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Old December 19th, 2003, 05:07 PM   #16
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Thanks for your help, Charles. I'm gonna take the plunge and get a JR. I may just write a "First
Experiences With A JR" post to give other newbies
an idea what they're getting into.
The Flowpod was Plan B.
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Old December 19th, 2003, 08:37 PM   #17
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Great Dave. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. I think you'll like it.
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Old December 19th, 2003, 08:58 PM   #18
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Or maybe my "thoughts" will scare everyone off. :-)
Should have it in about a week or so.
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Old December 25th, 2003, 01:27 AM   #19
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Well, I just got it in today. Spent a few hours
with it.
It wasn't too hard to balance, especially the fore/aft
and side/side trims. I could see from how the gimbal
is that practice would lead to improvement. But
overall, I was impressed with the unit.
The instructional video was helpful, especially
the parts about shooting from in front of people
but not having to walk backward (you walk
sideways), and how you
can switch hands when fatigued (hadn't
thought of that one), and one-handed operation
(hadn't thought of that one either).
I probably could've done some passable first-time
footage my first time out if I hadn't run into an
entirely unexpected problem. I set my VX up as
advised. Hole 2. Heavy stop block. Two D
battery size weights and two of the standard
weights. I started to do a drop test for correct bottom weighting when the cam unexpectedly
went straight nose down. The force almost
pulled the cam and JR out of my hand.
This is how I came across the only thing I
don't like about the JR: unless I'm doing
something wrong (which I don't think I am)
and unless I got a bad unit, I think the
JR may not be designed to handle the VX'
weight.
Here's exactly what the problem is. There is
a hinged joint where the upper spar (i.e. the
tube between the monitor and the plate that
the cam sits on) meets the stage (i.e. the plate
the cam sits on). This hinge is there so that the
JR can sit flat once you set it down.
This hinge is about 2" in front of the gimbal
(top of the handle). See the linked picture.
This hinge is not locked in position. It is held
by a light resistance. If you have the VX balanced
and you are holding the handle as is shown in the
picture, if you push lightly downward on the battery
and weight compartment at the
very bottom of the unit (the weights are inside of
there), what happens is the hinge lets loose and
your VX goes nose down with a jolt. If you
had a light grip on the handle, the whole thing
could jump out of your hand. If you hold the cam
level as is shown in the picture, it's okay. But if you tilt the cam about 20 degrees downward, the hinge breaks loose and your cam is pointing toward the ground in an instant. If you try to do a drop test to set the bottom weight, it breaks loose and folds right over. If you
don't get what I mean, look at the picture again.
What happens is the the plate that the cam sits on
goes from horizontal to vertical (in a 90 degrees counterclockwise direction) in about 1/10th of a second and the lens is pointing at the ground.
I suppose if you wrapped duct tape around that
hinge it might stay for awhile. But you shouldn't
have to. And you can't trust the tape. Like I said,
when it lets go it almost jumps out of your hand.
So what's going on here? Operator error? Design flaw?
Marketing exagerating the true capacity of the JR? (I
had my VX stripped down as much as possible, including the smallest 30-minute battery.)

http://www.inyourface.com.au/steadicam.jpg
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Old December 25th, 2003, 07:54 AM   #20
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Dave:

That shouldn't be happening. I would contact Tiffen customer service and describe the problem. You may have a bad unit. If the rig is balanceable without having to add external weights, it doesn't sound like you have overloaded it.

Good luck...sorry to hear you are having problems.
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Old March 9th, 2004, 09:01 PM   #21
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Bump! I would really like to hear the follow up on this! I am contemplating buying a JR, and would like more info. Hope it worked out!
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Old March 9th, 2004, 09:35 PM   #22
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Never did contact customer service, never got it
worked out. I think the VX is pushing the design
weight limit of the JR.
And, once I actually tried using a handheld stabilizer,
I realized that I would only be able to use it for
a *very* brief time before the arm shakes would
set in, so I decided to go with a rig.
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Old March 10th, 2004, 04:59 AM   #23
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What rig are you going for Dave?

John.
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Old March 10th, 2004, 10:48 AM   #24
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Hi John.
First off, I want to make the observation that no one has
responded to my comments on the JR along the lines
of "I have a VX and a JR and the JR works out fine for
a VX". Wonder what to make of that.
A competitor of mine let me hold his GL2. Man, it's
noticably lighter than the VX -- the VX feels like a
brick. If I were shooting with a GL, I might give the
JR a try. *Might*. That hinge that I mentioned is
made of plastic and *may* loosen up in time, so
that even the weight of the GL *might* cause it
to break loose. Can't say for sure, though.
Most of my competitors use either the Flowpod or
the Glidecam 2000. I've heard the Glidecam
can be a real bear to balance. Like I said previously,
the JR didn't seem all that hard to balance. One thing
I don't like about the Glidecam is the offset handle,
which I think will contribute to wrist fatigue.
Some newbies in my field have liked the Flowpod, some
not. I hear it's easier to balance than the Glidecam
but it ways a lot. One guy got one for his XL1 and got a
big surprise when he tried to fly it, due to the weight.
Now, my one competitor with the GL2 uses the SteddiePod
and is very happy with it. I've included a link to it.
It doesn't have a gimbal, but I've seen some of his
footage and I must say it works for him. He also mentioned
that he uses it some of the other ways, such as "short tripod"
and he also mentioned latching the feet onto his belt.
If I were looking for a handheld stabilizer now, I''d take
a look at the Hollywood Lite models.
The rig I went with is the Magiqcam. I haven't
received it yet. I understand normal delivery is about
4 weeks. After about 5 weeks I contacted the company
to inquire as to when to expect it and was told that
unavoidable delays had set things behind a couple
weeks.
One of the reasons I went with a rig is that I shoot
longer takes than my competitors. Yeah, their footage
looks good, but the shots last only 5 or 10 seconds.
Mine can run into minutes.

http://www.barbertvp.com/steddiepod.htm
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Old March 10th, 2004, 01:38 PM   #25
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Dave:

My feeling is that while a non-gimballed rig will smooth out footsteps and the like, making a decent walk-and-talk possible, it will never have the subtlety of a gimballed system. The learning curve is significantly less, so for a novice user they will produce better results at first, but over time a user of a gimballed system will be able to produce more subtle, smooth results. The acid test would be a walk-through of an environment, say an art gallery, with the camera stopping to linger and take in paintings, panning slowly across details or wrapping around statues. The non-gimbal system will quickly show its coarseness without the visual distraction of a human in the frame. And you are right about the length of shooting time---that's a major factor also. kudos on buying the Magiqcam.

And regarding the title of this thread and my endless threats to make an instructional video--I'm locking in a production date this week, so this thing WILL happen, folks!
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Old March 10th, 2004, 02:52 PM   #26
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Not everyone loves the Flowpod, either.

http://www.videouniversity.com/wwwbo...ges/63089.html
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