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Silicon Imaging SI-2K
2/3" 1080p IT-integrated 10-bit digital cinema w/direct-to-disk recording.


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Old April 29th, 2010, 09:41 PM   #1
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World's first: flying SI-2K Mini in DSLR cage

Look ma, two hands! :)

This is version 0.5 at this point, but seems to be ready to fly.

Will test tomorrow.
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Old April 29th, 2010, 10:43 PM   #2
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Alex.


Your cables?

Did you buy in the pieces and make up your own? The ones were have over here are a bit of a worry. They are multiple cables inside of an open-weave jacket without a prayer of being water resistant unless all gummed up with silicone sealer. With time, individual cables may turn on themselves inside the clamping device which is not good for long life at the pin joints.

Yours look like they could be much more robust and water resistant.
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Old April 30th, 2010, 09:29 AM   #3
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Stock cables as came with my Mini...

BUT I'm ordering a custom 6ft data cable for this contraption, since the stock one is too long for handheld applications.

You can order custom cables of any kind you want for your SI-2K Mini from Silicon Imaging. Ari and Alison are the best.

Last edited by Alex Raskin; May 1st, 2010 at 07:59 AM.
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Old May 1st, 2010, 02:17 AM   #4
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You've got a nice concept in that the handles effectively surround the camera, so you are theoretically guiding it from a common center of gravity (somewhat along the lines of how the Steadicam expands the mass to make the CG accessible). Essentially this is similar to the Fig Rig concept, without the complete ring. However, the top-mounted monitor spoils this by raising the CG above the handles, making the setup top heavy (and leaning to the right, as it is not centered). We are not talking about a lot of weight here so this may be relatively subtle in use.

A better arrangement would be to have the monitor behind the camera and the camera pushed forward so that the front to back center of gravity once again falls at the handles. In this scenario you'd want to make sure that the monitor has enough space to be able to tilt enough so that you can still see it if the camera is held high or low. Alternatively, you can mount a counterweight at the bottom of the setup and leave the monitor where it is, but that will add to operator fatigue.
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Old May 1st, 2010, 07:57 AM   #5
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Many thanks Charles, that covered everything.

But on top of it (pun intended?)... cage will also host a light (Litepanels Micro Pro) and a mic on the shockmount, with a deadcat.

So when all these accessories are mounted, I guess the balancing act will become even more elaborate than it seems from this picture now :)

Not only that, Sound Devices USBpre will sit on it, too.

The whole contraption will connect via USB, VGA, power, and network cables to my PHDrig video capture device that now has a 3hr battery built-in, that will be body-worn.

BTW... any advise on some harness to carry that rig on my back? Maybe rucksack type, but the less straps, the better - summer is coming....

PHDrig weighs 8 Lbs with battery.

..............
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Old May 1st, 2010, 03:32 PM   #6
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Hi Alex

On a less related note, when using the sound-devices USB pre, do you find that the sound levels indicated on the "Pre" differ greatly from the ones shown in the DVR?
If so, did you ever find a workaround?

Thanks!
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Old May 1st, 2010, 05:10 PM   #7
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Alex:

My personal suggestion is that one you start building out that cage with lots of accessories you will find that the advantages of holding the thing out in front of you start to diminish. It's not a comfortable way to work for any length of time. You may want to consider a shoulder-mounted type of assembly at that point.

Since you have to have the chunky stuff in the backpack, you might want to move the Pre down there as well (or do you need to have access to the level controls?)
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Old May 1st, 2010, 07:36 PM   #8
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Lior, SiliconDVR's VU meters, IMO, have life of their own, and only correlate to the actual levels fed into the system extremely vaguely at best.

Which is regretful, because otherwise SiliconDVR is simply brilliant in every other aspect.

Bottom line.. at this point, I would never use DVR's VU meters for anything else but "signal/no signal" indication. Levels definitely should be set and monitored by your mic preamp, whichever one you use...

Charles, keeping USBpre in the backpack was my original impulse as well, BUT I'd love to monitor (and control if needed) the levels while making life video. Moving Pre to the backpack makes this impossible, unfortunately. Another option, probably, would be to mount it to the belt, but then again it becomes a 3-piece system which is way cumbersome, IMHO...

So it looks like I will have to put up with the extra weight of the rig for the sake of real-time audio monitoring... when I ever record life audio, that is.

In many cases - music videos etc. - only a scratch track is needed, so then of course no mic/Pre on the rig in these situations...
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 08:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Since you have to have the chunky stuff in the backpack, you might want to move the Pre down there as well
Charles - of course you were right from the beginning. It turns out to be impractical to put a 1.3Lb USBpre on the handheld rig.

BTW, this is one case when I would LOVE to have reliable VU meters in SI2K SiliconDVR, since the monitor is right there in front of my eyes. With USBpre hanging on my a$$, it's kinda hard to monitor audio levels.

Hello SI... Ari? Steve? Can someone fix those VU meters please?
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 04:32 AM   #10
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Don't know what kind of shooting you are doing, but...no chance of having someone else manage sound for you and record double system?
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 09:33 AM   #11
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That'd be swell, but no - one-man band here. mostly.

BTW, with SI2K there's no need for a double system, IMHO, since you can feed the cam with as high quality a signal as a preamp you can afford, and have perfect sync baked into every take.

USBpre is compact, high quality, has everything I need for most shoots, and is USB powered. Nirvana.

Still, would I benefit from a sound guy? (operating a boom mic, riding levels etc.) Yes. Can I afford one on 99% of my shoots? No.

C'est la vie. Or, Rechercher de l'opérateur du son. Or something.
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