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Old February 8th, 2004, 10:45 PM   #16
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<<<-- Originally posted by Charles Papert:

If you were intending to get closer than that, a camera-mounted light wouldn't be ideal anyway as it would get noticeably hotter as you approached each painting. With oil paintings or works that involve glass, you would need to approach from an angle to keep the light from creating a reflected glare.

-->>>

You're absolutely right. My inexperience is showing. There is a lot of glass in each room. The light has to be switched from ahead to up and out of the way, in the transition from hallway to room. That takes two people.

<<<-- Originally posted by Charles Papert:

As far as the tight hallways, all I can say is that I've trundled down insanely tight hallways with a focus puller ... -->>>

Let's see, you don't have three arms? I thought you cameramen were superhumans, from another planet! LOL.

Have you ever done a spiral staircase? That must be a real challenge since not everyone is positioned immediately behind the camera operator. Believe it or not, this museum has such a staircase and it's wide enough for 1.5 people at a time. I'll avoid that.

I think I'll try to convince the Guggenheim Museum to let me shoot their exhibits, using a pair of roller skates. There must be something out there which can be done with my limited abilities and budget.
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Old February 9th, 2004, 03:19 AM   #17
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I couldn't help but be intrigued by this thread. I've owned the little JR thing...I was able to use it for a shoot a long time ago with my first DV cam the VX1K. Indoors it worked great and I gained a lot of forearm strength in the process. When it came time for the real shoot...we were outside on a mountain in the wind and the thing was prone to..um..windy pans. It is/was fairly fragile and mine is now somewhere.

The optical stabalization of the XL1, for my first feature, was quite good especially since I studied dance for 7 years beforehand. However, that was a piece where a little "bump and grind" in the image wasn't out of character.

This summer, I was trying to figure out how to shoot from my horse. The JVC has a stabalizer, but I find it not very good in a lot of situations. I don't blame the camera. Since the resolution is almost 2x SD...the vibrations are magnified...I don't blame the camera.

To get to the point. I built myself a body mount for the camera. It took me much longer than I thought it would as my wife will attest.

The thing with heavy cameras on a trad steadicam...there is a lot of weight that helps in the inertia thing that Mr. Brown talks about.

When You've got a 4 pound cam...there isn't much weight to push around and there is much more risk of minor but significant variations in camera angles and...meaning: crappy shots.

I had these goals in mind when I built it.

1) It had to enable smooth, non-70's-horror film-sway, shots.
2) It had to be strong like a tank.
3) It had to be comfortable to wear.
4) It had to be balanced for the JVD HDV cam.
5) It had to not make the horse think that it was going to eat the horse.
6) It had to not take a degree in rocket science to put it on and adjust it.
7) It had to be fun to build.

I achieved all of the above. While I don't believe that you could put it on and immediately get great shots...

I've taken it on the horse. While my first efforts were quite...well...very bad...I'm getting pretty good by now...and the horse doesn't seem to mind.

An other thing was focus...so, I built a wireless remote focus and also wireless variable ND filter.

So, I've shown this thing to a lot of people. They say a lot of people would want it.

I'm an indie film maker first...but, maybe I could sell this thing (and the other stuff we've built too) and other filmmakers could benefit and maybe it would help me buy my actors better food.

My questions are:

Would you be interested?
What would you guys/gals "like" to pay for something like this?
What kind of training would you like?
What other options would be good?
What other devices would help you make better pictures?

Take Care,

Geoff Pepos
www.rhythmfilms.com

P.S. There is a picture on my web site somewhere where I'm wearing the thing on my horse.
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Old February 9th, 2004, 02:13 PM   #18
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Geoff:

That picture on your website is cleverly silhouetted!

It still appears to involve a counterweighted and suspended platform, so I am curious how it as improvement over the JR in terms of protection from wind?

What are the capabilities/differences between this and a small body-mounted system like the Steadicam Mini, Glidecam V8, Magiqcam etc?

Since the stabilizer market is quite saturated, I might recommend focusing on your wireless lens controls, since there are no low-cost systems out there (most inexpensive ones hover in the $2K range, plus a $1500+ motor) that exhibit decent accuracy. Because of the interest in devices like the Mini35 and homebuilt versions of same, this technology is becoming more relevant to the DV community and a low priced system would truly be news-worthy.

By the way..."It had to not make the horse think that it was going to eat the horse"...great line!
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Old February 10th, 2004, 01:33 AM   #19
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Charles,

Yes, I admit it is silhouetted! My wife took it. i think it's quite good in an artful way... As far as the wind, I use a round weight centered and aero-dynamic like a flying saucer. ; ) Since the center of gravity is slightly below the gimbal and the cam is so small and fairly evenly balanced designwise...only a slight amount of finger pressure keeps it in line even at a 18mph gallop. However, my horse sometimes bumps the weight with his neck...horses can see almost 360 degrees. He probably sees me making faces at his perfomance.

I must admit that this version of the device is not radically different from what is out there...I feel that my body mount is unique...and I look at the quality of the stuff at even $3500+ list and I had to make something more robust for myself...I'm hard on gear...and more like a musical instrument.

Like I said, I'm a filmmaker first. I'd rather do that. I showed it to the guys at a Hollywood rental house. I figured I could make my thing for about $1199 list...they said I could sell a lot of them at that price.

But, as you said, the market is full of these things and the market is really rather small.

I'm now experimenting on the new version and it uses no counterweight and is much lighter with composite materials. You wouldn't want to put a big ENG camera on it...but, the JVC HDV size is ideal. I was a Sax player for years and I'd like a camera rig for myself first, something that feels like a great Selmer...an instrument, not a straight jacket...

I'm meeting with a fabricator and investor in two weeks and we're going to do a biz plan for the wireless follow focus...see if we can keep the cost relatively low and also see if it's really worthwhile to bring to market...It's all in the beginning stages right now...that's why I'm feeling things out with the HDV community.

...But, I've got a movie to finish...that always comes first.

Take Care,

Geoff Pepos
www.rhythmfilms.com
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Old February 10th, 2004, 04:33 PM   #20
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So you thinking a Mark VI feel or more of a Super Action 80?!

I used to rush from shooting gigs to playing gigs back in the day. An interesting moment was when I brought the DP of a fillm I was working on at the time to a gig and afterwards she said, "you know, seeing you playing the sax is just like watching you operate the Steadicam". It never occurred to me before that how similar they are--beautiful machines that promote self-expression.
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Old February 21st, 2004, 07:10 PM   #21
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Charles,

Hey, sorry for the extra long delay in reply.

<<<-- Originally posted by Charles Papert : So you thinking a Mark VI feel or more of a Super Action 80?!-->>>

Well, I do like the feel of the low Eb & C keys and the "floating" LH pinky keys are nice...but, there is something about an old worn-out Mark VI...alas, I haven't really played much for years...

I'm glad the music "reference" connected with you...maybe people should "audition" camera operators. ; ) "No, I don't want a demo reel...I wanna see ya move."

Take Care,

G.

<<<--I used to rush from shooting gigs to playing gigs back in the day. An interesting moment was when I brought the DP of a fillm I was working on at the time to a gig and afterwards she said, "you know, seeing you playing the sax is just like watching you operate the Steadicam". It never occurred to me before that how similar they are--beautiful machines that promote self-expression. -->>>
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Old February 22nd, 2004, 09:21 AM   #22
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<,alas, I haven't really played much for years...>>

I know the feeling. Less and less each year. Shame, but there's only room for so many things in the day, right?
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Old July 22nd, 2004, 09:51 AM   #23
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OK.... time to resurrect this thread..... I've just acquired a Steadicam JR ( it's an older model), and while I've read and understood the need to practice with the unit, there's still some unanswered quantities that I'd like to have quantified!!

Firstly; how have HD10 users with a Steadicam JR been able to begin recording without upsetting the balance of the unit? As far as I can see there's no connection that can be used on the cam with the switches etc on the Steadicam. Perhaps using the HD10 remote control unit would be preferable?

Secondly; I have the "Art of Steadicam JR" video, but not the manual....so any recommendations on the mounting position for the cam on the mounting plate? Oh, and have any of you mounted a HD10 with XLR mics attached? Does this adversely affect the setup of the unit if they are left off as advised in the video?

Many thanks for your learned responses in advance!!! :)
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Old July 22nd, 2004, 10:41 AM   #24
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"Firstly; how have HD10 users with a Steadicam JR been able to begin recording without upsetting the balance of the unit? As far as I can see there's no connection that can be used on the cam with the switches etc on the Steadicam. Perhaps using the HD10 remote control unit would be preferable?"

Pressing the switch on camera will upset the balance, no matter what. With alot practice you'll learn to compensate for this, but you will still introduce slight sway. The remote would be near perfect solution, only if you always remember to keep it ready in your pocket.

"so any recommendations on the mounting position for the cam on the mounting plate?"

Have you considered using the Bogen quick release adapter? It's very convenient to be able to separate the cam quickly from the JR and mount it to, say, tripod without unscrewing a screw and extensive re-balancing.

"Oh, and have any of you mounted a HD10 with XLR mics attached? Does this adversely affect the setup of the unit if they are left off as advised in the video?"

I've tried this, and failed miserably. Two reasons: since the XLR housing raises the center of balance, you'll need to compensate this with alot of weights. This makes the rig uncomfortably heavy. I think it would also stretch the limits of the rather flimsy plastic gimbal. Secondly: given the construction of JR, with such load if you try to tilt the camera down a bit, the joint near the stage will unlock and the camera will nosedive and if you're not quick enough to grab the camera, you'll be in a world of hurt in financial terms (for example if you're filming on the edge of the Grand Canyon or from the rooftop of the world's tallest building. Just a thought.)
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Old August 2nd, 2004, 06:29 PM   #25
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Sten,

Thanks for the valuable advice!! I've only just got around to setting up the JR with the HD10.....

Once it's all set up, the JR and HD10 combination feels quite good.....I've even managed the full 360 degree operator around motionless cam move....
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Old August 9th, 2004, 12:15 PM   #26
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Steve,

You can acess both the Steadicam JR Set-up and Operation manuals online at http://www.steadicam.com/jr_manual.htm.
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