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Old August 26th, 2003, 01:57 PM   #16
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Listen to Bryan. I'm one of the users of the Marzpak as Bryan was referring to, and I can tell you that I'm a satisfied user as well. As I have mentioned in an earlier thread, it might look strange but it works. If you take a closer look next time you see sports on TV, don't be surprised if you find several camera crews wearing this kind of gear. They have become pretty regularly used by videographers, at least here in Europe.
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Old August 26th, 2003, 02:43 PM   #17
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Thanks everyone for your responses. I think that I will give the Marzpak a try!

Randall
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Old September 2nd, 2003, 11:07 PM   #18
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Your requirements effectively narrows down the available solutions out there. You can rule out any sort of steadycam/glidecam or any other derivatives of these. Unless you spend $$$ on the REAL units with vest and arm support these will kill your arm and your back and is only good for short specific shots. I've used the MarzPak with a VX1000 and i can tell you how it meets each of the below reqs.

1. Support the camera to keep minimal stress on my back/arms.

The MarzPak is a great tripod replacement. Camera weight is distributed throughout your torso and you hardly feel the 4lbs in front of you.

2. Provide steady shots, at a minimum when the camera is held still. At least as good as shoulder mounted cameras used in ENG work.

When standing still, it can provide "almost" tripod quality stills, when walking around, you have apply downward pressure on the camera to cancel out any movement from your torso, if you don't do so, the camera will move around. But this is not difficult nor streneous to do.

3. Allow a fairly full range of movement for high, low, over a table, dutch angles, etc.

The MarzPak, if you look at the pics towers almsot a foot over your head. When I first used it, The pole above me kept bumping into walls when I pass through doors. I also found it difficult to sit down but you can probably adjust the vest to allow that. But you CAN point the camera in which ever direction you want and just apply downwards pressure and the camera will be still in that angle.


4. Ability to mount/dismount quickly. Often I will need to move the camera between a tripod and the support system quickly.

A hook attaches to the handle bar which can be unhooked quickly. Your quick release plate can be attached to the cam while on the marzPack.

I don't work for MarzPak but since ppl here have brought it up I thought I'd give my take on it.
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Old September 2nd, 2003, 11:26 PM   #19
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Just to add. the tension as well as the mast height are easily adjustable . Both can be don on the fly.
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Old September 5th, 2003, 07:27 PM   #20
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My dad just got the heavy duty Marzpak. It looks pretty funky, but it looks very well made too, kind of like a backpack without the pack. Dad said the people were very nice and it was shipped right away.

A question to Bryan: Could you use it while crawling on your hands and knees through brush? or maybe squatting down low?

I ride a unicycle and wanted to try it there too but I don't think pops will let me use one of his cameras.

JH
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Old September 5th, 2003, 07:33 PM   #21
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How about some sample clips from Marzpack users?
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Old September 9th, 2003, 12:30 AM   #22
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"A question to Bryan: Could you use it while crawling on your hands and knees through brush? or maybe squatting down low?"
Crawling, definetly not. Squatting would be bad for balance with any aid. On one knee would be ok.
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Old September 10th, 2003, 08:35 AM   #23
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Well, I got to use my new Marzpak yesterday on a shoot. I did a walk and talk interview and lots of indoor and outdoor shots with a DVX-100 camera. It worked very well, and my back felt a lot better than previous shoots.

The rig is easy to adjust to fit the way that you want. The shoulder straps initially are set about a quarter of the way from the top of the frame. I moved mine up a bit after trying to move them all the way to the top. With the straps at the very top, I could not reach the cleat at the bottom of the frame, so I moved the straps back down to top of the middle section of the frame.

I kept the waist strap pretty tight so that the rig does not pivot when the camera is attached to the cord. I bought a 5 lbs weight, but did not use it since it takes too long to attach and detach to the camera. I am looking at making a quick release plate weight, but I am not sure that I really need it.

The rig comes with two extension tubes (a short and long) that determine how far in front of you the cord hangs down. With the longest one the camera is in a good position to use the viewfinder. However, to use the LCD, I have to push the camera farther away (my old eyes don't focus well close up). This is not a major problem, but it would be nice if there were longer extension tubes available.

I was able to keep steady shots both at short and long focal lengths with no problem. Moving slowly during the walk and talk also looked pretty good and stable. Trying to walk faster or emulate a dolly shot is not as effective or easy as a steadycam. It is about equilivant to a shoulder mount camera which was the level of stability I was looking for. Overall, I am pretty happy with the rig and I want to thank everyone for their suggestions and for pointing me to the MarzPak.

I will try to post some footage sometime next week. I have another shoot this weekend which will keep me busy.

Thanks,

Randall
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Old September 10th, 2003, 10:32 PM   #24
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Randall

Did your wife call you a knob and threaten to leave you if you were seen with your Marzpak on?

Actually most people think it's cool and can see it's purpose right away. My daughter on the other hand laughs hysterically.
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Old September 11th, 2003, 09:01 AM   #25
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I told her that my doctor had perscribed it! No, she thought that it looked professional. She is my boom operator, so I let her use one of the velcro straps to hold her cabled, so she was happy.

Thanks,

Randall
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Old September 11th, 2003, 10:14 AM   #26
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"I told her that my doctor had perscribed it!"

That is the very best excuse I have ever heard, may i borrow it? I don't suppose it would work with my new flash recorder or mixer, just things that look orthopaedic.

That velcro wrap that Christy uses on the marzpak can be purchased from Home Depot. It cost me $9 canadian for a 9' x 3/4" roll, it's called velcro one wrap
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Old September 11th, 2003, 04:19 PM   #27
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Sure, feel free. I haven't registered it as a trademark! :-)

Thanks again!

Randall
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Old September 15th, 2003, 04:08 AM   #28
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Reply to Papert

CHARLIE SAYS:
"Well, to me a camera that can only be held in the hands with no provision for shoulder relief will cause eventual stress on the arms and upper back (between the shoulder blades etc.). It's a very unnatural position, to hold a camera steady with all the weight leveraged in the front. I think of it as the DV curse--this 4 lb cameras that are more uncomfortable after a few minutes than a 22 lb Betacam, which nestles nicely on the shoulder. "

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Above is so true, the fact is, my sony VX2000 is a stepping stone to a full size camera for me. I am so sick of the burning pains and locked shoulders that ache for days, the thought of a shoulder rested 20 pounder is so sweet and music to my joints and muscles.
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Old September 15th, 2003, 04:43 PM   #29
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Gee, that Papert guy sure can go on and on...!

The other night I watched "Rosemary's Baby" for the first time in my adult life (and was blown away by Polanski's blocking and editing choices--everyone should check this out if they haven't seen it in a while!). In the 'behind the scenes" doc on the DVD, there are some shots of Roman operating a handheld camera with a setup he apparently helped devise, which appeared to consist simply of a couple of planks across the shoulders, with the camera mounted to the front and counterweight lashed to the back.

The Arri 2c's that were used in the day, especially with the French New Wave, were very similar to the handheld DV cameras we use now; stubby little affairs that are held in front of the torso with both hands. Roman's rig sent the weight backwards, centered on the shoulders. This is quite similar to some of the aftermarket rigs available.

The stunning thing to me is that since the XL1, camera manufacturers are more than aware that they are making products for the indie film market (hello? Panasonic? JVC?) but have not yet bothered to make their own handheld setups available. This, 35 years after "Rosemary's Baby". Stunning.
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Old September 15th, 2003, 08:27 PM   #30
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Rosemary's baby.....

will take a DVD relook. Charles is right about the shoulder and cam weight distribution situation. Perhaps, too much emphasis by manufacturers has been place on the hand-held idea.
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