Ravelli ABSL Photo Video Backdrop Stand Kit 13' Tall x 15' Wide with Dual Air Cushion Stands and Bag
|Price:||$99.96 & FREE Shipping. Details|
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- Huge Full Size 13'x15’
- Molded Aluminum Construction
- Air Cushion Stands
- Male Studio Spigot Reversible Adapter
- Now supports 107" paper rolls using only 3 cross bar sections
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|Item Weight||23.5 pounds|
|Package Height||7.6 x 9 x 48.5 inches|
|Shipping Weight||21.6 pounds|
The Ravelli ABSL model background stand is adjustable up to 13' tall by 15' wide. It is comprised of two tripod stands and five 3’ cross bar sections and includes a heavy duty carry bag. The tripod stands have been designed with air cushioned shocks to provide smooth and safe adjustments. Also included is a reversible male studio spigot adapter which allows the use of photographic equipment with 3/8" or 1/4" threads. The adapter is also machined with two indentions to securely mount your light kits.
Top customer reviews
Short Version: This backdrop kit exceeded my expectation in every way except the crossbar design. It doesn't "lock" and is 1/8-inch too short (with 3 sections) to fit a 107" roll, and 2 inches too short if you actually want to unroll your paper.
The Long Version:
I am a professional photographer and needed to look for a new backdrop kit because I am opening my 3rd studio location.
When I received the Ravelli ABSL Kit, it came triple-boxed. Yes, triple. After removing 80ft of boxing tape, I was pleasantly surprised with how nice the carrying bag was, and when I took out the main stands, I found them to be of great, solid build; a lot sturdier than the kit I bought 5 years ago for about the same price. I even chuckled when I discovered that it came with 2 heavy duty clamps.
I was so excited about the product that I decided to set it up right away at my primary studio (location #1) and pack up the old stands to take to studio #3. I set up the stands and grabbed 3 sections of the crossbar assembly. I then realized that the crossbar sections don't actually lock. Looking back at other reviews, I found it's already been mentioned. No big deal, I said to myself, there's always duck tape. Then I mounted a roll of Savage brand 107" paper and found the bigger problem. With only 3 sections, the crossbar is 1/8 of an inch too short to hold a 107" roll. And about 2 inches too short if you actually want to unroll it. I stood there in disbelieve that a manufacture of a backdrop stand would design something that doesn't accommodate the most popular brand/width of backdrop paper rolls. With a sigh, I went ahead and connected a 4th segment. Now it's 34 inches too long. And as other reviewers already said, 4 segments are more saggy and not as strong as having only 3 segments. What saddened me more is that using 4 segments makes it too wide to place the assembly in my main studio space, which means I will probably go back to using my old kit and take the new kit to my new studio as it has more space width-wise.
One might argue that I may be too harsh for taking off two stars for the crossbar issues. After all, it's not the manufacturer's fault that my studio is not wide enough. My philosophy is that when you design a product, you should test it in real life situations. Savage is the leading manufacturer of backdrops, and 107" is a very popular width. Had the designer asked real photographers to test the product, they would no doubt be told of this problem. A well designed product should be practical in the application that it was made for. My suggestion to the manufacturer: Instead of having all 5 segments the same width, make 1 of the segments 4 inches longer. Or even better, make all of the center segments different widths so that the combination can yield the possibility of 8 different widths (instead of 4).
After studying the crossbars a little more, I decided to try to leave 1~2 inches of gap between segments instead of connecting them all the way. The interconnectors seem very sturdy that I believe it could sustain the stress without being fully inserted. Should this configuration hold up after a couple months of use, I will update this review and give it one star back. But for now, it gets three starts for getting me really excited and then getting me really disappointed all within 10 minutes.
For people who primarily use 53" rolls or muslin/fabric backdrops, this is a 5-star buy.
=== UPDATE 2/20/2014 ===
It has been several months since I've used gaffer tape to hold the center bar together without interconnecting them all the way. The cross bar is holding, which proves that the material used is very good. Some time in October of 2013, I've also received a telephone call from a representative from the manufacturer who became concerned after reading this review. I expressed why I was displeased with their product and they seem sincere in listening and hopefully will make proper adjustment to the product. As of this update, I've upgraded my review from 3 stars to 4 star for the product's durability.
This could be solved by simply making the top support pole about an inch longer, just to give it some room to work with. No functional reason to keep it so tight.
EDIT: They fixed this by adding a longer bar, it now works great.
UPDATE : 9/30/2010, Aaron Bennett:
I contacted Cheetah Mounts about the mix-up to make sure I could get the stand I originally ordered and they resolved the problem right away. It turns out that Amazon Fulfillment mixed up the two version of Ravelli's stands for a large number of customers. Check the comments to this review for contact information to purchase over the phone (their photography product website is not available at the time of this review), or just purchase from the "Sold by Cheetah Mounts" listings here at Amazon. You will need to process a return with Amazon, and repurchase from Cheetah if you ended up with the ABS version.
Ravelli ABS Stand (10x12.5):
The stand is what you would expect for $45. Very light, extensions slide fairly smoothly, horizontal bars connect easily, it's easy to pack away, and the reversible adapter is quite nice. The only problem is that with the stands expanded, it becomes somewhat unstable. This is quite important for me as I intend to use the stands as lighting stands when I'm not using it for a backdrop. It would be fine for a cloth as long as there is not a major tug or are not using it for heavier equipment.
Ravelli ABSL Stand (13x15)
This is a MASSIVE improvement over the ABS stand that I originally received. The linking/tightening joints are clearly different and feel sturdier and more stable; the hydraulics found within gently lower each section even when loaded. The stand is huge, and larger than I am likely to ever need (I prefer to overdo things). At full extension, the stand is very stable thanks to the thicker materials, better joints, and much wider base. I believe I got much more than I expected with this version of the stand, and believe it to be among the best values possible at around $80.
How to determine which you received:
ABS - three sections on stands, "ABS" written on box and manual, and 4 bar segments
ABSL - four sections on stands, "ABSL" written on box and manual, and 5 bar segments
(Update) After I returned the product, SPN Performance Customer Care Department reached out to me about the problem product, which I didn't expect them to do so. The customer service representative was very nice and helpful. She issued another backdrop stand set replacement free of charge. It's pretty good customer service, and the new replacement seemed to work fine.
Most recent customer reviews
The drop stands are very very good, but bend a little over the 15-foot span.Read more