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Old August 26th, 2009, 12:01 PM   #1
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Subtle vibrations due to long lenses and/or tripod?

Hi,

So I'm fine tuning my filmmaking here and I'm trying to lock-down a couple of issues I'm noticing which I think I already know the answer to but wanted to get some advice.

I am noticing subtle movement and vibrations while working with lenses like 100mm and I'm trying to figure out how to remove them. Now I'm talking the sort of vibration that most people wouldn't notice but I'm looking for perfection and the ability to have a real smooth look especially with longer lenses.

Setup:

5D II with battery grip (maybe one cause since it raises the camera another 4-5 inches off the tripod plate)

Bogen 701HDV head

Bogen tripod medium weight: Manfrotto by Bogen Imaging | 3221WN Tripod Legs (Black) | 3221WN

100mm lens

My tripod is really sturdy by still standards but I wonder by film if it's causing issues. It's one of those tripods with a sliding middle post, check link above to see what it looks like. I never raise the post and only adjust height with legs. I've tried adding weight to the tripod using 10-15 pound grip weights used to balance booms place on the center post under the tripod. Can't really tell if this helps or not. Another problem is the instant I touch the arm of the 701 head to start a pan I start to notice the vibration as well.

Would adding a rig/rails help with smoothness on a tripod? The obvious response will be I focus first on a heavier tripod but will that make a noticeable difference? My shots are already pretty smooth it's just that if I want to do a close up of two people POV's, for example, I will get some vibration that will be noticeable.

I should also note that where I do most of my tests is in a converted factory loft with really creaky springy hardwood floors that every step you take will shake the tripod a bit. But I want to be able to be ready for a location situation like that so for me it's the perfect testing ground to get footage as smooth as butter.

Thanks,

Christopher
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Old August 26th, 2009, 12:29 PM   #2
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A couple of things to remember from the video side now that you are shooting video with the 5D....
1) if you zoom in 20X, you magnify your movement 20X...or ever how much you zoom from the start point.
2) Bogen good, Sachtler better....the Bogen 701 is a nice starter head but the 503 is much nicer. For example, if you were shooting surfing videos and you were zoomed in 20X doing pans, you are going to want the smoothest head you can get. While the Bogen is good, the Sachtler FSB6 head would be perfect for that application....at about twice the price ( head by it self or packaged with sticks, spreader, and a bag)

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Old August 26th, 2009, 01:02 PM   #3
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Christopher,

I understand the problem that you are experiencing...as I'm shooting with lenses up to 600mm!

Every slight movement is magnified with each increase in focal length and you can't really expect all that much stability from a basic 'portable' tripod after all. To be honest though a 100mm lens shouldn't have too much trouble on a good trpod.

The usual methods of stopping the small wobbles that are visible in long lens photography obviously include the use of Image Stabilisation lenses and adding additional mass to the tripod.

So use of a Canon IS lens will improve 'static' video as the lens will counter the small wobbles to some degree, however this benefit does disappear somewhat when the camera is panned. Often using setting 2 on an IS lens is recommended for panning movement but this can produce pronouced jumps on some moving subjects.

Do weigh your tripod to add stability. This can be your camera bag slung between legs or perhaps using small 'sandbags' lying over the lens to take out movement. However everytime you touch the camera or lens there will be some movement noticeble on long lenses.
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Old August 26th, 2009, 01:04 PM   #4
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A good video Head and tripod is a must. I use the Miller Solo about $1,300.00 with carbon sticks.

But even a 10,000.00 tripod will not take out floor vibrations. Try not to set up in the middle of a long floor span, be close to wall, chimney or other stiff floor support from below. I have even put a jack under floor below tripod to stiffen the floor in old houses.

Another cause for jitter can be IS, always turn off when on sticks. Some L lenses do this automatically, but I always turn them off anyway.

I have the battery adapter as well, and yes it does make any vibration worse. I use the 70-200 f2.8 IS a lot and that has a Lens ring with a tripod mount (most Canon Tele lenses has this), this helps a lot on larger lenses.

Also bear in mind that touching camera at all will cause vibrations when shooting with a long lens. A follow focus setup with a wand will help this problem a lot. I also sometimes put a Ziptie arount the focus ring and leave a 2-3" end sticking out, this can easily be used to rack focus and isolate your hand vibrations from lens.
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Old August 26th, 2009, 02:14 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone for your comments. Yeah most of what you all said I already knew and sort of knew my answer to my questions.

I've just done some other tests and I read somewhere about the rubber band trick and BINGO my 100mm "issues" of small vibrations are almost completely gone using a rubber band and that is with only 10-15 minutes of practice. Now adding it to my DIY dolly and things are much smoother and just about in the tolerance of where I find it acceptable on a rug. Dealing with springy hardwood floors are still and issue, but I'm thinking yoga matt under tripod and under dolly track when using that.

Now I just think it's practice with my tricks and gear.

Yeah I still want a professional film tripod/head, just have to wait since I have a long shopping list of other items I want/need.

Thanks again...
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Old August 26th, 2009, 04:52 PM   #6
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I watched eBay for some time and finally got a Bogen 516 head on 3193 sticks used for just over $300. (As luck would have it, Tramm happened upon the same kit.) It's heavy as heck, but is really solid for long lenses.

The tripod only has only two sections, and each section has two tubes. It doesn't get all that low, but this is the most stable aluminum design. It has a 100mm ball, so it's sturdy.

The head is a true fluid design. It's designed for a heavy camera, so it's overkill. The only downside is that it has a fixed spring that is calibrated for nearly 20 lbs at 5-inches above the plate. Point the 5D down, let go, and it will float back up toward a neutral position. I could rig up lead weights, but haven't tackled that yet.

In the real world, a balanced tripod is a must for an event shooter, otherwise, you might be tethered to your tripod for two hours straight. For narrative work, it's simply not an issue. The director says "action", you do your move, frame the target, and the director says "cut". Who cares that you can't let go? If you want the camera to tilt for a long shot with no move, just point the camera and lock it down.

I'd love to find a reasonably priced head with a 100mm ball that can adjust down to 3lbs or so. It doesn't exist. Tripod vendors are living in the past, assuming that a high quality camera means a heavy camera. Hopefully, they will soon introduce new lines that handle light weights.

Anyway, if you don't mind hauling a boat anchor, and you can tolerate holding the handle throughout your takes with moves, keep an eye out for a used 516/3193. It handles my 200L flawlessly.

And one tip: don't mount the camera with a long lens on the juicedLink or other preamp or add-on box. It can introduce some fore/aft springiness with long, heavy lenses. Mounting the camera directly to the plate is solid. Even rails can add some springiness, unless you mount them in two locations to the tripod plate. Double mounting the camera and a lens mount with shims to the plate could also stem any spring action.
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Old August 27th, 2009, 10:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
And one tip: don't mount the camera with a long lens on the juicedLink or other preamp or add-on box. It can introduce some fore/aft springiness with long, heavy lenses. Mounting the camera directly to the plate is solid. Even rails can add some springiness, unless you mount them in two locations to the tripod plate. Double mounting the camera and a lens mount with shims to the plate could also stem any spring action.
I have to agree with Jon on the Juiced Link. It does not provide a real stable platform to mount to. I had been mounting it under camera, then I tried under the rail and platform. That gave more stability. Now with my support rail set up, I have taken it out of the camera or tripod mount equation completely by mounting it separately on the long rail setup with an extra small mount I bought.
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Old August 27th, 2009, 12:31 PM   #8
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For the 85/1.8 and wider, we still mount the camera on top of the juicedLink with no problems. The 200L weight makes it bouncy, and the focal length magnifies the bounce.
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Old August 27th, 2009, 01:06 PM   #9
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Problem is when you add a follow focus to a rails system, then you really can't mount the Juiced LInk to camera bottom, because it interferes with the Follow focus mechanism.... at least on mine. So I moved the Juiced Link to bottom of rails set up. That was not ideal because of less that stable rocking motion that was resulting with weight distribution on rail set up.
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Old August 27th, 2009, 05:52 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
For the 85/1.8 and wider, we still mount the camera on top of the juicedLink with no problems. The 200L weight makes it bouncy, and the focal length magnifies the bounce.
I've mounted my juicedLink CX231 on the shoulder section of my rails to shift the CG aft and to reduce the height of the camera. I'm working on a modification to my rails that will let me directly use a Bogen 3273 quick-release plate. This way the camera body will secure to the rails with the same plate as the rails use to attach to the tripod. My slider and Bogen 557 monopod use the same plate, too, so it is possible to do
very quick setup changes.
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