New Steadicam Pilot How to balance? at DVinfo.net

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Old August 6th, 2008, 08:10 PM   #1
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New Steadicam Pilot How to balance?

OK so I now am the proud new owner of a Steadicam Pilot and I guess I missed the part about needing a light stand or the steadicam accessory stand just to balance it... That should be included for almost 4000.00 Also the camera mount plate what is the best option to mount a quick release setup... I have one on the camera now and would love to get one for this to remove it a lot faster..
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Old August 6th, 2008, 08:27 PM   #2
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I highly recommend the matching steadicam stand. Its got a wide base and is built to handle the weight of the camera and sled.

I've got a couple of nice sized C-stands and the steadicam stand is much more stable. Worth the money in my opinion.

I've got a quick release plate that matches my tripod. Makes moving from one setup to another very easy. What ever tripod you use now check to see if there is a QR that uses the same plate.
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Old August 6th, 2008, 08:53 PM   #3
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Jason, I suppose that would make sense apart from the fact that with the Pilot you get $4,000 worth of stuff!

A lot of people who buy a Pilot are likely to have a light kit that would have an appropriate C-stand, so including one with the Pilot would force a lot of people to buy a stand that they don't really need.

Initially I was using a C-stand but I ended up buying a Steadistand for my rig, and I really love it! Very stable yet it folds down to a very small kit. Definitely a worthwhile investment, and I agree with Chris, it is more stable than a C-stand.

I understand the pain of having just shelled out $4000, but you can rest assured that if Tiffen were to "include" a stand the kit price would rapidly become $4200!
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Old August 7th, 2008, 02:12 AM   #4
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Thanks guys...I know it was well worth the 4000.00 I was just frusterated because I wanted to play with it tonight and do some test runs over the next few days with out having to wait for a shipment of the stand....So I stared at the picture of the stand and thought it over and said, my on stage speaker stand will work... just need to find something the right size for the docking bracket/balance stud attachment to lock onto...after multiple attempts with several different homebrewed parts, I could not get anything nearly stable enough to trust the weight of the gear on...Then a bright idea popped into my head and I ran down to Home Depot with the docking bracket/balancing stud and sure enough my solution only cost me 8.84 out the door... I ended up buying a solid 5/8'' smooth 3ft long round rebar zinced....(Which happens to be the fit the docking bracket perfectly) slid this into the spkr stand with some tape wrapped around it for a snug fit on the inside, attached the docking bracket and proceeded to balance the rig... All balanced and just finished flying around the house... I should have bought one of these long ago! For now I am going to save the 170.00 and use my invention but if I get some extra cash laying around I might pick up a proper one as it folds down smaller than the spkr stand... And the 5/8'' rod is on the heavy side :)
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Old August 8th, 2008, 12:24 PM   #5
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Smart!

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Old August 9th, 2008, 12:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Medico View Post
I highly recommend the matching steadicam stand. Its got a wide base and is built to handle the weight of the camera and sled.
Chris,

I thought I read somewhere that there are 2 versions of the Steadistand, but I can only find one on the B&H web site, and it's advertised as the Steadistand for the Merlin. Is this the right one for the Pilot?
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Old August 9th, 2008, 02:39 AM   #7
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It is the same one, very nice. A good light stand will do the same job.
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Old August 9th, 2008, 11:15 AM   #8
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I wouldn't call this is a substitute for a stand, but if you happened to have a baby wall plate (Avenger makes one with a 3" spud, sold for $11.95 at that big camera retailer in NY), you could clamp it to the edge of a table and mount the docking bracket to that.
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Old August 10th, 2008, 02:39 AM   #9
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Funny, I ordered the Pilot with the steadistand (after reading this thread, thanks).
When I got the shipment from B&H they supplied a C-Stand instead.
I´m happy as it has more uses than the Steadistand. Bit more heavy though I suppose.
(After checking the price I see the C-stand is $40 less, should I complain?)

Anyway, it only took me 15 minutes to achieve dynamic balance with my XL-H1.
Was I just lucky or is it that easy?
I feared I would spend a couple of hours.
I love the feel the pilot. My first time with a steadicam since film school 10 years ago.
Had some tests around my house running after my daughter, I find stopping really difficult.
ANy tips on how to achieve a smooth and steady stop/end frame (except for more practice of course)
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Old August 10th, 2008, 12:43 PM   #10
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Joachim,

You can get a better start and stop by "flairing" or "feathering" your shots. (I believe I picked this tip up from Charles Papert.) When you start a shot, let your camera slowly start first and then let your body start. When you stop, let your body come to a stop first and then let your camera slowly come to a stop. This is covered in our "Stabilizer Basics" training DVD.

Another thing that might be of help is to let your fingers from your control hand spread out on the gimbal sleeve (just below the gimbal). When you start, stop, or change directions you can feel if the bottom of the post wants to swing out (pendulum effect) and make slight corrections as needed.

Hope these suggestions help.

Tery
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P.S. Getting a dynamic balance so quickly is remarkable.
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Old August 10th, 2008, 12:56 PM   #11
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Thanks a lot Terry.
I will try this out tomorrow and get some more practice.

I had the feeling I got lucky with the dynamic balance (damn). Because of this and wanting to get as much practice in as possible I have just parked my camera on the C-stand for now.

Tomorrow I will try to use our EX-1 so I probably will eat humble pie when trying to balance the rig.
Iīll have a look at your video
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Old August 10th, 2008, 01:01 PM   #12
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Joachim,

You just might be gifted at steadicam work. Everyone has a talent.

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Old August 10th, 2008, 01:03 PM   #13
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He he, fingers crossed, I´ll let you know
Thanks again
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Old August 10th, 2008, 06:18 PM   #14
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Anything that works as a stand will get you by for now, but the first time you take your gear on the road, you'll wish you had the SteadiStand.

The SteadiStand is:
- really light weight
- very stable (no sandbag required)
- collapses very small
- has a bubble to get the post vertical, which helps a lot with static balance (see picture)
- comes with a small cloth case with a strap.

I use a couple of black tie-wraps to attach the SteadiStand case strap to the top of the Pilot backpack (see picture). That leaves my left hand for the camera case, and my right hand for the wireless monitor case.

For more info on the Pilot, see the "Steadicam Pilot - Getting Started Q & A" thread:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=115235

Hope this helps.
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Last edited by Dave Gish; August 10th, 2008 at 07:49 PM.
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Old August 12th, 2008, 02:47 PM   #15
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I wrote B&H about the stand and they are working on it.
I did try the Pilot with the EX1 today and it did take a bit longer to get dynamic balance, but no more than 15min I guess.
We didnīt have the right cable to go to the monitor from the EX1 so I had to use the LCD screen. I didnīt manage to get a signal from the SDI connector even if we put it to SD.

We did some tests filming guys jumping with mountainbikes were I was in the "digger" (or what ever itīs called in english)of a "digging machine" (or do you call it a hydraulic excavator?) and using that as crane (I was secured). We got some interesting angels and camera moves this way

We manage to get some really smooth shots as well, I was really surprised how well it worked
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