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Old March 16th, 2008, 04:33 PM   #1
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need ideas of making a stable video from a boat

We have been filming whales and other sea mammals from our 20 foot power boat using canon xl2 with steady stick and from shoulder ,videos are still unstable. I have heard of equipment called " absorber " that some professonals are using which will result a steady video. Does anybody have any idea what this device is and where to buy one or have some other solutions for the problem.
Any help will be appreciated, Mary
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Old March 16th, 2008, 05:26 PM   #2
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Something like this: Perfect Horizon? The demo reel looks awesome!

George/
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Old March 16th, 2008, 06:28 PM   #3
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Couple more options

http://www.aerialexposures.com/gyroplatform.htm
http://www.ken-lab.com
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Old March 17th, 2008, 03:25 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by George Kroonder View Post
Something like this: Perfect Horizon? The demo reel looks awesome!

George/
That is probably among the best marine-application mount I have heard of yet. While you can probably do something roughly similar with a gyro stabilized setup, this one seems a lot better suited to the harsh marine environment.

Can't find a rental rate or price, however.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 06:41 AM   #5
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The tubes coming out of the Perfect Horizon mount at right angles look like gyros. It would be interesting to compare their specs with the gyros from KL.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 07:10 AM   #6
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That is probably among the best marine-application mount I have heard of yet.
[snip]
Can't find a rental rate or price, however.
I believe the other gyro setups are not designed for cancelling all movement like the one from MPM, but just for stabilizing and reducing vibrations.

I'm sure Perfect Horizon won't come in really cheap, but I guess an answer is only a phone call away. And Mary wanted to know what pro's were using...

George/

P.S. I'm also wondering what would happen if you used a steadicam with the arm attached to a tripod or the boat. It should be able to cancel a lot but you couldn't rely on inertia alone to provide a perfectly stable shot for long...
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Old March 17th, 2008, 08:00 AM   #7
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Videocamera stabilizer

I want to thank everybody for answering my question about " absorber ".
It seems like all of them are above our budget. Is there anything less expensive on the market that would be better than just using a steady stick that we have been using so far.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 08:16 AM   #8
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Not sure if it would do but, bearing in mind your comment about budget, what about a Manfrotto Fig Rig? (it looks a bit like a steering wheel and the camera mounts in the lower center of the wheel on a tripod shoe.) There's a picture of one on this UK webpage but they are widely available. I've used one for walking around shots and it's superb how it smooths out the steps but, as to how it might work on the sea I've no idea. Maybe someone has tried one on a boat?

http://www.b-hague.co.uk/Camcorder%20Steadymount.htm
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Old March 17th, 2008, 08:50 AM   #9
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I hadn't brought up Makohead, they're similar to the Perfect Horizon, but the latter is much better I believe. The Mako may be less expensive though.

I think a full vest + arm and some preparation + caution should yield a much better result then just a stick.

George/
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Old March 17th, 2008, 05:32 PM   #10
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I couldn't tell much from the photo of the Perfect Horizon unit, but does it float on a gimble like a steadicam?
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Old March 18th, 2008, 03:32 AM   #11
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"I couldn't tell much from the photo of the Perfect Horizon unit, but does it float on a gimble like a steadicam?"

The Perfect Horizon unit sits between the tripod and the fluid head.

http://perfecthorizon.com/applexampl.html

So the fluid head apparently operates normally. It's like having a tripod that constantly self-levels. That means pan and tilt works as it usually does.

Take note of how many sandbags are holding down these things! One might be able to avoid the sandbags and just screw the mounts into the deck. After all, a few screw holes are easily sealed up afterward with a couple tubes of 3M 5200! :-)

Depending on the camera weight, the amount of torque the correction units apply is considerable. It's recommended the system be bolted to one-inch-thick plywood because 3/4" plywood deforms too much. If you've ever tried to bend 3/4" plywood, you'll get an idea of how much force is involved. Just as a reference, 3/4" plywood is construction industry standard for the sub-floor of residential homes... !

The Perfect Horizon system is very impressive in that it can sense an attitude change and make the necessary adjustments quickly and proportionately accurate.

A potential concern with gyroscopically stabilized mounts is that the slew rate is constrained by the gyros' limits. Swing too fast and the gyro can "bottom out" inside the housing. They're really intended to maintain the position of an object that's allowed to float freely within a gimbal and not force a mass to a given attitude.

It also takes a half hour before the gyro is spun up to full speed.

But if you had a Glidecam on a vehicle mount, you can probably get a couple of KenLab gyros to keep it stable and get really nice results. However, from what I saw of the Perfect Horizon demo footage, they were able to correct for some quick pitching and rolling. They were also able to shoot from a boat running on moderate sea conditions. That means the boat will take some pounding, and the spring-loaded support arm of the Glidecam can't take that kind of high-amplitude loading and unloading.

Perhaps you'd need to lock down the Glidecam while underway. And once you're in position you can unlock it and start shooting. The other concern in that case is whether the gyros can tolerate that kind of shock while being transported.

I would strongly recommend against wearing a Glidecam on a boat. If you fall overboard you might not be able to ditch the rig fast enough to avoid drowning. And PFD's aren't designed to float someone in the proper orientation while wearing that much hardware.
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