ARRI TRINITY or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Rig (2019)
I saw Trinity some 4, 5? years ago, while it was still a prototype, and while it was still under Sachtler development. As usual, Curt O. Schaller, was developing something new and ground breaking in the filed of camera stabilisation. Of course, the legitimate question is, "how you knew that?" Well, there is a little story behind it.
I met Curt in 2004, when I was buying my first big rig. I went to IBC in Amsterdam, and my goal was to buy the best possible rig out there. Until that point I owned Glidecam V16. It was such a badly designed rig, that, honestly, after I got it, I started to cry! I am not overreacting! I cried in my storage room, because I spent all our money on this piece of,... metal!? It was impossible to balance it, and I am not talking about dynamic balance! it wasn't possible to achieve static balance! Long story short, with help of internet and great steadicam community I managed to completely modify V16. At the end, my blueprints where published in a book "modifying the Glidecam V16" (...and this is not a joke,.. by author King Charles, and I borrowed it to someone, and I don't know who. If you know who you are, please send it to me! I'll pay for the shipping) But the most important thing is, that by modifying the V16 by myself, I learned a lot about the principles, on how "steadicam" works!
Glidcam V16, somewhere around 2000 in Zagreb
Back to IBC 2004! So,.. I am trying every big "steadicam" in there. Steadicam itself. Even went to a party with Garret Brown, organised by Tiffen.
My wife, Garrett Brown and me, at IBC 2004
PRO - Paddock Radical Options. Glidecam Gold - Glidecam's Flagship, MK-V,... and of course Artemis. Artemis at that point was just starting out. They were on the market for few years. It was a Stabiliser Brand manufactured by Sachtler, In Germany, as they always liked to point out, and designed by a gentleman, Curt O. Schaller. Well, I'm coming to the boot, and there is a small skinny guy with glasses carrying a big rig with TB6 monitor (LCD's at that point where usually not usable due to low brightness). I asked him, can I try it out. And of course, Curt immediately started to put a vest on me! The thing is that, I still remember, he completely disassembled the vest, and when he was putting it on me, he was adjusting strap by strap, velcro by velcro around me! None of the guys at the other manufacturers boots, done that. For the first time in my life I felt comfortable while I was carrying the rig! And this was jut the begging.
Curt, me and Artemis Cine,.. for the first time. Amsterdam, 2004
This was the only rig designed for HD-SDI, not SD upgraded to HD, at that time. Pivoting and moving batteries, for perfect dynamic balance, and it had all the power connections you could imagine. It had 24V power output (yes, people where still using Film Cameras then). And very important thing for me,... it was the only rig made by Metric, not Imperial standards then. That means if you live anywhere in the World, except the US and UK, and if you need a screw, you just go to your local hardware store, and buy it! It was that simple. With any other rig you had to machine it or order it! Which is a complete nonsense!
Yes, I bought Sachtler Artemis Cine, and I still have it to this day, and the rig is still working perfectly in every possible way! And yes, it is still STANDARD DEFINITION, and it still has one of the brightest monitors on the market, 15 years old, Transvideo Cinemonitor IIII, that worked in snow, dust, sand, rain, 100% humidity,... cameras where dying one set, but Transvideo and Artemis never failed me! I never upgraded it to HD because HD will not make me a better Steadicam Operator! Hope we cleared that, once for all!
Artemis Cine, and me,... some 15 years later! Dubai, 2019
In the meantime, Curt and I, became friends, I bought one more rig from him,... and yeah, we stayed in touch for all this years. Through this years, Curt designed the first Carbon Fibre rig in the world. First, and still the lightest, carbon fibre, steadicam arm. He was the first who introduced "hot swap" battery system in a steadicam,... yes you got it,.. he invented a lot of useful stuff for steadicam operators!
Now back to Trinity! I Had few discussions with Curt about it, and honestly I was a little bit sceptical. Computers and motors controlling camera stabilisation, by my humble experience, never worked quite well with hand held camera stabilisers. Better said, I operated it once, and never again! It was a huge frustration for me. Especially if you consider, that a steadicam operator, who is in complete control of every aspect of camera stabilisation and takes years or better said decades to master the craft, for the first time is put in "disgrace" of electronics. It was constant fight. Me vs. Machine. And honestly, I wouldn't be so frustrated if the machine was wining! Helping me out to get better results. But machine need it a restart every couple of shots, machine wasn't following the object, machine doesn't know what is a headroom or golden rule!!! Unbelievable isn't it!? So yeah, thank you, but No Thank you!
In the meantime, Trinity, and actually whole Artemis range, was acquired by ARRI. This is where the breakthrough starts. Some interesting videos start to pop out on the web. Camera movements that weren't possible to achieve before. Not at least in such a simple way.
I tried it first in Dubai, at some ARRI presentation, few years ago, and I managed to do something (I still don't know what?), that actually, made the rig unusable, and it had to be restarted. And this was a big NO NO for me. Definitely NO to Trinity! On the one hand my "Old School" theory that, there is no place for computers, touchscreens and motor controlled stabilisation in good old movie making, was still standing. Keep it simple, keep it analog and it will work forever!!! On the other hand, I felt disappointed. I wanted this thing to work, I wanted to achieve this movements. Gimbals are not proper solution for professional film making, and at this point I believe everyone who is seriously involved in filmmaking is aware of that. So what is the future of professional camera stabilisation, if Trinity isn't?
So I am still looking those youtube videos, reading about it,... and then, one day, my wife said,.. "Shall we go to Munich for a holiday? It's been a while since we been there!?" And yes,.. there is a huge HiFi show there, and there is Curt, and there is ARRI,... ARRI Trinity!
So we went to Munich. HiFi show was amazing. But Trinity was to! There was no need for restarting it, and actually that little joystick on the gimbal felt quite,... "analog" to me.
Arnold & Richter Cine Technik GmbH & Co. Betriebs KG Türkenstr. 89, 80799 München. 2018
And of course Munich Beergartens in the spring are beautiful. And still, I wasn't quite convinced about the Trinity, especially if you consider the price.. although I saw some interesting Turntables and Speaker Cables at Munich HiFi show!
Clearaudio Master Inovation. Munich 2018
And here I am. Still watching Trinity youtube videos, thinking about it. And at certain point,... I said to my self,.. and to my wife to,... we should get one! This is what I wanna do! I am 45 years old, and I am Steadicam Operator! I am doing this for 20 years. This is what I do! This is the only thing in Film Industry,... that is changing for good, and I am not convinced that is changing in the right direction,... that makes me happy! I don't wanna do anything else, except Steadicam!
So if you ask me "The Last Great Job in the Industry",... just got an upgrade! ARRI Trinity.
And then,... I got me one! With all accessories avlible!
ARRI Trinity in a custom made Flight Case. Dubai 2019
Now, it is not as simple as everyone thinks. It is a completely new ball game. Yes, it helps a lot to be a steadicam operator. Actually, I believe is very frustrating for someone who is not a steadicam operator to operate The Trinity. First of all it is much heavier! No matter the carbon fibre thing! And second,... there are few more things that you have to master, and they are not present in classical steadicam operating, before you are able to achieve those amazing movements! But,... we are getting there. For now, since its here for just a couple of weeks, done few jobs with Trinity, and I must say,... I am very happy with achieved results. So, to new adventure!
Gamma Engineering FZ LLC, Dubai 2019
Gamma Engineering FZ LLC, Dubai 2019