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RED cam, Nikon lenses and Preston Follow Focus


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#1 Scott Ippolito

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 01:18 PM

Hello,

I just did a music video on a RED with Nikon lenses. Not my first choice obviously. We have a steadicam and a crane but using Preston Follow Focus. The Assistants had a devil of a time keeping the lenses mounted. It seems that the torque from the Preston motor could very easily dislodge the lens from the mount. Has anyone else seen this problem? Is it possible the mount on the RED was bad? Unfortunately, the individual we rented the camera from boned us on our prep day and rented the camera to someone else so there was no chance to find this out of time. Kicking myself- for 20 years I've always done a prep day for gear, and the one time I don't..... Murphy's law, or some nearby corollary I suppose.

Anyway, can someone shed some light on this issue for us.
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#2 Thomas Dobbie

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 06:00 AM

Hi,

Probably a combination of bad luck and a sloppy rental house,the quality of maintenance that you get with some Red rental's leaves a lot to be desired,pity you didn't get your prep day.
I remember reading that the early Red Nikon mounts had a problem with the lenses not locking properly,as far as I can remember, Red issued some rubber bushings which were supposed to address the problem.
Sounds like it was an early mount which hadn't been upgraded,or perhaps just worn.
I have one of the Red Nikon mounts,which I've never used,but I must say, I don't think I would trust it with Preston's.
Action Products in Switzerland make a Nikon and Leica mount for the Red which both have locking collars similar to a PL
cine mount,seems like a more reliable design. Their accessories are also really well made,which can't always be said about the Red accessories.

Tom.
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#3 Stephen Williams

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 06:18 AM

Hello,

I just did a music video on a RED with Nikon lenses. Not my first choice obviously. We have a steadicam and a crane but using Preston Follow Focus. The Assistants had a devil of a time keeping the lenses mounted. It seems that the torque from the Preston motor could very easily dislodge the lens from the mount. Has anyone else seen this problem? Is it possible the mount on the RED was bad? Unfortunately, the individual we rented the camera from boned us on our prep day and rented the camera to someone else so there was no chance to find this out of time. Kicking myself- for 20 years I've always done a prep day for gear, and the one time I don't..... Murphy's law, or some nearby corollary I suppose.

Anyway, can someone shed some light on this issue for us.


Hi,

If you can't prep the camera you intend to use, find another rental house. It's fairly normal to reject some of the kit offered, if you fly in to a loction and are not known, you may be being given the junk no one else will use.
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#4 Robert Skates

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 08:17 AM

Hello,

I just did a music video on a RED with Nikon lenses. Not my first choice obviously. We have a steadicam and a crane but using Preston Follow Focus. The Assistants had a devil of a time keeping the lenses mounted. It seems that the torque from the Preston motor could very easily dislodge the lens from the mount. Has anyone else seen this problem? Is it possible the mount on the RED was bad? Unfortunately, the individual we rented the camera from boned us on our prep day and rented the camera to someone else so there was no chance to find this out of time. Kicking myself- for 20 years I've always done a prep day for gear, and the one time I don't..... Murphy's law, or some nearby corollary I suppose.

Anyway, can someone shed some light on this issue for us.


Scott,
I know RED owner/operators often give a far better rate than a rental house. I personally know several owner/operators. Most are DP's who only rent to productions they are on. Some will keep their cameras at rental houses and earn some rental fees. I have seen some problems with Red owners who have set up de facto rental companies. If an item you rented fails or does not work properly, the responsibility of replacing the item lies with the company you rented from. I work at rental house. We get calls all the time from productions that got a great deal and need us to rescue them because the only Red battery plate they have failed. The "rental house" they got their camera from has no backup parts or service techs. A good rental house has extra bits and bodies to replace items in the event of a failure. If they do have the item in house they will re-rent the item.

If I owned a RED and could not afford a set of Zeiss T1.3s or Angenieux HR, I would get a nice set of Nikon or Zeiss ZF lenses. (I had a Letus with a mint set of Canon FD S.S.C. primes) These are great lenses but the Nikon/Red mounts I've seen run the gamut from nice, to garbage. I've even seen a Canon FD mount for Red that had a quarter inch of camera tape wrapped around the thing. The Red/Nikon option is great for an owner operator. It is not a good option for rentals. The mounts can have issues. Non cine lenses often have problems with image hop. Owner/operators can work around and with these issues as they tend develop a relationship with the nuances of their gear.

A great deal on a camera rental can turn into a really bad deal if there is no support and back up from the supplier. If you sign a renatl agreement with an owner operator inquire about support and backup bits in the event of failure. Camera often run perfectly until they suddenly fail. You get what you pay for.
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#5 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 03:34 AM

A good rental house has extra bits and bodies to replace items in the event of a failure. If they do have the item in house they will re-rent the item.
You get what you pay for.

You certainly do get what you pay for. One of my biggest pet peeves about the Red is that all of the private owners renting their cameras have different ideas about how to take care of their gear. That's not Red's fault of course, but it's a big problem. I've recently used a couple of different packages from individual owners that left a hell of a lot to be desired. Some of them were absolute crap. Service and maintenance is key with regards to cameras, and your package is only as good as the rental house backing you up.
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#6 Shane Kelly

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 11:36 AM

Hello,

I just did a music video on a RED with Nikon lenses. Not my first choice obviously. We have a steadicam and a crane but using Preston Follow Focus. The Assistants had a devil of a time keeping the lenses mounted. It seems that the torque from the Preston motor could very easily dislodge the lens from the mount. Has anyone else seen this problem? Is it possible the mount on the RED was bad? Unfortunately, the individual we rented the camera from boned us on our prep day and rented the camera to someone else so there was no chance to find this out of time. Kicking myself- for 20 years I've always done a prep day for gear, and the one time I don't..... Murphy's law, or some nearby corollary I suppose.

Anyway, can someone shed some light on this issue for us.


The original lens mount is pretty sloppy. Optitek has a new mount that has a PL style locking mechanism. It solves all of these problems and allows control of lenses without an iris ring. A great piece of equipment.
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