Belly Bar Support at DVinfo.net

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Old April 27th, 2003, 10:01 AM   #1
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Belly Bar Support

OK, here's the deal. Talking with a friend of mine the other day and he wants to get a support for his shoulder brace, like a belly bar. He also uses the studio1 brace as I do. No problem I say, I saw one the "other day" and it looked OK, seperate belt with a swivel type attachment and adjustable bar and what appeared to be a swivel attachment to the shoulder brace. I'll find it and give you the web site. RIGHT? WRONG!!!!! I've searched here high and low and can't seem to locate it nor do I remember the name of the product.
Yes it was on THIS forum that I saw the product, (I think) can't remember who put the message in about it, can't remember the name of the product, can't remember how long ago but it wasn't too far back, maybe 2 or 3 weeks?!
I remember the picture on the site, a guy modeling the product, a close up of the belt with swivel attachment.
OK that's the puzzle, the prize is a great big THANK YOU!
I know I'm not crazy, I really believe I saw it here.
Let the games begin!
Thanks
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Old April 27th, 2003, 10:14 AM   #2
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Is this what you mean. Check out the girl wearing the gear. Scroll down to bottom of the page, She's wearing some sought of swival type hip rig:

http://www.dvinfo.net/canon/images/images13.php

Just found the one you're talking about. Here is the guy with it:

http://www.dvinfo.net/canon/images/images11.php
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Old April 27th, 2003, 10:32 AM   #3
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Ok Charles, you sir are THE BIG WINNER!!!! WOW, that was fast and I do thank you. I will give the info to my buddy.
Thanks again,
Don
BTW, I preferred the first set of pics especially the one at the bottom :)))
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Old April 27th, 2003, 11:27 AM   #4
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She is a hottie, and I'm sure that she had to adjust the rig out a bit more than most camera operators. But looking at the setup, I had to think it was awkward to use. It just looked unnatural and uncomfortable. Has anyone tried this rig?
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Old April 27th, 2003, 11:32 AM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by Don Bloom : Ok Charles, you sir are THE BIG WINNER!!!! WOW, that was fast and I do thank you. I will give the info to my buddy.
Thanks again,
Don
BTW, I preferred the first set of pics especially the one at the bottom :))) -->>>

No problem Don Glad to help.
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Old April 27th, 2003, 12:22 PM   #6
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The steady stick?
http://www.tiffen.com/steady_stick.htm


The Studeo 1 (HabbyCam) brace (standard and Super DV) does not offer a belly bar.

http://www.habbycam.com/products.html


The Varizoom and the Mighty Wondercam do offer belly bars.
http://www.varizoom.com/pages/lsp.php
http://www.videosmith.com/

One could also buy a light minipod and a manfrotto (bogen)belt pouch and accomplish the same thing.
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Old April 28th, 2003, 11:34 AM   #7
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I can't help but think that this approach, while a noble piece of tech, is a remedy but not a solution.

The inherent ergonomic problem in the XL1 design is that it is front heavy, even in its stock configuration. Canon obviously recognized this when the XL1s and MA200 were released, especially when configured with the dual battery holder or the Anton Bauer mount, allowing the batteries to be telescoped back. Third party products, such as the Dolgin and SP7 shoulder brace (as described on the Watchdog) continue this idea with the added improvement of bringing the weight profile lower as well as further back.

The ideal is that one should be virtually able to let go of the camera when it is on the shoulder and it doesn't tip forward. This means that the energy used by the body to stabilize the camera is minimized, which increases the length of time one can shoot before fatigue is a factor.

The fully loaded setup such as the young lady is demonstrating (speaking of front-heavy--jeez) including mattebox and follow focus probably weighs 15 lbs easy, and if one were to add the B&W viewfinder and an old-style Anton Bauer battery, you're up to 20lbs--and that's all front weight. You can see hardly any of that rig projects to the rear of the shoulder. To achieve the ideal balance, one would have to add a 20 lb weight to the back (can you imagine a 40 lb XL1 setup? Yikes!) or a weight on a telescoped setup--but if that weight was a 3 lb Anton Bauer brick, for instance, it would probably have to extend a good 2 feet straight back, creating a 4 foot long monstrosity that wouldn't fit through doorways sideways (maybe that 40 lb version wasn't so bad after all!)

So the problem with a design such as the Cavision is that it does not address the imbalance issue, rather distributing the weight off of the arms and onto the body. In a static state, this may seem OK, but imagine tilting up if you had to get a shot of the ceiling--as soon as the weight is lifted up off the body brace, it's all back in the arms, and the higher you tilt, the more force is required. In fact, this sort of brace may restrict your tilt range, as it forces you to tilt your entire body above the hips rather than just the camera.

I would strongly recommend that if you were inclined to modify your brace to make it work better, it would be to redistribute the weight as much as possible. Moving the viewfinder forward (using the Lightwave System Isolater, for instance) and configuring the batteries as far back and down as possible will go a long way to eliminating the need for a "belly bar", and you'll be stylin'.
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Old April 28th, 2003, 03:46 PM   #8
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Charles,
As always your insight into the world of camera support is invaluable. I personally do not like the belly bar support simply because I'm more afraid of taking a deep breath and moving the support than the weight issue. Personally I do use a shoulder brace with my PD150 with a WA lens, on cam light wireless receiver and a long shotgun mic. It's gets kinda heavy but NO belly bar. Now my buddy likes the idea, of course he's only 40 so maybe he take smaller breathes than I can :] but I gave him the info and he seemed to be less interested than before. He had looked at the Varizoom support w/belly bar and didn't like it, I guess he was hoping this design would be significantly better. Guess it wasn't.
Thanks again,
Don
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Old April 28th, 2003, 04:04 PM   #9
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I have seen steady cams that strap onto your back, and have a support that comes over your shoulder. Your cam is then supported by a wire. This seemed to be the most comfortable of the stedi cam systems.
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Old April 28th, 2003, 04:05 PM   #10
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Well, I guess I'll belly-up to the bar here, too.

Charles is dead-on. The industrial design of the XL1 / XL1s, while originally "award-winning" (not judged by anyone who ever used the camera hand-held) is perhaps its most unlikeable attribute. (The photo of that gal holding that rig seems like a wry statement on this aspect of the XL1.)

I have a Varizoom brace with the "belly bar" and can flatly say that they do not produce more stability. Just the contrary; shots with it tend to be even more unsteady than those without it. Indeed, as Charles noted, it merely accommodates the XL1's inherent instability by taking the load off of your elbow and redistributing it mainly to your abdomen. Your abodominal muscles are some of the most active while standing and walking, continuously flexing to compensate for imbalances. All of this movement, plus the normal heaving from breathing, is transferred straight up the bar and up to the camera.

The Varizoom brace, while well-made, was really a waste of money, at least for me. I've used it a few times but it's in my pile of useless gadgets right now. I keep looking for new ways to use it but I'm not hopeful.
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Old April 28th, 2003, 06:05 PM   #11
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belly to belly, back to back

While I have never operated an XL1 for any lengthy period, I was struck by the ungainly design and sympathize with the owners. I have logged a number of hours with betacams, and did use a brace designed by a fellow operator which included a belly bar, although we would never dare call it that for fear of ridicule. I found that it worked quite well for those times when I was forced to stand for extended periods, since it did move some of the weight to the "belly" and would actually free my hands if necessary. The belly bar must be adjusted to the belly, that area below the waist to be effective. This would allow you to breathe without causing camera movement. Walking was another matter. To do this, I found grasping the bar in my left hand and holding the camera by the lens strap usually provided the best results, especially when required to move quickly. The other thing you can use the belly bar for, is to tilt up without doing the back bend thing that Charles mentioned.

A couple of years ago I pulled out the old shoulder support and pressed it into service a couple times when I was an operator on "Sports Nite" which we shot in 16mm film using the Aaton cameras (can you say "box rental" Charles?) . It worked OK for some shots, and again, the belly bar was nice to free up my hands.

I thought of pulling out the old brace to try to accommodate my PD 150, but frankly, if you have spent any serious time hand holding full sized cameras, you would just feel like a wuss using a brace with that little package. But I do sympathize with you XL1 people, especially after you add all the bells and whistles to them. Don't give up on the belly bar, but try repositioning it. And try lifting it off your belly when you walk, if necessary.

No need to respond, I'm just rambling away.
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Old April 29th, 2003, 02:26 AM   #12
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Peter Smokler shot "Sports Night", right? He's a hoot. I did a short lived series with him.

Wayne mentioned both the Aaton 16mm and Betacams, both of which were designed to be operated handheld and thus (assuming they are configured properly) both designs are nicely balanced on the shoulder. Nevertheless, anything gets tiring after a while (let's not talk about a Panaflex Platinum with a Primo lens onboard--45 lbs+?)
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