To Jib or Not to Jib?

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I’m considering adding a small jib to my rig. There are lots of options out there, from cheaper carbon fiber ones to more expensive solutions that have a built in pan head.

Some have a way to tilt the camera, which I think is quite necessary. The ones that don’t tilt the camera are generally cheaper and very light. They are considered “travel jibs.” Those models also allow for the extension of the back end that allows for using less counter-weight.

Right now, it’s down to three options, all have positives and negatives. I’m looking for the best value – something that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg and will provide excellent results.

Kessler KC-Lite 8.0

Kessler Pocket Jib

Varavon T3

Has anyone had experience with these jibs? Any recommendations? Feel free to post your comments and recommendations below.


Hackintosh vs High-End iMac: Is It Worth It?


This is a re-post from a response I recently added to a Creative Cow thread about the value of Hackintoshes. I built one late last year and I’m happy with it. But I know that happiness comes with a cost. The system does not have a high resale value and has many potential troubleshooting issues down the line.

I came to terms with the reason why I wanted to build one: because I wanted to know IF I could build one. It was a challenge which was frustrating but fun. I love learning about all the tech we use in our daily lives. It was a satisfying DIY project.

I ultimately feel that buying Apple provides a better value over building a Hackintosh. But you don’t necessarily gain knowledge about your system and it’s components if you purchase a Mac. It’s like buying a refrigerator. If it breaks, you call a repair man. You’re most likely not going to open it up and fix the compressor (unless you’re a repair man!). So you might never understand how a refrigerator, a very important piece of tech in your life, works.


Hackintosh part prices below are current and possibly not reflective of what I paid. But it’s very close. This gets you mostly in parity with a top of the line iMac (minus Bluetooth and WiFi, which cost about $46 total for the components). Here are my specs:

Intel Core i7-3770K $320
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP5-TH (has 2 thunderbolt ports) $245
32GB 1600Mhz DDR3 $217
Corsair Carbide 500R $158
Corsair 650 Watt Modular $90
GeForce GTX 680 $497
480GB SSD Drive $363
Syba SATA III 6Gbps PCI-e Card $17 3 Port 2b 1a 1394 PCI Express FireWire Card Adapter PEX1394B3 $63
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO: $33
I owned a Kona 3, which I installed and is working fine.

TOTAL: $2003

iMac System Specs:
3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
1TB Fusion Drive
NVIDIAGeFrc GTX 680MX 2G GDDR5: $2600
AppleCare: $170
RAM from OWC: $270

TOTAL: $3040 (before tax)

Now, here’s the kicker. While Geekbench isn’t the be-all end-all, I think it’s a nice cross-reference for the technologically-barely-informed (such as myself ;-)).

My iMac 27″ top o’ the line gets a healthy 14268
The Hack Pro gets a substantial 14124

For all intents and purposes, they are equal systems. One costs $3014 and comes with a warranty. The other costs $2003, works great, and is expandable, but has risks. Again, if you need to purchase a monitor, keyboard and mouse for the Hackintosh, that will add an additional amount and bring them much more in line price-wise.

Let’s look at the percentage difference if we take out AppleCare to get the systems more in line.

iMac: 2845
Hack Pro: 2003
Percent Difference: %30

Now, let’s look at potential resale value and upgrade costs. This is assuming a new iMac will cost about the same amount in 2 years:

iMac late 2012 resale value in 2 years (conservative): $1250 
iMac 2014 (high end) potential cost: $ 2900
Out of pocket difference: -$1650
Time needed to reinstall software and test new system: 1 day (based on purchase of iMac)

Hackintosh upgrade option 1, resale and build from scratch:
Hackintosh Late 2012 Cost: $2003
Hackintosh Resale Value in 2 years: $400 
Hackintosh Late 2014 potential cost: $2000
Out of pocket difference: -$1600
Time needed to research new system and find best prices on parts: countless nights on Hackintosh boards
Time spent building system: 1 day
Time spent testing parts and debugging: 2 days (conservative)

Hackintosh upgrade option 2, upgrade CPU, Mobo, and RAM
New Motherboard, Processor, RAM (assuming all current PCI Cards work properly and base prices stay the same): $782
Time spent researching whether all parts will work with new system and what CPU/Mobo to get: 2-3 evenings on hack boards
Time spent installing new parts: 2 hrs
Time spent reinstalling OS, debugging: 1 day (conservative)

So there you have it. At most, there’s an $870 difference (not including time spent) in favor of an equally spec’d Hack Pro and a top-end iMac over a 2-year period. Divide that out by 2 years and that’s $37 per month.

The ultimate question I propose (which I’ve already answered for myself): Is it worth it for you to build one?

My current equipment wish list…

Here at “Production Central” as I’m now starting to call my company, I am getting excited about completing the current stage of my kit. I’ve come to understand that the kit is never finished. Newer, better equipment is always coming out. There’s a great market on Craigslist for used gear. So, once you buy in, your upgrade costs are much lower than the price of admission.

First off, I’m looking to get a jib. I’ve been doing tons of research and I’m currently eyeing this guy, the Kessler Pocket Jib Traveler.

It looks like a brilliant design and a great price. I’m hoping there will be some reviews soon. I could see traveling with this even on some upcoming overseas news shoots!

Next up is a new slider. I’ve been toying with the idea of getting either a Kessler Stealth Slider or the Philip Bloom Edition Slider. There’s also the Edelkrone SliderPlus. They all look amazing, but the prices on these are just too high.

So this led me to eye the Varavon Lite 800 along with a Motorroid. Specifically, the OliviaTECH edition,which is currently on pre-sale for $580 with shipping. is having a Varavon special today (3/18) only for a total of $540.

It’s an investment that will increase the production value of my shoots. I am currently pitching jobs to a couple of larger companies and institutions. This gear will go a long way to making their videos look great.