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Old June 20th, 2008, 08:23 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Dave Dodds View Post
I feel silly for asking something like this...

Which would yield smoother footage using a DVX-sized cam?

A) A skilled handheld op using a Fig Rig?
B) That very same op using a steadicam-like device (with vest) for the first time with no or very little practice?

My money's on A. I think smooth footage that feels like your on a bloody boat is not really "smooth," which is what I'm basing my guess on. What do you all think?

~~Dave
I have both. I bought the FigRig first, and to it's credit, I found many uses for it. But to be honest, since I bought the steadicam pilot, I haven't picked my figrig up. But for that crazy mosh pit dancing, the fig rig is great. I actually took the quickrelease off my figrig to use on my pilot.


I probably should use the fig rig more for movement. We used to use it for any movement at receptions etc, and I noticed that the more tired my arms got, the better my footage was. Same with the steadicam pilot, but this may be due to the constant adjustments I'm making to get the shots I want.

I don't plan on selling my figrig because I can see some use for it. But I wouldn't want to shoot a wedding without my steadicam. Second to my dolly, my pilot is one of my best buys.
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Old June 20th, 2008, 11:13 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Steven Davis View Post
I probably should use the fig rig more for movement. We used to use it for any movement at receptions etc, and I noticed that the more tired my arms got, the better my footage was. Same with the steadicam pilot, but this may be due to the constant adjustments I'm making to get the shots I want.
That's interesting Steven, sounds like you are saying that you are perhaps over-controlling the rig but then when you get tired, you let it do the job more...?

Normally fatigue will show up in the operating as a negative, usually one's arms don't get that tired as they aren't doing particularly hard work but when the weight of the system gets to you and your overall torso is becoming exhausted, it's harder to exact the fine control with the hands. Although with a Pilot, I have a hard time imagining what kind of shoot would be THAT tiring since it is so lightweight relatively speaking (I did some test shots yesterday and didn't bother taking the thing off for two hours between shots, playback, moving furniture, snacking etc!)
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Old June 20th, 2008, 11:43 AM   #18
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Gentlemen,

I did notice one thing about the Fig Rig when I tried it out at NAB and I mentioned it to one of the guys working there. When I was holding it I felt it wanted to slip out of my hands due to the weight pulling down. For this reason I had to hold it tighter than I wanted to. I said they might want to look into some kind of "stop" where the operator's hands normally sit so that the stress is taken off of gripping the rig and instead it rests on the forefinger / thumb area where the hand is holding.

Just a thought and those with Fig Rigs might already have been working on this. Still, I think it should come that way.

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Old June 20th, 2008, 12:32 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
That's interesting Steven, sounds like you are saying that you are perhaps over-controlling the rig but then when you get tired, you let it do the job more...?

Normally fatigue will show up in the operating as a negative, usually one's arms don't get that tired as they aren't doing particularly hard work but when the weight of the system gets to you and your overall torso is becoming exhausted, it's harder to exact the fine control with the hands. Although with a Pilot, I have a hard time imagining what kind of shoot would be THAT tiring since it is so lightweight relatively speaking (I did some test shots yesterday and didn't bother taking the thing off for two hours between shots, playback, moving furniture, snacking etc!)
Hey Charles,

Yeah, funny thing, about an hour in to my FigRig use, I noticed that my arms were more like shock absorburs, and I wasn't so stiff with the unit. So, you're assumption is correct, the more I used the figrig, the less I control it and let the weight shift on my arms. I love the thing. I also might be shifting the weight to different muscles, such as locking my elbows more and using my chest and legs to get movement more.

As for the pilot, my rig is a little odd because my camera mounting adds about almost 2 inches to the height of the camera, and I have a light and microphone, so the thing is top heavy. Sometimes what I end up doing is adjusting the sled top front and back to help me 'tip' the camera down if that's the effect I'm going for. I also run the full set of weights on the bottom, except for one small one.
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Old June 20th, 2008, 05:57 PM   #20
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I've used a figrig before and I own a glidecam 2000(unfortunately I've never used a harness before)
For someone who has never used either and needs to get a shot with no practice I think a figrig would help more.
My first time with a glidecam was not good. I didn't even know you had to hold the post next to the gimble. After some practice I would choose my glidecam over the figrig.
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Old July 17th, 2008, 12:07 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
I guess I'll modify my previous statement where I vaguely referred to having "some sort of guidance"--anyone who takes one of the 2 day Flyer/Pilot workshops with Peter Abraham will be much more likely to get good results with those 10 hours of practice than those who are just "winging it". Watching a good instructional DVD won't be as good but would be at least a start.
So is there any hope for someone that won't be getting any vest & arm setup? Just a merlin / Glidecam user? I've just purchased the Glidecam (best one for the budget I had, which I really didn't have but I wanted to take the next step) and I am a little worried that my efforts will be mostly futile with out the vest.

Most of the footage I've seen in demo videos does not specify if the unit is being operated with or with out the vest & arm. That leaves me wondering if these stand along units are only "so-so" with out vest & arms.
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Old July 17th, 2008, 05:06 AM   #22
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Hi Jason,

You can get very good results with a hand held unit. I have a glidecam and use it handheld for several years now. I think its a great way to start.

If you are needing to use a heavy camera for long periods of time then a vest/arm setup becomes necessary. I can use my glidecam a long time handheld with the Sony HC3 on it.

Set up your rig and take the time to get it balanced very well. Try not to get frustrated while you are balancing. It takes a long time at first but does get easier.

From there practice with it as much as you can.
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