Juan Carlos Oganes' film-making and work blog.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Customizing my rig...Tim Ovel and Indisystem

Past sunday I went to meet at last with Tim Ovel, the owner and brain of Indisystem. Being the company in Waterloo, I had to drive for some hours to get there from Omaha but it was worth the effort.
The reason for my visit? Simple in-person tech support and his offer to customize my rig to make it more usable and less cumbersome because of my own personal items used over the whole Indi kit. My tools have grown since I bought the whole Indi package (IndiRailsPro, IndiFocusPro, IndiMattePro and all the accesories that comes with them including a nice set of allen wrenches, screws and china pencil for focus marks all courtesy of Tim). I arrived there and met him in his workshop/studio in the outskirts of the city. Once inside I could tell by the arrangements and the stacks of tools that this company is really busy and producing all the time.

And what I really do appreciate from this guy is his true noble ability to go out of his way to help his legion of customers around the world. This time, after many conversations over the phone about film and the business, we decided to meet in person to push my rig to higher standards.

And Tim delivered. I know this sounds like an infommercial or like if im promoting him for some type of comission or something. Well...NO. I do it only for the sole purpose of expressing a big acknowledgement for a company and a person who does what many (and write this down, folks), should do and follow.
Nothing in this world -specially in this product-selling business of indie filmmaking- replaces good and friendly tech support. You can tell when a company goes the extra mile to make ur purchase worth your money and I had many times the need (or should I say the disapointment) of having to rely on tech support for a product I purchased, only to meet foreign or hindu-accented guys who I seldom can understand (no racism here for the record in case you wondered. Companies have the right to apply "outsourcing" to save big bucks) or simply people less willing to "serve" (they are offering a SERVICE for God's sake!) and makes you feel like they are doing you a favor when in reality it's totally the opposite. Of course there are customers and there are customers, but in the normal ideal situation, Tim is superb and happy to serve you and back up his word of efficiency.

No bullshit here.

I bought a couple more lenses back in Peru the past months and my front end was getting heavier and didn't allow me much freedom to use one hand to focus as my other would have to support the whole weight of the rig (aprox. 7-8 pounds. The Letus Extreme itself weighs like a rock!). I had and idea of building support arms adjustable in height that spread like a V upside-down and would rest the front end allowing me to free my hands to focus and zoom when needed. The spring-loaded mechanism would absorb any shock coming from body movement or walking. The V-shape support would have two connections to my waist belt to avoid any left-right shifting or rocking by gravity. Tim suggested a simpler solution: To beat the front end with a metal counterweight in the back.

He supplied longer rods for that matter as my kit was full already. It worked.

Now my rig puts the weigh evenly over my shoulder with 50/50 on each front and back side. The freedom of movement is noticeable as I can free my hand to focus and still use the other to barely keep the support system in place without much efforts. The rig weights much more thought but, doesn't 35mm film cameras too? That's what gives film-cam movement in movies that "inertia" you see that tells there's "mass" in motion...not just a flimsy little handycam that shouts "amateur" all over.

Simple logic and simple friendly support. What more can a customer want?

If you guys -serious into getting a camera rig that looks like the big boys ready to tango- live in the midwest area, don't think twice and drop by Tim's workshop. You won't be disappointed.