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Old January 13th, 2004, 01:06 PM   #31
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Dave,

I had it shipped 2 day Fed-Ex, and was shipped within 2 days of my order, but I bought mine second hand but never used.

I'd go with the series II if I were you, Dave. The weight on the low end of the specs means it'll be easier to keep your camera balanced than with the smaller one where the weight's on the higher end of it's capabilities.

The dual arm allows for greater reach, pitch, movment, etc. The 3" section between arms you're talking about is a joint so that it swivels like a snake. So you can create an "L" with the two arms. Unless of course you were talking about the distance of the upper arm bar from the lower arm bar, per arm.

The series II (double arm) is very great and I'd imagine the single arm wouldn't be near as good, especially with the camera on the higher weight line.
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Old January 13th, 2004, 01:50 PM   #32
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Thanks guys. Just to clarify, the smaller rig *is* a
dual arm, but it doesn't have a spring on the lower
arm section. The larger Series IIa does have a
spring on the lower section of the arm.
I do notice that the lower arm section of the
smaller rig seems to be shorter than the
lower arm of the larger rig. I would think that,
for this reason, the larger rig would give more
range/boom distance.
Charles, how would the extra steel plate
be attached to the larger rig in order to
bring up the weight. In my situation, I'd
have to attach about 3 pounds to hit the
mid range (i.e. 9 pounds) of the larger rig.
I do have a battery (for the Pag C6 light) that
normally is slung over the shoulder and
which weighs a few pounds. I wonder if
I could attach this to the arm some how
to bring up the weight?
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Old January 13th, 2004, 04:29 PM   #33
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Yes yes. The single action arm was pioneered by Cinema Products (the original manufacturer of Steadicam before Tiffen) with the SK model. Since then the shorthand is "single arm" or "dual arm" but as you noted all arms have an articulated design to allow for clearance from the body and maximum maneuverability. A more accurate term would be "single action" or "dual action".

A dual arm (sorry, dual action arm!) not only doubles the boom range, but it can also improve the shock absorption capability of the arm. It should be noted that the basic design of this class of stabilizer arms is fairly flawed in comparison to even the original, circa 1975 Steadicam production model which incorporated springs and pulleys in an effort to make the lifting force linear throughout the boom range (the Glidecam Gold arm uses this design). The basic "desk lamp" design of most of the DV stabilizers will tend to bounce and also allow a certain amount of vibration through that would be absent on the more sophisticated arms. As it turns out, a certain amount of "pogo-ing" is acceptable in a stabilizer arm, which is one reason why the handheld rigs are possible. In other words, a slight up-and-down motion will not necessarily read on camera because the image is not being displaced signficantly. As a point of comparison, imagine the difference between booming the camera up and down two inches, and tilting the camera up and down two inches. The tilt is much more noticeable as a move. The exception to all this is if you have foreground close to the lens, in which case a deflection in boom will be more apparent due to the parallax shift.

Heady stuff, don't know why I got on that roll. Must be warming up for my instructional video or something.

Dave:

The ideal weight setup assuming your camera is well balanced is just to have a 3lb steel plate that would mount between the top stage of the rig (tapped with the requisite 1/4"-20 threads and locator hole), and then attaching the camera or the quick release to the top of the steel plate (drilled out from the bottom to allow the camera screw to be sunken into place). You mount the plate to the camera, then the plate to the platform and you are good to go. Very easy and cheap to have a local machinist whip up, or you can make it yourself if you have a workshop.

You wouldn't want to put the battery pack on the arm, that would just be dead weight you are hauling around that isn't going to work for you at increasing the inertia of the rig. You would want to attach it to the camera somehow. Again, a machinist would be the man to help with this. It's very critical with stabilizers to have all of the components buttoned down, so strapping or taping something into place could be an issue for operating.
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Old January 17th, 2004, 02:00 AM   #34
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John Gardner just sent me the tracking number for my MagiqCam. Looks like I'm finally going to have a new toy to play with soon. I know it will have been worth the wait. :)
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Old January 17th, 2004, 02:14 AM   #35
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Charles,
John's wife says "Hi". Their Paypal was down so I had
to call.
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Old January 30th, 2004, 01:08 AM   #36
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I just received my sled upgrade. It is much improved over the original. First, it appears that the bearings have been upgraded to even a more smooth motion with bearings on all x,y,z axis. The camera mount is a standard bogen tripod plate which allows for forward, back and side to side adjustments quite easily. In addition, the black metal has been nicely powder coated and the sled is a bit lighter in weight. The quick tripod release will make it much easier to move from tripod to stabilizer and back again more easily.
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Old January 30th, 2004, 03:21 PM   #37
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My Magiqcam arrived the beginning of this week. I've been stuck at work all week and will finally get a chance to balance it this weekend. I wish the instructions were a little better on that front. How do you guys balance your Magiqcam? Do you start with getting the monitor and battery in balance, then add the camera?
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Old January 30th, 2004, 04:00 PM   #38
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I've been having trouble getting my order through.
Paypal's been having me jump through
hoops regarding a "sending limit".
Does anyone know what the normal PayPal
sending limit is if you are not "verified"?
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Old January 30th, 2004, 04:47 PM   #39
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Joe:

<<Do you start with getting the monitor and battery in balance, then add the camera?>>

Yes, that is a good start. The easiest way to do this is to place the bottom of the post on a fulcrum (could be as simple as a pen) to determine if the sled falls forwards or backwards, then adjust the monitor or battery until it comes close to levelling out.
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Old January 30th, 2004, 08:08 PM   #40
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I placed mine on a mic stand. Make sure one of the legs is towards the sled and camera as it may tip over. Put on all your weight and monitor. Try to guestimate where your camera's center of gravity is (the XL1 is toward the NW looking down on the camera) and place the camera on the sled in that position, where the center of gravity of the camera would be over the center pole of the sled. Next, rotate the two counterbalances to get a level postition and add or remove weight if needed. I use a little bubble level to help me with that. Now, tip the sled horizontally and let it drop. It should take 2-3 seconds to go verticle. If not, shorten or lengthen the bottom half of the sled to adjust the fall time - shorter for slower and longer for faster. It takes some time at first, but after a while you get quicker at it. Unfortunately, to put the sled away you have to collapse everything and mess up all your adjustments.
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Old January 30th, 2004, 08:38 PM   #41
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Dave, if by "rotate the two counterbalances to get a level position" you mean you are rotating the monitor and/or battery around the post, I wouldn't recommend that. Your best results will be to keep both aligned with the direction of the camera, with the monitor at 12 o'clock and the battery at 6 o'clock. It's reasonable to ask, "why does the Magiqcam let me do that then?" and the answer is just because it can be done, doesn't mean it should be done for a standard setup. Even though the rig may appear to be level when hanging on the dock, which is called static balance, if the masses are not aligned properly the rig will be said to be out of dynamic balance which becomes an issue when the rig is rotated, causing it to dip during pans.

The theory behind this is a bit advanced and will be handled to an extent in my training video, but for now my strong recommendation is not to make your side to side balance by rotating lower components but by adjusting the camera position. Joe's hunch was correct in that the sled needs to be balanced first and then the camera added.

It is entirely possible to make shots with a rig that is not dynamically balanced, however, the rig will not find its sweet spot and will generally behave a little more erratically. The more time one spends operating, the more apparent the difference is.
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Old January 31st, 2004, 12:01 AM   #42
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As Tim Allen said in Galaxy Quest - "We'll do that!"
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Old January 31st, 2004, 01:57 PM   #43
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Keeping everything lined up just makes sense in a physics standpoint, for making it even possible to setup dynamic balance. I think everyon trying to balance a steadicam type system sould read through Jerry's Dynamic Balance Primer

I've got to wait until my batteries get here to finish balancing everything. The engineer in me had to do some empirical testing to determine battery weight before ordering. So I hung a gallon jug from my intended battery CG and started adding water. Once I got a balance looking level, I measured the water in ounces. Then converted to gallons (128 oz per gal.) and gallons to pounds (8.345 lbs per gal.) I decided to go ahead and use Gel Cells, as I wound up needing the weight. At 4 lbs, I can get a 5 Ah battery, which should run my 7" 16:9 LCD for over 3 hours. Hard to beat $16 bucks for each battery. Definitely not worth the price and work to build up my own NiCads.

Included with the Magiqcam is now a stand that mounts on top of a light stand. But, it doesn't hold the sled far enough away to spin in dynamic balancing. I guess it would if I use the arm also on the mount, but that would complicate things a little. All in all, I'm really impressed with the Magiqcam for the price. Now, if only my batteries would get here... :)
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Old January 31st, 2004, 02:32 PM   #44
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Joe,
Which LCD are you using with the Magiqcam? I thought there was only room for a 5" or so.
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Old January 31st, 2004, 02:59 PM   #45
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Good job reading the DB white paper. It's heady stuff, yeah? The interesting thing about dynamic balance is that there are various schools of thought about interpreting within the professional Steadicam community. Jerry (and Garrett) feel that even with a balanced sled, you still need to make adjustments based on the exact camera that is used, whereas others believe that if the sled is balanced and the camera properly placed, it doesn't matter which camera you use.

Good note on the docking bracket, I'll let John at Magiqcam know that he should be accomodating that need.

Regarding batteries, I know you have made your choices but just in case things change for you, you might want to look into Dewalt batteries, the type used for power tools. They are cheap (around $40), positive locking to prevent shifting on the rig, easy to find, the charger costs about the same, and they run a long time. You just need to figure out a mounting setup. They make an inexpensive flashlight that you can chop down to get the female mount and then build an adaptor to accomodate.
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