Proper dynamic balance with a Steadicam Flyer LE? Pilot a better buy? at DVinfo.net

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Old September 1st, 2008, 04:38 PM   #1
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Proper dynamic balance with a Steadicam Flyer LE? Pilot a better buy?

From looking at the designs, and doing a little research it appears the Pilot sled is far superior to the Flyer LE because it allows you to slide the battery and monitor fore and aft to counter the top.

I understand the Flyer is designed to support more weight, but does it have any other advantages over the Pilot to make it worth almost double the price? Can the Flyer LE achieve dynamic balance?
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Old September 1st, 2008, 11:03 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Nick Weeks View Post
From looking at the designs, and doing a little research it appears the Pilot sled is far superior to the Flyer LE because it allows you to slide the battery and monitor fore and aft to counter the top.
The Pilot also allows you to move the whole lower cross bar fore and aft. In fact, this is the best way to achieve dynamic balance with the Pilot. I always leave my batteries all the way back and my monitor pretty far forward. I only thing I use to get dynamic balance is move the bottom cross bar.

The Flyer sort of allows you to move the battery fore and aft by hinging it up and down. This is how you get dynamic balance with the Flyer.

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Originally Posted by Nick Weeks View Post
I understand the Flyer is designed to support more weight, but does it have any other advantages over the Pilot to make it worth almost double the price? Can the Flyer LE achieve dynamic balance?
Well, weight is a big deal, especially if you want to use a 35mm lens adapter. But besides increased weight, the Flyer also has a bigger brighter monitor.

My advice: Start with the Pilot, and then when you've outgrown that, skip over the Flyer and go to a bigger rig. For example, the Red1 with accessories can easily go beyond the limits of the Flyer, but a rig that will do the job for that is at least $15K-20K, and that's not even a Steadicam brand rig.

More info on the Pilot here:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/stabilize...started-q.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3PgqKF6ugY
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Old September 1st, 2008, 11:10 PM   #3
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Thanks for the comments Dave. I started out with a Glidecam 2000 + the Smooth Shooter vest, and I've outgrown it, both weight and shooting style. I find myself limited with the Glidecam design, and the single spring on the arm is just not fully absorbing the shock.

My other concern is the vest. I will be contacting a local Steadicam dealer and see if they can get me a Pilot setup with the Flyer vest. I'd hate to buy the Pilot, then spend $1,200 for a Flyer vest if I could just buy that custom setup right up front, even if it does cost a little extra. What are your thoughts on the Pilot's vest?
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Old September 1st, 2008, 11:18 PM   #4
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I own the Pilot, but I used the Flyer in the 2-day workshop. I prefer the Pilot vest. It's lighter, less bulky, and makes you sweat less in the summer. Also, the velcro is much easier to adjust, especially after lunch.

Why would you want to use the Flyer vest with the Pilot? The main advantage to the Flyer vest is that it holds more weight, but since the Pilot arm can only support 10 pounds, a heavier vest would be useless.
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Old September 1st, 2008, 11:23 PM   #5
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I've grown accustomed to the snap buckles of the glidecam smooth shooter. I can suit up the entire system in about 30 sec... I just feel that if I had to quickly put on the Pilot vest with the velcro, it would be sloppy and possibly not adjusted properly. Since the Flyer vest has the snap buckles, I can adjust it for fitting once and take it on and off without losing adjustment.
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Old September 1st, 2008, 11:50 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Nick Weeks View Post
I've grown accustomed to the snap buckles of the glidecam smooth shooter. I can suit up the entire system in about 30 sec... I just feel that if I had to quickly put on the Pilot vest with the velcro, it would be sloppy and possibly not adjusted properly. Since the Flyer vest has the snap buckles, I can adjust it for fitting once and take it on and off without losing adjustment.
It probably takes me around 1.5 minutes to suit up, but I could probably cut that down if I'm rushing. The point is that I can suit up fast.

The main thing with the velcro is that it takes about 5 seconds to re-adjust the tension. For example, I tend to keep my hips really tight while I'm shooting, but if there's a 3 minute break I can loosen them up for comfort. Also, I find I adjust the straps differently at different times of the day. In particular, I usually loosen the straps a little after lunch. It's really nice to be able to instantly fine tune the tension of each strap.

With the buckles, these types of adjustment take much longer. Not something you can do instantly while you're wearing the rig.

One note: On the Pilot vest, I find it easier to leave the shoulder straps in place and just slide the top of the vest over my head. In other words, I just unhook the 2 middle chest straps and the hip strap. I know this is different than a standard vest where you unhook the 3 left buckles, but it works really well for me. Leaving the shoulder velcro in place allows the vest to align really fast.

But hey, if velcro really bothers you, then try to get them to give you a buckle vest. See here for details:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/stabilize...ification.html
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