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Old July 30th, 2007, 08:43 AM   #1
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stabilizer for jvc hd200

hi,

steadicam products are very great but for my jvc hd200 with mini35, it's near 30 lbs !
is there some other stabilizers under $3000 for my sytem ?

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Old July 30th, 2007, 01:32 PM   #2
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Not that are worth buying--you have entered the world of the pro stabilizer and the prices jump up considerably as the stakes increase. It's much more involved to build a system that can manage the torque of a 30lb camera payload than a 5lb camera. Beware of the really inexpensive rigs in this class, they have issues.

Remember that you will need to get a wireless remote system for your focus--I know Redrock has one in the works as do others, but at the moment the commercially available alternatives start at around $4000 for a single channel (focus).
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Old July 30th, 2007, 08:52 PM   #3
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Whats a good pricepoint for a decent setup in this range?
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Old July 30th, 2007, 11:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Eastwood View Post
Whats a good pricepoint for a decent setup in this range?

The closest I can come up with is a glidecam V20 to handle sthe load you are requesting. Maybe I'm missing something but I'm sure CP will throw something in.
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Old July 31st, 2007, 01:28 AM   #5
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if, in actuality, you are trying to fly 30+, youre looking at a used iiia or similar... Probably about 15k at the low end. In some cases, people selling model 3s also throw in seitz focus kits.... I wont make a judgment on whether thats a good thing or a distraction. 30 lb is no joke, so just be sure that youre using good posture, especially if this is your first setup and youre light on instruction. Before dropping that kinda loot, I'd recommend a workshop - not only does it improve your skills, it helps prevent you from making a poor purchase due to lack of hands-on experience. Good luck and have fun!
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Old July 31st, 2007, 02:48 AM   #6
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Jaron, I think he is talking about for the price range he mentioned. Why would you need a 3A arm for that?
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Old July 31st, 2007, 04:58 AM   #7
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There are a number of rigs that can handle payloads up to the mid-20's that are still "reasonable", i.e. 4 figures (as CK mentioned, the Glidecam V25 is one). 30 lbs does put you into a full-size stabilizer, and as Jaron says, a used rig like a 3a is going to be the only way to keep the price anywhere near that. Honestly I can't keep up with all of the different rigs that are being made, but I'm pretty sure that so far no company has managed to come up with some magic way to support that much weight for "DV" prices.
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Old July 31st, 2007, 05:58 AM   #8
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Alright. I only mentioned the V20 because he did asked, for rigs up to his budget of 3000 dollars. I could have also mentioned the 3A, EFP, V25 etc but I only answered directly with the V20 because of the budget he had mentioned. Sure we can recommend all the top models but what's the point when he doesn't have the budget to buy the expensive rigs.

V20 can handle up to 13kg, if I'm not mistaken, and that is about 30lbs, which is within his budget. At least the last time I saw one on the Glidecam website. He can probably get it cheap on ebay too.

I agree with all the suggestions made but that goes for all stabilizers whether small scale or large scale stabilizers. If he changes ups his budget then all of the above can be suggested, as long as they are within his budget.
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Old July 31st, 2007, 02:23 PM   #9
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Ha, yeah I missed that note about the budget. I was killing time at the airport, logging on from the iphone (which is sweet, but does not make you a better reader, as it turns out).

In that budget, I personally don't know of anything that would reliably carry that kinda weight. You could certainly modify something lower-end and hope for the best, but I'm guessing that whatever's up top creating the 30lb dv monster is probably worth enough to support with a less-than russian roulette solution.

3A's, efp's and v25's aren't really "top-end" rigs, at least not these days... more commonly, they are the bottom-end real rigs you can buy at low prices. These are definitely more expensive choices than the $3000 budget asks, but with an HD200, Mini35, and likely some expensive glass up-top, I know I would personally trust an older professional rig over a new "it may support up to..." kinda rig. The forces on a stabilizer don't seem like much, but any weight multiplies those forces when under acceleration - and in steadicam we do a lot of acceleration (even just throwing the rig on your shoulder).

And dont forget, with any of these rigs, unless you don't mind carrying dead-weight on the base to counterbalance, there will likely be batteries and electronics below. You'll need batteries to power the system, and that's about $1800 right there for a bare-bones setup... leaving $1200 for the theoretical stabilizer. Again, sometimes when people sell used rigs, they also include batteries. While the cells may not be plump and ready to rock, the older batteries are easily and fairly inexpensively recelled.

As Charles pointed out, the beautiful look of the Mini35 is due to being focused on something..meaning that unless you're shooting a fisheye at t8, something and someone will have to pull focus...wirelessly. As Charles also mentioned, for a used setup, that's about $4000. Or sometimes you find doorstops...er...seitz units included with older 3A or EFP rigs. And again, if you want SOMETHING in focus, this isn't really optional with that kind of shallow D.O.F.

For a rig in this weight range, it ain't gonna be cheap in the DV-understanding of the word. If this is for one project, or even a couple projects, try to find a place that will rent a complete rig.... not many places will cold-rent something that complicated, but they do exist. Or, hire someone for a couple of days to shoot your piece, and see what it'll actually take to fly your beast. You may be surprised at the complexity of the built rig, or the vast toy closet that the operator shows up with. Or maybe not, but actually seeing YOUR equipment properly rigged can certainly give you a better idea of what it entails. Plus, while paying to see how its supposed to work, you get the "freebie" that the operator will do your shots...or visa-versa.
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Old August 1st, 2007, 04:50 AM   #10
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i thank everyone for those clear answers.
I really said $3000 because it seems have a hole between this price and other steadicam starting at $15000.

what would be a reasonable price for this range of setup ? (the more expensive may not the best)

i do understand the need of remote follow focus. But i can't visualise how to use it on a stabilizer !

you have one hand (or 2 !) holding the steadicam, the other on the follow focus... and the third (for those who have one) turning the follow focus ring ?
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Old August 1st, 2007, 03:12 PM   #11
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The reason people talk about focus kits for stabilizer use is this - to "work," a stabilizer first moves the center of gravity of the camera to an external point inside your hand. You're now holding a lever. The beauty of this arrangement is that with fingertip force, you can move the lever very accurately. The downside is that any force on on of the ends of the lever becoms a HUGE force to overcome inside your hand, which rests near the balance. Imagine a broomstick that you hold in the middle. Have someone apply 5lbs of force to one end, and try to keep it level. That's essentially what happens when someone touches the camera while it's on a stabilizer. So if a producer says to you, "we cut the wireless focus from the budget, we'll have a PA just pull focus while you're operating"....run away. It doesn't matter how good you are, you will fail. That's why we use wireless!

A wireless focus setup consists of a receiver, an amp, a motor, and of course a transmitter. Most units combine the receiver and amp into one box, which mounts somewhere on the top of the sled near the motor. The motor generally mounts to rails, which keep it aligned snugly against the gears on the focus ring of your lens, much like the hand-turned follow focus units. With some ENG lenses, it is also possible to get a spud that fixes the motor to the lens without a separate rail system. Check your lenses to make sure they are geared. If not, you'll need some kind of clamp-on gear (or worst case scenario, thick double-stick tape..but only on VERY light effort lenses)

The best known systems here in the U.S. are Preston and Bartech, though there are a number of other players with questionable reliability. The old standard was Seitz, but that was limited in resolution and RF rejection. It was also slow enough to necessitate a lot of predictive focusing on the AC's part. The modern systems are essentially instantaneous, and quite good at rejecting RF noise. (I.e. when a cell-phone goes off, your lens motor doesn't jump focus).

Bartech runs about $4500 (single channel) with a motor strong enough to drive your car. Preston is closer to $14,000 for a single channel, however scaling up to more channels is easier with a preston and it has a number of very advanced features too. There is a lot of info out there about the differences between focus kits, etc... but know that a decent focus rig is more than your whole budget. And these two systems don't really drop a lot in price even used.

As for pulling your own focus, it is possible, though very difficult. For video applications with 2/3" chips or smaller, it is possible to go without sometimes, due to the deep DOF. However with a shallow DOF adapter, it's hard enough for an AC who's only job is focusing, to nail it every shot. If this doesn't dissuade you still, you can get the receiver/amp of a bartech, the motor, and a small potentiometer and mount the pot to your handle to pull your own focus. In that case, good luck!
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