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Old April 1st, 2009, 05:48 AM   #1
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Steadicam Pilot and the Canon XL-H1A

Apologies if this has been asked before but would the Steadicam Pilot or Co-pilot be suitable for use with the Canon XL-H1A camera? I believe the total weight of the camera in its standard form approaches 8.5LBS. Can the rig work comfortably with this weight without being compromised? My only other concern is a matte box and the additional weight this would add; our current matte box and support system would be too heavy, but we would need to use one. Is there a light weight 4x4 clip on matte box that would keep the weight within the Steadicam 10LB limit?

Many thanks as always
Simon
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Old April 1st, 2009, 02:39 PM   #2
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absolutely, and what better way to convince yourself than a little review by none other than Charles Papert

Steadicam Pilot Review Part One by Charles Papert, S.O.C.
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Old April 1st, 2009, 04:13 PM   #3
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A Chrosziel CMB-R20 with 2 filters fitted and a french flag is under a 1lb. I use one on my EX3+Flyer-LE.
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Old April 1st, 2009, 07:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Glidewell View Post
Apologies if this has been asked before but would the Steadicam Pilot or Co-pilot be suitable for use with the Canon XL-H1A camera? I believe the total weight of the camera in its standard form approaches 8.5LBS. Can the rig work comfortably with this weight without being compromised? My only other concern is a matte box and the additional weight this would add...
I would say the practical limit of the Steadicam Pilot is 8 pounds. The Pilot battery weighs around 1 pound, and you need around 1 pound of screw-on weights at the bottom for good inertia. So basically, anything heavier than an EX3 won't work well with the Pilot.

If you're flying an 8.5 pound camera plus 1 pound for a matte box, I would go for the Flyer-LE. If that's too much money, you may be able to find a used Flyer (the version before the LE) for around the price of the Pilot. That supports up to 15 pounds. Or you could go with the Sachtler rig you mentioned before.

Hope this helps.
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 01:17 AM   #5
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Thanks Danny, but I should point out that that was an XH-A1, not an XL-H1 I had on the Pilot for that review. The H1 is indeed heavier. I couldn't remember if the viewfinder comes off the H1...? that might free up some payload for a mattebox.
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 05:15 AM   #6
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Charles,

Have you heard anything about this Sachtler rig that Simon mentioned on the other thread?
Artemis - Sachtler GmbH

The arm says it goes up to almost 21 pounds.
Artemis - Sachtler GmbH

Looks like it's around the same price and weight class as the Flyer-LE. I know you use the Flyer vest and arm for your running rig.

I would want my next rig to go heavier than this, but I'm generally interested in what's out there.
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 10:59 AM   #7
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Hi Dave:

I've played with the Sachtler products at trade shows, looks like I'm going to NAB this year unexpectedly (my current series just got cancelled) and I plan to refresh myself on the various rigs this year. In the past my impression of the Sachtler gear was that they incorporate intelligent and nicely machined sleds but the arms left much to be desired.

BTW I am using a modified Flyer arm but my PRO vest with the running rig. Can be seen in the two pix with the 235 onboard here.

I have an upcoming RED concert shoot and am hoping to use the lightweight rig for this, have to do some testing to see just how stripped down I can work with the camera and place as many components (hard drive etc) at the base of my sled. I'll post pix of same.
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 08:08 PM   #8
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I have an upcoming RED concert shoot and am hoping to use the lightweight rig for this... I'll post pix of same.
Thanks! I'll be interested to see them.

This is off topic, but since you are a professional camera operator as well as a steadicam specialist, and since you also dabble in directing and DP work, what is your impression of RED? Does it compete well with film? Are the days of film numbered? I'm noticing that the film schools seem to be transitioning from 16mm to RED.
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 07:22 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the input everyone. Sorry; back on to the main subject of this thread! Having studied the Steadicam official website and the camera reference chart for the Pilot, it says that the Canon XL-H1A is suitable for this rig but near the top of its weight. Presumably then the rig will still perform well with this camera? If we did away with the matte box and onboard microphone (but used a Sennheiser G2 wireless receiver) and drew camera power from the rig battery would this be OK (i.e. operated the camera in its most basic form)? Dave; you mention adding weights to the rig - do you get any weights when you buy the Pilot?

Many thanks
Simon
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 09:50 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Simon Glidewell View Post
Having studied the Steadicam official website and the camera reference chart for the Pilot, it says that the Canon XL-H1A is suitable for this rig but near the top of its weight. Presumably then the rig will still perform well with this camera?
I've never flown the XL-H1A, so I don't know all the details. The only thing I can say is that the Pilot works best with 8 pounds or less. This includes the camera and all accessories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Glidewell View Post
If we did away with the matte box and onboard microphone (but used a Sennheiser G2 wireless receiver) and drew camera power from the rig battery would this be OK (i.e. operated the camera in its most basic form)?
I don't know. You would have to weigh everything to be sure. You can buy a nice scale for $40:
Product: USPS 10lb Digital Scale

As for power, that probably won't work since the H1A uses 7.4 volts and the Pilot uses 14.4 volts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Glidewell View Post
Dave; you mention adding weights to the rig - do you get any weights when you buy the Pilot?
Yes, the Pilot comes with 4 "middle weights" (1/4 pound each) and 4 "end weights", 1/8 pound each. You can also buy more weights separately for lighter cameras.
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Old April 6th, 2009, 05:54 AM   #11
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Steadicam pilot + XH A1

Hello forum, sorry for late reply on this subject but I have been using the exact combination you describe and results have been perfect.

I purchased the canon Wide angle lens for the A1 which is a serious piece of glass weighing in at nearly 1KG on its own.. To compensate for the front weifgt I used a bigger V mount battery 130a to keep weight balanced.. I also use a led light and battery mounted on the hot shoe.. All up this is the maximum weight listed for the Pilot... However I have found that the extra weight gives a more stable balance and better camera control than a lighter camera..

I have posted a video clip which used the same combination...

I hope this helps answers some of your questions....

YouTube - Adam Harvey - Genie In The Bottle
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Old April 6th, 2009, 09:22 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
I couldn't remember if the viewfinder comes off the H1...? that might free up some payload for a mattebox.
Yes, the viewfinder on the Canon XL and XL H series is indeed removable, and taking it off should save some weight.
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Old April 6th, 2009, 11:30 AM   #13
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I purchased the canon Wide angle lens for the A1 which is a serious piece of glass
The XH-A1 is a much lighter camera than the XL-H1A that Simon is wanting to fly.
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Old April 6th, 2009, 05:52 PM   #14
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Canon's nomenclature for this pair of cameras is not great for anyone of a dyslexic bent.
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Old April 6th, 2009, 10:27 PM   #15
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Canon's nomenclature for this pair of cameras is not great for anyone of a dyslexic bent.
Yeah, and the names that Canon chose for these two cameras would confuse people that have reading problems -)
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