Throughout the years, Ultralight Control Systems has undergone significant transformations, all aimed at enhancing our position as a distinctive business offering camera accessories to both the underwater and cinema industries. What sets us apart is our commitment to manufacturing all our products in the USA, using US materials, and hand assembling and packaging them at our warehouse in Oxnard, CA.

Our journey began with our very first underwater dealer, Backscatter Video & Photo from Monterey, CA, who joined us in mid-1994 and remains our largest dealer to this day. Another key player in our story is Bluewater Photo from Culver City, CA, who joined our family in late 2010. Both have contributed valuable ideas for new products that have been incredibly successful.

Over time, more underwater dealers joined our network, including Reef Photo and Force-E from Florida, Splash Underwater Imaging, and Squires from Manila, among others. Our international reach expanded with dealers like Fisheye Photo from Japan, Cathy Church from Grand Cayman, and Digital Dive from Germany.

The cinema industry became a significant focus for us around the early 2000s, with Filmtools from Burbank, CA, joining us in late 2014 as our first cinema industry dealer. Manios Cine Tools from Greece and other notable dealers, such as the DV Shop from Toronto, Canada, and TSF Cineboutique from France, followed suit.

While the landscape changed with events like the Covid pandemic and the Actors and Writers strike in 2023, Ultralight Camera Solutions, formerly Ultralight Control Systems, has remained resilient and adaptable. Under new ownership since March 2020, we rebranded in May 2023, continuing our legacy with a bright future ahead of us.

We've weathered these challenges by making strategic adjustments, discontinuing some products, redesigning others, and introducing innovative solutions. Our commitment to offering products in various colors reflects our dedication to individualism and ease of identification for camera setups.

If you're a big or small dealer who resonates with our values and vision, we invite you to join our expanding dealer network. Contact us, and let's embark on this journey together toward continued success.

It's safe to say we're all unique in our own ways, and that's what makes life interesting, right? Having choices is key to enjoying what we do, whether it's in diving or any other aspect of life. I mean, imagine if we were all just clones of each other—boring, right?

Speaking of diving, there's a whole spectrum of options out there, especially when it comes to gear. From outerwear like dive skins and wetsuits to innerwear and thermal protection gear, the choices are colorful and diverse. And let's not forget about equipment like buoyancy compensators, masks, and snorkels. Each offers its style and flair, allowing us to express our individuality even underwater.

However, one area where I've noticed a lack of color options is camera equipment and accessories. Sure, there are a few choices, but black seems to dominate the scene. As someone who's been diving for over thirty years and now owns Ultralight Camera Solutions, formerly known as Ultralight Control Systems, I've seen firsthand why some people shy away from too many options.

underwater and cinema camera setup

As consumers, we're all about having options, right? We want manufacturers to give us what we want, even if it means paying extra for those customized choices. But from a manufacturing standpoint, offering a plethora of options can be a logistical challenge. It means more parts, more inventory, and more complexity, which not all dealers are keen on dealing with.

ultralight AC-CSF colored

Since taking over Ultralight, we've expanded our product line to include over 250 parts, with a significant chunk of that growth coming from our colored camera accessories. But with more options comes more responsibility—more inventory to manage and more headaches for our dealers and sometimes for us as well but it's worth it.

There's a whole process involved when it comes to coloring aluminum parts. For black, we use Type III hard anodizing, which provides durability in any environment. But for colored parts, we have to go with Type II anodizing, which isn't as tough as Type III and can wear or scratch more quickly depending on use.

Despite the challenges, we're proud to offer a range of colored accessories, from ball adaptors to knobs, allowing divers and filmmakers to add some personality to their gear. And hey, why not accessorize when you can, especially with a company like Ultralight that's committed to quality and innovation?

At Ultralight Camera Solutions, we're all about pushing the boundaries of underwater imaging technology. We provide high-quality equipment made right here in the US with a lifetime warranty. So go ahead, dive in, and capture those memories in full color.

It's interesting how things unfold over time. Ultralight kickstarted its journey in 1994, manufacturing camera accessories specifically tailored for underwater photographers. In the early days, our focus revolved around creating arms, clamps, strobe adapters, trays, and base adapters compatible with camera and housings from Nikonos, Subal, Nauticam, and Aquatica. While the product lineup has evolved, one thing has stood the test of time, our arms and clamps.

In fact, Ultralight pioneered the design of the arms and clamps that remain integral to our offerings today. A glance at other manufacturers reveals the imitation of our tried-and-true clamps, T-knobs, and arms. Rather than being irked by this, I see it as a compliment. After all, they wouldn't replicate our products if they weren't reliable and effective amidst changes in camera housings, strobes, lights, and other equipment.

Our products boast longevity and resilience in diverse environments. Early on, cinema camera assistants discovered the versatility of our products. Using our AD-1420 or AD-3816 paired with AC-CSF clamps, DB-05 arms, and a monitor mount like our AC-MB allows for superior camera monitor angles compared to alternatives. Interestingly, these parts were initially sourced from our underwater dealers.

These products have become staples for Ultralight, enduring replication by others. We were also trailblazers in introducing O-rings around the center of each ball end. Fast forward to 2010, we innovated further with the AC-CSF clamp featuring a cutout, now known as the AC-CSSK. Dubbed the Sues knuckle, this, along with the triple clamp AC-TCSJK or Jacks Knuckle, was a collaboration with Jack and Sue Drafahl, original owners of Ultralight.

These clamps played a pivotal role in Ultralight's push into the cinema industry while continuing to benefit the underwater industry. The cutout clamps, along with the double cutout clamps we now offer, allowed unprecedented arm positioning, a novelty introduced by Ultralight.

A serendipitous moment occurred with the double cutout clamps. A mistake led to the creation of these clamps such as the AC-CSSK2, initially sitting in a bag until brought to attention in a camera assistant Facebook group. The positive response paved the way for their addition to the Ultralight lineup, and they've since become a success among underwater photographers. Even these double cutout clamps are now imitated by other manufacturers, turning my unintentional mistake into a valuable contribution.

ultralight cutout ball clamps

This blog has been an enjoyable journey, delving into past data, recalling memories, and narrating the story of Ultralight—a story that deserves to be told. We've been at the forefront of many firsts, and our commitment to innovation ensures we're not stopping anytime soon. Like our products, we aim to endure and leave a lasting legacy!

Ultralight Camera Solutions is a leading provider of high-quality underwater photography equipment catering to professionals and enthusiasts alike. Our products are all manufactured, assembled, and packaged in the US with US materials and have a lifetime warranty. With a commitment to innovation and excellence, Ultralight continues to push the boundaries of underwater imaging technology.

At Ultralight Camera Solutions (ULCS), we pride ourselves on innovation, and our camera sled kits and accessories are a testament to that. These kits have gained international acclaim among professional underwater photographers and cinematographers, and for good reason.

Our CSK-SLDL and CSK-SLDM sled kits are designed to revolutionize underwater photography, offering unparalleled functionality and compatibility with all camera models. Central to these kits is our user-friendly TRI-TRAY, which ensures stability for your camera by using two side rails and four adjustable heavy-duty brackets. What sets our sled kits apart is their versatility both underwater and on land. Photographers can confidently place their sled-mounted camera on any flat surface without worry. The sled is extremely stable and sits high enough off the bottom to protect the largest of dome ports.

Adding to the functionality is our updated TR-MBK monitor kit, which includes the TR-MB rear mounting bracket, AD-1420 ball adapter, and AC-TKB special knob. This kit bolts to the bottom of the TRI-TRAY and allows for easy adjustment of monitors, providing endless possibilities when paired with our longer double cutout clamp like the AC-CSLSK2 or the AC-CSLXLSK2.

To complement our sled kits, we now offer two new accessory kits. The first is a camera sled sliding weight system, designed to perfectly balance the sled with stainless-steel weights and T-nuts that fit seamlessly into the side rails. This system enhances the user experience and ensures stunning underwater shots. The other new accessory kit is the SB-04-BCK, a small single-ball arm customized to work with our long double cutout clamps. It enables users to mount two large buoyancy floats above the camera.

To add to all the excitment we also have just added our CSK-WS camera sled kit . The weight kit includes all hardware and 1 lb. of stainless steel weights that can be made to slide back and forth in 3/8" the rail slots with the use of a special t-nut or the weights can be bolted almost anywhere the user requires. Extra weights and the t-nuts are available.

Our team is dedicated to exceeding customer expectations, and the positive feedback from our Brand Ambassadors and customers reaffirms our commitment to innovation and quality.

For a closer look at our ULCS Underwater Camera Sled Tray Kits, CSK-WS camera sled weight kit, SB-04-BCK arm, and our sleds kits in action, check out our YouTube video here. To learn more about ULCS and explore our full range of products, visit our website at ulcs.com.

Ultralight Camera Solutions leads the way in providing high-quality underwater photography equipment, manufactured with care in the US using US materials and backed by a lifetime warranty. With a dedication to innovation and excellence, ULCS continues to push the boundaries of underwater imaging technology.

Welcome back to the second part of my blog series on how travel can enhance the efficiency and profitability of your small business. In the previous blog, I looked into my approach to travel, its impact on my life, and the initial three secrets that have helped to contribute to the success of my two scuba industry-related businesses. Now, let's dive into the final secrets that complete this journey.

Both Channel Islands Dive Adventures (CIDA) and Ultralight Camera Solutions (ULCS) are integral parts of my life, both professional and personal. CIDA, my side hustle based in Oxnard, CA, offers local dive trips and scuba vacations in the SoCal Channel Islands area. ULCS, my full-time venture, specializes in manufacturing underwater and cinematography camera accessories, catering to international and domestic dealers and customers.

To recap, the initial three secrets emphasized the importance of hiring an extra employee, choosing the right person, and knowing when to reprogram our thinking. Now, let me share the remaining secrets.

Secret 4: Embrace Expertise Outside Your Skill Set

Recognizing our limitations is essential. Not everyone can be a master of all trades, and knowing when to enlist the expertise of others is crucial. Whether it's website construction, SEO, social media management, or accounting, finding the right professionals for specific tasks is a game-changer. Conduct thorough research and ask the right questions when hiring individuals with expertise in areas critical to your business.

Secret 5: Balancing Business and Personal Time Away

Achieving a work-life balance while traveling is challenging but can be done. Having a trustworthy employee who can manage operations in your absence is key. Equipping yourself with internet access, utilizing communication apps, and implementing technology like VPNs can facilitate remote management. Share clear instructions with your employees, and invest in technologies like signal boosters, Starlink systems, or both for reliable connectivity on the road. Remember, it's possible to enjoy your vacation without compromising business efficiency.

Secret 6: Disconnecting and Enjoying the Present Moment

Taking time off shouldn't come with a delayed realization that you're on vacation. Avoid the trap of needing days to unwind from work mode. I have friends and family where it takes them at least 2-3 days to realize they are on vacation. Allow yourself to disconnect mentally and emotionally from work, even if it's just for long weekends. Embrace the freedom of being present in the moment, savoring the experiences that travel brings.

Secret 7: Seize the Present, Cherish Life

In the grand scheme of things, time is unpredictable, and there are no guarantees. An in-your-face reminder of this came to me while writing this blog with the sudden passing of a family friend. Her unexpected death serves as a stark reminder that life is precious and unpredictable. Don't postpone your dreams and aspirations, assuming there will always be time in the future. Embrace the present, enjoy every moment, and hopefully my secrets will help shape you into a better person and a more fulfilled small business owner.

In conclusion, these secrets remind us of how the essence of travel has been instrumental in running my small businesses efficiently and profitably and being a better person overall. May they inspire you to think of your business success in new ways enriched by more travel. Safe travels and enjoy the only life we get!

Running two small businesses in the scuba industry keeps me constantly on the move. Channel Islands Dive Adventures (CIDA), my side hustle based in Oxnard, CA, offers local dive trips and scuba vacations in diverse locations. Juggling this with my full-time venture, Ultralight Camera Solutions (ULCS), which manufactures camera accessories for underwater cinematography, adds a layer of complexity. ULCS requires attendance at trade shows, visits to current dealers, and meetings with potential ones. Despite the demanding schedule, I find ways to manage both businesses, seeking continuous improvement and personal growth.

The key to navigating this dual business ownership lies in the desire to excel and evolve. While financial success is rewarding, it's not my sole motivation. Instead, I prioritize experiences and learning from others, valuing the insights gained from different lifestyles. This broader perspective enriches my ability to lead my businesses and be a better employer.

Many small business owners struggle to step away due to various reasons, such as a lack of reliable employees, a desire for personal control, or financial constraints. However, refusing oneself time off can lead to burnout, stress, and other issues affecting both personal and professional life. This is why I believe that traveling is not just a luxury but a strategic tool for enhancing small business efficiency and profitability. Below, I share the secrets that have proven effective for me and others in my network.

Secret 1: Invest in Your Business by Investing in People

Recognizing the distinction between $20.00 per hour jobs and $100.00 per hour jobs is crucial. Although it may seem daunting to hire employees when operating a small business, the reality is that you can't afford not to. Investing in reliable help pays off, as good employees bring a significant return on investment. This creates a win-win situation and allows for a much-needed break, knowing that the business is in capable hands.

Secret 2: Treat Employees with Respect and Trust

Creating a positive work environment involves treating employees with the same respect and trust one would expect for oneself. Providing fair compensation, flexible hours, and a safe work environment provides a healthy employer-employee relationship. Striking a balance and understanding priorities contribute to a work environment everyone likes.

Secret 3: Reprogram Your Perspective

Sometimes, a shift in mindset is necessary. Drawing inspiration from a past colleague named Jim, who transformed his outlook on employee training, can be enlightening.

I spent 31 years working for Ventura County as a mobile heavy equipment mechanic. In one of the departments I worked in, there was a crew supervisor named Jim. Whenever I encountered Jim, I noticed that he seemed a bit down at times. It turned out that Jim was facing a challenge – he was training his crew extensively in water work maintenance, but they would often leave for higher-paying jobs in a nearby city once they acquired the skills.

One day, I found Jim in a surprisingly good mood, so I asked him about it. He shared a valuable insight with me – he had shifted his perspective. Instead of viewing his role as training people to stay in the Waterworks department, he realized that his job was to equip them with skills that would enable them to pursue better opportunities elsewhere. From that day on, Jim's mood consistently improved.

This experience taught me a valuable lesson and one I always will remember. Sometimes, we need to step back, take a deep breath, and reassess our mindset. Jim's decision to change his perspective not only made him a happier supervisor but also reduced stress in the long run. It's a reminder that adjusting our thinking can lead to being a better leader and experiencing less stress overall.

In conclusion, traveling has played a big role in both my personal and professional growth. By constantly being aware of these secrets they have aided me in being a more effective business owner.

By sharing my secrets I hope that they will serve as valuable tools to others to become a better business owner and better individuals in their personal and family life.

See Part 2 "Unveiling the Remaining Secrets: Leveraging Travel for Small Business Success" for the other four secrets I will share.

Welcome to Ultralight Camera Solutions, where we proudly offer a diverse selection of kits specifically designed for Underwater and Cinema photography. Our kits encompass three categories tailored to cinema gear and six categories dedicated to underwater equipment. In this blog post, we will be highlighting the second cinema category: Large Cardellini Tripod, our new cinema camera support system!

Today, we're going to dive into something pretty awesome – our new tripod the CCK-TRIPOD, and the secret to it are the adjustable legs and Cardellini clamps. Let me tell you, it's really cool!

Here's the story behind it: I had a friend drop by with his motorcycle one day, and we got tinkering to see how we could fit GoPros securely on it for some filming. While doing that he had an idea to have the GoPro extend out to the side. This way you could get some really cool videos. With his help, we came up with this the PERFECT solution. The main parts that make up the tripod are a GoPro mount, tripod clamp, three adjustable legs, three Cardellini clamps, and a number of our special cutout clamps and other parts. This cinema camera support system is super easy to set up and will fit most anything you can mount it to, as its one of the most versitile professional support systems out there on the market currently. You’ll need to think outside the box for this one!

The beauty of the design lies in the TRI-LEG's that are adjustable and the CARD-SMMC Cardellini clamps. Because of this, you can change the angle or position in minutes with your cinema camera support system from Ultralight Camera Solutions. Talk about a speedy setup!

It might not be for everyone, but if you're facing a challenge finding the perfect mounting solution for your GoPro, this could be the answer. And trust me, these professional support systems held up beautifully during our ride through the back hills – no issues at all.

Remember, we're here to help you with any questions or problems you might have. Contact Us and we are here to help, that's why we're called Camera Solutions, after all! Happy filming, and have a fantastic day! We are always here to help!



Ultralight Cardellini Tripod:

CCK-TRIPOD

Welcome to Ultralight Camera Solutions, where we proudly offer a diverse selection of kits specifically designed for Underwater and Cinema photography. Our kits encompass six categories tailored to underwater equipment and three categories dedicated to cinema gear. In this blog post, we will be highlighting the sixth underwater category: Underwater Sled Camera Tray kits. & what clients may need within their underwater camera support systems!

In this sixth installment of our Underwater series, we are excited to introduce our NEW INNOVATIVE camera sled tray kits and monitor kits to accompany the sleds for customers with large video monitors with some of the most premium underwater camera support systems that are available on the market.

Our camera sleds were born out of a request from a Norwegian underwater cinematographer, seeking an alternative to Nauticam's rail system. Within a remarkably short time of about 20 minutes, we devised a solution using readily available parts from our inventory to craft one of the best professional underwater camera supports. This innovative sled design, the CSK-SLDL gained significant popularity and now we have customers around the globe using them. Since then, the cinematographer Kjetil C. Astrup owner of Cinemarine is now an Ultralight Brand Ambassador.

Expanding on the sled's functionality, we introduced a variation with shorter rails, the CSK-SLDM and a rear monitor bracket kit, the CSK-MBK that can be effortlessly attached to the bottom of the sled's main mounting plate as a professional underwater camera support. The primary camera sled kit, the CSK-SLDL comprises one TRI-TRAY, four TR-HB brackets, two TR-SBLD trays, and a comprehensive hardware kit. Additionally, the CSK-MBK monitor kit is equipped with one TR-MB, one AD-1420, and a specially designed knob, the AC-TKB. We now have two other accessory kits that will be added to the sled lineup very soon. One is an adjustable sliding weight system that mounts on the side rails so achieving a perfectly balanced rig is quite easy. The other is a special arm and clamp setup to allow multiple buoyancy arms, small and large to be attached above the camera for perfect buoyancy for your underwater camera support systems. With these new accessory kits, The Ultralight sled system will be a game changer, especially because of the cost compared to other professional underwater camera supports currently on the market.

At Ultralight Camera Solutions, we are committed to continuous innovation and meeting the unique needs of our customers. Our camera sled tray kits and monitor kits are designed to enhance your underwater cinematography experience, ensuring ease of use and top-notch performance. With our array of options, you can easily find the perfect solution to suit your specific requirements for your professional underwater camera supports.

 If you don't find what you need, please Contact Us. We are always here to help!



Underwater-Camera Sled Kits:

CSK-SLDL

CSK-SLDM

CSK-MBK

ULCS Memberships & Affiliations

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