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Old July 23rd, 2008, 03:06 AM   #16
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"It is helped more with a small pan head and quick release system on top of the monopod."


I'll second that. A quick release is a must no matter which pod is used.
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 08:11 AM   #17
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I would second the Steadicam approach.

If a lot of footage will be shot while you are walking, the full rig with arm is the only way to not wear out your audience.

This is a unique look that is only available with the right gear.

Monopods work well for a little movement. I use a monopod with a 501 fluid head set inside a cell phone pouch on my belt along with a leather strap clipped on and around my neck.

This works great for weddings as you can operate like a tripod with the fluid head, but a lot of movement takes a lot of care.

But it would just as cumbersome on a hiking trail imho.

So go big is my suggestion!
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 07:46 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Tim Polster View Post
If a lot of footage will be shot while you are walking, the full rig with arm is the only way to not wear out your audience.
This is a unique look that is only available with the right gear.
No argument there. It really does come down to- what's the plan?
If you are depending on a high percentage of motion shots, and that's the look you want to create, you'll need the gear.
If most of it can be shot from fixed positions, and convenience/mobility is key, a pod is a simple, effective way to go.
A personal factor for me, when my ambition threatens to overtake my actual patience and skill, is to remember, particularly for wilderness/travel programs, that when it's easy to setup and shoot, I shoot a lot and have what I need at edit. When it's more complex to shoot, I'm tired, the group is moving on, etc., I just don't get as much coverage, and sometimes don't discover that until I'm editing.
Maybe I'm just getting older.
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 08:28 PM   #19
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I would say at most use a hand held rig for a few walking shots. It is reasonable to use a monopod for a stabilizer on the trail. A vest and arm will be dangerous for you and your equipment. Unless you have a crew with spotters and assistants helping you not fall while using a full rig, don't.

My question is - why are you trying to capture the experience in a way that is unnatural? I would think that a 'little' shakiness would add more realism to the footage and bring your audience into the situation more than a perfectly smooth shot. We aren't talking roller coaster or blair witch here but having your shots be too perfect is boring. Your audience expects some camera bounce when you are walking along. Especially if the shot is supposed to be POV. Of course I'm assuming its supposed to be POV and that might not be your intent at all.

More than anything, don't use a full rig unless you have lots of help. Even then realize its dangerous.
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 11:14 PM   #20
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As for me, I definitely do not want a full vest/arm setup for hiking. It would be way too cumbersome and overkill for what I want. I want something relatively small and light, like a Merlin (but one that will take the weight of the EX1) for occasional floating-motion footage over things such as a field of wildflowers, or through a thick forest floating between trees, etc. The weight and size of a full vest/arm is not practical as I will be often be doing multi-day backpacking trips, or sometimes just hiking a couple miles down a trail or through a forest. I really like the 'look' of good moving stabilizer footage. It's dramatic. Just a minute here and a couple minutes there are all I need, and I'm sure that's all my arm could take anyway, ha!
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Old July 24th, 2008, 05:35 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Robert Young View Post
Maybe I'm just getting older.
Older? No, you are Young. :-)
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Old July 24th, 2008, 04:28 PM   #22
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As for me, I definitely do not want a full vest/arm setup for hiking. It would be way too cumbersome and overkill for what I want. I want something relatively small and light, like a Merlin (but one that will take the weight of the EX1) for occasional floating-motion footage over things such as a field of wildflowers, or through a thick forest floating between trees, etc. The weight and size of a full vest/arm is not practical as I will be often be doing multi-day backpacking trips, or sometimes just hiking a couple miles down a trail or through a forest. I really like the 'look' of good moving stabilizer footage. It's dramatic. Just a minute here and a couple minutes there are all I need, and I'm sure that's all my arm could take anyway, ha!
I personally know of few options for what you are looking for. I'm testing a prototype passive stabilizer now that has similar ergonomics and size as the Merlin and with a weight capacity high enough for the EX1. When I get the EX1 back in hand I'll be trying out that very thing. It will be heavy and you won't be doing a long shot with it but it should work.

Otherwise you can get a glidecam 4000 or the indiecam pilot sled. Either one will handle the EX1. They might be a bit bulky for a hiking trip. You'll have to check them out and decide if they would work for you.
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Old July 24th, 2008, 06:02 PM   #23
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Buck - have you tried the metal gimbal for the Merlin with the Ex1?
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Old July 24th, 2008, 08:37 PM   #24
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Thanks, Chris... whatever prototype you're testing sounds cool!

James, I have not tested the metal gimbal/Merlin... I'm not very savvy in this stuff... does that increase the payload of the Merlin to be able to handle the EX1? And how is it different than just the "Merlin"? I'd be game to try.
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Old July 24th, 2008, 09:38 PM   #25
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I have the Merlin, metal gimbal and EX1. While it's technically possible to use the Merlin, if it is balanced perfectly, because of the weight of the Merlin and the EX1 and the extra weights you need, and the EX1's high center of gravity, it's very challenging to get good shots. The combo is just not that stable. In addition the sheer weight of that setup, when handheld, without a Arm and vest, is difficult to hold up with your arms for any period of time. I actually have a Pilot like setup with a Glidecam and the Merlin arm and vest, and that works a lot better for the EX1.

I've intended to do exactly what you want to do, film trails and hikes, scenery with the smooth, dreamy quality it's hard to get with another method.

Even with a small, lightweight camcorder, such as a less than 1 pound Panasonic AVCHD unit and the Merlin, filming is treacherous. You can easily lose your balance, because you need to focus your attention on the viewfinder, not your feet, as you'd normally do when hiking. You need to have somebody spotting you if you do that. With a big setup arm and vest, you really need to plan out the shooting and have somebody guiding you.

Another option for smooth motion is to take a portable dolly or 'slider' along. You can get dreamy type effects for small distances that way. There are units that might be considered portable. However, much more time and planning is in order. You can also use rigs that you can tie between trees on a cable, again more planning and time.

Another thing you can do is to 'Smoothcam' the footage in software. This kind of works, but not as well with the CMOS type rolling shutter sensors. You get jello-like effects, even with the EX1. For that you're better off with a CCD camera, but the smoothness can be stunning if you do it right.
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