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Sony HVR-A1 and HDR-HC Series
Sony's latest single-CMOS additions to their HDV camcorder line.


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Old July 31st, 2006, 05:14 PM   #1
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easy A1 modification better camera balance

I found the A1 to be extremely unbalanced with the original mic attachment setup, even when using a much larger battery off the back. This was compounded by my hanging a Sony .7x wide conversion lens off the front of it most of the time (if you do much close in work like I do, it's worth it, believe me).

I have no hangups against modifying my stuff if it doen't involve too much effort, so I found a way to make a little, easy, non-warranty-breaking help to the stupidly unbalanced camera. I honestly think somebody at Sony must have been smoking something illegal when they made the original setup!

Anyway, here's the simple, fast and pretty non-invasive mod:
1. remove and turn over the mic support mess
2. unscrew the four little screws holding the camera mount to the mic mixer case.
3. turn mount around 180 degrees.
4. screw it back on (yes, the holes line up and no...there are no other attachments or things to break).
5. slide the special Sony-only mic attachment onto camera BEFORE attaching the slidemount onto camera (this is IMPORTANT!)
6. While holding the "mic attachment connector" so it doesn't un-attach itself...slide the whole mic setup onto the camera mount until it touches the "mic attachment connector" and tighten it down. It hangs 1 cm off the front, but has plenty of support.

It's much, much better balanced then, as the center of gravity is set backwards by several inches. It makes the camera a WHOLE lot more balanced, even without any lens adaptors weighing down the front.

Makes a mistake into a more user-friendly thing and saves your arm a bit. (what were those Sony guys thinking anyway? Good grief!)

Enjoy!

Stephen Armour - ABE Prod. - Brazil
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Old July 31st, 2006, 05:28 PM   #2
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"Before and after" photos, anybody?
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Old July 31st, 2006, 05:54 PM   #3
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Ack!!! Just sold my camera last night... wish I would have thought of this! Had quite a few heralding moments when my camera tipped over on a table, sometimes over the edge) because of it's balance issues!
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Camera: Canon XH A1 (once it's out!!)
Lens: Canon FD 50mm f/1.4, 35mm-70mm f/2.8-3.5, 70mm-140mm f/3.8
Adapter: Micro35 DIY *Ghetto style!*
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Old July 31st, 2006, 06:14 PM   #4
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A1U-mod photo (after...)

here's the "after" photo (didn't figure you needed the "before"...)

Stephen Armour - ABE Prod. - Brazil
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easy A1 modification better camera balance-a1u_mod.jpg  
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Old July 31st, 2006, 08:48 PM   #5
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one more thing about A1U mod...

If you're the wild type and run with your camera while chasing lions, or doing mountain-climbing films, motocross chases, or something similar...

...you might want to put a small black rubber band ("professional look...) around the "mic plugin" and the front of the mic attachment. Keeps that little mickey mouse mic connector up snug against the modified base position.

Easy on, easy off...
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Old July 31st, 2006, 10:00 PM   #6
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Well done -- excellent tip -- thanks for the photo, Stephen!
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Old August 1st, 2006, 10:48 AM   #7
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XLR connector

Since we are talking about reducing the dimensions of the ungainly "audio stalk" here's another idea that worked for me... you have to do a bit of soldering though.
Get a Neutrik Angled XLR Male connector from B&H For about $6. Replace the straight XLR with this. It makes the XLR not stick out so far.
Item: B&H# NENC3MRC.

Seems to work well, even with the porta brace rs-a1u raincover.

PS I REALLY like the idea about reversing the audio stalk!
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Old August 1st, 2006, 11:05 AM   #8
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Wow, really interesting idea.

I will definetely give it a shot.

BTW, where in Brazil are you based? I am from Rio de Janeiro. :)
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Old August 3rd, 2006, 11:33 AM   #9
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This modification is fantastic.

Thank you.

tony
www.macastat.com
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Old August 20th, 2006, 02:33 PM   #10
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A1U "Armour mic mod" reviewed

I still have found nothing to criticize on my "Armour mod" except needing to be careful to connect the mic's electrical plug BEFORE putting the mic "foot" into the slot and then tightening...

...with one caveat: it totally changes the center of gravity if you have a Steadicam Merlin! But if you have one, you already know ANYTHING will change these sensitive little gizmo's balance. I'm using one with a larger battery and the orginal mic, but will soon try to set it up with a longer, better shotgun and/or a Sony .7 x wide-angle. Hopefully, the new mic position will help even more with those items. I'm not even sure I could have used the Merlin ohterwise.

BTW Alexander, I'm in SC. Over near the Argentine border. Long ways from RJ!

Stephen Armour - "Lion Cub Productions" (ABE) - Brazil
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Old August 26th, 2006, 08:24 PM   #11
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Hey thanks for a simple but great idea! I found I could just turn the XLR module around without having to do any re-fitting of the mount. Seems to work just fine.
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Old August 27th, 2006, 01:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Armour
Enjoy!
Just did the mount modification. This really works, even with the Rode's SM5 shock mount it works just great. Thanks for the tip!
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Old September 14th, 2006, 09:03 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Armour
I found the A1 to be extremely unbalanced with the original mic attachment setup, even when using a much larger battery off the back. This was compounded by my hanging a Sony .7x wide conversion lens off the front of it most of the time (if you do much close in work like I do, it's worth it, believe me).

I have no hangups against modifying my stuff if it doen't involve too much effort, so I found a way to make a little, easy, non-warranty-breaking help to the stupidly unbalanced camera. I honestly think somebody at Sony must have been smoking something illegal when they made the original setup!

Anyway, here's the simple, fast and pretty non-invasive mod:
1. remove and turn over the mic support mess
2. unscrew the four little screws holding the camera mount to the mic mixer case.
3. turn mount around 180 degrees.
4. screw it back on (yes, the holes line up and no...there are no other attachments or things to break).
5. slide the special Sony-only mic attachment onto camera BEFORE attaching the slidemount onto camera (this is IMPORTANT!)
6. While holding the "mic attachment connector" so it doesn't un-attach itself...slide the whole mic setup onto the camera mount until it touches the "mic attachment connector" and tighten it down. It hangs 1 cm off the front, but has plenty of support.

It's much, much better balanced then, as the center of gravity is set backwards by several inches. It makes the camera a WHOLE lot more balanced, even without any lens adaptors weighing down the front.

Makes a mistake into a more user-friendly thing and saves your arm a bit. (what were those Sony guys thinking anyway? Good grief!)

Enjoy!

Stephen Armour - ABE Prod. - Brazil

I did this modification on the two A1's we bought recently and it has greatly improved the balance. However, I did notice that one of the mounting screws apparently creates a chassis ground between the audio module and the camera chassis. There is a metal strip that no longer gets connected when I turn the audio module mount around. I have not noticed any ground hum or noticable noise.

Anybody have experience with this?
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