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Old July 13th, 2008, 11:40 PM   #1
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Steadicam Pilot with EX1

OK, I know there are other threads on this and I have read them all but am specifically looking for input.. From all you have wisdom on this steadicam...Mr. Bloom I hope to hear from you on this if possible.. Since you have the Merlin and said it flew well with the EX1.

1. I am leaning toward a Pilot over the Meriln due to some reviews and the weight of the EX1. Pro's Cons?

2. I am wondering how easy focus is considering we have no remote focus on the EX1 (Bummer!) To cover the Zoom I was going to get a remote for that at least.

3. Is the 5.8'' LCD monitor with the Pilot good enough for Focus, Framing should be good....I would think.

4. Any other opinions or advice would be great...


Thanks in advance!


Jason
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Old July 14th, 2008, 12:48 AM   #2
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EWX and Pilot, add in Critical Focus

I would like the answer to that too, Mr Bloom.

I would also ask what you use to ensure critical focus with the EX1 with and without the Letus attachment. Please advise.

Homage, Mr Bloom!

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Old July 14th, 2008, 05:55 AM   #3
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The EX1 and Pilot is a great combination. With a 35mm adaptor you are getting close to the nominal 10lb weight limit depending on what lens and accessories you are using. As both of you noted, focus is the big issue here, at least from a budgetary standpoint. If you intend for your Steadicam shots to demonstrate a shallow depth of field, you WILL need to be able to pull focus remotely or your shot design will be compromised significantly (maintaining very specific distance throughout). There are affordable solutions on the way; View Factor Studios is developing a system with an attractive price point but at the current time the most inexpensive reliable setup starts around $4K (the price of the Pilot!).
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Old July 14th, 2008, 06:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Bodnar View Post
OK, I know there are other threads on this and I have read them all but am specifically looking for input.. From all you have wisdom on this steadicam...Mr. Bloom I hope to hear from you on this if possible.. Since you have the Merlin and said it flew well with the EX1.

Jason
I have a pilot and EX1 and it flies very well. I had a merlin with a Z1 as well and it was a dog, very difficult with that weight for any length of time and very little control.

To answer your other questions

- focus : as charles says without remote wireless focus AND probably a remote monitor you're going to be hard pushed. In general you either keep shots in focus at the same distance or avoid shallow DOF. (and on an EX1 you'd probably be shooting at the wider end therefore more DOF).

- the monitor it comes with is no good for focusing (great for framing) but then you're flying the camera and you're not going to be focusing. You can't touch the camera in motion and there are no electronic remote focus solutions for the EX1 afaik. You'll be too far away from the EX1 LCD to do critical focus and you're going to be moving. Whlist you're at it you may as well try juggling at the same time... :)

- I would be a bit doubtful of sticking a 35mm kit on there. If you have batteries, matte box and wireless controls i think you're loading up pretty high anyway. If you're going to do that then perhaps rent an operator would be a better use of the price of the kit?

- i would consider making up another cable for the connection from the video out of the camera to the video in on the pilot, because the supplied sony lead is way too long.

One thing you can do if you're feeling brave (which i haven't but would consider it) is to program an A-B change on camera, like a zoom on a timed basis and then play that back whilst flying. I *think* the EX1 will record focus position as well as zoom, so if you need to pull focus during a move and you practise you may well get the shot that way. So you you fire off the record button, have a countdown to the move and time it with the physical steadicam move.

hope this helps
paul
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Old July 14th, 2008, 06:53 AM   #5
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EX1 and Indicam Pilot

I know the question was about the Steadicam Pilot, but I thought I'd chime in here.

I have the Indicam Pilot and have flown my EX1 using it and it works very well.

I may be mistaken, but I think you can have a total 'payload' of 15lb on the Indicam Pilot.
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Old July 14th, 2008, 07:25 AM   #6
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Indiecam Chime In

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Huenergardt View Post
I know the question was about the Steadicam Pilot, but I thought I'd chime in here.

I have the Indicam Pilot and have flown my EX1 using it and it works very well.

I may be mistaken, but I think you can have a total 'payload' of 15lb on the Indicam Pilot.
Thanks a million for your chime. I have never heard of the indiecam before, but I can tell you that when I saw the price I nearly spit out my coffee all over the computer screen. I cannot believe the price.

Honestly, as a graduate student who has had only experience with the JR system I don't know if I will be able to master the indicam or not. Moreover, I have had a few medical issues that have found me much more, uh, "rounded." Will someone who is a "big boy" have trouble with vest fit and operation of the rig? A student budget also is very tight as you might imagine. I am wondering if a better solution is for me to stick to a jib arm like the kessler and get many of the same smooth results.

What do you think?
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Old July 14th, 2008, 07:34 AM   #7
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Steadicam Considerations

Wow! What a response. I posted my question really late and the critical focus and the steadicam questions were originally intended to be seperate creatures. However, you bring up considerations that I would have run into next and for that I thank you. A complete assesment to say the least. Impressive. Most impressive.

I will keep these things in mind. Mostly, I am hoping for the right solution to critical focus. I can do without the steadicam and make jib solutions for the shooting, but the focus is a big concern over everything. The only thing I can figure out to do is buy a converter for hd-sdi from the EX1 to HDMI and use a large LCD HDTV with 1080p 120mhz for monitoring (and editing also.) I would rather not have to lug that kind of thing around on location, but better alternatives present difficulties. Distracts from the creative side for me.

There has been one other solution I ran accross somewhere that suggested using a laser measuring device and doing it by distance marks on the lens. I would need someone fast and sharp to do the focus with this thing. Also, would be difficult to do while the camera is on a jib arm.

If anyone has an exact date for any monitoring solution for critical focus and the EX1 please let us know. Is it possible to use a macbook pro w high-res monitor for critical focus during shots? That'd be awesome.

Thanks again for the reply. Wow.

Last edited by David Hodge; July 14th, 2008 at 08:04 AM.
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Old July 14th, 2008, 12:06 PM   #8
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Riding on this topic, I like to ask what kinda extra weights r the EX1 owners mounting on the rig? I like to try a config again with the Pilot+EX1 combo. Thks!
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Old July 14th, 2008, 11:16 PM   #9
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Well looks like Chris moved the thread to the proper spot... :) I was posting it the EX area due to folks using the steadicam and the EX1 and not always looking under the stabilizers....

So very good points all around so far... However my main concern is Focus now...so with that said what are people with the Pilot and the EX1 doing now for focus...since we do not have remote focus (which still amazes me) Keeping it wide and setting the focus at a specific distance then trying to stay within that set range while flying then maybe adjust for another distance etc. ??? How have the results been? Anyone willing to post some footage of the EX1 and Pilot in action so we can see how the focus was for some particular shots and if it will meet our needs... for focus?


Thanks!
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Old July 14th, 2008, 11:33 PM   #10
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The idea is to get folks to use the *entire* site. I left behind a re-directing link from the XDCAM EX board. Thanks for understanding,
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Old July 14th, 2008, 11:35 PM   #11
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No problem Chris...Saw the link...Thanks!
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Old July 15th, 2008, 01:56 AM   #12
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Indicam and "big boy"

David,

We just sent you a personal email to keep this thread from going all over the place.

Tery
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Old July 15th, 2008, 09:22 AM   #13
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Without a 35mm adaptor, you should be able to do a "set and forget" focus setting (i.e. working the hyperfocal) for any wide angle shot or a mid-range shot combined with small aperture. With a 1/3" chip you can shoot just about anything and maintain depth of field, with the 1/2" chips that is slightly more of a challenge but still doable. Early in my career I shot quite a bit of 2/3" video and 16mm with my Steadicam before I had a wireless lens controller; it's certainly possible. Again, you need to design your shots carefully and pick a focus point that carries as much of the variation in distances as possible.

With a 35mm adaptor, things become much more complicated in terms of focus. At the point at which you have enough depth to carry you through a typical Steadicam shot, you might as well just shoot the particular shot without the adaptor and not worry about it (I have done just this and the results were fine).

Jason, making a dependable and accurate remote focus system for the price point that is expected by those who are using this level of gear has proved to be difficult, so it's not amazing at all that it hasn't appeared on the market yet. I was sent a prototype for one such system that was so ill-functioning that I declined to review it (and it seems to have disappeared without much fanfare). Just yesterday we used Arri's wireless lens controller and it's range was so limited that we had to switch it out for a Preston (it may have been due to microwave interference). It's not the easiest technology to harness, simplify and job out to China to make affordable--in other words, it's not a mattebox. As I said, View Factor Studios seems to be the forerunner to cracking the code on all this but they are not ready to ship yet.
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Old July 15th, 2008, 11:39 AM   #14
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Charles, thanks for the info. When talking remote focus, I just wanted a wired zoom/focus controller for this camera but if my info is right Sony made this not possible with the Pin config for the remote port...I can understand the issues wireless would pose as I am an RF Engineer. If I set my focus and stay wide and use the Pilot and my body to adjust how close I am to the subject instead of using the zoom onboard the camera I should be able to maintain focus within a predetermined distance from the subject corrrect? In some situations obviously I would want to zoom but those would be controlled shots. I would be using the Pilot EX1 combo for several different things, Fight scene Jason Bourne style martial arts flying in/out and around the scene, also following a walking actor, Moving car (obviously slowly) and also a running scene. In your opinion how managable will keeping focus be with these types of shots and the Pilot EX1 combo.
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Old July 15th, 2008, 12:07 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Bodnar View Post
When talking remote focus, I just wanted a wired zoom/focus controller for this camera but if my info is right Sony made this not possible with the Pin config for the remote port...
I believe the gist of it was that without a 35mm adapter, and really critical focus, you should not need remote focus (or design you shots as such).

You are correct as to that there is no remote control for focus in the EX1, but the product by ViewFactor Studios is a remote controlled motor drive that mounts on a rail system to move the focus (or anything else that's geared). Just like the Preston system Charles uses.

There's some vids on FrashDV from Cinegear '08 from ViewFactor.

George/
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