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cheapest place to buy AC gear


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#1 Marcus Allemann

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 01:46 AM

I'm a small time camera assistant in Melbourne who's looking into upgrading some of my gear but am not too happy with the price or selection of the avenues I'm aware of.

I was stoked to find the prices on filmtools.com to be as cheap as they were but even with minimal purchase, the shipping rate to Australia was ASTRONOMICAL (more than double the amount of the actual purchases) and John Barry does not have great selection.

I'm wondering if any of you know other places I should be looking to purchase the following at a reasonable price:

- AC kit bag (relatively big)
- slate (a simple one)
- change tent
- grey card/ color chart/ focus chart

as well as various odds n ends. If anyone has a heads up, that's be great. Cheers!

Kind Regards,

Marcus Allemann
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#2 Nathan Martin

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 03:24 AM

Might be better posted in the camera assistants thread in future.

from my understanding melbourne doesnt have any more to offer than sydney does.
And up here its about the same. John Barrys or Lemac.
However Arri in sydney have some great stuff for very decent prices. i got a great bag from them for $240au
Also BHphotovideo.com has decent shipping costs to australia.

If your after a large portabrace PC-3 bag in black, ive got one id be willing to sell thats in pretty good condition.
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#3 Marcus Allemann

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 06:44 AM

Ta. Yeah, I posted in in the camera assistant thread but thought I could get away with posting it here as well for a wider grasp for leads as I'm kinda strapped for time.

I've sent you an email in regards to your old portabrace if you're willing to part with it. Cheers

Kind Regards,

Marcus Allemann
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#4 John Sprung

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 02:44 PM

In the old days, I made my own kit bag and slate. You could start with a sturdy bag and get someone to sew on pockets for the stuff you need. The slate was just a couple sticks with a hinge and a piece of plywood. Do a nice job on the paint and it'll be at least as good as what you can buy. Later I added a magnet latch and wire thumb loops.

On the change tent, bite the bullet and get a good one. The whole day's work, and you having a job ever again, depends on the tent.

Kodak used to sell gray cards, and Fuji was giving away zone plates. Ask around and see if anyone really bothers with chip charts, that's one you might not need.





-- J.S.
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#5 Tom Savige

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 07:28 AM

I'm a small time camera assistant in Melbourne who's looking into upgrading some of my gear but am not too happy with the price or selection of the avenues I'm aware of.

I was stoked to find the prices on filmtools.com to be as cheap as they were but even with minimal purchase, the shipping rate to Australia was ASTRONOMICAL (more than double the amount of the actual purchases) and John Barry does not have great selection.

I'm wondering if any of you know other places I should be looking to purchase the following at a reasonable price:

- AC kit bag (relatively big)
- slate (a simple one)
- change tent
- grey card/ color chart/ focus chart

as well as various odds n ends. If anyone has a heads up, that's be great. Cheers!

Kind Regards,

Marcus Allemann


Marcus, Try Setwear.com.au
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#6 Jean Dodge

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 12:01 PM

One thing you may want to do is carefully and politely push each production you are hired onto to help you acquire new gear. Explain to the people in the office that you need certain items to make the shoot go better, and see if there is any money allocated already to the camera department for "expendables" like chip charts, gear bags, slates and french flags, etc. There is a little bureacratic (i hate the word so much i cant spell it) game that gets played on any production called "the squeaky wheel gets the grease." There is some figure allocated in the budget that your department is expected to spend, and if you don't spend it then it goes elsewhere. But if you do spend it right up to the last dime but not a penny over it is often a feather in the cap of the person who managed the budget - they get to say "see, I budgeted just the right amount for camera department." Everyone comes off looking like a winer.

It's very important to handle this the right way. You don't want a reputation as a gold digger, brown nose or skinflint but at the same time the people you work regularly with are making an investment in you, and when it is no skin off their nose to buy you a new changing bag you are better off having production take care of it if you can. On some longer shows you can even make deals with the production manager - they buy the gear you say you need and you buy it back at a discount at the end of the show, like a two wheeled dolly for example or brand new slate, etc-that's a win-win for both of you. Just be persistent about how these "new and better" items are going to help make the job go faster, smoother and look better on screen, protect the rental gear from hazards, etc. and often most important to a commercial production company impress the client/ agency people who are overly concerned with outward appearances since they don't know what everything is or does, and neither should they be expected to.

It's a sad rule that an assistant who writes neatly on the slate is usually judged as good by people outside the department - what else are they supposed to go by?

The conversation usually goes something like this: "gee, the DoP sure is great... he's very professional, don't you think? He wants to shoot a chip chart before every new setup, which is the way we all like to do it since it really helps make the color timing go faster. I know I have some charts of my own left over from that last show but they are kinda dirty. If I had some new ones I'd make a nice chart with the production's name on it and it would really impress everyone at the post house...." etc.

At the very least it gets you face time with the production manager who sees you as informed, professional and someone who works as a steady advocate for his department. Whether or not the production is granting you a box rental is a factor you deserve to make them aware of. "You know, when I get my box rental I spend that money on new gear that benefits you guys...."

Identify your chief allies in this endeavor and treat them well. I've seem department heads buy flowers for the production office coordinator that smoothed the path to thousands of dollars in tools being purchased... it's not what I'd call kosher but once in a while the exploitation aspect of the movie business works in the little guys favor.
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