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

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Support Your Local Camera > Stabilizers (Steadicam etc.)


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old October 7th, 2008, 09:25 PM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Norway
Posts: 105
Sony EX-3 goes Pilot, but is it possible?

Hello,

Some threads discuss the possibility of using the EX-3 with the Pilot, but has anyone used this combination successfully? The EX-3 is a bit on the heavy side for the Pilot, I guess, but in a setup with the IDX battery system and no extra accessories, it should be possible to achieve a useable (stable) rig?

Reading the different posts Iīm still confused about the 10 lbs/4,5 kg load limit on the Pilot. Some say the battery and monitor is included in this limit, others insist theyīre not. Can anyone elaborate? I donīt seem to find any info about this in the Pilot Manual.

If I choose to use the EX-3 (and the IDX battery system battery) with the Pilot, will I be able to add additional screw-on weights to optimize the inertia? If so how many of them, and where should I add these weights?

(I donīt plan to use a wireless system or a shotgun microphone on the EX-3. Iīll rather use an external recorder for sound when needed.)

Itīs hard to understand the concept of stabilizers when youīre not able to see or handle the products yourself. Iīm grateful for inputs thatīll enlighten me. Thank you.

Best,
Terje Rian
Terje Rian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 7th, 2008, 11:10 PM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Riverdale, NJ
Posts: 468
Quote:
Originally Posted by Terje Rian View Post
Some threads discuss the possibility of using the EX-3 with the Pilot, but has anyone used this combination successfully?
Yes, I've flown an EX3 on a Pilot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terje Rian View Post
Reading the different posts Iīm still confused about the 10 lbs/4,5 kg load limit on the Pilot. Some say the battery and monitor is included in this limit, others insist theyīre not. Can anyone elaborate?
Yes, it includes the Battery, but not the monitor. The battery is about 3/4 pound.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terje Rian View Post
If I choose to use the EX-3 (and the IDX battery system battery) with the Pilot, will I be able to add additional screw-on weights to optimize the inertia? If so how many of them, and where should I add these weights?
Yes. Add two middle weights and 1 end weight to each end of the bottom crossbar. This gives good pan inertia. The weight of the IDX battery plus this number of screw on weights totals up to 2 pounds at the bottom. This means you have 8 pounds left for the top.

If you have a scale, it's nice to measure everything. In the U.S., they sell nice scales for this at the Post Office:
http://shop.usps.com/webapp/wcs/stor...1049&langId=-1

If not, then if you are using the smaller EX3 battery, add the other 2 weights to the stage. You could even add more weights to the stage. They can be ordered here:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ce_Weight.html

If using the larger EX3 battery, then don't add any weights to the stage.

If you want to fly accessories on the EX3, don't use any battery in the EX3, use the IDX battery for everything. A fully charged IDX battery will power both the monitor and the EX3 for around 4 hours or more. You'll need to make a special cable for this. One end of the cable will use the 2.1mm connector supplied with the Pilot, the other end of the cable will need a special connector like this:
EXDC1

You may also want to use a tripod adapter, like this:
http://www.amazon.com/Manfrotto-577-...3439599&sr=8-1
That will add to stage weight as well.

In any case, you'll want to remove the hood/eyepiece that covers the LCD monitor on the EX3. Also, you might need a slate if you are using 2-system sound.
Dave Gish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 8th, 2008, 01:19 AM   #3
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
Not quite sure why anyone wouldn't want to power the EX series from the rig...?

I would think it would always be beneficial to sub in the weights for the camera battery as they will have more inertial effect, plus you only have one battery to keep track of.

Most cameras this size are 7.2v which require a separate downconverter, I love that the EX series runs on the same voltage as the "pro style" batteries. It's about time.
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 8th, 2008, 06:34 AM   #4
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Norway
Posts: 105
Additional questions: The Sony EX-3 goes Pilot...

Hello,

Thank you for sharing your knowlegde and experience, Mr. Gish. I agree with Mr. Papert, using the rig to power the camera seems to be the most practical solution (at least from my point of view).

The constant need to convert US pounds to kilograms makes understanding practical stabilizer issues a bit challenging, but Iīm happy to hear that the EX-3 actually can fly using the Pilot, even if this only can happen in a "down-stripped" EX-3 version.

Having tried to balance and use a Magiqcam some years ago, I definitly want to go for a tried and tested stabilizer this time. A "large" group of users of a certain camera and stabilizer combination makes it reassuring to choose which stabilizer to buy.

As I understand, Mr. Gish, when you refer to the battery weight (3/4 pounds) you do refer to the IDX BATTERY, donīt you? I already own an electrical scale, but a slate is a good idea to buy. Thank you for the tip.

Does the Pilot come with all the weights needed to use the EX-3 or do I need to purchase additional weights?

And how did you connect the EX-3 to the monitor? Did you use composite? Or component? Is the video cable included with the Pilot? And what about the picture quality on the monitor itself. Will it accept the HD signal and down convert, or do I need to down convert inside the camera? The monitor should be good enough for framing at least, I guess? Owning a Panasonic LH-80 monitor I would of course rather use it, but the weight limit makes it impossible. (A larger stabilizer rig isnīt an option.)

A lot of question, Mr. Gish. Iīm sorry for this. I really appreciate you sharing your experience and knowlegde. Maybe some of your answers here can be included in your valuable FAQ as well? Then you could just refer to the FAQ? A time saver...
:-)

Thank you for taking time.

Best,
Terje Rian
Terje Rian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 8th, 2008, 07:05 AM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Riverdale, NJ
Posts: 468
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Not quite sure why anyone wouldn't want to power the EX series from the rig...?
Good question. If you're flying someone else's EX1/EX3 (like on a student film), then it might be easier to just use the camera battery. You and I know it's OK and doesn't hurt the camera, but others may worry. When I pitch myself to student films, I try to minimize intrusions into their normal process. Since student films usually plug sound into the camera, that's usually enough of a hurdle to get over without going into battery details.

If you own the EX1/EX3, then yes, powering from the pilot batteries can be a lot more convenient. But if you switch between steadicam and sticks frequently, then camera batteries could be better.

So this is more of a gray area for me.

If you are flying an EX3 and need some camera accessories (like wireless sound, shotgun, or on-camera lights), then there is no choice, as the weight with the camera battery and inertial weights will go over 10 pounds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
I would think it would always be beneficial to sub in the weights for the camera battery as they will have more inertial effect, ...
I'm a little confused about this. I usually fly with 2 pounds on the bottom and 8 pounds on top. The 2 pounds of bottom weight includes the battery and a total of 4 middle weights and 2 round end weights. 8 pounds of top weight will accommodate an EX3 with a battery. In fact, if it's the smaller battery, then you need to add more middle weights to the stage to get up to 8 pounds.

If I re-balance the weight to maybe 7 pounds on top and 3 pounds on the bottom, then pan inertia increases, but the stage moves significantly further up from the gimbal. Which would you favor in this kind of trade-off?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Most cameras this size are 7.2v which require a separate down converter, I love that the EX series runs on the same voltage as the "pro style" batteries. It's about time.
Yes. I wish they were all that way.
Dave Gish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 8th, 2008, 07:07 AM   #6
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Norway
Posts: 105
EX-3 on the Pilot

Oh, I forgot:

[QUOTE=Dave Gish;948158]

Yes. Add two middle weights and 1 end weight to each end of the bottom crossbar. This gives good pan inertia. The weight of the IDX battery plus this number of screw on weights totals up to 2 pounds at the bottom. This means you have 8 pounds left for the top.

But is your calculation of the bottom crossbar weight correct? I read somewhere that the screw on weights weigh:

Start weight 7.70 oz
Middle weight 6.25 oz
End weight 4.50 oz

According to you suggestion the screw on weights (4 x middel + 2 x end) will amount to a total of 34 oz (964 gr), and the IDX battery is stated as 18.3 oz (520 gr) according to the manufacturers web site. This will result in a total of 3.27 pounds on the bottom crossbar, not 2 pounds? Or am I mistaken? Maybe the Pilot can handle the weight anyway?

Thanks again.

Best,
Terje Rian
Terje Rian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 8th, 2008, 07:14 AM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Riverdale, NJ
Posts: 468
Quote:
Originally Posted by Terje Rian View Post
As I understand, Mr. Gish, when you refer to the battery weight (3/4 pounds) you do refer to the IDX BATTERY, donīt you?
Actually, the IDX and AA packs weigh almost exactly the same. The IDX Vlock mount may weigh a little more though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terje Rian View Post
Does the Pilot come with all the weights needed to use the EX-3 or do I need to purchase additional weights?
For the EX3, I would purchase 4 additional weights. For other cameras I would purchase 8 additional weights. I like to always keep close to 10 pounds of weight for more stability.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terje Rian View Post
And how did you connect the EX-3 to the monitor? Did you use composite? Or component? Is the video cable included with the Pilot? And what about the picture quality on the monitor itself. Will it accept the HD signal and down convert, or do I need to down convert inside the camera? The monitor should be good enough for framing at least, I guess?
The Pilot monitor uses SD composite. The EX3 has a BNC connector on the right side for this. The Pilot has a BNC to RCA adapter and cable to get you started, but since this connector ends up sicking out right next to your left shoulder, it's better to get a custom cable with a right angle BNC connector.

Last edited by Dave Gish; October 8th, 2008 at 08:18 AM.
Dave Gish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 8th, 2008, 07:18 AM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Riverdale, NJ
Posts: 468
Quote:
Originally Posted by Terje Rian View Post
Oh, I forgot:
Start weight 7.70 oz
Middle weight 6.25 oz
End weight 4.50 oz
No. I weighed the Middle weight at 4 oz. and the end weight at 2oz.
Dave Gish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 8th, 2008, 07:31 AM   #9
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Norway
Posts: 105
EX-3 on the Pilot

Thank you for your kind help, Mr. Gish. The best of luck to you and your on-going projects.

Best,
Terje Ran
Terje Rian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 8th, 2008, 08:45 AM   #10
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
Dave, regarding the battery issue. One of the things that seems to have become a "non-issue" with the digital video generation is a unified power source. It's not impossible for one to be carrying four different batteries on a shooting setup (for sticks work, say, camera battery, one onboard monitor with up to two (!) batteries on back, wireless mike receivers with AA's or 9 volt internally etc). With Steadicam, obviously no onboard monitor but add in the battery at the bottom. The problem with all of this is that each will go down at a different time and most of them are not easily monitored.

I came up in Steadicam when a single battery powered everything, which caused plenty of mischief for 24v cameras (we had to use step-up inverters that were prone to failure, not good times). The PRO was the first system to use 3 batteries that allowed true 24v operation plus a dedicated battery for video taps/transmitters that kept that path clear from interference from the camera motor. That's no longer as much of an issue with modern film cameras and now most rigs use 2 matched batteries. For 12v video, it's more than possible to use a single battery in terms of power (for counterweight purposes, 2 is usually better and it doubles the runtime).

Even when I was shooting EFP style with Betacams, we had the wireless receivers and onboard light plugged in to the camera body so all were powering off the brick on the back.

So you can imagine that I find it confusing that so many people now shoot with multiple batteries. It's just that much more to keep up with mentally. If you are shooting with a Steadicam, you aren't monitoring audio with headphones so how do you know that the wireless receiver(s) hasn't died? If you are on sticks and using the onboard monitor to compose, will you remember to check the status of the batteries regularly so it doesn't die in the middle of the take? Maybe it's just considered part of the acceptable scheme of things now, but in the world I've been in for many years, it's considered a serious screwup to have the battery die in the middle of a take. I can only imagine that for event or wedding shooters, it's even worse.

Anyway, as far as students being prickly about their cameras being powered by outboard sources; the EX batteries are 14.4v, the Steadicam battery is 14.4v. The only other factor is polarity, which is easy to check with a meter and can't change once the cable is built. Part of the deal with working with students is that they are in the process of being educated, and powering their camera from external sources is something that shouldn't be scary. We've been doing that with much more expensive cameras for many years.

About the shuffling of weights possible without the battery--I was just suggesting that losing the internal battery will allow you to replace that mass with the Pilot weights at the back of the stage, which are further spread out and more easily tunable.
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 8th, 2008, 02:57 PM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posts: 418
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Most cameras this size are 7.2v which require a separate downconverter,
Hey Charles, not to hijack a thread but where would i find such a downconverter? Im guessing it'd have to be a small light weight one..

My Pilot is currently sitting at DHL waiting for customs to clear it.. all i've gotta do is pay tax and customs charges. Cant wait to pick her up!
Joe Lawry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 8th, 2008, 07:12 PM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Riverdale, NJ
Posts: 468
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
I came up in Steadicam when a single battery powered everything, ...
Even when I was shooting EFP style with Betacams, we had the wireless receivers and onboard light plugged in to the camera body so all were powering off the brick on the back.

So you can imagine that I find it confusing that so many people now shoot with multiple batteries. It's just that much more to keep up with mentally.
Hi Charles,
As always, I appreciate your experience and expert advice, and I hope one day to work at some sort of professional level. The closer I get to that, the more I like it. Do you still get jacked up after shooting something good? Like even though you're tired, you're just wired (in a good sort of way) and you can't go to sleep? Does that rush wear off?

Yes, I would love it if everything was powered by one battery, like you do with a real movie camera. In the mean time, I have to deal with different batteries, but actually only 2 types:
1) AAs
2) Camera Batteries
My Pilot-AA, Sennheiser G2-100 wireless system, and Fostex FR-2LE field sound recorder all use AAs. My AA chargers are fast (1 hour), and there are 16 charging slots, so it's not that bad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
If you are shooting with a Steadicam, you aren't monitoring audio with headphones so how do you know that the wireless receiver(s) hasn't died?
The wireless has a battery indicator which helps, and two AA rechargeables last around 8 hours, so it's not that bad. The real issue is wireless drop-out, so even if the guy editing the project doesn't want to deal with manually syncing 2-system sound, I like to get the field sound recorder in the sound loop as backup. In other words, the lav or boom mics run wired/wireless into the sound recorder, and then from there runs wireless to the camera. The sound guy monitors what's going into the field recorder, so you know you have good sound there. If there's no drop out, then the field recorder sound is never used. If there is drop out, then they only have to line up the affected clips, and they can use the bad wireless sound as a reference to line things up, so a slate isn't necessary. I also have a slate, and have used full 2-system sound when the editor doesn't mind lining everything up manually, and the director likes slating scenes anyway.

The field sound recorder also has a battery indicator, and 4 AAs last 4 hours of continuous recording, so that's not too bad to deal with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Maybe it's just considered part of the acceptable scheme of things now, but in the world I've been in for many years, it's considered a serious screwup to have the battery die in the middle of a take. I can only imagine that for event or wedding shooters, it's even worse.
I've never seen it happen, so I would to think it would be considered a screw-up, not sure how serious. People do tend to be aware of the camera battery indicator.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Anyway, as far as students being prickly about their cameras being powered by outboard sources; the EX batteries are 14.4v, the Steadicam battery is 14.4v. The only other factor is polarity, which is easy to check with a meter and can't change once the cable is built. Part of the deal with working with students is that they are in the process of being educated, and powering their camera from external sources is something that shouldn't be scary. We've been doing that with much more expensive cameras for many years.
To be honest, I've never tried to convince them not to use the camera battery. Most of time, sound is a much bigger issue. A lot of people are used to running sound into the camera, and then back out of the camera again for monitoring. So if I can get them to change their whole setup so that I fly without being tethered, that's enough of an accomplishment, and I don't bother about the battery. But this year I may have a project with people I've worked with already, so then I would give that a try. I have bought the special right-angle Sony power connector, so I can make a custom a cable whenever I need it.
Dave Gish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 8th, 2008, 07:35 PM   #13
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Gish View Post
Do you still get jacked up after shooting something good? Like even though you're tired, you're just wired (in a good sort of way) and you can't go to sleep? Does that rush wear off?
Well...it's not quite what it was, certainly as far as operating. I do get that from working as a DP or director though. I'd have to think about the last time I got really jazzed from doing a Steadicam shot...

Hearing about your power requirements makes me think more about possible solutions. What are the total number of voltages that might be required from any given shooting scenario? I count 12v (aka 14.4v) for the EX's, onboard lights/monitor, 7.2v for cameras and 3v for audio components. Anything else? Some wireless receivers take 9v, right?
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 8th, 2008, 11:05 PM   #14
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Riverdale, NJ
Posts: 468
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Hearing about your power requirements makes me think more about possible solutions. What are the total number of voltages that might be required from any given shooting scenario? I count 12v (aka 14.4v) for the EX's, onboard lights/monitor, 7.2v for cameras and 3v for audio components. Anything else? Some wireless receivers take 9v, right?
Yep. Lectrosonics uses 9v, Sennheiser uses 2 AAs. Cameras use Li/Ion packs with either 2 or 4 cells internally. Each Li/Ion cell is 3.6v. I haven't used enough on-camera lights to know what voltages these use, but I figure these are probably covered by 7.2v, 9v, or 12v.
Dave Gish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 9th, 2008, 03:10 AM   #15
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
Thanks Dave.

Back to the more immediate subject at hand--one thing about the 10lb limit on the Pilot is that the science of spring uniformity amongst arms is not an exact one. Some Pilot arms will take a bit more, hopefully none will take less (!). The additional weights make it easy to learn what the exact capacity of your rig is, just keep loading it up until the arm is fully maxed out in lift and starts to droop below horizontal, and that is your nominal max capacity. It is possible to go more in a pinch but you have to start holding the arm up which can be tiring. Significantly more than the stated capacity, and you start to risk strain on the gimbal and other components. But it's well worth finding out the load bearing of your own rig rather than taking 10 lbs to be the exact number, you might actually be able to sneak that extra weight or wireless receiver onboard after all!
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Support Your Local Camera > Stabilizers (Steadicam etc.)

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:47 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network