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Old January 14th, 2008, 10:47 AM   #1
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Stand for Pilot

Well, I'm wondering what stand to buy, I've heard that a lot of them are generic. And it appears a high price to pay for a set of legs with tube, but anyone have thoughts on this. In going through our event processes, I can see where a stand will be very helpful.
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Old January 14th, 2008, 06:57 PM   #2
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I just decided to go ahead and get the SteadiStand. It's pricy, but after using a light stand and finding it needed to be *really* heavily counterweighted or jammed under something that would hold its base...um...steady, I decided to spring for the SteadiStand. Hopefully it'll be worth the dough.

A possible alternative - watching my HVX, sled and monitor capsize on the set - would not have been amusing...
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Old January 14th, 2008, 08:37 PM   #3
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Yeah, hmm, I was thinking of tearing my Davis tripod apart, mainly because I hate it, but sigh....
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Old January 14th, 2008, 08:37 PM   #4
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I have the Steadistand and it's perfect. You will also need a sand bag.
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Old January 14th, 2008, 09:47 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Nick Tsamandanis View Post
I have the Steadistand and it's perfect. You will also need a sand bag.
Really, you'd think for 160 bucks they could design it, well, not to have to have a bag.
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Old January 15th, 2008, 01:25 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Nick Tsamandanis View Post
I have the Steadistand and it's perfect. You will also need a sand bag.

Hey Nick, how tippy is it? It's just kind of insane that it would tip, I did notice that the steadistand is marketed for the merlin, so I have to ask myself, given the design of the pilot, I would think that the center would be different. Or is it my medication talking?
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Old January 15th, 2008, 02:48 PM   #7
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The tricky part about Steadicam stands is that the weight is cantilevered to one side, where the rig hangs. The difference in weight between a Merlin, Pilot and Flyer should be within the tolerances of the Steadistand, but it is important to always remember to align the dock so that the rig hangs over a leg, not between them. Common sense indicates that this will make it more stable.

I don't own one but I recall that the Steadistand allows you to telescope the legs themselves, which is smart. Given a maximum payload of 15lbs sled and camera with the Pilot and hanging the weight over a leg, I would think this would be pretty safe without sandbag, but of course if you are inclined to it is always better to err on the side of safety.

I have used a rolling stand for years and could never go back to one without wheels as it allows me to move the stand while I am wearing the rig, if necessary (the less crew you have the more likely this is). A word of caution for those using sandbags--when moving fast there may be a temptation to pick up the stand up with one hand for a quick move, like if you are wearing the rig and holding on to it with the other hand. I did just this with a monitor on a stand last year and sustained an injury which required physical therapy and left me with chronic tennis elbow. Please be careful lifting in this way.
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Old January 15th, 2008, 03:26 PM   #8
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[QUOTE=Charles Papert;808876]I have used a rolling stand for years and could never go back to one without wheels as it allows me to move the stand while I am wearing the rig,.....QUOTE]

And you bought this, or made it? I'm thinking of hacking my Davis tripod apart and having a machiner modify it. Not that the 150 bucks is a big deal, I'm just thinking I could come up with a better design. I'm already having a machine shop make a block for my Bogen quick release plate.
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Old January 15th, 2008, 04:06 PM   #9
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I have the Steadicam stand by American grip, it's a super-sturdy junior stand with a baby pin welded to the top. It's probably overkill for a 15 lb rig, we use it for our 75 lb+ rigs but then again...American sells a set of casters for it but Backstage makes much more useable pneumatic wheels (picture here...the wheels make the stand look small in comparison, but use the top pin as scale, as it is a standard baby pin). The American stand by itself retails for over $200 but if you buy it directly from American in Sun Valley (LA), you get something like $35% off.

Years ago the tripod design was used for the Panaglide dock. The problem is that the legs get in the way of the rig itself. May not be as much of an issue with the Pilot since it is so little. It seems like a pain to me as you have to get all three legs extended the same amount each time you adjust the height, depends on how your legs work of course. And if you have wheels for your sticks, that's another benefit right there.

A great custom concept is to have the center column offset somewhat so that the rig hangs directly over the center of the base, making it less tippy. I have seen a couple of very beefy full-size rig stands like this. Nice idea.

I have a custom frontbox for my stand that sits on the blue horizontal members of the American stand and holds batteries, the Preston, all the spare armposts and tools etc., pretty much all the things I might need in a hurry. I also use a cart with cases and a work surface which has an additional dock for mounting the rig, which is very handy for spin balancing as the cart is a rock-solid platform that cannot tip over. I start the day with the rig on the cart for initial balancing and building and then swtich it over to the rolling stand once I move onto the set itself. Naturally, again, this is likely overkill for a Pilot but there's always things to be gotten from existing workflows when designing your own, no matter how scaled down.
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Old January 15th, 2008, 04:25 PM   #10
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Thanks Charles, I like the rolling stand idea, as one of my best purchases in my kit was my 10 dollar quickset tripod dolly.

I also think that an offset pin makes more sense. I'll continue to consider my options. Thanks for the information regarding what you have. I'd love to see a picture of your rig mounted to your stand. Thanks again.
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Old January 15th, 2008, 09:35 PM   #11
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I should have the SteadiStand in a few days. I'll post some comments when I've tried it out a bit.
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Old January 20th, 2008, 06:31 AM   #12
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Ok...got the Steadistand and...I love it.

The only downside is the price, which is high for a...well...fold-up stand-thingy. But...

It's *very* substantial, and looking at it as it differs from let's say an Impact light stand (which is what I was using, barely successfully, before), the price starts to make sense.

For starters, the Pilot's gimbal mount arm fits perfectly snug and level on the top of the stand, unlike the stud on the light stand, which...didn't.

Then there's the telescoping legs, which create a very wide base, eliminating the need for any counterweighting. It's perfectly stable with the Pilot, my HVX200 (about 6 lbs with battery) and all needed Pilot counterweights mounted. I tested its limits by pressing down on the sled's mount point (with the fully loaded sled attached) and found that it's got plenty of stability "headroom" to spare. It's also looks quite beefy and overbuilt in general, which takes some of the sting out of the price tag...

...Which is further soothed by an unexpected, but *very* useful feature - a bubble-level built into the stand base (there was virtually no information abvailable about the Steadistand, so I didn't even know it had one until I got it). Once I've leveled the stand using it (with the sled mounted) I can eyeball the Pilot's static balance using the stand's upright as a reference. This immediately made both the static and, consequently, the more elusive dynamic balancing much easier and faster. I can't overstate how valuable this has turned out to be.

It folds up quite compactly, and comes with a nice soft case which, like the stand itself, is emblazoned with the Steadicam logo. Bragging rights and all you know...

So...pricey it is, but well worth it IMHO.

Last edited by Ted Spencer; January 20th, 2008 at 12:55 PM.
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Old January 20th, 2008, 06:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
A word of caution for those using sandbags--when moving fast there may be a temptation to pick up the stand up with one hand for a quick move, like if you are wearing the rig and holding on to it with the other hand. I did just this with a monitor on a stand last year and sustained an injury which required physical therapy and left me with chronic tennis elbow. Please be careful lifting in this way.
This is prior to getting myself a set of casters for my stand... On a job last summer, shooting with the Arricam LT, my rig was docked between setups. A very massive grip leaned over to me and informed me that a light needed to be placed right where my stand was. I began to ratchet myself into my vest to pick up my rig while he moved the stand, but he quickly waived me off. I watched in amazement as he did exactly what you describe, Chas. One hand on the post, one on the stand, he picked up the entire thing off the ground and walked it a few feet out of the way as if it was made of paper. When he set it down, I said to him in jest, "Well, I guess they don't need ME anymore."

I keep solid casters on my American stand all the time as well - would never go back. Chas, are the pneumatic casters considerably larger? Any trouble maneuvering around a crowded set? I suppose they'd only make it taller, not wider, right?
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Old January 20th, 2008, 09:22 PM   #14
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No trouble yet. It is a bit wider due to the increased diameter, but so far I haven't felt it. I thought it might be tougher to get through doorways but so far so good. And boy, do you appreciate the pneumatics when going over cables. Certainly they weight a LOT more so the tripod bag I use for the stand and wheels has become a "hated thing" along with that small but deadly battery case.
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