Another new Pilot "operator" at DVinfo.net

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Old September 23rd, 2008, 03:28 AM   #1
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Another new Pilot "operator"

and i use the word operator loosely, give me a year and then maybe..

Just put paid for my first steadicam, a Pilot VL setup through Lemac in Australia, now the wait begins.

The only rig i've ever flown is a 3a and that was a bit of a beast, a great experience though.

Steadicam is something i've wanted to get into for a long while and there arent many people doing it down here in NZ, especially with the little rigs so i cant wait to get into it.

Cheers

Joe.
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Old September 23rd, 2008, 09:53 AM   #2
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A proper steadicam certainly adds a totally new dimension to shots. It's taken me about ...I would guess 100 hours ....to really start taking advantage of and discovering the possibilities the steadicam offers.
Good luck
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Old September 23rd, 2008, 12:40 PM   #3
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congrats...

what camera will you be flying?

Greg
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Old September 23rd, 2008, 05:56 PM   #4
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I'll be learning with my HVX however i have a feeling there will be a fair bit of Ex1 flying and possibly a stripped down XL H1.. apparently it only weighs 3.7 kgs with viewfinder.. feels like a lot more.
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Old September 23rd, 2008, 06:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Lawry View Post
Just put paid for my first steadicam ... now the wait begins.
You might want to have a quick look at the "What do I do while Iím waiting for the Pilot to arrive?" part of my "Steadicam Pilot - Getting Started Q & A" post:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/stabilize...started-q.html

Hope this helps.
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Old September 23rd, 2008, 06:52 PM   #6
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oh yes, i've read it through once.. and will do it again as soon as i get out of this blasted edit suite.
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Old September 23rd, 2008, 07:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Lawry View Post
... flying and possibly a stripped down XL H1.. apparently it only weighs 3.7 kgs with viewfinder.. feels like a lot more.
Do you happen to know if that 3.7 kgs includes the 7.4v battery? In any case, the the XL-H1 at 3.7 kgs (8.2 pounds) is cutting it pretty close. You'll want to have some weights on the bottom for pan inertia. How will you be running sound? Will you add the weight of a wireless receiver or shotgun as well, or will you use 2 system sound?
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Old September 23rd, 2008, 07:18 PM   #8
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Canon/BH say 3.7 kgs with battery lens and viewfinder, but good point, might be the stock small battery. However i'd definitely be removing the viewfinder which ways at least a kg or so.

I'd run a single G2 receiver for sound.

The canon was just an idea a client of mine had as they shoot on them a lot, but i'll mainly only be flying my HVX so im not too worried if the Canon ends up being to big.
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Old September 24th, 2008, 01:03 PM   #9
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The ex3 and the xlh1 appear to weigh in pretty close. With my ex3, I am running pretty close to max weight on the pilot with no eyepiece and the small battery, wireless g2, and a shotgun. This setup pretty much max's out the arm on the pilot. So I will be running the camera from the vlock battery to shave a few. I can power a litepanels micro via splitter from the vlock also. The rig feels good... but you can feel it when booming up. I initially bought the merlin to fly the ex1... but took it back to bhphoto and got the pilot figuring I may upgrade to a heavier camera. I now feel like i should of bought the flyer... because every piece of gear you put on the sled or camera adds up and before you know it you are at max weight.

When factoring in the max weight of your gear... don't forget to add the weights needed to balance the pilot! That TOTAL weight shouldn't exceed 10lbs.

Greg
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Old September 24th, 2008, 02:53 PM   #10
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Doesnt the max weight also include the battery?
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Old September 24th, 2008, 03:19 PM   #11
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yes it does... I meant I will be eliminating the camera's battery and using only the vlock to power camera/lights...

Greg
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Old September 24th, 2008, 03:27 PM   #12
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Sorry, i should have been clearer, i meant, doesn't the max weight also include the steadicam battery?
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Old September 24th, 2008, 07:05 PM   #13
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Hey Joe, yes the Steadicam battery must be included in the 10 lb max weight.
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Old September 24th, 2008, 07:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Lawry View Post
...doesn't the max weight also include the steadicam battery?
Tiffen says yes, but I've found it to be more subjective. The Steadicam V-lock battery and AA battery pack both weigh around 3/4 pound. The Pilot arm seems to have that much extra tolerance built into it. In fact, the arm seems to lift the sled plus around 11 pounds up to a level position, which is what they recommend.

However, if you are shooting someone tall at a short distance, you might want to adjust the arm so that it rests higher than level. This way, you don't have to use as much force on your right hand. A lighter touch always makes the shot more stable. So this situation would indicate that you should count the Pilot battery in the 10 pounds.

In addition, I find it best to fly with 1.25 pounds of screw-on weights at the bottom. This provides optimal inertia. Specifically, this is 2 of the larger "middle weights" + one of the smaller round "end-weights" at each end of the bottom crossbar.

So to be safe, I would say you have an 8 pound limit for everything you add to the stage.

On a related note, you also want to have the gimbal close to the stage. This keeps any movement on the sled post from being amplified at the lens. Here's an analogy: hold a pencil between the thumb and forefinger of one hand, and then wiggle the bottom of the pencil with your other hand. If you hold the pencil closer to the eraser, the eraser will move less when you wiggle the pencil.

But you also want a 2-3 second drop time to reduce the swinging effect when you start and stop. So the only real way to move the gimbal closer to the stage is to add weight to the stage. If the weight on the stage is around 8 pounds, the gimbal will be close. So this is all a long winded way of saying that you should always fly the Pilot with around 8 pounds of stage weight.

I mostly fly the following configuration:
• HVX with battery
• Manfrotto tripod adapter
• G2 receiver
• small, light wireless video transmitter
With this configuration, I need to add 1 pound of screw on weights to the stage to get the gimbal closer to the lens. This corresponds to 2 middle weights on each side of the stage. I've also flown the EX1, and it's very similar. For lighter cameras like the XH-A1, you would need to add even more weights to the stage to get it right. So the bottom line is that I would highly recommend buying additional screw-on weights ASAP. Order details are in my Q&A thread.
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Old September 24th, 2008, 09:26 PM   #15
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Hmm interesting food for thought, cheers Dave.

What are the screw on weights made out of? My Dad is a precision engineer with a full workshop, i have a feeling he might be able to make some once my ones arrive.
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