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First time using a Preston


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#1 David Bowsky

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Posted 24 April 2010 - 01:18 AM

So,

I'll be pulling with a Preston wireless for the first time on my next job, and was wondering if anyone would like to share some knowledge? :D

Essential stuff, tips, tricks, common problems, etc?

Thanks!
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#2 Mike Panczenko

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 12:43 PM

So,

I'll be pulling with a Preston wireless for the first time on my next job, and was wondering if anyone would like to share some knowledge? :D

Essential stuff, tips, tricks, common problems, etc?

Thanks!


Something that is often neglected, but make sure brackets all have washers. The gears can sometimes slip and this happens much less frequently when everything has it's proper washers. Also, check to make sure that nothing has slipped. You can do it every take, every few takes... just keep an eye on it. Doesn't happen often, but when it does, it can really screw you. Have rings made up in advance at the prep. Or, if you are using the new Preston, have your lenses all mapped at the prep so you don't need to waste time on set. Other than that, they are very easy to use, and a great tool to have.
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#3 Chris Keth

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 03:18 PM

I learned the hard way to keep an eye on the lens. I screwed up a shot because I thought I got it and we moved on. I went to help tear down the steadicam and found the gear no longer meshed with the lens.
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#4 David Bowsky

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 01:21 AM

Thanks guys, I'll definitely keep an eye on gear contact. Fortunately the mounting hardware is all in excellent shape, and the motor gear is as well. I did discover that there is a switch on the bottom that will reverse the direction of the motor. I can't imagine how it got switched, but it was flipped for a few takes and that really threw me for a loop for a couple of takes, couldn't figure out why I kept loosing the shot. Lots of hand-held stuff today, so maybe when shouldering and handing it off between takes? Who knows.

Also more evidence that prep is key. How many folks will just push for a prep day even if production says they aren't interested in paying for it. I've done that on a couple of short film jobs (this is also my first feature gig, ultra-low sag territory, but I am still stoked beyond belief) - but is it common? Heck, is it common to get a paid prep day at all, or is it always on your own dime?

Last question for now: Is there anything I can do to remedy a lens that seems too stiff for the unit to calibrate? I have one that it seems I have to power down the receiever then power back up to get it to run from stop to stop. That behavior is intermittant. I have another that is very stiff and the motor seems to roll out to inf, but then only roll back about 1/4 of the way. Should I just ask to get the lens swapped? We're not on that one very much right now (only used it once so far), but may need it later during the shoot.
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#5 Chris Keth

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 01:37 AM

Pretty much any decent production will give the 1st a prep day. It's nice when they'll pay the 2nd to help but a lot of shows won't do that.

About the stiff lens, I would just get it replaced.
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#6 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 09:37 PM

Use your prep day to mark the ring on the preston to match with your lenses. With a full set of primes, this can be very time consuming. If it's a long job, get 2 rings per lens. When your 2nd brings you a lens, they should also bring the corresponding ring.
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