Rate my first day with the Steadicam JR - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

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Old November 12th, 2003, 06:38 PM   #16
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The DVX mounted on hole #9. The LCD must be swung open on the camcorder for it to balance. As far as the positions of the left/right and fore/aft trims, it depends. If you want the camera to be pointed down then it'll be different. It always varies depending on the situation. The Z-axis is only two steps down, though.
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Old November 13th, 2003, 02:07 PM   #17
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Not much to add on the first shot. The only thing on the second shot that I noticed was the horizon issues near the end. Since the steadicam is heavier on the bottom than the top, quick side to side motions add a horizontal angle. You can fix this with some slight english during any acceleration or decelerations.
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Old November 14th, 2003, 10:10 AM   #18
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Hi Ted,
Just got my Steadicam JR last night! I agree that setting up the steadicam with the DVX100 is the hardest thing to do, but once you get it working correctly, it's pretty amazing how well it's balanced.

You said you used the #9 hole? I am using #8...might try 9. Did you use ALL the weights on the lower spar? That's what I am using right now. Also, are you sure you have to have the LCD open? I think I am doing okay with it closed....not sure yet. Still gotta practice.

Also, is there a setting you have to do inside the camera in order for the video to play in the Steadicam Monitor? i hooked up the cables right and everything, just can't get the video to output. Yea, I got the batteries in there too:)
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Old November 14th, 2003, 04:38 PM   #19
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<<<--

Also, is there a setting you have to do inside the camera in order for the video to play in the Steadicam Monitor? i hooked up the cables right and everything, just can't get the video to output. Yea, I got the batteries in there too:) -->>>

At work right now, but the composite video connector on the dvd100 should be bi-directional. Thus there must be some menu setting that forces it to the out direction. I thought this was automatic when you have the pwr switch in record mode (i.e., camera mode). Also check the on switch buried in the spar of the steadicam jr.

Consult the section in the manual on dubbing if you have the power switch in the play setting. You want it configured for dv -> vhs.
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Old November 14th, 2003, 08:57 PM   #20
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Ted:

OK, you want a critique, I'll give you a critique!!!

It sounds like you haven't spent that much time with the rig--was that actually your first day? it was a little unclear if that's what you meant. If that's the case, you are doing very well.

Shooting sideways presents unique challenges. As you have seen, there is more of a tendency for the rig to swing out left and right. Part of this has to do with the rotated position of the fingers and the wrist. It also looks like you may have been "over-controlling"--clamping down too hard on the guide during the first section, which I think you did much better on in the second section.

The first part of the second shot is just lovely. Good framing and nice smooth shooting. Want to get into subtleties? Because you are operating with the rig slightly below eye level, it makes it more challenging to hold consistent headroom. After the actor walks into the tree, notice that he drops lower in the frame. This is because of the slight tilt up applied to maintain headroom as you approach. A better way to work is to use the booming capability of your arms to adjust headroom. As you get closer to the subject, boom up until you are at eye level--when you separate, boom down. This will keep the proper headroom and it's much easier to make subtle adjustments with booming than with tilt. In fact, the only time the second shot "loses it" is after he gets away from you--the horizon goes kaflooey as you swung right to go around the tree. Practice this sort of shot at home, weaving left and right and playing around with your finger grip to reign in the forces that try to get the rig to lose level. Be aware that when accelerating sideways, your bubble level is all but useless; it will only read "true" when moving at a constant speed, not accelerating.

Harry Settle:

<, If you look for sway and bounce, that is what you will find. If you watch this, as a viewer would, it looks pretty damn fine. If you would like to experiment with what I am saying, just watch tv. When you are watching for the entertainment value, it looks smooth, if you start evaluating, that is what you see.
>>

Uh oh! I hope this observation was not borne out of watching any shows that I have worked on!

Seriously, there is a wide variety of skill level being demonstrated in episodic television, but there are many great operators there delivering top-level work that holds up with virtually no "sway or bounce", regardless of the level of scrutiny. We all have our bad days, but for me and many of my colleagues, level horizons are status quo if we are to justify our paychecks.
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Old November 14th, 2003, 09:45 PM   #21
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You guys with the DVX100: Not to scare you or anything, but you are pushing the rated weight limit of the JR. I heard of one guy with the DVX who had the JR snap right at the handle and his cam went crashing to the pavement. If I'm not mistaken, the company wouldn't honor the warranty because he was exceeding the weight limit.
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Old November 26th, 2003, 12:48 AM   #22
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The DVX is PUSHING the weight limit of the JR. I don't have any accesories attached to it besides the wide angle lens. That's it. The Canon A1 Digital (it's NOT digital! I don't care what anyone says!) was even heavier than the DVX100. A friend of mine actually had a film camera mounted on the JR, and it was way heavier than the DVX100. He called the manufacturer and they said they have tested it with even more weight and it worked, but that he should be VERY careful and they didn't condone doing that. But it worked!

I am betting that Steadicam operators, the ones who use the REALLY BIG ONES will develop back issues later in life. With the JR, I don't use it for more than 15 minutes at a time without some rest.
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Old November 26th, 2003, 04:09 AM   #23
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From my understanding, you are actually *exceeding* the weight
limit of the JR, which I think is 4 pounds.
That DVX weighs 4 pounds in itself. Then you add a 1 pound wide angle and ....
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Old November 26th, 2003, 10:54 AM   #24
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Ted:

The "back problems" issue is mostly rumor, although there have been a few operators that have dropped out for this reason. Others have worked continuously for 25 years without health problems. The full-size rigs do not inherently damage your back. It's a very different setup than the JR. In fact, I would rather wear mine for half an hour than carry a fully loaded JR for four minutes!
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Old November 30th, 2003, 10:57 PM   #25
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I rate the first shot as really good and the second as awsome. Who was it the said :Walk softly and carry a Steadycam JR"?
Or was that "a big stick....."
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