If their choices were a RedRock or one of those skateboard wheel friction FF's I could see their point... but between an O'Connor and an Arri FF4- the difference in ability to get a shot is negligible.
Once you are picking nits at that level you are being a diva.
Like I said, if that tool is so critical, then buy one for yourself and carry it with you to sets. If they have some junk you can't use- then you have your tool.
I'm a bit more... "indie" than you.
The gear is the gear. Shoot with it or go home.
I bought the Cinevate because, while it sure isn't the final word, it works and its fast to set up. Its a known minimum. It sure beats some of the cr4p I've seen on sets- from a broken ARRI to badly maintained RedRock. I hate walking my crew into an unknown.
You can take any two single-sided FFs or any two double-sided FFs and in many situations, they'll be capable of doing pretty much what you wanted them to.
Most differences between individual FF designs come down to issues of problem-solving that may be relevant to you, or may not be relevant to you. The reason why you would look at a piece of equipment that offers something you don't need at the time? Because you may need it in the future, which is something only you can judge. There are FF units that got immediate market acceptance but faded with time because their design criteria became obsolete, and there are other examples that went the other way around.
Best thing to do is recognize your needs and study a product carefully. In the internet era, this should be especially easy -- the manufacturers' websites have a tremendous amount of detailed information, but sadly, much of this is often overlooked or read only perfunctorily. People like me and Eric are also always available to answer questions about the products we represent. Afterwards, think about whether a product's advantages are worth its tradeoffs (there will always be tradeoffs for every advantage... just a truth of engineering these things).
If there had never been any need for innovation and new features in the FF world, at least five of the FF units mentioned in this thread would never have come to be... but they did all come to be and have all been successful.
My preference is your Cff-1. But I currently have the good old Willytech. (If anyone is not familiar with these they are extremely modular and robust.) I had a funny thought the other day and wondered if the drive module for the Willy would slid on to the bridge of the Cff-1 making a sort of a light weight Franken focus?
I like the CFF-1, but the ACs I typically work with still prefer the FF-4. The CFF-1 has more configurations and adaptability, but is also a bit clunky and slows down most ACs until they get to know it. Both units are top notch.
That said the difference between the O'Connor and FF4 is not negligible. They are radically different approaches. The OC is more complicated but more adaptable where the Arri is far simpler but less adaptable.
I agree with Tim about speed being a potential factor in favor of the FF4.
From an owner's perspective, I chose the CFF-1 because of versatility. There have been times when the FF4 just won't work well with large-barrel lenses (zooms and wide anamorphics spring to mind). In those situations, I've lost time because of the FF4.
The biggest thing to keep in mind if considering the CFF-1 is that with that versatility and adjustability comes a slight but present learning curve. It's not difficult to figure out by any stretch, but if you or your AC are in a high-pressure situation and haven't been fully acclimated to the Oconnor, there will likely be some fumbling involved. Once you know what you have to adjust to accomplish what you want to do, the CFF-1 is pretty awesome. Tons of adjustability and versatility, way more than any other FF I've seen or used.
I'm happy with my purchase...if you go the same route, just do your best to get your AC comfortable with it before you throw them in the boiler room...
For your manual zoom control have a look at the Chrosziel fluid zoom.
Sorry, i just found the german version but it should give you an idea.
You mount it on your rods and the gear will give you drag on your zoomstick so you can do smooth zooms.
Iris is normally set before shooting so you shloudn´t need to compensate during shooting. On rare occasions it comes up, but i think you´re fine adjusting the iris on the lens with your fingers directly.
For zoom control you may also consider electronic versions like Microforce or Cmotion, but that´s somewhat pricey.
And in low budget indie films its still common to throw extra time at a problem to save money. That comes in many forms.
Back to the O'Con versus the FF4... neither of which are cheap.
I know the FF4 is standard common and simple.
I know the O'Con is more complicated.
My argument is simply that if you can make any given shot with the FF4, you can also do so with the O'Con. Operationally the difference is negligible
I even agree with the ACs, using the O'Con would certainly have cost you 15 minutes the first day.
With a good 1AC and a positive attitude towards learning and new tech it would cost you 0 minutes the next day- and for the rest of the O'Con and AC's lives. After all 99% of the time it will work to exactly replace an FF4, so once you figure out how to best set it up to do that job... there is nothing else to learn to keep your day on track.
Look, the O'Con FF might genuinely suck balls. If they had tried the thing and it just failed them, I'd be OK with that... but that isn't what happened is it?
These 1ACs show up see new gear fiddle for a few minutes and pitch the "standard gear please" fit. I don't see you explaining how they gave the thing a fair shake. I don't see an eagerness to learn on their part.
I don't have shares in O'Connor, so I don't really care. Its the attitude that I am not happy with.
As a professional I'm happy to pay both cash AND time to learn a piece of gear that might help me. I think most of us are agreed that the O'Con CFF-1 fits that bill.
As an employer, I'm happy to pay for people that have the same attitude.
Including giving them 15 minutes over a 600 minute day to learn a piece of gear.
Let me put that differently... I should'nt have to "force" any member of my crew to learn job related things.
Good thread guys. Never knew FF's could be so emotional ... lol. I agree with what some are saying, just because Arri is the "standard" it's a big annoying that it's perceived as better. From testing both, it seems to me that the OConnor CFF-1 is clearly superior ... which is why so many on this board jumped over to it, including Mark from OffHollywood. (Though I have no idea if he uses it exclusively.)
I understand the argument those are making from a rental perspective, if the Arri rents better (AC's are a picky bunch, as some have noted) then they must oblige or lose that rental income. But for me, in owning my own gear ... and with rentals always being a distant second in priority, I simply want the best I can afford. OConnor fits that in spades. It's an amazing piece of gear :)
That said, I'm really looking forward to OConnor's upcoming FF unit that's a bit smaller and has gear rings specially designed for optimum performance with still lenses ... in other words, I think it works amazing with still lenses even when you don't add the focusing rings, which is impressive.
Given that with the Epic/Scarlet will often lead to focusing on running and running "light" and many will use still lenses on them, I think this new unit will be awesome. Also, I think it will be priced very well -- low enough to compete with the other popular HDSLR FF units like RedRock, Zacuto, Cinevate, etc.
Anyway, Alexander ... I'm with you ... unless that AC has his own FF that he's willing to bring, I'm going to have him come 15 minutes early to learn how to use a better overall performing, more versatile unit (OConnor) that will most likely be a greater asset on set.
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