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Old January 24th, 2006, 08:50 AM   #1
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Gah! Steadicam JR Lite problems.

Hopefully this is the right forum for a question like this... If not, my apologies.

I just got a Steadicam JR Lite for my Panasonic AG-DVC30 camera. The problem is, I'll be darned if I can get the thing to work properly. I've watched the video and read the manual, and I've got the sucker roughly balanced so that there's a decent drop time (that thing where you tilt it sideways and let the lower part drop). However, no matter what I do, the camera tilts backward a bit so all I can get are shots facing up at an angle.

Now, the DVC30 is only a 2.4 lb. camera, and the JR Lite is supposed to hold cameras up to at least 4 lbs. I've got the camera positioned as far to the front of the stage as I can, with the handle/gimbal as far to the back as it can go, but the thing still tilts. And the even sadder thing is that I've only been using the light battery; most of the time I'll be using an even heavier one, which would tilt it back even more!

After a ton of Googling in vain, I'm becoming convinced that I'm the only human being in the universe with this kind of problem, which sure doesn't make any sense to me. And the "cookbook" that Steadicam keeps referring to, with presets for various cameras, is only for a mere five cameras.

If anyone could help, I'd appreciate it immensely!!

Cheers,

Ed
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Old January 24th, 2006, 10:15 AM   #2
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You need more weight. Definitely put on that bigger battery, and I'd also add the heaviest wide angle lens you can find. That should do it. I would also suggest adding a sliding plate. That will solve your fore and aft adjustment problems. I've also got a second quick release plate on ours as well. This lets me switch back and forth with a tripod quickly, and since the mounting screw slides back and forth in a groove it helps a lot with the side to side adjustment as well. I'm flying the tiny Optura 60 with this set up and it works pretty well.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 10:36 AM   #3
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Hey, thanks for the tips! A couple follow-up questions:

I think the bigger battery would only increase my tilting problem -- although I imagine that's where the sliding plate would come in, yes? Additionally, since I don't plan on using my wide-angle lens much (though it is a big sucker), would it still be wise to balance for it?

Is the fact that the camera is light causing my tilting problem, or is it the distribution of the weight (eg it's so backheavy that I can't get it forward enough)?

Additionally, the sliding plate sounds like just the ticket to fix the tilting... I think. The thing is, I've never used one before. If that'll fix the problem, great! But I'm hesitant to spend even more money for only mediocre results. Any recommendations?

Thanks,

Ed
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Old January 24th, 2006, 11:04 AM   #4
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It sounds like your tilting problems are a combination of not enough weight and not being able to adjust the camcorder far enough forward. The JR just doesn't work very well at the lower end of the recommended weight. The sliding plate will definitely make your life easier, and doesn't really cost that much.

One cool thing about it is that it will allow you to push the camcorder way farther forward when in the shoulder mounted position (lets you see the viewfinder better), although that's just a side benefit really.

Also, if you put a second sliding plate on the tripod you'll be able to switch back and forth easily. This is essential, as far I'm concerned.

You definitely want the wide angle lens. Not only will the extra ballast help keep your rig steady, these devices really work best at wide angles. It helps keep things in focus and you notice the bumps and jiggles less.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 11:11 AM   #5
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Great, thanks! A friend of mine has a sliding plate, so I'll borrow that to test it out. If all goes well, I'll buy one of my own.

Keeping my fingers crossed...
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Old January 24th, 2006, 12:23 PM   #6
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Here are the two quick release assemblies that we use. Note the bubble level on the Bogen/Manfrotto 394. Very handy.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation
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