Any ideas on the FlyCam6000 with Magicarm? at DVinfo.net

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Old October 5th, 2008, 12:25 PM   #1
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Any ideas on the FlyCam6000 with Magicarm?

Hello all. It is nice to see this site. I really couldn't afford a Steadicam so I opted for a FlyCam6000 with MagicArm out of India. The unit and vest are well-built, but the instruction booklet that came with it should have been used as packing material because it is totally useless! I am hoping that the principals in flying a camera are close enough that the experience found in this forum will help me get this thing balanced and somewhat productive. First I am using the EX1 and have found I have to use added weights on the bottom of the sled to get it to dynamically balance. The adjustment knobs on the plate are easy to use as they are screw-driven and this makes slight balance adjustments very easy. The main trouble I am having is the dual arm. It seems very stiff. There are some adjustment points on the arm and if I turn these the arm becomes more flexible. I guess, I don't know what I am looking for. I see a bit of a bounce in my shots and my thought is the arm needs adjusted to absorb this bounce? Any and all help would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance.

Phil Hanna
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Old October 5th, 2008, 12:48 PM   #2
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I'd never heard of Flycam until this post. It look interesting. My experience has been with a Hollywood Lite, which is now sold by Varizoom, the bigger one for heavy cameras. On that system there was a tension adjustment for the springs in the arm. It's been awhile since I used it, but I think there were two adjustment screws that required an allen wrench for adjustment. Look at the ends of the springs, where they connect to the arm itself. By the way, how much was that system and is it available from a U.S. distributor?
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Old October 5th, 2008, 02:34 PM   #3
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IIRC there are adjustment screws or hex heads at the of the arms by the center joint.You should be able to adjust the spring tension with those.
Don
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Old October 5th, 2008, 06:38 PM   #4
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Thanks all

I guess I just adjust these until the camera floats more than being stiff, right? The cost of the Flycam 6000 with arm and vest was around $1100.

PJH
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 11:30 AM   #5
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Some stuff shot with Flycam 6000 (Video Link)

I am starting to zero-in a bit on the balance of the Flycam 6000. Still getting some swaying. Drop time now about 3.5 seconds, but in order to attain that, I have nearly all weight removed from bottom of sled. Some of the shots in the video (beach stuff) was shot on a very windy evening. Boy, this thing take practice and strength. Thanks to all for your help and advice.

Phil Hanna

Here is the video link: Flycam 6000 Practice Session - Sony PMW-EX1 & EX3 on Vimeo
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 01:28 PM   #6
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3.5 seconds is a little slow, try for 2.5 seconds. By the way, can't you adjust the gimbal on the Flycam? If so, that's how to fine tune drop time, not by adding or subtracting weights.

The "swaying" is what we half-facetiously call "operator error"; I'm sure as you spend more time in the rig you are getting a sense of what contributes to an unstable frame (and that is too much input from your post hand). While it is more "fun" to walk around the yard and the beach, the most valuable type of practice for basic skills is endless repetitions of walking the line drills. Put an X on the wall, another one on the center of your monitor and practice walking in and out at various speeds to control your accuracy. Doing it in a hallway is good because you can see the verticals which indicate when you are having horizon issues. It's boring and frustrating at first but you will get much more out of this than just cruising aimlessly around the yard.

Also, make sure to practice standing still. When you make a move, hold at the end of it for 10 seconds. You will be amazed at how much exertion is involved in holding the frame but this is a much more real world aspect to include in practice because a lot of Steadicam shots involve extended holds, and you don't want the frame floating around giving away the shooting platform.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 05:36 PM   #7
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Thanks, Charlie

Yes it does have a gimbal adjustment. Since the operator manual is useless, I have had to learn through trial and error. I can't tell you that is all bad in that I have gained a great deal of knowledge and respect for the art doing it this way. I figured the swaying is op error and concentrated a little bit ago on that and surprisingly greatly reduced the swaying. I will do the drills you spoke of. How do I explain the scrapes along the hallway to the ol' lady? I guess when they reduce, my expertise is on the rise! Ha Ha.

Phil
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 08:46 PM   #8
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Bubble wrap applied liberally to the walls is a good way to go for the first month!

Don't feel bad, I took a big fat gouge out of the wall on the "ER" set my first time working there. Luckily that set is meant to look beat up so they didn't care at all...!
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Old October 24th, 2008, 08:34 AM   #9
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Bubble wrap is a good thing!

And all this time I though Duct Tape was the be all, end all!

Phil
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