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More on the Arri adventure.

Arri adventure? Where did that come from…?

Thing is though, I have had a bit of a time getting my new Arri Follow Focus 5 (FF5) together. I finally received the last piece yesterday!!!

Lets backup a bit. I told you before of how I’d received my FF5 and had immediately felt a problem with the gears. Well that turned out to be just the beginning of the story.

But before I tell you what else happened, let me say that Abel Cine and Arri have been very nice and helpful and I haven’t had any trouble with them.

So, I sent back my first FF5 base, and waited for a new one. That took quite a while. I’m not entirely happy that I had to send the first one back before they’d order the second. If I’d been insistant about it perhaps they’d have ordered it first, which would have shaved several weeks off this whole process. Anyway, I was away when the new FF5 base arrived and when I got home, on Monday, I opened it up, all excited that it was all finally done…. and discovered a small ding on one of the knob sockets.

At first I was going to ignore it. After all, it was purely cosmetic, probably as a result of the FF5 base being dropped at some point, and I’m sure this Follow focus will be beat up quite a bit and dropped a few more times as soon as it’s seen battle. But then I stuck a knob into the socket, and discovered that there was a small burr on the inside of the socket as a result of the drop, and it was causing the knob to get stuck in the base. After trying to attach and detach a knob a few times I realized I was putting rather bad scratches in the shank of the knob and stopped.

What to do? I could easily fix the problem with a little filing, but I didn’t really want to do that to a brand new $2200 component. So I called Arri.

Well, a few emails, an incredulous Abel Cine rep asking if I really needed a third one, and overnight shipping later, here I was with a new FF5 base and a new Knob to replace the scratched one…. Only there’d been a mixup and I’d been sent the wrong knob. So, with a few more emails, an amazing effort by Kevin at Arri to pull a knob off another order, and more FedEx, I now had a new knob that was the right one.

This was now Wednesday. And it would have been all sunshine and daises except that this new knob made rather bad scratching noises. So I sent that back for another replacement.

Unfortunately, at this point I’d exhausted the supply of knobs in the country, so that took a while.

And now, Two weeks after I originally opened the second FF5 base, I have Knob number three and the FF5 is complete. Tomorrow I’ll be mailing the Scratched knob back to Arri and that will be the end of it.

This hasn’t turned me off Arri though. I’m looking at getting a MB-20 or MB-29 from them soon.

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ARRI falls off their pedestal.

It seems that when you think of Arri you think of quality. Expensive yes, but the quality of their products is always excellent, or at least that’s been my experience until now.

The Full Story:

I’ve been planing to replace my beat-up old follow focus for a while now, and about a month ago, I finally bought a new one alongside another big order, a brand new O’Connor 2575D which is absolutely fabulous. The follow focus though? Not quite.

I decided to buy an ARRI FF-5, which is Arri’s latest and greatest follow focus. At first, all was well, but then I noticed something. There was a very faint hitch in the smooth rotation of the gearing. Now this was very faint, probably only perceivable to a professional like me who uses one of these devices to make a living, but it was there.

Now you might think, what’s the big deal? Well, the problem is that this little rough spot, as small as it is, is a rough spot in a precision gear box which derives it’s precision from the exactness of it’s making. Anything even slightly out of whack will cause unexpected ware patterns and cause the gears to age more rapidly then normal.

And then it started making intermittent scraping noises.

At this point I’d already decided to send it back for a replacement, but that was the last straw.

So, the main part of the FF-5 was shipped off today, and hopefully the replacement wont take too long to arrive. When it comes you can bet I will be checking it out very very thoroughly.

Also, a side note. When I asked for the replacement, Able Cine, who have always been amazing otherwise, didn’t give me a prepaid shipping label for the return until I asked for it. Retailers are required by law to replace any defective merchandise at absolutely no charge to you. This even includes gas money, if you can gather the recepts properly. I haven’t tried this but I know someone who did send in his gas recepts to Apple for his trips to and from the Apple Store.

Sadly, this doesn’t apply to items being fixed under warranty… those you have to mail in yourself!

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My Alexa and the new Website.

So, I bought an Alexa.

Yeah, really.

So that meant a whole load of things.

First, I had to buy all the other stuff that you need for a camera of this type.
I needed at least one ND, since there aren’t any built in,
I needed cables and batteries and cleaning stuff….
And I needed cases.

Turns out, that last item is still in work.

Inerspace makes some nice cases, but apparently they aren’t aware of the actual diameter of Cooke Panchros… cause the case they sent was not the right size.
They thought the lenses were 3.75in in diameter.  Well, they’re not.  They’re 3.85in… and when you’re dealing with custom cut foam that tenth of an inch is a big problem.

So, after taking a month to arrive, I had to turn around and send the case right back.  I’m guessing it’ll come back friday of next week.  In the mean time, I’ve stuck the Panchros in their shipping boxes and put 5 of those in the Pelican 1600 which normally serves as my AKS case.  They fit quite well, and it’s actually lighter then the Inerspace one.

Also in the world of cases, I’m still figuring out what I want to do with the batteries.  I kinda like the idea of a case with the charger and batteries in it and a cord sticking out that I can plug in and charge the batteries right in the case.  That would mean making a case with a ventilation fan… something I’m not sure I want to do, cause then the case wouldn’t be watertight. Decisions, decisions.

Other then the cases, everything’s ready to go.

That meant I needed a new website.

The old one looked old… it was made without the benefit of Photoshop, and before I knew anything about WordPress and php.
So, a new site was definitely in order.

I like the new site.  It’s simple, but it works.  We’ll see if it stays around after I get Dreamweaver when Adobe Creative Cloud comes along.

The cool thing I worked into the new site is that every single page in the site is managed by WordPress.  This has a few nice features.  One is that every page is easily editable, from any computer.  The other is that the search box you see on the left of this page actually searches the entire site, not just the blog.

So, the Alexa is ready to go.  If only the cases were.



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First post in a new medium.

Well, I thought I’d start a blog.  My website has needed something a little easier to update on it, so this is an experiment.  Hopefully I can figure out how to embed the wordpress php into my homepage, but until then, the blog will live here.

Here’s to a happy future of blogging!

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