Sony EX-3 goes Pilot, but is it possible? - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

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Old November 29th, 2008, 10:19 PM   #16
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pilot vs flyer - any in Denver?

To be short and to the point... Is there any reason I should consider the Flyer over the Pilot for my EX3 and/or EX1 rig?

I use a Senheisser ME64 and/or 1 Evolution Wireless receiver to pull sound from my sound person, or sometimes 2 Evolution Wireless receivers if my sound person is running it all.

I shoot run and gun on documentaries with subjects who are comfortable around our tiny crew - we work with them long term. I'd like to own a rig that I can wear for hours at a time if that's possible, and am looking to buy something soon - with plenty of time to practice before our next project begins this coming summer.

Does anyone know of anyplace in the Denver/Boulder area to test these rigs out?

And thanks for your great reviews Charles and Dave!

Zac
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Old November 30th, 2008, 01:39 PM   #17
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Zachary, your main and really only reason to buy a Flyer over a Pilot is if you need the additional weight capacity that the Flyer allows. From a performance level they are essentially the same, although I personally prefer the design of the Pilot sled and the ability to add the included weights around the sled.
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Old November 30th, 2008, 02:54 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zachary Fink View Post
To be short and to the point... Is there any reason I should consider the Flyer over the Pilot for my EX3 and/or EX1 rig?
If you stay under 10 pounds, then the Pilot is better (IMHO).

With the Pilot IDX battery and some weights on the bottom for better pan inertia, this essentially limits you to 8 pounds. If you keep the EX3 stock lens, remove the EX3 LCD hood, and power the EX3 from the Pilot sled (i.e. no EX3 battery), then you'll be able to fly 2 Sennheiser G100 wireless receivers no problem. You could probably even throw a small light on there somewhere (again, powered from the IDX sled batts).

I guess if you throw a heavy lens on the EX3, you might go over 10 pounds, but I'm not really sure how much these weigh. If you want to be sure, buy a 10 pound U.S. Postal scale for $40 and weigh everything.
http://shop.usps.com/webapp/wcs/stor...1901&langId=-1
I use one of these and it helps a lot when figuring weight.

The Pilot is definately lighter, so it'll be more comfortable to wear for run & gun stuff.

If you are still unsure, you could take the 2-day workshop before you buy:
http://www.thesteadicamworkshops.com/programs2Day.shtml
http://www.thesteadicamworkshops.com/schedule.shtml
They provide both Pilot and Flyer rigs for you to train on.
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Old November 30th, 2008, 03:22 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
From a performance level they are essentially the same, although I personally prefer the design of the Pilot sled and the ability to add the included weights around the sled.
The Pilot also has the advantage of moving the whole lower crossbar forward or back - great for dynamic balance.

Which brings me to something I've been thinking about for a while.

Why doesn't Steadicam just scale the Pilot design up for more weight?

Same simple cross-bar design. Bigger sled post. Bigger screw-on weights. G-50 arm. LX vest. Charge $15K. Lift 30 pounds. Perfect for the RED One.

This wouldn't be as nice as the Archer or Clipper, but it would probably cut a lot into ActionCam and Glidecam sales. Make it a lot easier for new operators to get started.

Call it the Ace...

Last edited by Dave Gish; December 1st, 2008 at 08:01 AM.
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Old November 30th, 2008, 05:50 PM   #20
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Dave:

It is safe to say that the basic design of the Pilot which allows for dynamic balancing is much better than the Flyer and this is well known by our friends at Tiffen--expect changes in the Flyer in the future.

The concept of a migrating bottom section goes back a long, long time--see this page for the original SK prototype that goes back to the early 90's. Ironically the production SK did not allow for the lower bar to be slid back and forth to facilitate dynamic balance...!

RED sleds are complicated. It doesn't take much to get that camera over 30 lbs unfortunately. Many people don't have lightweight bracketry for it and often have to use it with the "wrong" lenses that are way too heavy. I think that the proposed Scarlet configurations will introduce some really interesting small stabilizer possibilities.
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Old November 30th, 2008, 07:35 PM   #21
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Thanks Charles and Dave

Thank you both -

I sent a note to Peter about the two-day workshops. I saw he offered one in my area last year and am hoping that he'll have another here in the Rockies in 2009. He thinks it's going to happen. I'll shoot for another if not...

I think the Pilot is the way to go from all you say. It gets me in the game flying the cameras I own at a price that's reasonable. The only other lens I'd put on the EX3 to fly would be the upcoming EX-specific wide angle lens that Sony is going to be releasing. I'm sure I can stay under 10lbs. I'm looking forward to getting my rig.
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Old December 1st, 2008, 08:33 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zachary Fink View Post
I think the Pilot is the way to go from all you say. It gets me in the game flying the cameras I own at a price that's reasonable. The only other lens I'd put on the EX3 to fly would be the upcoming EX-specific wide angle lens that Sony is going to be releasing.
For the EX3, you'll probably want the Pilot-VLB package that comes with 2 IDX V-lock batteries and charger. BH has it for $4300.
Steadicam | Pilot-VLB Camera Stabilization System | PILOT-VLB
For most cameras, I believe the Pilot-AA package it sufficient, but with the EX3 and 2 wireless receivers, you'll likely need to power the EX3 from the sled to save the weight of the EX3 battery. The IDX batts that come with the Pilot VLB are much better for this. You'll also need a power cable with a 2.1mm barrel connector on one end and a right-angle yellow EX1/EX3 power connector on the other. I got the yellow EX1/EX3 power connector from this cable
EXDC1
and the Pilot comes with a 2.1mm barrel connector, so you can make a custom cable out of these. Make sure you check the polarity with a meter before you plug it in. The center pin/hole is positive. The right angle is important because the "DC IN" connector on the EX3 is on the right side, and a regular (non-right-angle) connector will stick out near your left cheek.

Also, you'll need an analog composite video signal for the 5.8" monitor on the Pilot's sled. I got this from the "MONITOR OUT" connector, also on the right side of the EX3, so a right angle BNC connector would be best for that as well.

You'll also want to order extra weights for the Pilot. Tiffen should really supply these with the Pilot. Anyway, you'll want to buy 8 of these at $6 each:
Steadicam | 801-7920-05 Middle Balance Weight with | 801-7920-05
You'll use more of these with the EX1 than the EX3.

You'll also need a stand for balancing. A regular lighting stand will work, but the SteadiStand is smaller and lighter:
Steadicam | 601-7910 SteadiSTAND for Merlin | 601-7910 | B&H

More Pilot info here (if you haven't seen it already):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2shQVbvVwQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3PgqKF6ugY
http://www.dvinfo.net/articles/camsu...icampilot1.php
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/stabilize...started-q.html
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Old December 1st, 2008, 09:13 AM   #23
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SD vs HD monitor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Gish View Post
Also, you'll need an analog composite video signal for the 5.8" monitor on the Pilot's sled. I got this from the "MONITOR OUT" connector, also on the right side of the EX3, so a right angle BNC connector would be best for that as well.
Excellent info Dave! Much appreciated. I was wondering about which of the many offerings at B&H was the right package.

Is there any reason to try and make the monitor on the sled an HD monitor rather than SD? What I'm learning from all the reading I'm doing on these threads, is that when flying, I'm going to need to use a pretty large depth of field, and keep my focus fixed rather than try and mess with it or my focal length, right? Is that why an SD monitor is sufficient?
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Old December 1st, 2008, 09:20 AM   #24
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It's not practical to "mess with" the focus while flying, you have to set it at a given distance and work within the depth of field (unless you have access to a wireless lens control system, the cheapest of which currently available cost as much as the Pilot).

The Steadicam monitors are intended for framing purposes only, and are quite adequate for that purpose. Unlike most affordable HD LCD's they are designed to be "daylight viewable".
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Old December 1st, 2008, 10:27 AM   #25
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Got it. It is as I thought, and it makes perfect sense. Thanks.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 01:06 PM   #26
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bump........
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Old February 21st, 2009, 01:12 PM   #27
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Workshop

I'm now signed up for the Pilot/Flyer workshop in San Francisco March 13th and 14th. Any others from DV-Info?

Thinking of adding a Letus Elite to my EX3 rig too. Not sure if anybody is flying those, but I know it takes me out of the pilot running and puts me right into a flyer!
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Old February 21st, 2009, 06:03 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Zachary Fink View Post
Thinking of adding a Letus Elite to my EX3 rig too. Not sure if anybody is flying those, but I know it takes me out of the pilot running and puts me right into a Flyer!
Combining a lens adapter with a Steadicam is not trivial. Besides the $7K the Flyer LE, using a lens adapter on a steadicam will also require another $4K-$5K for a decent wireless follow-focus system, and an experienced assistant cameraman to run it.

My opinion: Flying with a lens adapter doesn't seem to make sense for most people.

If you have a serious project with experienced crew and a some amount of budget, then you'll probably want to rent a RED One or better. Since the Flyer won't support most RED One configurations, you'll need a bigger steadicam rig to fly it. Steadicam rigs that can support most RED One configurations cost $36K and up. You can start off buying a used Steadicam rig, but these are not cheap either, and you'll still need to buy the other required accessories (Wireless Follow-Focus, Wireless Video Transmitter, Wireless Video monitors, Video Down-converter, lightweight rails, etc). This course tends to lead to a large investment ($50K-$100K), which generally aligns with being a full-time steadicam operator for hire. Alternatively, you could just hire a Steadicam Operator.

If you are experimenting with film making, and have an inexperienced crew, then using a Steadicam with a lens adapter is probably more hassle than its worth. People have inter cut footage using a lens adapter on sticks with footage using no lens adapter on a steadicam, and with well designed shots and lighting, it works out pretty well.

More info here:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/stabilize...f-adapter.html
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Old February 21st, 2009, 06:13 PM   #29
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There's a new budget WFF system coming soon for under $1000US hopefully. Hocus Products Basic, but it should work for single channel well.

Don't discount the Flyer-LE's capacity to use the RED though :) It's a nominal 8.6Kg load, but most go well over. Mine does almost 12Kg, easily enough for a reasonable RED package for Steadicam use.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 06:32 PM   #30
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Thanks Dave. Good point well made. My production company is working on its second feature length documenatry and pitching a third that we've got in pre-production. While not inexperienced, we are still rather fresh and eager to make our Direct Cinema style films more cinematic.

Using a steadycam for part of our observational shooting is one step in that direction. I'm adding a Letus adapter to our quiver as well, but really for beauty shots and the occasional casual interview we do. From what you say, I don't think flying the Letus will jive with our style. We try to move quickly and light, with a small crew. I think the footage we get from both separately will cut together beautifully.
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