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Canon VIXIA Series AVCHD and HDV Camcorders
For VIXIA / LEGRIA Series (HF G, HF S, HF and HV) consumer camcorders.


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Old October 29th, 2007, 07:50 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Paul Tauger View Post
Thanks for the links. I'm not sure, though, how they will work with the HV20, which lacks the buckles to attach them to.
There are actually two metal buckles on the back side of the belt for attaching a shoulder strap. I believe this is in the manual somewhere. For your specific purpose, though, a monopod sounds like a good bet.
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Old October 31st, 2007, 09:35 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Glen Kim View Post
There are actually two metal buckles on the back side of the belt for attaching a shoulder strap. I believe this is in the manual somewhere. For your specific purpose, though, a monopod sounds like a good bet.
I saw an HV20 last night -- it has buckles on the handstrap, which will facilitate attachment of a neckstrap. The placement of the buckles, however, will not facilitate shooting against my chest.

A monopod is, most definitely, not an answer for what I need. I do travel video, which means I'm out with the camera all day and, frequently, all night. The buckle position handles the first issue, not having to carry the camera around by hand, but it doesn't quite address the second (and neither does the monopod).

A person's center of gravity is somewhere above the hips. This means that there will be more movement above this point than at it. Hand-holding a camcorder at eye-level provides a single point of support, i.e. the arm, and places the camcorder well above the center of gravity. Instead, I hold the camcorder at chest-level, or even below, letting the back rest against my body the front suspended by the neck strap and my hands supporting either side. This results in 4-point suspension at the center of gravity. The result is much, much steadier video than you will get shooting at eye level. In my experience, the difference is dramatic. I'm not as steady as a tripod, but I'm much, much more steady than with handheld eye-level shots.

Also, as an added bonus, I get a more interesting perspective -- if you watch commercial films carefully, you'll note that the camera is rarely at eye level, and frequently below.

If you want to see some examples of shooting with this technique, take a look at the Harbin and Buenos Aires videos here (the other clips were shot with a tripod): www.travelersvideo.com (The videos have other issues, but contain a number of chest-level, 4-point brace shots.)

A monopod provides a single point of support (unless you wedge it against something). The center of gravity is at the top of monopod which, by definition, is inherently unstable. My approach provides steadier video, at least with my VX2000. A monopod is also not suitable for travel video, as it must continually be deployed whenever I'd want to shoot. I have a monopod, but use it primarily for "human crane" shots, getting reverse perspective shots on boats and trains (risky -- keep a long strap on the camera and hold on to it as a backup), and as a handle when I use a rain cape on the camera. I'll only use it for support if I'm shooting in the tele position and have a wall or tree that I can wedge the monopod again. You can, with practice, use a monopod as a poor-man's steady-cam. It requires practice, but if you attach a weight to the bottom (hooking on a camera bag works), and hold the monopod lossely slightly below the camera by your thumb and forefinger, so that the monopod can swing freely in all directions, the combination of gravity acting on the bottom weight (actually a counterweight) lowers the center of gravity to the gimbal created by your fingers, and results in a fulcrum to keep the camera vertically oriented while your arm moves around. This reproduces the effect of a steadycam (or, at least, a Steadycam Jr., which uses a similar counterweight system, unlike a true Steadycam, which is gyro-based design).

Another factor to consider is that my current camera, a VX2000, weighs 5 or 6 times as much as the HV20. Weight increases stability because a heavier camera will require more "shake energy" to overcome its inertia. On the plus side, the Canon's OIS appears to be more effective than that on my VX2000.

I'll have to play with the camera when it arrives (today! yay!). I think that, perhaps, by wearing the camcorder bandoleer-style across my left side, instead of my right as I usually do, the front buckle for the neckstrap may be sufficiently forward that my usual chest-brace position will work. I can see, though, that the much lighter weight will take some getting used to, though it will be kind of nice not having to lug a big, 6-pound camera around all day (particularly one equipped with a heavy WA lens and a heavy extra-length battery).
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Old October 31st, 2007, 01:05 PM   #18
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Paul
I have the HV10 and have the same problem, as I like to film at waist level.
I have been considering this.

Take a piece of plastic about 3x4x3/8. Drill a hole in the bottom for a mounting screw 1/4 thread. Drill a hole at each end with rings to fasten a neck strap. This will let your camera hang level and give the stability you want.

By the way your videos are great.

Bob Trimmer
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Old October 31st, 2007, 02:18 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Bob Trimmer View Post
Paul
I have the HV10 and have the same problem, as I like to film at waist level.
I have been considering this.

Take a piece of plastic about 3x4x3/8. Drill a hole in the bottom for a mounting screw 1/4 thread. Drill a hole at each end with rings to fasten a neck strap. This will let your camera hang level and give the stability you want.
That's a good idea -- I think I'll try something like that when I have some time.

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By the way your videos are great.
Thanks!
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Old October 31st, 2007, 02:56 PM   #20
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Paul, thank you for that idea, itīs brilliant.

I just tested this with my Pana GS 400 and all of a sudden I can get steady handheld shots.

I always cary a monpod but always get pretty tired of carrying it around.

Tomorrow I will start "training"

Thanks a lot

Cheers

Hans
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Old November 1st, 2007, 02:10 PM   #21
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Bracket

Paul,

Threw this together for you this afternoon, to show what could be done. Probably weighs an ounce maybe two. I used a strap off an old bag.

Another approach would be to make a small adapter/bracket that would attach to the hot shoe on top. Then offset it to the right and forward to balance it out.

Sorry for the crummy pictures, especially the mirror shot, but I did not see it as necessary to put a lot of time in on pictures.

Mike
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Old November 3rd, 2007, 01:01 PM   #22
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Wow, Mike! Pretty nice!

I've found an interim kludge that should work for me. I simply attached one end of the strap to the rear buckle and the other end to the loop formed by the hand strap as it passes through the front attach point. I hold the camera against my chest, one hand on the LCD and the other hand towards the front of the camera. The neck strap provides cantilever support and my hands keep the camera from twisting. The only problem is that the start/stop switch is buried against my chest. I can use the one on the LCD screen, but I'm afraid of premature wear -- too bad the camera doesn't support lanc.

By the way, my HV20 looks really goofy on my Manfrotto 3444D carbon sticks with a Bogen 3160 head. I'll probably look to getting a 700RC2 head (unfortunately, I sold one on eBay a few years ago -- I wish now that I kept it). It's still going to look goofy, though.
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