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Author Topic: 10 commandments  (Read 5577 times)

Rhossydd

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Re: 10 commandments
« Reply #20 on: September 05, 2013, 03:11:26 pm »

The best pan head I ever used, and I've used Sachtlers, Ron Fords and others, was a Vinten Cygnet L-bracket type head.
?? Oh dear, the Cygnet wasn't a great head in it's day.
Their vision range is just so very much better in just about every respect.
Having said that, we still use the Cygnet's bigger version, the Swan head, for under-slung low shots. To date I've not seen anything that can match it.

Attached is a photo of the kit I was using earlier this week. Vinten Swan head, Vinten short Dolphin arm on a Vinten Penguin dolly.


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OldRoy

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Re: 10 commandments
« Reply #21 on: September 07, 2013, 12:20:07 pm »

I'm surprised you didn't like the Cygnet. I never tried the Swan head (a lot bigger, no?) but used the Cygnet with both ENG formats (regular viewfinder and remoted zoom) and with a full studio kit - albeit the latter with Hitachi sub-broadcast cameras like the FP 22 etc which were fairly light. I actually owned the Cygnet whereas the other manufacturers' heads I only ever hired, so maybe that's a factor. Nonetheless, being able to set it up so that I could just take my hands off with the camera remaining exactly as set, even on a long lens, that was a real advantage. Maybe I had the proverbial "good copy"...

The Ron Ford (4s?) I recall having an interesting system with levers that controlled different drag settings - very smooth operation but heavy bulky devices from the film era. Sachtler's leg and spreader design were the best of their type that I used. I hired the little Porta-Ped and some track a couple of times toward the end of my years in the business. I wish I'd had more work that justified using it. Still, when I look at some of the stuff that gets broadcast today and recall that in the mid-80s we were charging - on a rule-of-thumb basis - 1K per minute of finished program for industrial productions (typically <12 minutes, shot hi-band, single camera and edited up to C format), I doubt that some of the current broadcast documentaries I see have anything like that budget.

I only have hands-on experience of the analogue era but I see enough TV and I think people underestimate the IQ of some of the broadcast standard equipment of the latter period. The biggest problem, excluding the complexity - particularly of live-mix multi-camera work - was always in avoiding generation loss in what should ideally only be a 3-generation workflow. Having to anticipate which shots to allocate to the "A" and "B" rolls (in a case where you need a transition between two shots other than a hard cut) forced you to think carefully. A one generation drop if you laid one shot off to another roll was visibly degraded by the time you made the client copies. And then there's lighting. My minimal location lighting kit was usually 4 x 800w Redheads and a couple of 2K Blondes. You guys have it easy. Ho ho.
Old Fart signs off...
Roy
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Rhossydd

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Re: 10 commandments
« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2013, 03:59:06 am »

being able to set it up so that I could just take my hands off with the camera remaining exactly as set, even on a long lens, that was a real advantage. Maybe I had the proverbial "good copy"...
I've rarely worked with anything that couldn't balance properly, except see below.
One problem that can make this issue tricky is when working with properly big lenses (eg the Canon Superdigi 86:1) where there's a significant change in centre of gravity with focal length.
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The Ron Ford (4s?) I recall having an interesting system with levers that controlled different drag settings -
I assume you mean the Romford 4s, well liked by the film boys, but not much loved by those of us in TV.
The switchable drag is actually worse than the continually variable options that Vinten use. Sachler use a similar switchable system for controlling CoG in recent heads with similarly poor results.
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You guys have it easy. Ho ho.
If you think that you have no idea of what we're up against these days. I started in the late 70s at the BBC and am still working, so I've seen all the changes in working practices and it's much tougher now than it ever was.
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