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Old March 9th, 2009, 11:09 AM   #1
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Transporting full rig with little to no set up time

How are you guys lugging your rigs around WITHOUT having to re-balance each time? I'm going to be using my rig for weddings primarily and despite having it balanced and being comfortable to shoot with my pilot, I haven't taken it out yet due to having to re-balance it.

On top of that, there's so much stuff we're lugging to and from the shoots now that a backpack + stand to setup and balance would be too time consuming for those minutes you have to crunch out for a same day edit.

I'm looking to maybe purchase a large pelican case with wheels that I can pluck and pick the foam to shape the rig, without camera attached of course. Can't use the backpack since it requires me to re-balance to fit in the provided foam (which I don't mind) but I'm looking for time savings and efficiency right now. Need something that will fit the arm, vest, sled, batteries, and possibly the stand but I can always carry that. I figure with my camera in my backpack, steadicam rig in a rolling case in one hand, and stand in the other, I should be pretty quick to setup and breakdown.

Oh, and not looking to spend more than $300-$400 on a solution. :S

Any advice or insight?

*edit*
On the other hand, I could just cut up the foam the pilot came in to my needs. But I still would like something easier to roll around. Don't mind my scatter brain post, I'm actually brainstorming as I'm typing, lol.
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Old March 9th, 2009, 11:41 AM   #2
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Why do you have to re-balance when you put it in the backpack? I havnt got a pilot yet but surely your only shortening the post at the most? Then couldnt you mark the post where you extend to?

If you dont have one yet then get a quick release for the top plate.

I think no matter what you do you will still need to re-balance slightly. Even putting the rig on the back seat of your car and driving to the next location results in such minute changes that you need to re-balance.

I suppose thats the one thing I will miss about my glidecam, its just so quick to balance and adjust with those pesky washers. Plus you dont need a stand, just plonk it onto the table.
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Old March 9th, 2009, 12:23 PM   #3
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Streamlining Pilot Setup Time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Panado View Post
<i>Can't use the backpack since it requires me to re-balance to fit in the provided foam (which I don't mind) but I'm looking for time savings and efficiency right now.
I use the backpack, and I've figured out a pretty good method to set up the rig and re-balance quickly, like 5-10 minutes from when I arrive to when I'm flying (assuming I'm flying my camera). Here's my method:

The main adjustments on the sled are:
a) camera position on the stage
b) gimbal position
c) lower crossbar front/back position
d) sled post extension
e) battery position
f) monitor position
g) screw-on weights (number, types, & positions)
h) camera accessories & wires

If you can get all of these things back nearly the same as they were, then re-balancing on location usually takes less than a minute. More like a check and tweak than a full re-balance.

To reproduce the camera position on the top, I use the Manfrotto 577 tripod adapter. I used a sharp knife to cut out the foam in the backpack so that the Manfrotto 577 will fit in the Pilot backpack attached to the stage. When I slide the camera plate into the 577 adapter, I feel the front and back to make sure the plates are aligned as closely as possible before I tighten it down.

The gimbal and lower bar front/back positions fit in the backpack as-is, so there's no problem there. I always use 4 fingers sled post extension, so this only takes a few seconds to get back to where it was.

I always use the battery all the way back, so it only takes a few seconds for that. The monitor position on the lower crossbar doesn't have to be moved to fit into the backpack, you just have to swivel the monitor up around 90. I've adjusted my monitor so that it touches the screw-on weights when it's swiveled down into proper position, so that's really easy to reproduce.

The screw-on weights are just a matter of remembering the configuration. For the camera accessories, I usually balance the rig with the exact accessories I'm going to fly before-hand, and they all velcro or shoe-mount into the same positions. My wires are also custom and very short to eliminate any variance with coiled wire.

The Pilot backpack is very big, but it's not really heavy, so I always wear it as a backpack. This leaves one hand for my camera case, and the other hand for wireless gear.

But hey, if every minute counts and you can afford a nice case, go for it! I use Storm cases. I don't like the Pelican latch design, especially when it's cold. The Storm iM2950 would probably fit the Pilot if you swivel up the monitor.

Hope this helps.
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Old March 9th, 2009, 01:02 PM   #4
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MY Sled

I have designed and fabicated a light weight sled that supports the camera, AB battery pack, follow focus, Matte box and an HD monitor.

Loosen the 4 screws, remove it from the Pilot and you're away!

Little or no re-balance required, assuming you marked the Steadycam Rig before you packed it up.

Email me at lexicon.demon@gmail.com and I'll send a link to a slide show I've posted.
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Old March 9th, 2009, 04:01 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies fellas!

Danny - I've moved the lower post and telescoped the main one. I do have the quick release plate so getting that part adjusted is no problem. For us, every second counts so that's why I'm looking to save as much time as possible. To be honest, I hate setup/breakdown time so that's the main motivator behind this with time being second, haha.

Dave - Thanks for the insight on your method. The biggest issue with my calibration is that I have the lower post centered in such a way that it doesn't slip easily back into the slot. I'll probably get a pencil and just pencil it in or something. For my QR, I have the camera all the way back so that's very simple to replicate.

Larry - I'll email ya in a bit. Definitely curious as to what you've come up with.
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Old March 9th, 2009, 05:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Panado View Post
The biggest issue with my calibration is that I have the lower post centered in such a way that it doesn't slip easily back into the slot.
Hmmm. I've never had this problem.

So just to be clear, you remove all the weights from the lower crossbar, slide the AA battery pack in toward the middle, swivel the monitor up a little past 90, and you still cant get the Pilot sled in the backpack unless you move the lower crossbar by loosening the hex nut in the middle. Is this right? If so, then I can see why you would want another case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Panado View Post
Oh, and not looking to spend more than $300-$400 on a solution. :S
You can buy a Storm iM2950 with cubed foam for $272 shipped (to Honolulu) here:
Storm IM2950 Waterproof Case
Available in Black, Grey, Olive Drab, or Yellow.

Last edited by Dave Gish; March 9th, 2009 at 07:36 PM.
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Old March 10th, 2009, 04:39 AM   #7
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Dave,
I have bought a Storm Case iM2950. It's great! I have to add other accessories such as the customized plate with Manfrotto quick release.
Amedeo
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Old March 10th, 2009, 03:47 PM   #8
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Nice looking case Amedeo!

Well I went ahead and added a few things and rebalanced it so I could make it work in the backpack. It was either buy a case or batteries and a charger so I went with the batteries.

I'll be following your routine Dave. I re-DB'd and SB'd everything so it would work. I had to add my sennheiser wireless receiver on the rig to get it to where I liked the balanced and dropping the monitor all the way forward helped too. It was off just SMALL amount from sliding in but now it fits just fine. Thanks again.

-Randy
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