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Old December 31st, 2008, 09:13 AM   #1
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Steadicam jr and Varizoom

I pulled an older Steadicam Jr. out of storage and mounted my XHA1 on it. I can get the cam to balance well on it, although it's awfully heavy. I have to put a 2 1/4 lb weight on the bottom to balance. Does anyone know how well the Varizoom Sportster vest and arm works with this setup? Is it worth investing $700? Thanks, Jerry
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Old December 31st, 2008, 10:00 AM   #2
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You definitely need a vest to use the XHA1 for any length of time. I was thinking about the Flowpod with that vest but ended up spending more and getting the Steadicam Merlin with it's arm and vest (pricey but great). I think the one you're looking at has a single arm, so it wouldn't be as smooth. However, it would be a lot better than what you're doing now. You'd want to be sure the Jr. will attach OK.

I didn't know you could balance the XHA1 on the Jr. That's great. I use all the weights on the Merlin, including the extra ones they give you with the arm/vest package, but I have some attachments on the camera (wireless receiver, shotgun, mattebox).

As long as your Jr. is in good shape and the camera is not overloading the bearing or anything, it might be worth the 700 bucks.
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Old December 31st, 2008, 10:59 AM   #3
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Thanks Bill, yeah I had to work with it to get to balance at all including the weight at the bottom. It kept leaning to the right a bit but with the cameras monitor swung out it leveled out. I'm kind of afraid to go cheap on stabilization and end up wasting money. I'm just now getting back into video after 30 years in the commercial still business so there is a bit of retooling going on and needless to say , in these economic conditions, I'm watching the money very closely. Any advice would certainly help. Thanks again, Jerry
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Old December 31st, 2008, 12:28 PM   #4
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I had some specific projects coming up that justified the purchase; otherwise I wouldn't have done it. If you don't really need a Steadicam, it's probably not a good idea to spend the money, in my opinion. In your case I might be hesitant to get too married to the Jr. because of the camera's weight, ie., would that wear the bearing more? I think it's plastic but I'm not sure. I know the early Merlin had a plastic gimbal and was replaced with metal.

There ought to be somebody around using that $700 arm who could let you know if it works. One thing about any steadycam type device, it takes practice. The Merlin is a lot more touchy than the big units, I've found, but you can be just as smooth with practice. And a few years ago i used a Jr with a small TRV900 and was able to get very nice moves. The XHA1 might be pushing the limit.

Here's a different sort of thought I just had: Instead of 700 bucks for the arm, think about getting an HV30 for about $550 at B&H. Use it on the Jr without the arm. In most cases the footage would intercut OK with the XHA1 because any walking shot is going to be different from your other shots, so you can get by with it. You need a Steadicam shot, mount the little camera. As a bonus, you get a deck and a second camera all together. Now that I think of it, that's what I'd have done if I had already had a Steadicam Jr.
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Old December 31st, 2008, 02:53 PM   #5
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Bill, I do have an HV30. I used it recently as a second camera at a wedding. To tell you the truth, I've been so fixated on using the XHA1 with a stabilization device I really have not given it much thought. Duh! I'm just going to go hook that little pup up. Happy New Year, Jerry
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