor. If you can't do it yourself, have the seller send you a video of it statically balanced on a 3-4 sec drop time and pointed in one direction then 180 degrees pointed in the other direction. What happens? If it doesn't stay balanced, that's enough to tell you it's no good. With no one around to service it, stay away. I'd stick to a used rig by a good company. Same test applies but if it isn't good, they can service it. 

Have you taken a workshop yet? Learning under someone? Self taught? How long? And everything Alec already asked. 

 

You have a friend in me... and pretty much everyone else here on the forum.

-Kat

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What Kat and Alec said. And I'll add this.

Yeah, what was $ 30K 12 years ago is now found in good shape for a LOT less. If you have a reasonable pile of funding or cash around and want to dive into this, here's what I recommend.  Everyone has strong thoughts on this, but we all respect each other's brand loyalties and efforts. Important to keep in mind if you're new to our community !

My two cents before I dive in? The Gimbal and the Arm are the heart of any stabilizer. Everything else kneels before those two elements. Why? Because they are the points of isolation between the movements of your body and the lens. Keep this in mind as you wade into brands, opinions, recommendations.

My other two cents? If you have $ 30K to spend on a system and accessories, you really have $ 25K. Because there is no single investment that is more valuable and will give you a greater and longer-lasting return on your investment than a Steadicam Workshop. None. Now, I know I'm saying this during a temporary period of time when you cannot actually TAKE a Workshop. Trust me- and all others who chime in on this area- learning to operate from experienced Operators who are also good Instructors is a life-long gift. You will be 6 years in and realize you're drawing on some trick or tip you heard about or were shown at your Workshop. Start your career off right- learn the right muscle memory, the right approach, the right set of skills.

SERVICE: A biggie. Use the Forum here. Ask around. If you buy into a solid design but cannot get it serviced by the manufacturer or service is onerous, think long and hard about it. Things break, fail, burn out on all brands and all models. Not to scare you or anyone reading this away. It's a fact of working with gear.

There are only a few brands worldwide whose high-end design and engineering and manufacturing AND very granular support from working Ops make them good choices. This is truly a world-wide community of people who do this and support all others. The Internet is useful in this regard, because you could be in Tel  Aviv ( a far location for me but it may be where you live ! ) and your arm breaks. Who do  you call? Likely you put out the All-Call for help and sometimes ( literally ) within minutes a stranger is in touch, making arrangements to bail you out. It is what we do.

These are very broad-stroke comments. In addition to the brand names, there is a small group across the planet of people and cottage industry companies that do extremely fine upgrade/ modification work. Recommendations and photos of work to be found here on the Forum by asking in this thread, etc. So- if you find an older rig that needs work, but the price seems very good, don't despair. It's like buying a house. Love the house but need a new roof? Fine. Get a roof put on and enjoy the house !! You will find people who post into this conversation who are intensely passionate about their brand ( in a positive manner ) AND/OR intensely negative about some other brand. It's human nature. This isn't a device like a car or a camera or a boat or something. We strap it against our bodies and dance with it to make our art, make a living and make the clients happy. It engenders intensely strong feelings and loyalties.

In NO particular order:
Any Steadicam brand rig from the Master Series moving forward. Great gimbals, great arms. Lots to chose from. Vests fit well, adjustable, etc.
GPI-PRO. Started in the early to mid 1990's. Superb all around. Beware of Gen 1 battery hangars- only because those original batteries need to be re-celled or the hangar needs to be upgraded to newer battery technology.

XCS- A high-end sled design. Those who own them LOVE them, far as I can tell. I've only flown them once or twice. Remarkably rugged, well-engineered, etc.
Sachtler- A sled that has some respect from full-time Ops worldwide. I've flown them at trade shows. Some amazing design ideas.

There are other brands that I have never touched and so cannot remark upon.

Welcome to the community. There are NO silly or unreasonable questions. Ask away. Where are you located? Do you have access to anyone's rig to try it out? It's difficult to get to a stranger and be safe in terms of COVID-19, but there may be ways.

Best,

Peter Abraham, S.O.C.

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