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Old March 7th, 2008, 09:38 PM   #1
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Indicam First Impressions

Just got my Indicam yesterday (the 6th) from Terry over at www.Indicam.com and thought I'd share some initial impressions. For reference I've never touched a steadycam system before.

First of all Terry was very easy to work with. He clearly stands behind his product and is proud of it, he should be.

The Indicam came within the week of payment. I chose the system with the dual upgraded arm (the 214 if you're on their website). Picked up the discreet vest, the high shot, and the Stabilizer Basics DVD. All of it arrived gently packed inside the backpack that is part of the vest system. Taking out the arms and vest it's easily seen that the gear is meant for the field. The arms are very sturdy as is the entire system. The vest is simple and straight forward, as well as being padded where necessary. The arms came with multiple springs for different setups. As my 2nd day owning it, I think I've tried all spring combinations just to see what happens, very easy to change things around.

The sled is pretty easy to setup. Balancing for the first time took about 25 minutes. It's all very smooth, and changing things on the sled is as easy as anything else. The linear gimbal is fun to play with, something about spinning the camera in front of me still delights.

Now I decided to put everything together last night at a local theater and play around. I had NOT watched the Stabilizer Basics DVD yet due to time constraints. Once I put the sled and arm on the vest, it was a humorous 10 minutes. I tried to find my "center of balance" first through small movements. Evidently small movements = whacking myself in face. My hands were always on or just a touch away from the sled, but it was definitely a new experience. Once the basic physics were figured out, we have this link below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcc8yCT2Xu0

The link leads to my first footage with it. I really wanted to take that footage so in a week, then a month, then hopefully a year, I can compare how far my skill level with the system has gone.

Once home I watched the Stabilizer Basics DVD, it's a huge help and worth every penny. And today playing around with the Indicam was a lot smoother and more comfortable. To reiterate what everyone says, practice does help.

Overall I'm extremely satisfied with my Indicam. It's already led to some contacts for business interested in what it can do for video footage. And thanks to Terry for his help thus far, and for putting bloopers on the DVD.
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Old March 8th, 2008, 12:40 AM   #2
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The video looks good a first try. Parts looked like you were moving fairly fast. Asided from the things that will be improved by practice, the rig looks like it holds the camera very steady.

If this were a POV shot for an off-balanced psychotic killer, it might be ready for prime time.

By the way, the exposure and colors look good for what seems to be a very lowlight area. What camera are you using? How did you set exposure? What did you do with focus? Thanks!
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Old March 8th, 2008, 09:18 PM   #3
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Thanks Jack, the camera used is a Sony VX2100. I just left it all on auto so I could concentrate on the Indicam. It should of been hitting anywhere from 3db up to 18db for exposure. Walking past the seats in the theater I would guess was either 9db or 12db. Also had auto white balance. Sad thing is generally it doesn't do that well on auto. Oh well. Hopefully I'll have some footage from my JVC 200 soon, have been dying to fly it.
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Old March 8th, 2008, 10:06 PM   #4
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Isn't the HD200 too heavy for the Indicam?

The hand that holds the sled must be very soft, use your fingers like you were holding an egg, don't pressure the sled. You'll notice it won't balance so much. When practicing make it difficult, perfectly balance the sled with no drop time and close the zoom... than practice over and over.

Consider a workshop, you'll learn a lot.
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Old March 10th, 2008, 02:43 PM   #5
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The Indicam is suppose to go up to 14lbs on the sled with the upgraded arm. Haven't had a chance to fly the JVC quite yet though. I'll post whether things go smoothly or not.

And I'd love to go to a workshop, they ever have them in Denver anyone know?
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Old March 10th, 2008, 08:05 PM   #6
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Aaron,


Watched your video. Not bad for the first time.

Diogo was correct about the light touch on the gimbal. You should try shooting and not touching the gimbal at all. When you see that the side-to-side movement goes away then you can practice the light touch needed to keep the camera flying in the direction you want without the unwanted movement.

Looking forward to your next video.

Tery
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Old March 16th, 2008, 12:57 AM   #7
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Diogo and Aaron,

Forgot to add that the 214 arm can take a payload (camera and accessories) from 2 pounds to 14 pounds. If the sled is in the handheld mode it can carry cameras weighing as little as 1/2 pound.

Now your saying "Who would want to stabilize such a small camera?" Answer...There are many great cameras out there that are very light but produce great video and a quality stabilizer can make all the difference in the quality of the shot.

Looking forward to your next video Aaron.

Tery
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Old March 26th, 2008, 03:37 PM   #8
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iT-MKQqIA0U

That didn't go too bad. Ha well it wasn't a train wreck. Exposure drove me nuts on this shoot. Though was overall a good experience in how to traverse tight doorways. If anyone would like to share the best way to go around corners, I'd love to listen.

Any other comments definitely welcome too.
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Old March 26th, 2008, 10:48 PM   #9
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I see the exposure problems you had, I'm wondering if shooting at night would have been better.

Caught your reflections a few times in shiny objects, lucky you didn't have a video light :)

Kind of reminds me of "This Old House" when they're walking through on the final episode. How about using the "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" idea of just flying the camera into an empty room and then having an audio overlay?

Just a few random thoughts... Looks like you’re on the way to a long and fulfilling relationship with your Indicam!
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Old March 27th, 2008, 01:47 AM   #10
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Aaron,

You did well on your "locked off" shots. They were held quite solid. I wonder if manual exposure would have been the way to go as you didn't want the iris to react to the bright outside lighting and the host seemed to stand with the windows at her back more than a couple of times.

Corners are shown in the training DVD but just a refresher...anticipate the turn by hinging the camera towards the next path before you actually finish the turn. That way corners aren't so abrupt. A little trick I picked up from Charles Papert and he was darned right.

All in all the video was quite decent and way better than it would have been handheld. Doorways can be a bear though.

Practise, practise, practise.

Tery
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