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

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Old November 9th, 2003, 06:29 PM   #1
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Rate my first day with the Steadicam JR

I am using a Steadicam Junior (I refuse to say "JR") to shoot a short flick that takes place in the mountains/woods. I can not understand why I am not a pro the very first time I am using this (yes, that was supposed to be taken "tongue in cheek"). Anyway wandering around mountainsides in the wilderness really does present an additional challenge, in addition to being a Steadicam newbie. Check out and critique my awful style! :)

http://12.151.50.47/steadicam.html
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Old November 10th, 2003, 08:15 PM   #2
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what camera are you using and are you using the lcd that came with it?

matthew
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Old November 11th, 2003, 12:03 AM   #3
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well i posted the reply while i was waiting for it to download.

the playback quality was pretty murky so it was really hard to tell.

it looked fairly smooth.

matthew
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Old November 11th, 2003, 01:03 AM   #4
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The first part was a little bouncy (side shot), but the second part (where you see the guys back) was very steady!
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Old November 11th, 2003, 01:16 AM   #5
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The side shot looked like the camera was swinging a bit. The second part, shot from behind, was liquid smooth (and on my monitor, the video didn't look murky at all). The actor, though, looked like he needed a stabilizer after he walked into the tree. ;)
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Old November 11th, 2003, 04:59 AM   #6
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I was really impressed, but perhaps I'm easy. They always say
it takes forever to get results with a gimbaled stabilizer. Maybe you're a natural. Huge improvement over what you could get handheld -- or atleast what *I* could get.
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Old November 11th, 2003, 05:52 AM   #7
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The first shot was a little wobbly, the second shot was better.
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Old November 11th, 2003, 08:50 AM   #8
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It gets some time to learn to use it, but the second part of the clip looks realy good!


poor guy! ;-)
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Old November 11th, 2003, 11:16 AM   #9
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I watched and was very impressed with your results. 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.

Example of the Steadicam shows me that there is some value to be had here and I will consider, now more than ever, making a purchase.
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Old November 11th, 2003, 11:43 AM   #10
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And for his first time out. Yah, seems like there's some value! I'm gonna be getting the Flowpod soon and hope it works as good. Flowpod ain't cheap neither but I've heard it's well-built and users are glad they got it. Even easier to balance, they say, than the Steadicam.
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Old November 11th, 2003, 12:08 PM   #11
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Ted,

How hard is it to use the JR? I have been thinking about getting one and just wanted to know from someone first hand. I thought the second shot looked pretty smooth...seems you are on the right track.

Clay
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Old November 11th, 2003, 01:57 PM   #12
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The JR is pretty tough. The worst part is balancing the camera in the first place... once you do that, it's better. You can use it one-handed using your index finger and thumb to aim the camera, our you can use the index finger and thumb from your other hand (like I did) to aim while the other hand holds everything. It gets heavy.... QUICK, even though you are only holding a 7 pound mechanism total. I had to add a lot of extra weight for the DVX100 to balance.

The sideways walking scene (first scene) was tough because I was walking forward (just like the second shot) but with the camera aimed left. I don't care what ANYONE says, you can't see that monitor in the daylight, especially with it turned at an angle. I eventually convinced myself "It's better than doing it handheld with no stabilizer at all". I think at a few points I got my foot caught on dead branches, etc. Not sure if that's one of the shots where that happened or not. I got a sideways shot of him running (not shown) and that didn't come out too bad, amazingly.

Here's a tip: Only use the JR for 15 minutes at a time, or your arm will turn to mush. Take breaks!
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Old November 11th, 2003, 02:07 PM   #13
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I forgot to mention this in my original post, but if you zoomed in a little closer to cut out the tree line in the background (where the tips of the tree touch the sky) you probably wouldn't notice the stepping over the branches so much. Just a thought. With all that aside... Excellent work for your first day!
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Old November 11th, 2003, 03:43 PM   #14
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Zoom will also tend to accentuate any movement, vibration, bouncing etc. . .
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Old November 12th, 2003, 05:40 PM   #15
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Hey Ted, which of the 9 holes did you use to mount the camera, and what were the fore/aft and left/right control positions? How many dials of the gimbal collar?

Anyway, if you think this is heavy, you ought to try a pd150 + custom bracket + external monitor + 4 C batteries + obie light. My friend is attempting this in January.
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