Setup my pilot with XH-A1 and WD-H72, few questions 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 March 4th, 2009, 02:44 AM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 643
Setup my pilot with XH-A1 and WD-H72, few questions

Hi all!

Well thanks to all the wonderful people who have a passion for steadicam, I finally joined the SC bunch. Got my pilot in today, put my QR plate on, and mounted/balanced my XH-A1.

This is what I have setup :

XH-A1 with large canon battery (LCD flipped out)
Manfrotto QR plate
WD-H72 wide angle
4 mid weights and 1 finish weight on both the monitor and battery side (AA mount)
Telescoped 3 finger lengths gripped
and bottom post pushed all the way forward to the monitor

If you guys could please answer these questions :

1) Is that TOO MUCH weight? The arm has a bit of squeaking/creaking and I'm worried about having too much weight on the arm and it will damage it. I don't have a scale yet but I wasn't thinking I could max out the pilot with the A1.

2) The arm stays next to me when I stand still and it does't move but as soon as I move forward or back, it shoots forward. Is this normal? When watching Garret Brown in the B&H video (yeah I know I know, he's a master at it) he can walk back and forward around the back of the rig and it still moves fine. Technique, setting, or both?

3) It's static-ally balanced and when I spin it for dynamic balance, it has a small small small amount of dip. I like the feel of it when starting and stopping. I spin it a few times and it kinda evens out so I'm not sure if it's the way I'm spinning it. Sound normal?

4) The arm doesn't come past my mid section (I'm 5ft 9in tall) when hanging. Is that another sign of too much weight? I twisted the blue knobs but not much response.

Took me about 2 hours to get everything unpacked, steadistand setup, rigged balanced, and me running around. Back is a bit sore but man it was fun. Can't wait to realy start practicing.

Well I'm off to watch the included DVD for some more tips, excited to venture into this new tool. Finally glad I don't have to wreck my arm using the glidecam 2000 anymore. Thanks in advance for any help.
Randy Panado is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 4th, 2009, 03:37 AM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Posts: 318
1- Get a scale. Ten pounds adds up pretty quick.
2-Technique, (mainly posture) and setting of the block screws.
3-Don't stress too much about DB to begin with.
4-Go to answer one.
5-Do a workshop, more important than the purchase itself IMHO.
Dave will probably expand in more detail - I just hate typing.
__________________
Nick
Nick Tsamandanis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 4th, 2009, 03:44 AM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 643
1&4 - So I take it your implying I'm over the weight limit? If that's the case, I guess I can't use the wide angle. I'll be buying a scale shortly.

2 - How does the adjustment of the block screws relate to the position of the arm? That way I can adjust without trial and error and not spend 20 minutes on just that part ;).

3 - I'm not worried about it as I feel its actually DB'd quite well. Just wondering if it goes into a perfect flat spin.

5 - Out of the budget currently as I'd have to fly in, but definitely on the checklist of things to do. DVDs, that new steadicam book and forum advice will have to suffice for now :(.

Thanks for the responses!
Randy Panado is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 4th, 2009, 03:57 AM   #4
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Posts: 318
No, I'm not saying your over the limit, I just can't tell off hand. The battery system powering the Pilot must be added in the equation as well. The socket block screws adjust the fore and aft and side to side position of the sled. If it's veering off to the side or your chasing it all the time it needs adjusting, this is where good posture comes into it as well. "White knuckling" with the right hand is not recommended. When operating you should only need finger touch control. DB sounds close, when you trim for headroom it will go out anyway.
__________________
Nick
Nick Tsamandanis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 4th, 2009, 10:19 AM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 326
As to Question #1, I wouldn't worry about damaging the arm, unless you're seriously overloading it. So long as the arm ends up horizontal, it can support the weight, and there shouldn't be any real risk of damaging parts (at least due to weight!).

I'm not sure what you mean by the arm not coming to your midsection, but if by that you mean that the arm droops down, then it's either got too much weight on it, or it's not adjusted properly. You say that you twisted the blue knobs, with little change. That's not a particularly good sign, since turning those to the right ups the weight carrying capacity, and turning to the left decreases it. If you turn them to the left, the arm should conceivably drop, since it can't support as much weight. If you turn them to the right (assuming that they're not at their maximum), the arm should boom up, and require a little force to push down. When adjusted properly, both sections should sit around horizontal without you having to hold the rig up. If it does that, then that means you're in the clear, the arm's supporting the weight, and you're within an acceptable weight range. If even when you've turned the knobs all the way to the right - to the point where they stop - it won't support the weight, you're over the max weight, and will need to remove some. You certainly can work with a scale, but this test is absolute.

With regards to the rig flying away when you start moving, this actually is explained with how we move - we lean forwards to move forwards, so the rig may try to fly away. Your adjustments on the socket block may be off, but you also may just need to practice how you hold your body too.

Good luck with the rig!
Tom Wills is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 4th, 2009, 01:20 PM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Riverdale, NJ
Posts: 468
Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Panado View Post
4 mid weights and 1 finish weight on both the monitor and battery side (AA mount)
Too much weight on the bottom. This will move the stage too far from the gimbal. Try 2 mid weigts and a finish weight on each side. Add the rest of the weights on either side of the stage. Make the total top weight 8 pounds (camera + accessoroes + stage weights).

Also, if you haven't already, pick up a couple of extra AA battery holders here:
10 AA Plastic Battery Holder 10xAA 10AA for detectors - eBay (item 120374689064 end time Mar-08-09 12:42:52 PDT)

See here for more details on AA batteries:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/stabilize...ttery-mod.html
Dave Gish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 4th, 2009, 01:29 PM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 643
Thanks for the reply guys!

Nick - I am finding I have to corral the arm sometimes, might be my posture. It's not major pressure but just enough to hold it in place. I'm thinking it's an adjustment though. I'm using an empty AA system as I use the cams LCD for framing right now.

Tom - Thanks man, appreciate that! I'll go ahead and spend some time today with the rig and put what you mentioned into practice.

Dave - I had to load up the bottom with weights as the whole concoction was very top heavy. It wanted to flip in static balance and in order for it not to do so, I had to move the gimbal rather high up on the post or add weights down low. I chose to add the weights. I think I'm pushing 8lbs already up top with the HEAVY WD-h72 adapter, cam, and the QR plate. Insight on that regard?
Randy Panado is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 4th, 2009, 04:08 PM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Riverdale, NJ
Posts: 468
Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Panado View Post
I'm using an empty AA system as I use the cams LCD for framing right now.
BAD idea. This changes your whole form. You want the sled on your left side, not out in front of you. Close the camera LCD and buy some AA batteries. Use the A/V cable that came with your XH-A1, coiled & tied up for now. You'll probably want buy another A/V cable and chop it down to a shorter custom cable for steadicam use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Panado View Post
I had to load up the bottom with weights as the whole concoction was very top heavy. It wanted to flip in static balance and in order for it not to do so, I had to move the gimbal rather high up on the post or add weights down low.
You want the gimbal high on the post, within a couple of inches from the top. Here's an analogy. Grab a pencil. Hold the pencil between the thumb and finger of your left hand. Hold the pencil in the middle, and move the bottom with your other hand. The eraser moves a lot. Now hold the pencil up high next to the eraser and move it again. The eraser moves much less. So moving the gimbal closer to the lens reduces the effect of any movement on the sled.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Panado View Post
I think I'm pushing 8lbs already up top with the HEAVY WD-h72 adapter, cam, and the QR plate. Insight on that regard?
• The XH-A1 weighs 4.5 pounds
• The WD-H72 weighs 1.5 pounds
• The large Canon battery (BP-970) weighs around .75 pounds
• The Manfrotto 577 QR adapter & plate weighs around .5 pounds
All that totals 7.25 pounds. To get it up around 8 pounds, you'll need 1 mid weight and 1 end weight on each side of the stage. Buy a scale and weigh everything to be sure:
http://shop.usps.com/webapp/wcs/stor...-1&WT.ac=41901

No matter what you're flying on top, you'll probably want 2 mid weights and 1 end weight on each side of the bottom. Together with the AA batteries, that totals 2 pounds.

So start with around 2 pounds on the bottom and 8 pounds on the top.

Also, move the AA batteries all the way back, and the monitor almost all the way forward (leave around 1/4 inch so the monitor can swivel down without hitting the weights). Always use the battery and monitor in these positions. To balance the rig, just move the whole lower cross bar forward or back using the hex nut in the middle.
Dave Gish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 4th, 2009, 06:10 PM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 643
Jesus Christ, thanks for that detailed reply!

I run the LCD like that because I'm used to flying like that with the glidecam. I'll start using the lower LCD to help with form. I still keep the rig on the left side but I can't see the LCD head on so it's probably the way I peek at the LCD that messes up my form. Thanks for solidifying that point, you're more than likely 100% correct on that screwing me up in posture.

As for the gimbal, I was worried that I would end up having it right under the sled. The problem was it was about 3 inches from the top and it was still top heavy. I'll try rebalancing again with the gimbal and see how it acts. It's just that I see heavier cams like the EX1 and the gimbal is much lower than mine on the post on pilots.

When I get home this evening, I'll follow out what you said.

I read the getting started FAQ and had my monitor and battery setback. Makes it much easier to rebalance out of the bag! :)

Last thing, when the pilot shoots out after sitting in front of me, what can I fix in my posture or adjust on the vest/arm to have it not be so squirrly?

Seriously appreciate the replies. Thanks again.
Randy Panado is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 4th, 2009, 06:16 PM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: California USA
Posts: 576
Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Panado View Post
As for the gimbal, I was worried that I would end up having it right under the sled.
Right under the top stage, that's where you want it! I wish I could have the gimbal that close on my set up (XH-A1 and Pilot). :-)

Julian
Julian Frost is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 4th, 2009, 07:03 PM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Riverdale, NJ
Posts: 468
Quote:
Originally Posted by Julian Frost View Post
Right under the top stage, that's where you want it! I wish I could have the gimbal that close on my set up (XH-A1 and Pilot). :-)
The XH-A1 w/normal battery weighs 5 pounds. The Manfrotto 577 weighs .5 pounds. Add 4 mid weights and 1 end weight to each side of the stage and you're up to 7.75 pounds. With 2 mid weight on either side of the lower crossbar, your gimbal should be up around 2-3" from the stage, and with plenty of pan inertia.
Dave Gish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 4th, 2009, 07:41 PM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 643
I haven't read yet about your telescoping setting. Did you keep it at the factory setting? I have mine (currently) 3 finger spaced.
Randy Panado is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 4th, 2009, 08:04 PM   #13
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: California USA
Posts: 576
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Gish View Post
The XH-A1 w/normal battery weighs 5 pounds. The Manfrotto 577 weighs .5 pounds. Add 4 mid weights and 1 end weight to each side of the stage and you're up to 7.75 pounds. With 2 mid weight on either side of the lower crossbar, your gimbal should be up around 2-3" from the stage, and with plenty of pan inertia.
On my setup, the gimbal is indeed about 3" from the top stage... just "not right next to the top stage". I also use the Canon 0.7x wide angle adapter and the V-lock batteries, so that changes things a bit. I use only the supplied weights (though I have extras) as I've found adding extra weights to the top stage doesn't seem to help with raising the gimbal position, and if I add my Firestore into the equation, it can max out the Pilot's capacity.

Julian
Julian Frost is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 4th, 2009, 09:01 PM   #14
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: DC Suburbs
Posts: 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Gish View Post
Buy a scale and weigh everything to be sure:
Product: USPS 10lb Digital Scale
THANK YOU SO MUCH!
I have been searching for a decent scale for a while now but couldn't find one that someone has used before.
Ken Steadman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 4th, 2009, 11:47 PM   #15
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Riverdale, NJ
Posts: 468
Quote:
Originally Posted by Julian Frost View Post
I use only the supplied weights (though I have extras) as I've found adding extra weights to the top stage doesn't seem to help with raising the gimbal position
Huh? Increasing the stage weight should always move the CG toward the stage, which means you have to move the gimbal up to maintain the same drop time.

A friend of mine has the Pilot-VLB and the VL batts seem to weigh about the same as the AAs, so I don't think that's an issue. Where do you add the stock weights? Do you use a QR plate? Any other accessories?
Dave Gish 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 07:58 AM.


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