Photo and video gear for sale

Hi Everyone

I’m getting rid of some older photo and video gear to clear out some space in the RE kit room (and because Ariel has rightly gone on strike until the kit room is in a safer, less-cluttered state to work in).

I’ll be putting stuff on eBay, but I’d rather the kit went to kinksters who might shoot wicked things with it!

To that end I’ve got a few “package deals” on offer to anyone who would like to acquire a shooting setup.

I’ll get photos etc. together in due course as I’ll need those to post on eBay anyway, but if you’re interested in taking any of the packages off my hands as a job lot to shoot with, it would be a lot easier for me and a lot more satisfying to send kit off to a good new home. (I hate getting rid of gear, have I ever mentioned that?

General Note: Postage

I’ve not yet priced up posting and packaging, which is one of the reasons I’ve not got this stuff on eBay yet. So prices here EXCLUDE P&P. Happy to post stuff but we will need to add P&P at cost, email me at webmaster@restrainedelegance.com to discuss. Or you can collect in person for nothing, of course.

So what am I getting rid of?

Micro Four Thirds Shooting Setup

  • Panasonic GH4. Superb video/stills hybrid camera, the best small camera set-up for shooting 4K video. Used on many RE productions, including “The Underground” and Pony Girl series ES features. Also useful for stills- I have shot a few RE sets with it.
  • Panasonic 7/14 mm f/4 wide angle lens
  • Panasonic 12-35 mm f/2.8 – an excellent quality standard zoom lens
  • Panasonic 45mm macro lens
  • Gorgeous Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95 “see in the dark” manual focus prime lens. It’s this lens that makes me most reluctant to sell the GH4, it’s a stunner.
  • Olympus 12-60mm f/2.8-4 4/3rd lens with 4/3 to micro 4/3 adaptor. Full pro quality lens, lovely optics, I’ve shot many videos with it and also landscape photos up to 24″ x 36″
  • metabones speedbooster adaptor for Canon EF lenses to micro 4/3
  • battery grip and extra batteries- all you to run all day (and into the night) on one set of batteries. I used this in the mountains for extended timelapse, but it is great for stills shooting as well.

Potentially also a Libec video tripod to give a complete video shooting set-up. (That’s what we shot with on the British Fetish Film Festival for example).

Potentially also including a Panasonic GF1 pocketable camera with detachable electronic viewfinder, 12mm and 20mm pancake prime lenses. Mostly useful for stills, does shoot video but only to 720p rather than 1080p I believe. Still, useful as a master wide cam for two camera shoots to cover yourself just in case the main cam is blocked, I’ve used it as such in the past.

Why I am Selling It?

Yeh, I’m asking myself the same question. Basically it is down to space in the kit room and space in the car when we go on location. Although the GH4 is a kick ass camera, it doesn’t share lenses with the rest of my set-up so easily. (The Metabones adaptor works, but it’s not as good as native lenses). This means an extra packing case on every trip, and I find myself increasingly relying on my Sony camera for all the stuff I used to use the GH4 for, because it kills two birds with one stone, being a great backup to both the Hasselblad and the RED.

It is a wrench, but Ariel is right, we need the space and having a complete lens kit for micro four thirds just takes up too much space.

Price

New, this set-up cost well over £7000! Based on eBay recent sales, the GH4 is worth around £500 and the lenses 400+400+300+400+250+400 = £2150. The GF1 with lenses maybe £250. The libec tripod around £100.

So there’s at least £3000 value in the package. Will anyone give me £2500 for the lot? It would set you up for video production nicely- you might need to add a shotgun mic (Rode or similar) and some lights if you haven’t got any, but potentially it’s a two-camera set-up, even.

DJI Osmo+ hand held gimbal camera

It’s one of these: LINK. It’s a handheld gimbal for steady shots as you move, built in camera with zoom lens, and you use your phone as a monitor. Shoots 4K, excellent for roaming around shots and the zoom lens makes it very much more versatile than similar stuff (or a gimbal for your phone, I know because that’s what I tried first).

Why Am I Selling It?

I LOVED the shooting experience and form factor of this, shot quite a few things with it at our location trip in Cornwall, including Ariel and Penny in the hot tub. It does slow mo, it’s generally a delight to use. So why I am selling it?

Because I liked the form factor so much I bought a hand-held gimbal for my Sony A7Rii, and I find myself taking and using that in preference to the DJI.

Price

New is about £580, eBay shows they are going for around £450 second hand, yours for £400 if you use it for kinky productions.

Canon shooting outfit: Canon 7D and L series zooms

Canon 7D used for countless RE films and stills sets, including top sellers like Sophia Smith Bedroom Slavegirl. Alexander Lightspear still shoots sets for RE using his 7D.

Canon L-series 24-70mm f/2.8 and 16-35mm f/2.8 zooms.

This outfit would set you up with a complete pro-quality shooting set-up for stills and video with older but top-notch-of-their-era zoom lenses. I’ve used this camera and lenses to shoot a wedding, vintage fashion, and loads of RE sets.

Why am I selling it?

I need the space in the kit-room. I don’t use these two zooms much any more – I prefer primes for stills (which I am not selling, sorry), and the Canon zooms I do use are staying on my RED. So I can part with this camera and the two zooms which work best on it without compromising my current shooting kit.

Price

Body is around £300. Lenses are 450 + 600 = £1050. Value £1350, I’ll sell for £1100.

Gekko Kelvin Tile LED video lighting setup

The Gekko Kelvin tiles are bi-colour LED 1×1 panels which were the workhorse video lighting for RE for several years; Slave Auction and most of the other early ES films were shot using them. They can be operated by mains or by V-lock battery (which is fantastic for location shoots). They are dimmable, and the colour temperature is adjustable from about 2500K to 7000K ish via dials on the back. They’ve got removable plastic diffuser panels on front so you can choose harder or softer light.

Add the Kelvin Tile Paintbox, though, and they transform to a complete coloured light solution. You can dial in primary colours, any gel colour you think of, adjust saturation and brightness, or control any of the six physical LED colours directly (each LED is actually a red, a green, a blue, a warm white, a cool white and an amber and all can be controlled directly).

Unlike cheap LED’s, their colour rendition is EXCELLENT- and more importantly, variable. You can dial in a plus or minus green/magenta tint with the paintbox controller, which is extremely useful when matching natural light or other lighting on location.

If you are a DMX wizard, you can control via computer, but for us mere mortals the control box is necessary.

Why am I selling them?

Because I love the technology so much that I’ve invested in their bigger, badder, actual-Hollywood-film brother, an Arri Skypanel S60.

There are two caveats about these lights. 1) Because they have six colours of LED and most of them are dimmed to give the right white balance at any one time, they are not as bright as some solutions. I ran them in banks of two or three to make up for this, which also gives the nice side effect of broader, softer and more flattering light. 2) The buggers do have a bit of a tendency to overheat and blink if used in a hot studio for too long (especially if run from the mains adaptors, which generate a fair amount of heat). They’re fine as soon as they cool down a bit.

Be aware of that and they’re really useful lights. I used them for years, and I only upgraded to the Arris for convenience of packing and carrying around the same light output and colour control in a more tightly integrated package. They’re fine for short trips, but getting them on ferries I needed a more compact fit-in-the-car solution. (Or maybe I should have just bought a van).

The reason I have six of them was that I could run four at once- two or three as the key light, one as a fill, one as a backlight, and have a spare or two in case any of them started to overheat. If you don’t do long shoots or don’t shoot in really hot studios, or mostly shoot on battery, you’ll be fine. But in all good conscience I have to let you know of the shortcomings.

Price

Well, it depends. I have six of them, but only one Paintbox controller. I need to get rid of at least some of them to make space in the kit room. If I put them on eBay I might just sell two or three of them, keep the others and the control box myself. But if I can find them a good home as a complete set-up, you can have the control box and all six lights.

Hard to find prices on eBay but they were £1000 each originally, plus £500 for the control box. They are a bit dim compared with cheap bicolour panels today, but the complete colour control with the Paintbox puts them in a whole different category- they’re a creative powerhouse, and I had to spend a LOT of money to match them.

If you’ll take the whole lot off my hands as a job lot, I’ll accept £2500 for all six plus the control box. (N.B. if you need postage you’ll have to budget for that too as they come in around 7kg each with all fixtures and fittings).

Add a few cheap kit stands (they work just fine on cheapy ones) and you’ll have enough lighting to shoot feature films. I shot a mainstream feature with these plus a few cheap tungsten parcans and backlights for the scenery.

2x Core Flash CF-300 mains-powered flash heads

SOLD! (Provisonally!)

Two cheap and cheerful mains-powered studio flash heads, with reflectors, with slot for mounting umbrellas. Originally donated by RE member Merlin, they were used to light the white infinity cove in the old RE house for many, many photosets including the RE lexicon.

They’ve been sat on a shelf since we moved, I’ve decided to sell the cove sections so they’re surplus to requirements.

Great starter kit for getting up to speed with flash photography, just add a cheap Infrared flash trigger.

Price

New, a two-unit set up costs £400. Similar units seem to be going for £100 each on eBay, give me £150 and you can have the two.

Ronin Gimbal Rig

More of a specialised item, this is a full-blown camera gimbal rig. It’ll take the RED, but I used to use it with the Pansonic GH4. I’ve shot feature films and many RE videos on it. This is the original full-sized Ronin, not the later Ronin M, and it can take any dSLR and heavy lenses, all the way up to cine cameras. Comes with a remote control box and dedicated flight case.

Why I Am Selling It?

Tennis elbow. I’ve been forced to switch to using a lighter hand-held gimbal set-up, even though this one is technically far superior.

Price

New it was £2000. They are going for around £900 on eBay, yours for kinky purposes for £750.

How Much Does A Bondage Producer Earn?

My lovely wife Joceline (whose screen alter-egos Ariel Anderssen and Amelia-Jane Rutherford you will likely know) just posted a video on her YouTube channel about how much an Internet model earns. Oh my god, this is SO un-British. That probably seems strange to Americans and maybe people from other cultures, but in the UK it is a really taboo thing to talk about. Doing so was really brave.

You can see her film here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aY74D89eIs0

Between us, Joceline and I have evolved a policy of being more and more open and transparent. It’s really important to us. So I thought it would be cowardly of me not to match her in transgressing this British taboo. I’m still too cowardly to vlog about it, of course, so here’s a long essay!

I’ve spoken about website economics in the past in general order-of-magnitude terms. But what can you actually make as a bondage producer?

Well, unlike modelling, income is limited by sales rather than the number of billable hours you can charge to clients for standing in front of the camera. As a result, I suspect that there’s a much wider range of incomes possible for being a bondage producer. Clearly, Kink.com have a much higher turnover than RestrainedElegance.com does. But here’s how the numbers stack up for me.

This is based on my last tax year for which I have accounts; the next year is due to be sent off to the accountant this week but I don’t have proper figures yet.

If you follow producers on twitter it is probably no secret that sales have declined across the industry since then; we’re all hoping it turns around.

My total sales were around £120,000 AFTER deductions from billing partners (who typically take between 15% and 50% of the sales figure customers actually pay to download the content). So I’m only counting the money that actually got paid to me, not what was paid out by you kind folks.

Wow! I must be super-rich, right? Sadly as a producer most of that goes straight out again. There are a lot more overheads than in being a model. So my profit margin was almost exactly 20%. My actual profit, the money I have to live on, was £25k.

Of those sales, the lion’s share was Restrained Elegance membership, maybe 70%. 20% comes from cart sales including Elegance Studios, Clips4Sale and the rest, and the remaining 10% comes from custom video commissions and external jobs. SilkSoles sales are modest, we do that mostly for love. These numbers have been broadly consistent over the last few years.

Of the expenses, by far the biggest was models (and a few other employee costs for friends who help with some admin jobs like web programming and doing data entry on shopping carts for me). That came to £30,000 or a cool 25% of turnover. (This money has to be spent up front, months or even years before the sales from a given shoot might pay off, by the way. So I’ve got money invested in material I’ve shot but haven’t sold yet.)

Website hosting and fees, location hire, repairs and renewals of broken or worn-out kit, insurance, licence fees (for music for the videos), professional fees like accountancy, purchase of props, costumes, bondage gear, and general expenses like electricity and heating etc. make up the bulk of the rest.

This is a little disingenuous, because I also invested £20k that year in the Sony A7RII and lenses, plus a replacement for the ten-year-old video tripod which was no longer really safely holding up the RED on shoot days. I did have some choice about investing that money or not, so I could have had a bigger profit if I’d not done that. This is always the way with investment for the future though- jam today, or choose to sink the cash back into the business for the longer term?

How much worse have sales got since then? Quite a lot worse. I’m going to be lucky to hit £100k turnover this year, even with some big customs and more external jobs. As you can see, when your profit margin is only £25k, losing £20k turnover is a big deal. Annoyingly, few of the expenses scale down with lower sales, at least the way the business is currently structured.

For now, I’ve compensated by buying less kit (anticipating this might happen is partially why I did the two big-ticket purchases in that previous tax year). I’ve brought a few more jobs in-house. We’ve reduced the shooting schedule a bit because we’d got to the silly point of having more than two years of content on disk- which makes no sense when sales may decline further if the economy tanks some more, the pressure from piracy and the looming threat of increasing government censorship.

So we’re striking a balance between shooting fantastic new stuff with hot new models, getting through the content we’ve already shot a bit more, and finding more shoots via customs. I know a lot of producers have switched over to customs funding 100% of production- I don’t want to do that even though it would probably be better business. I hope it isn’t pretentious to claim to be an artist and the commissions are fun, but if I didn’t get to shoot any of my own ideas I don’t know that I’d be able to carry on long-term.

I’ve been in the business for nearly 17 years now, we have good brand recognition I think, and a fantastic audience of regular customers. I’m lucky enough to be able to do this full-time, and I know not all producers can do that. I don’t know how this compares to other producers right now. I get the feeling I’m probably losing out by not pursuing customs more assiduously – but in return I get to shoot more stuff from my heart, which is REALLY REALLY important to me. It’s why I took this up as a full-time job in the first place 🙂

I get the impression that producers concentrating on mass video production are doing best right now- the guys and girls posting daily new videos to Clips4Sale funded via customs. I could do more of that if I pulled back on how many stills sets I shoot. I love stills best, though.

So unlike Joceline, I don’t have any real notion of where we sit in terms of how much it is possible to make as a bondage producer so I can’t give you a broader perspective. I hope it’s been interesting, and I hope you don’t hate me (seriously. I had shivers writing this post. It is SO Un-British to be open about this stuff. But. Transparency. Bravery.)

Urgggh. Please don’t hate me.

Hywel

Digital Detox. Back in August.

Hi Everyone,

I’m going on a digital detox.

I’ve got a vacation with my University friends starting tomorrow, followed by a language course and then landscape photography art shows.

I’ll be back in mid-August.

Of course, everything is loaded and ready on all the sites and carts and will update automatically while I am away.

I may check my email when I have signal, but I’m going to try not to. I really need a proper break this time so I’m going to try not to obsessively check my phone a dozen times a day!

If you have a problem with membership or purchases in the meantime, please email support@surfmail.net or open a support ticket:

For RE membership: https://ts.surfnetcorp.com/ts/ts.cfm?code=RE01&urlid=66&service=4

For SilkSoles: https://ts.surfnetcorp.com/ts/ts.cfm?code=RE01&urlid=119&service=4 membership

For the Shopping Cart: https://estore.surfnetcorp.com/store/elegancestudios/contactus.cfm

If support can’t help you, I will assist when I get back.

Apologies to the people still waiting for a quote/response from me for custom videos, I’ll do my best to catch up on those emails tonight but I have to pack and I’m out of time. Please bear with me.

Cheers, Hywel

GameTime -> Surfnet

Hi All,

We’ve just been notified that GameTime Enterprises, who until now have done most of the payment processing for Restrained Elegance memberships, are changing their terms and conditions and whapping a significant extra payment charge onto their services.

As a result Surfnet have decided to move all their clients who were using GameTime over to billing directly via Surfnet, and that includes us. Both back-end processors were already accepted by the Surfnet processing system, so this should be a change which they can make seamlessly inside the payment processing platform.

The only difference you should notice is that payments that previously appeared on your card statement as “GameTime Enterprises” will now appear as “SurfNet, Inc”. So don’t panic when you see that change! It is still your regular RE membership, your current rates will still apply, it’s just being processed via a different company behind the scenes.

There shouldn’t be any drama, they just asked me to inform everyone so you recognise the different charge on your card next month. Please let us know if you do have any problems, but fingers crossed this should be the only thing you notice.

Cheers, Hywel

“In The Dark” – coming soon(ish) at EleganceStudios.com

Had a fabulous day shooting with Ariel at The Facility UK studio near Birmingham.

We were filming the middle section of forthcoming EleganceStudios.com film “In The Dark” – this was the bit shot in actual darkness!

Here’s a quick framegrab from the video behind the scenes while setting up, by the light of my head-torch:

Here’s a Hywel’s eye view of the action (taken with my iPhone using eyepiece projection, through the LI monocular I was using to see through):

Here’s the camera’s eye view- shot in Infrared, lit using two security camera infrared LED lights:

And here’s the view of a camera shot with an f/0.95 lens at ISO6400… in other words, and Ariel Anderssen’s eye view of proceedings! It really was DARK in the room. The little bit of spill you can see bottom right is the light leakage from under the door, which you could barely make out with the naked eye (at least until one got completely dark adapted).

And finally here’s an interlude shot in full spectrum, under a UV light rather than an infrared one:

Now we’ve got to shoot the beginning and the end of the movie, which we’re doing at a different location hopefully next week!

Exciting! And it was really hot torturing Ariel when she couldn’t see what was coming!

Hywel