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Old March 20th, 2004, 11:59 AM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Houston, Texas
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Steadicam Help please

Just received my used steadicam JR by mail. Need to use it in a couple of hours, if I can figure it out. Never used one before.

Any help would be greatly appreciated...

Is the handle on the steadicam supposed to dangle loosly when the steadicam is held by the camera?

I have the vx2000, which hole am I supposed to set the camera on?

The whole thing just flops either forward or backward or to the sides. Won't stay on top.

Thanks - in desperate need of help,

Andrea
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Old March 20th, 2004, 12:09 PM   #2
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Steadicam JR

Well I have to be honest with you. I don't think you're going to get satisfactory results without some practice. Especially if you're in a hurry. The handle is supposed to loosely hang until you grasp it for use, but I wouldn't advise picking the whole thing up by the camera body subjecting the camera body to all of that downward force weight of the rig. You will have to dynamically balance the sled with the trim fore/aft adjustment knobs to abtain a neutral balance. Make sure you have everthing on the camera to be used including a tape inserted before balancing because ounces matter. Then you need to practice, practice, practice! This is not an out of the box solution.
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Old March 20th, 2004, 12:38 PM   #3
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Practice...

So to set the balance I should have tape, battery and everything in place, hold it from the grip and turn the knobs to balance?

So it is correct that since I've never used one before and I do not have it balanced that when I hold it from the grip it just flops to one side or another?

I also can't get the monitor to turn on. I've turned the on switch on, put new batteries in, and connected the video cable to my camera. What else am I doing wrong?

Andry
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Old March 20th, 2004, 12:41 PM   #4
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Weights

Do you think I need more weight? I know there are weights that come with the steadicam, but mine doesn't come with them. Am I going to need them for the vx2000?
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Old March 20th, 2004, 02:32 PM   #5
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Hmm. Ouch.

Andrea, first of all, congratulations on your purchase!

Did you get the instructions with the JR or did you buy it used without? If you did get them, you need to read them thoroughly (here is the manual). This is not a "plug and play" sort of accessory, it requires familiarity and understanding of the components and principles to be able to make satisfactory shots. The units that claim that they are better because they are simpler generally aren't, at least not for that reason. The JR is capable of a great deal of subtlety once you get used to it.

Should the handle dangle loosely? Yes, when you aren't holding it. When you hold the rig in flying position, it's taking the weight. Unless I misunderstand the question.

Rig flopping to one side or another sounds to me like you are top heavy. You need to change out the stop block to a heavier designation, or possibly add the lead weights to the battery compartment. To test this, turn the rig to a horizontal position (camera sideways) while holding the handle, and let it drop a few inches before catching it with the other hand. If the camera end drops first, you are top heavy.

Can't guess why the monitor isn't working. If you have any kind of other monitor around that you can test to make sure that video is coming out of your camera, that would be good.

Ah, just read your last post. Sounds like you bought a used Steadicam. There is a kit available that includes the parts you may be missing.

In the meantime, read the manual end to end, and search the forums here for more suggestions. And as James pointed out, you will want to get a few hours of practice time in before going on a shoot; more realistically, a couple of days of practice before shooting something that you want to look really good.
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