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Old June 22nd, 2008, 12:16 AM   #1
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Pilot Upsize Down question

I was wondering how to shoot with the quick n dirty low mode method of flipping the pilot upside down? I cant figure out how is it possible to frame when the pilot LCD facing downwards. Or the cam LCD should be used in this case? Or do we rotate the pilot LCD to face up?
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Old June 22nd, 2008, 12:39 AM   #2
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On page 13 in the Pilot manual it shows operation with the LCD flipped around.
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Old June 22nd, 2008, 06:43 AM   #3
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Hi Sean,

The Pilot's 5.7" monitor has configuration menus that allow you to flip the image anyway you like, but in quick & dirty low mode, you don't need it. This is because both the monitor & camera are flipped, so the image on the monitor appears correct. Attached is a picture of Mikko in quick & dirty low mode. If you want to put the monitor on top, then you'll have to configure the monitor for flipped mode. Either way, if the camera is upside sown, you'll need to flip the image in post. If you're shooting interlaced video, this could be tricky. Progressive is fine.

One thing that may not be obvious is that booming the arm to the lowest part of it's range (like in the attached picture), takes extra force, and thereby makes the shot potentially less stable. If you use low mode often or for critical footage, then I highly suggest buying the Low Mode F-bracket for just under $200.
http://www.avalive.com/Steadicam-Ste...ductDetail.php
This makes the camera around 8" lower, so you're in a more normal part of your boom range with less force on your right hand. I used this in the 2-day workshop, and it definately makes a difference.

You can also get the Low Mode F-bracket together with a handle clamp in a kit for just over $350.
http://www.avalive.com/Steadicam-Ste...ductDetail.php
The handle clamp has 2 advantages:
1) The camera is right-side up, so no flipping in post is necessary
2) It gets the camera lens 1-2" lower.
The disadvantage is that you have to fiddle with re-mounting the camera.

For me, the 2 advantages above are not enough to justify the cost and time associated with the handle clamp. I do think I'll get the F-bracket though.
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Pilot Upsize Down question-img_9566.jpg  
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Old June 22nd, 2008, 09:28 AM   #4
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Apparently the handle clamp does not work well for the Sony camera handles.
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Old June 22nd, 2008, 10:28 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Tsamandanis View Post
Apparently the handle clamp does not work well for the Sony camera handles.
Yet another disadvantage for the handle clamp.

To be clear, the F-bracket by itself is $176.56 + shipping here:
http://www.avalive.com/Steadicam-Ste...ductDetail.php

The F-bracket + Handle Clamp kit is $350.46 + shipping here:
http://www.avalive.com/Steadicam-Ste...ductDetail.php

So as I said, I would just get the low mode F-bracket and forget about the Handle Clamp. It's half the price, and the extra 8" of boom range is really worth it if you need quality low mode shots.

On the other hand, if you're shooting interlaced video, this may not flip well in post. So if the handle clamp doesn't work with the EX1, then you might want to consider a low-mode cage.
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Old June 22nd, 2008, 06:52 PM   #6
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Actually thats what I've been told about the Z1/FX1, don't know about the new ex1.
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Old June 22nd, 2008, 08:35 PM   #7
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Ah, i noticed the trick is to have the post extended. I m looking at the EX1 config here. Got to try it out with extending the post a little but it was too low that I cant even see the monitor.

I'm only looking at slightly below waist level low mode. At the moment I have no means to obtain the F bracket so I'll try out the dirty low mode first. Would it be diff to get the balance back after extending the post? I'll try to make a marking so I can t flip it back.
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Old June 23rd, 2008, 11:55 AM   #8
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Did a test with a loan set n found the entire sled to be overweight! 6 mid weights n 2 end weights on the bottom, 2 end weights on the stage with the EX1 + ext batt. The entire sled weighted 5.3kg (more than 10 Ibs)! Oh yes, there is a slik quick release which raises the CG a little. The arms were able to handle it but is that considered to be over wiehgt already? I think it is a little top heavy as the post had to be extended to be balanced.

Anyway I tried flipping the low mode and it wasnt as bad as I thought. I think withdrawing the post would push the cam to go down bottom heavy. I could frame a little with the upsize down LCD with it slightly above my eye level still.
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Old June 25th, 2008, 06:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Seah View Post
The entire sled weighted 5.3kg (more than 10 Ibs)! ... The arms were able to handle it but is that considered to be over wiehgt already?
When the weight gets over 10 pounds, then when you go to tighten the blue thumbscrews, they will hit the end of their threads and the arm still won't be up to level. Given that low mode has the arm low anyway, you might be able to get away with a little over 10 pounds in low mode.

By the way, the 10 pounds limit is not for the entire sled, but rather for everything you add to the sled. This includes the camera, camera accessories, weights, etc.
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Old June 25th, 2008, 07:07 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Sean Seah View Post
... Oh yes, there is a slik quick release which raises the CG a little... Anyway I tried flipping the low mode and it wasnt as bad as I thought. I think withdrawing the post would push the cam to go down bottom heavy.
Note that, in general, "quick & dirty" low mode means that you don't re-mount the camera. However, you generally still need to re-balance the rig for quick & dirty low mode.

Specifically, for quick & dirty low mode, extend the post fully (as long as will go), then use the yellow handled hex driver to move the gimbal to the new CG, then move the gimbal around 0.5" towards the monitor/batteries end of the sled so that the drop time is around 2-3 seconds.

If you want to get it lower, move more weights to the monitor/batteries end of the sled, so that the gimbal moves towards that end (CG always moves towards more weight). The picture earlier in this thread is a good example of all this.

It should take only 5-10 minutes to reconfigure for quick & dirty low mode. Adding the low mode F-bracket might add another 60 seconds to the configuration time, and this buys you about 8" of boom range, which makes low shots a lot easier to boom.

Last edited by Dave Gish; June 25th, 2008 at 07:42 PM.
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