If you haven't heard, we are no longer Ultralight Control Systems. We are now Ultralight Camera Solutions, and of course, that means a new logo and a new website, plus a whole bunch of other goodies.
We now have lots of different types of kits for both Underwater and Cinema use and in this blog, we're going to do a quick overview of them. Currently, we have six different underwater kits/ packages and for our cinema customers, we have three, making up a total of almost 70 different new kits/packages.
In our Intro video, I briefly went over the new kits and types of kits and when you get time I highly suggest checking that video out. Following up to this we have a series of videos covering each category of kit.
Why all the different kits/packages you ask? Great question! The short answer is that we listened to our customers to make purchasing our products easier. The long answer is, we have over 200 different products for both underwater and cinema use and many go together or can be mixed and matched to create a setup of one kind or another. For underwater use, you might need clamps, arms, trays, extensions, ball mounts, and more to put together a setup for a camera, housing, strobes, lights, and other accessories. For cinema use, you might need clamps, arms, ball mounts, monitor mounts, etc to set up monitors, and sound systems, and do grip work. With all the products we offer, it can be hard for some to visualize or conceptualize what is needed, and with all the new kits, finding what you need and adding to it later becomes so much easier.
These new kits are not only great because we covered lots of different combinations but there are some that showcase some brand new products we have such as the double caged camera trays and sled setups mainly for larger cameras with big dome ports.
The new kits we have for underwater are camera arm kits, camera tray kits, caged camera kits, GoPro & video kits, sled kits, and tripod kits. The new kits we have for cinema users are cinema arm kits, Cardellini arm kits, and tripod kits.
Below is some basic information on each category of kit
As you can see we have LOTS of cool new kits for all types of environments and applications with some being brand-new products. To see all the new kits, please visit our website and if you have any questions, feel free to Contact Us.
Face it, Divers have LOTS of stuff. Between their dive gear and personal items there is much to keep track of and misplacing or losing some of these items happens to everyone. It is a problem that will never stop! If you lost or misplaced your dive gear would you like it back? Who doesn’t want their gear back when they lose or misplace it? I know I would and I am sure everyone would want the same but still, the problem persists. Because of it, this blog will cover ways to mark and identify your equipment and personal items in hopes it will be easier to get back when the inevitable happens.
To bring home the point, I’ll tell you a few quick stories and the last one will really kick you in the butt with the reason why things need to be marked.
To make a long story short I had a Desert Star dive tracker that my dive buddy ended up with and it dropped overboard. At the time he was not able to retrieve it. I was also not aware of any of this. Then one day, I received a call from a commercial diver who was working off Anacapa Island. He started by letting me know he found something while working and proceeded to describe it. I had no idea what he was talking about because I hadn't lost anything and then a light bulb went off inside my head. How did the commercial diver know who to contact? Easy, because I had my name and telephone number engraved on the dive tracker. After talking to my buddy who lost it turns out it had been in the ocean for about 12 months and it still worked.
My buddy and I were on a 2-day dive trip on the Peace anchored for the night in Johnsons Lee, Santa Rosa Island. We did a late afternoon dive and my buddy found a very nice Scubapro speargun. Upon checking, it was not from anyone on the trip we were on and there were no markings on it as to who it belonged to so now for the past 20-plus years I have had a very nice Scubapro spear gun that has been used to catch many fresh fish dinners.
Now that I run dive trips for my business, Channel Islands Dive Adventures I usually take home any personal items that are left on the boat. On a trip I had to West Santa Cruz there was a BC (nice one) left behind so I brought it home, rinsed it, and proceeded to look for some identifying mark or name of which I found nothing. This BC also had a small knife and wrench in one of the pockets. I emailed everyone I could think of and mentioned it to the boat owner just in case they got a call. As you can guess no one claimed it. I finally donated it to another deserving diver.
This is the kick yourself in the butt story. I was diving one of my favorite wrecks off the coast of California, The Gosford. Somehow during the dive, my titanium dive knife fell out of the sheath. I had my camera with me so I was probably too focused to notice till I got back to the boat. The following year I was back diving the wreck without my camera and I found a knife up towards the bow in a section with chunks of coal. The knife was incrusted with stuff but I am always picking up things for good yard art. After getting back to the boat a crew member was looking at the knife and realized it had my name on it. Turns out I found my own knife! Because it was made out of titanium it cleaned up looking like new and I still use it today.
So now I ask the original question, when you lose or misplace your dive gear-do you want it back? If you do then what do the 4 stories have in common which is not really all that common? They are marked with a name, telephone number, and /or special marking like a branding image. The commercial diver told me he finds stuff all the time but how is he going to find the owner when there is just a name (usually only the first name or initials) on it? So now you know the secret.
You more than likely heard already that you will lose dive gear and if you haven’t yet your turn is coming and I can tell you from experience that it will happen. On a 2-day trip, there were 2 wetsuits that had been left behind. Had they had a name and number marked inside I would have called the owners immediately helping them to avoid a trip back to the boat or some extra shipping charges.
You don't need to mark every single item and this is where a little thought is best. Think about what items you could lose while diving especially if doing beach dives. It's easy to lose masks, fins, snorkels, or anything that is not attached to you. Maybe after the dive, think about things you could leave behind like towels, chairs, coolers, dive computers, tanks, regulator setups, and so on. On boat trips and vacations, it's very easy to leave things behind or get your items mixed up with others because things get scattered all over. Items to think about would be jackets, clothing, phones, charging cables, laptops, batteries, chargers, GoPro's, cameras, and so on. Basically, mark anything that is important to you. Just remember that marking things doesn't always mean you will get them back but the chances are much higher that you will.
What is the best way to mark stuff permanently? For me, my first choice is to make a small sticker using my Brother P-Touch label maker. Because you can use the label maker for so many things and the stickers will attach and stay on a smooth solid surface for years this is the best choice. These labels are excellent for camera gear, strobes, GoPro's, lights, dive computers, and more.
My second choice is to use a yellow or black paint marker which you can buy at any hardware store. The paint markers are usually best for larger lettering and numbering. It is very hard to write small details with one. A paint marker works great on fins, snorkels, wetsuits and accessories, buoyancy compensators, etc. My third choice is to use an engraver. This is best for hard plastic, metal, and surfaces where a sticker will not stick. After engraving, I usually mark over the area with the paint marker and wipe off the top so the paint is in the engraved area. I use this method for my regulators, knives, BC plates, mask skirt, and more. I even have engraved the hard plastic skirt around my mask, knife holders, regulators, and BC back plate.
The main idea is it doesn’t have to be visibly large, just noticeable enough for someone looking for the owner and wanting to do the right thing!
Here at Ultralight Camera Solutions, we pride ourselves in manufacturing quality underwater photography and cinematography parts, all USA made with USA materials. Our assembly and packaging are done in-house as well at our warehouse in Oxnard but occasionally there are some problems.
Our customer service is extremally important to us and we are ALWAYS happy to help. Owner Ken Kollwitz has been on the other end as a customer and fully believes in the Golden Rule, "do to others what you would have them do to you". For such a simple idea it seems many companies have forgotten. Here at Ultralight, this is one of our main goals, to offer the BEST customer service possible.
This also carries forward to our warranty and Terms of Service. We believe in making products that last, no matter what type of environment they are used in and because of this, we offer a lifetime warranty on all our products. As we all know, there's always the possibility of a problem, whether it is a malfunction of a product, missing parts, or a customer issue. No matter what the issue is, email us at email@example.com or give us a call at (805) 485-0233 and we will be happy to help
One important thing to remember is that Ultralight is a small company. It's not like calling a big company which can be very hard to get a hold of somebody who can help. You won't go through one of those automated phone systems that take forever and totally frustrate you. Call us and more than likely you will get Ken, the owner of Ultralight. We stand behind everything that we manufacture, and we're here to help. Also, one more very important thing is that we are ALWAYS happy to hear your feedback, good or bad because we can't make needed changes if we do not know where those changes are needed.
Ultralight Control Systems started in 1995 by Terry Schuller and Dave Reid and has grown much since then. Along the way there has been some changes and in March 2020 the business was sold to a longtime employee, Ken Kollwitz whose passion is Scuba diving, travel, camping and travel. Ken’s made many changes and improvements in the past 3 years with the biggest one being a total rebranding of the company and changing the name to Ultralight Camera Solutions. The rebranding was done to overcome some growing struggles Ultralight was having and to align itself more with the growing underwater cinema photography industry. Also, the new name gave more meaning to what Ultralight is all about which is helping to solve problems for the underwater and cinema communities with solutions and new ideas to better enjoy their passion or to do their job.
First a little history on the start and growth of Ultralight. Most people are not aware but Ultralight Control Systems was started in 1995 by Terry Schuller and Dave Reid out of their house, first in Oxnard, CA and then later in Camarillo, CA. Terry and Dave started out small, manufacturing products for the underwater industry and mainly known for their camera arms, clamps, trays and strobe adapters. In 2005, the cinema industry took notice of Ultralight arms and clamps and the business grew from there. In June of 2013, Ken Kollwitz was hired after working 31 years as a Heavy Equipment Mechanic for the County of Ventura, CA. He worked hard and learned all the aspects of the business. In March 2020, Ken purchased Ultralight Control Systems, turned it into an S-Corp and added the Inc. to the name along with moving the business to a warehouse in Oxnard, CA.
Some would think buying a business during the beginning of Covid would be the worst thing you could do and it was for many but actually it turned out to be one of the best things that could happen for the new start of Ultralight Control Systems Inc. For this reason, there was much more time to make some needed changes and prep the new warehouse. As time went by, the trademark for Ultralight was acquired, new products were introduced and new contacts with people in the underwater and cinema industry were made. At the same time, Ken realized Ultralight was lagging behind in some areas, specifically presences for both the company and products, website, product packaging and the need to streamline processes.
After many months thinking about what could be done, discussions with customers, and the vision Ken had for where Ultralight should be in the next few years a plan was formed and this meant a total rebranding of the company. Rebranding a company from top to bottom is not an easy or quick task nor is it inexpensive but if you want to run with the top dogs you have to make changes. Ken always says “change can be good” and “think outside the box”. After some searching Ken found an excellent company, OCG Creative with Jill Rutherford and her team to create an excitingly new persona for Ultralight starting with the logo and moving on to the website which is extremely innovative and fresh looking. While at DEMA in Orlando, FL in November 2022, Ken was at a presentation given by Jennifer Shaheen, owner of the company Technology Therapy, Jennifer touched on many things Ken had been thinking about that was needed for Ultralight to succeed. After DEMA, Jennifer was hired as a business mentor to help guide Ken through everything that is needed to help make a business successful and it was the best money ever spent.
To learn more about Ultralight Camera Solutions contact us today!