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Old July 13th, 2008, 12:42 PM   #16
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I believe I was able to achieve a flat spin with this setup. I had the battery pushed in towards the post about as far as it would go, and the monitor as far away from the post as possible. Your mileage will vary, of course (but let me know how you make out).
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Old July 13th, 2008, 01:14 PM   #17
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I believe I was able to achieve a flat spin with this setup. I had the battery pushed in towards the post about as far as it would go, and the monitor as far away from the post as possible. Your mileage will vary, of course (but let me know how you make out).
Same observation here. The battery tray was pushed all the way towards the post. You can also experiment with different weight on each side at the bottom as well as changing your accessory mix on the camera. The Canon A1 has a larger high capacity battery that can affect the total weight and balance. The tilt of the monitor is another area for tuning as well.
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Old July 13th, 2008, 02:08 PM   #18
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Operator fatigue - Depending upon what physical shape you are in, you will feel the weight of the unit after wearing it for about 15 minutes. After a week I was comfortable with wearing in for about 30-45 minutes. Contrary to the advertising, I doubt anyone can wear a Pilot and Camera continuously all day long.
I felt the same way you did for a while. Even during the workshop I took, my back just ached, even with a lightweight camera. Over the past 4 months though, I've gotten to the point where my rig doesn't hurt me anymore, even with around an 8-9 pound camera setup on it. And, when you think about it, it shouldn't, considering that the pro operators can fly the big rigs with huge cameras for decent amounts of time. Just this last Friday, I did a shoot where for 3 hours, I took off the rig all of twice, and both times were so that I could cool down (90+ degree heat and high humidity in a forest isn't exactly perfect operating weather!). Afterwards, I noticed something funny - no pain at all! The workshop helped me refine my posture, and practice has allowed me to strengthen my back the amount that was needed, and learn to just instinctively get my posture correct.
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Old July 13th, 2008, 02:35 PM   #19
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I believe I was able to achieve a flat spin with this setup. I had the battery pushed in towards the post about as far as it would go, and the monitor as far away from the post as possible. Your mileage will vary, of course (but let me know how you make out).
Charles,

When using my Glidecam 4000 Pro, I've noticed the XH-A1 is right-side heavy. Were you able to balance the Pilot and A1 so that it didn't have a tendency to rotate? I'm just getting ready to get the VLB version of the Pilot.
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Old July 13th, 2008, 02:40 PM   #20
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Good observations Tom. Having your body "learn" how to maneuver and even stand still with a stabilizer onboard takes a while; meanwhile you are also strengthening the muscles required in the back and legs. Over time it becomes second nature to exert the minimum amount of energy required to get the job done. One thing that is not immediately obvious is that the further away from your body you hold the rig, the more torque is applied to the body and fatigue will be greater. With a big rig this is immediately obvious, with these little ones it would manifest itself over time but still be relevant.

As I mentioned in the review, I had the rig on for two solid hours and felt virtually nothing--not to say I am a big manly man (!), I'm just used to wearing these things. I think it wouldn't be out of the question for a big manly man/experienced operator to wear one for a full day if that was required for some reason.

Regarding Hoy's comment about tilting the monitor for balance purposes, my feeling is that an LCD is fairly restricted in useable tilt angle for best viewability and it is important to give yourself the best image possible, so I would preset the angle of the LCD to this before balancing and do the best you can after that. If given a choice, I'd rather have an optimal view of the image than perfect dynamic balance. In any event, adding weights to one end of the spar or the other would assist with the process.
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Old July 13th, 2008, 02:49 PM   #21
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I believe I was able to achieve a flat spin with this setup. I had the battery pushed in towards the post about as far as it would go, and the monitor as far away from the post as possible. Your mileage will vary, of course (but let me know how you make out).
I've found the best way to dynamically balance the Pilot is to move the whole bottom crossbar using the hex screw.

At this point, I never move the battery or monitor to achieve dynamic balance. I always put the battery as far out as it will go, and leave the monitor in it's same spot which is pretty far out as well.

I think the instructions talk about moving the battery because this is how you would balance other Steadicam rigs. But with the Pilot, it's easy to just move the whole bottom crossbar toward the front or back.
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Old July 13th, 2008, 03:07 PM   #22
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Operator fatigue - Depending upon what physical shape you are in, you will feel the weight of the unit after wearing it for about 15 minutes. After a week I was comfortable with wearing in for about 30-45 minutes. Contrary to the advertising, I doubt anyone can wear a Pilot and Camera continuously all day long.
I've gotten up to about 3 hours with no problem. The trick is to be "under the rig" at all times, and with the sled close to your body as much as possible.

When I took the class, I started with everything in balance, but as soon as I started doing anything challenging with the framing, Peter reminded me that I was "not under the rig", meaning that if I were to let go of my hands, it would fly away from me. So the Monday after the class, I decided to just forget about framing for a while, turn the camera off, and just practice hands-free for a solid week. After a few days, I was able to control the sled position pretty well with just my upper body. After 5 days, I was able to control the sled position and keep it close to my body. After a week, I was comfortable enough that the whole balance thing became second nature, even when changing positions. So now I tend not to lose balance as much when I'm struggling to hold frame correctly. If I do ever notice myself getting significantly out of balance, I'll run hands-free during a break as a little refresher.

The bottom line here is that being in balance with the sled close to your body enables you to fly the Pilot for hours at a time. And by the way, it makes the shots more stable as well!

Now if I could just get the framing, booming, and horizon like Charles...
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Old July 13th, 2008, 06:43 PM   #23
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uhhh... My pilot case does not have the wheels or pull out handle.... Bummer. Us early adaptors get hosed.
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Old July 13th, 2008, 08:11 PM   #24
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uhhh... My pilot case does not have the wheels or pull out handle.... Bummer. Us early adaptors get hosed.
Mine doesn't have the wheels or a pull out handle either.

No one told me I wasn't supposed to use this as a backpack, so I've been doing the Sherpa thing all over Manhattan, with the Pilot on my back and 2 Storm iM2700s, one in each hand. I have to take rests every once in a while...
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Old July 13th, 2008, 08:20 PM   #25
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Dave-

Great observations about being "under the rig". During your camera-off practice period, how long each day did you work the rig?
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Old July 13th, 2008, 08:22 PM   #26
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Dave-

Great observations about being "under the rig". During your camera-off practice period, how long each day did you work the rig?
1-3 hours per day.
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Old July 13th, 2008, 10:16 PM   #27
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Dave:

I recall when you posted about your success with the hands-free exercise on the Steadicam forum that Jerry H. added that it would be good to keep your hands in close proximity to their proper position on post and gimbal, just wanted to re-iterate that here as I believe this is a good practice also.

The classic rule of thumb with Steadicam is that if you were to take your hands off the rig at any point during a move, it should hover in place rather than flying off in any given direction. That's all about maintaining the proper attitude of the system via your hips, or keeping it "under you" as you noted. The hands-free exercise will definitely contribute to that. Any time one is having to muscle the rig into position with the gimbal hand it will contribute to fatigue (and ultimately the precision of the shot). The dual-axis adjustment at the arm socket combined with the easy-to-position arm makes this a much easier task but the rest is up to the operator.

I may have made an error regarding the case--I've had two Pilots in my possession, and I had made the note about the wheels and handle from the first one (didn't bother looking for these on the newer one) I'll check with the factory to see what the story is on this.
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Old July 14th, 2008, 02:30 AM   #28
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Once again CP...a darn fine review by on of the industry finest. I made a link to it from within the Review forum on HBS.
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Old July 14th, 2008, 05:35 AM   #29
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Dave, Christopher--you are right, the Pilot case does not have wheels or a pullout handle. I will be fixing this in the review asap. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Ed. note: review updated! -- CH
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Old July 14th, 2008, 07:41 AM   #30
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Excellent article and clip Charles, nice looking home as well btw.
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