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Old August 12th, 2003, 01:22 PM   #1
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GL2 and Steadicam JR

Hi all,



Anybody using this combination , better yet , anybody using this combination and living in Montreal , just need a few pointers.


I'm actually almost to the point of total balance but when i do sharp turns the camera bobs like a boat on a wave, it does so when moving from left to right as well as front to back.

Any suggestions!!!


Thanks a bunch in advance for the time you will take.


Phil
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Old August 12th, 2003, 08:46 PM   #2
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Philippe:

Just wondering if you received my response to your email with thoughts about this issue...hadn't heard back, and you had mentioned you might cut and paste it...?
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Old August 13th, 2003, 06:29 AM   #3
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Hi Charles ,


Indeed i would love to cut and paste your reply but i didn't receive yet , hope i didn't delete your email by mistake and hope you still have it in your "sent email" box ;)


Thanks a lot for your time .


Phil
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Old August 14th, 2003, 12:28 AM   #4
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Here 'tis:

Hi Phil.

Somewhere in the archives I've answered this issue, but I can never find that stuff, so here it is in a nutshell:

The most difficult thing to control with any Steadicam is acceleration; the most difficult Steadicam to control is the JR; and the most difficult axis of the three (roll, tilt and pan) to control is roll i.e. side to side motion.

The problem is that in order for the rig to remain upright and provide feedback for the user to maintain level, we keep it slightly bottom heavy, which means that during a period of acceleration the mass above the gimbal will act at a slightly different rate than the mass below. This results in a wobble or bob as you put it. It's easiest to see if you attempt a quick side to side move without your fingers on the guide; the rig will kick out a little when you begin, level off during the move and kick out again when you come to a fast stop.

The way to reign this in is with your guide fingers. Apply a teeny teeny amount of force to the opposing side of the gimbal as the direction you are moving. That is, if you are about to slide right to left, give a little extra "love" to the left side of the gimbal. When you stop, do the same to the other side. We are talking about a minute amount of force for a short period of time--it's very important to release that force before the rig is influenced too far the wrong direction.

By the way, I don't have a rig in front of me, so I may have this backwards (which side to "kiss"), but trial and error will quickly prove which one works.

Same thing with tilt, just work the front and back of the gimbal. Tilt is not as touchy as roll, because the rig is more inert in that axis. Why is this? Look at the rig from behind; depending on the camera, it's maybe four inches wide. This is the mass that is being affected by roll. Now look at it from the side--it's probably 10 inches wide in that direction, which is the tilt axis.. Much more mass, thus more inert=more stable.

Given much practice, the fingerwork will become second nature and you will be able to dial out the effects of acceleration nicely. But don't fret, because if you watch any number of TV shows and movies you may see just this same thing happening, even on a big time shoot. There's a wide variety of skill level out there, and this is one of the more delicate aspects of operating, plus some shots are remarkably difficult to maintain a perfect horizon. Try this: go around a corner fast and stop on a dime just as you would hit the straightaway. Now THAT's all kinds of acceleration and a real ball buster!
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Old August 14th, 2003, 07:20 PM   #5
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Hi Charles ,



Well my friend this reply is pure solid gold , i think i get your point but a HUGE thing puzzles me , here is the reply from a Steadicam tech , i was asking about the best setting:

I believe the settings that should work with that rig are
Hole5
Heavy Stop Block (Medium supplied on unit from factory)
2 Heavy weights in lower battery compartment.


Now the only way how approach something that feels like stability is by having the camera in HOLE 8 , to use the LIGHT stopblock and 3 weight in the lower battery compartment.

Now i'm sure Frank(the steadicam tech) knows what he is talking about, after all he must've played with the JR and the GL2 countless times before but when i tried the settings he suggested all i got was the camera falling forward no matter how i set the different axis's

Anyway , strange that what seems to work is the complete opposite of what an expert is suggesting me.


Any comments on that will be greatly appreciated

Gotta go practice ;)

Thanks a bunch

Phil
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Old August 14th, 2003, 07:37 PM   #6
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Not owning a GL2, I can't say for sure what the settings should be. Whatever works is what makes sense. The position of the camera and the stop blocks should be that you have enough range on your trims (fore and aft, side to side and gimbal top to bottom) to accomodate adding light accessories etc. It sounds to me like the heavy stop block should be the one you want based on the weight of the camera, but I don't know for sure.

You are definitely checking the drop time, right? Turning the rig horizontally and let it drop back to vertical, aiming at a 2-3 second count to do so?
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Old August 14th, 2003, 07:54 PM   #7
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Oh no my friend I never succeeded in having that drop time , whatever the settings I use it always falls too fast.

It's incredible but the HEAVY stop block (tried it one more time)does absolutly nothing for me. Whenever I put it on, I play with the weights , the fore aft and Z but no luck ,the rig just falls forward at the speed of light .


Thanks again for your input , i'll continue toying around with it for tonight , always feel free to reply with anything that's on your mind ;)


Phil
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Old August 14th, 2003, 08:18 PM   #8
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well, that would explain the pendulum action!

Here's the thing: you need to MINIMIZE the bottom weight, not increase it. If you were too light at the bottom, the rig would want to flip upside down.

I would start be removing weights, but keeping the heavy stop block (which will make the rig as light as possible) until the rig slows down. If, with no weights, the drop time is still fast, go to the medium stop block. It sounds like you will be able to find it somwhere in there!

Now: if the camera is exceptionally front heavy, it will fall forward no matter what. You need to make sure it is in the right hole as you know. I would recommend removing the camera and balancing it on a fulcrum to find it's center of gravity, and trying to mount that point just above the gimbal.
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Old August 14th, 2003, 09:00 PM   #9
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Well my friend i think i found it


NORMAL stockblock and NO weight in the battery case (except for the battery . It finally falls slowly . The fine tuning need to be done but i'm really on the right track .


Thanks a million your help is priceless , i'll tell you if everything goes well in the coming days (can't practice gotta work 30 hours in 2 half days HIHIHIHIHIHIHI ;)


Anything you want to add just fire away


Phil


PS: On another note , curious to know what is the next project you'll be working on ;)
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Old August 14th, 2003, 09:07 PM   #10
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One more thing , although everything is REALLY looking good , i noticed that i'm almost at the end of my fore aft , 2 turns of the wheels tops. Hope the fine tuning will give me more latitude


Gotta go sleep

Phil
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Old August 15th, 2003, 01:37 PM   #11
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If you are almost out of adjustment, try moving over down a hole. You need to be able to trim the fore-and-aft on a shot-by-shot basis, so you will need tweak room on either side.
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Old August 15th, 2003, 02:19 PM   #12
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<<On another note , curious to know what is the next project you'll be working on ;)>>

I'm sort of curious about that too!

I'm still recovering from being out of town for 10 weeks on a feature called "Mr. 3000". I got a day call for "ER" and was offered the operator position on another series but I'm trying to move away from TV operating, which is why I decided not to return to "Scrubs" this season.

Directorially, I'm busy writing a short that will hopefully go into production in the next few months, which will be shot on 35mm or 16mm. In the meantime, I've got another madcap 48 hour filmmaking weekend coming up on the 23rd (www.instantfilms.com).

Back in the operating world, looming in the headlights is a 12 week shoot in the Cayman Islands in November, a big old action movie.

Between all this and a massive renovation to my house, I'm ready to invent an 8th and 9th day to the week to fit things in. It's probably why my girlfriend gets annoyed when she sees that DVI logo on my computer when I'm supposed to be "getting things done"!
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Old August 19th, 2003, 04:09 PM   #13
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Sorry for the late response Charles ,



Pulling 30 hours on the week-end on top of my regular job!!!

Looks like your keeping busy , EXCELLENT !!!!!.

For your priceless help i will support whatever your work in , even if J.LO is in it HIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHI ;)


As for the JR , i gotta start again from scratch because i bought a BP-930 2-hour battery yesterday and of course it weights more. Blessing in disguise i think because yesterday i toyed with it a little and found that i could manage balance without losing too much FORE AFT.

HEAVY stopblock comes in handy now with that battery too.

I'll keep you posted .

Thanks again and remember (if you like ) to keep me inform of your work , I WANT SEE IT !!!!!! :)


Later,
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Old October 26th, 2003, 10:59 PM   #14
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Hi guys,
Without the risk of starting another "steadicam thread", I wanted to know if anyone recommends the little monitor that comes with the Steadicam JR. I know it's optional, but is it worth it? Is it better than using the camera's built in LCD screen?

I will be using the DVX100 and barely hitting the 4lb mark (using a smaller battery).
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Old October 27th, 2003, 02:55 PM   #15
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Nick:

The JR monitor has anti-reflective coatings that allow one to see an image in daylight better than the LCD on the camera. Additionally, being center-mounted you can see it from more angles. Performing a sharp pan right with a flip-out screen means you may lose sight of the screen.

Also, having the screen flipped out is not an ideal situation as far as balance, wind resistance and distribution of mass. Without going into too much detail on this, it's just better to have the monitor down on the spar than protruding from the side of the camera.

Be aware that the monitor is monochrome, which may be disconcerting at first. You get used to it, though.
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