Should one have the Image Stabilization "ON" when using a steadycam? at DVinfo.net

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Old May 20th, 2002, 11:33 PM   #1
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Should one have the Image Stabilization "ON" when using a steadycam?

Greetings Folks!

Should the IS be ON or OFF during filming with a steadycam type of gear?
I ask because I will sure get the manual lens with the XL1S.But I'm trying to find a reason to get the standard lens as well instead of getting the body only + the manual lens. What other times could I need the standard lens?I don't do weddings.The camera will be used for independent filmmaking.

Thanks a lot!

Adam
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Old May 21st, 2002, 12:17 AM   #2
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Using the IS with a steady cam would produce the same effect as using it when tripod mounted. The IS is designed to compensate for small shakes not large movements. You'd get the same lag as you do when you pan on a tripod with the IS on.
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Old May 21st, 2002, 05:53 AM   #3
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So your saying it should be off, right Adrian?
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Old May 23rd, 2002, 07:18 PM   #4
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Thanks for the help folks!

Cheers,

Adam
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Old May 23rd, 2002, 11:43 PM   #5
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I have heard recommendations that the IS should be switched off when using a Steadicam or similar stabilizer. My experience in the past with the Steadicam JR is that occasionally there may be a slight vibration that can pass through the system, and the IS will actually help with that sort of high frequency isolation. Also, if you haven't gotten the hang of the system and your pans are a tad jerky at the starts and stops, it may help to smooth those. However it will also give you a sort of disconnected feeling since there is a slight delay in the response of the electronics, particularly at telephoto settings, which may be confusing if you are trying to compensate for that with the Steadicam. It's a matter of personal preference and worth experimenting with.

I do however feel that the IS can be an excellent tool for handheld work, allowing far greater focal lengths to be achieved while minimizing shake (if this is desired). This may be desirable for your filmmaking as an option. To me, nothing beats the responsiveness of the manual lens, but I would be inclined to have both if you can possibly afford it. If this is the case, you may want to look at the older 14x manual lens instead of the 16x manual, as the 14x is substantially cheaper. You lose some telephoto capability, but you would have this if needed at on the standard lens, as is also the case with motorized zooming which is also not found on the 14x but available on the 16x "manual". In other words, the difference between the 14x and the 16x can be made up for with the standard lens.
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Old May 24th, 2002, 12:20 AM   #6
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Charles,
In that (very informative) note, are you also saying that using IS with a Steadicam-type rig represents a barf-hazard? <g>
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Old May 24th, 2002, 11:52 PM   #7
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I'd leave the IS off if I was using a 'Steadicam' type device. Just like I do when I use a tripod. However, I agree with Charles in the fact that's it's personal preference.
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Old May 26th, 2002, 08:54 AM   #8
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Ken, I think that the effects of the IS on a Steadicam type stabilizer are too subtle to be classified as barf-able. The most one would experience as I suggested is a slight wandering in the frame, depending of course on how good the IS involved is (I have found that the Canons and Sony are very very good, and the type that blow up the image slightly and stabilize that are not as good). In actuality, I think that unless the individual using a stabilizer has bothered to spend some time learning and practicing, the floaty operating will have more of a "barfy" effect than anything the IS can cook up!

So anyway--to recap, I happen to use the IS as I think it smooths out the tiny jitters that can translate through a stabilizer, but most people seem to prefer to turn it off.
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Old August 5th, 2002, 02:54 AM   #9
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Optical Image Stabilization with Steadicam rig

Hello. I operate a body rig quite a bit with the XL. The first day that I used it, I used the standard 16:1 without the built in stabilizer enabled and noticed very small vibrations picked up from the stage of the rig. Next I enabled the XL's stabilizer and noticed what was mentioned in an above post, but only after reviewing the footage on tape, when it's too late. The image floated or drifted just as stated in the earlier post like it does if enabled while on a tripod. Finally, because of using the 16:1, it seemed as though visually it looked like you were never going to get to your destination because of the length of that lens's perspective. So, I put the Canon 3:1 wide on and that did it! The small vibrations were gone from the image and space just seemed to FLY by now, exaggerating the speed, with the 3:1 installed. It really made that much difference. I guess the easiest way to say it is that the much wider perspective with the 3:1 diminished the 16:1's narrower field of view cutting down on typical long shot vibration magnification or exaggeration. If the 16:1 must be used, I would not recommend enabling the stabilizer because it is counter acting the rig's purpose and is evident in the footage. If anyone reading this has not tried a wider lens when using body or isolation rigs, that could make a big difference in the final product. Click on the links below to see demo footage of the XL flying in production. This is best viewed with a high speed connection.

Links:

(high speed)
http://198.65.158.133/steadicam/STEADICAM300K.asx

(dial up)
http://198.65.158.133/steadicam/STEADICAM56K.asx
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Old August 5th, 2002, 04:41 PM   #10
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When you guys talk about the effects of leaving the IS on while doing a tripod movement, I'm not sure I know what you're talking about. The thing I've noticed is that while doing pans with IS, everything seems to vibrate--if you fix your eye on one point on the image (say a tree) as it moves across the screen, it seems to vibrate slightly as it moves. . .maybe this is just a video thing though.
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Old August 5th, 2002, 05:06 PM   #11
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By nature, the wider 3x lens will be a stabler shot than the 16x. Many shooters treat the 3x as their standard lens mainly for that reason, and only use the 16x when they need a tighter or longer shot. I really like my 3x for crowded indoor situations. It's interesting to see that the 3x helped to quiet down the residual Steadicam motion.
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Old August 5th, 2002, 08:03 PM   #12
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3:1 Lens - a must have!

Howdy Ken. I am one of those shooters that you described. At first I was hesitant to use it much because of the short zoom on that lens and didn't want to be trapped with it if I needed a long shot in a hurry. But after using it for interviews and just close quarter hand held, it now stays on the camera. I even prefer it when flying it on the jib. It makes any space look so much bigger than it really is. One of the best features of this lens is that it has very little distortion for such a short lens. I couldn't work without it!
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Old August 5th, 2002, 11:02 PM   #13
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James, nice work in your furniture store piece. You made some good and interesting choices going around corners, panning before your body made the turn which makes for more intereresting viewing. In long low ceiling rooms like that, it's a bit challenging to work with such a wide angle in the 4:3 aspect ratio, it really lends itself to a widescreen frame. Next time you are in that environment, you may want to play around with tilting down to avoid the ceiling a bit--you may even find that it exaggerates the perceived speed of the move, since you will be introducing more foreground floor and objects will stay in frame longer (with the wide angle, moving past foreground objects tends to make the shot look zippier! Reference the hedge maze in "The Shining"--those tall hedges flying by on the edge of frame really add to the effect).

Most impressive though is that you have overcome the bounciness that can show up in that level of stabilizer, due to the limited design of the arm (aka the pogo effect). The shots look nice and smooth. Again, good job!
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Old August 6th, 2002, 12:38 AM   #14
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James,

I also wanted to say what a nice job that is. Makes me realize how boring most furniture commercials have been that I've seen, basically slide shows of static images. The "flying" viewpoint just keeps you glued to the monitor.

I also agree with Charles...I think less ceiling would be better. In fact, I'd lower the overall height some (so as not to cut off the lower portions of the furniture so much) and then still preserve the downward angle to cut the ceiling. Getting closer to the floor would also increase the perceived speed.

I shopped around earlier this year for a Steadicam or Glidecam but then put that purchase on the back burner due to the cost. But after seeing this footage, I've got the itch again. Dang.
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Old August 6th, 2002, 08:39 AM   #15
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mmm...well...booming down would have reduced the depth of the room somewhat, blocking the furniture at the back. But I agree about the increased speed at a low angle (OK, another movie reference: the end credits of "After Hours", the Scorcese comedy from the 80's, which feature a lengthy low mode Steadicam shot hurtling around an office. Worth checking out if it shows up on cable some night).
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