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Old July 1st, 2004, 05:35 PM   #1
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Steadicam Flyer Performance?

Charles P.. I read that you have flown the new Flyer. Can you actually place the loaded arm out in front of you not touching it and walk into or toward the sled like you can with the larger rigs? Also, will the sled stay where you put it vertically or does it return to neutral like the typical spring loaded arms that just bounce?
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Old July 4th, 2004, 12:55 PM   #2
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Hi James.

The answer to both questions is essentially, yes and yes. The Flyer arm performs like the best of the full-size arms. I would place its performance on a near-parity with the $20K PRO arm (which I use) and possibly even above the Ultra arm!

I was able to do the hands-off walking-around-the-rig in a circle test, which requires both a properly level and trimmed arm (the vest adjustment allows for this) and a high performance gimbal (so the rig doesn't pan as you rotate around it). As far as the vertical action on the arm, it's smooth as can be, has an impressive boom range and feels a world apart from the lower-end spring action arms. It requires very little force to push down or lift up to the end of its limits, and while it doesn't actually stay wherever you leave it (a feature of the early Master/Ultra arms that turned out to be more about unwanted friction than true iso-elasticity!), it responds just right to operator influence.

In other words, with my eyes closed I could barely tell the difference between this and my benchmark, the PRO arm. And that is a massive achievement considering the price difference.

If you want to see what the PRO arm would look like in comparison, here is a page on the Steadicam forum that shows the Flyer (then in its earlier incarnation as the Mini) with the PRO arm and Ultra vest. The camera is my lightweight Arri 2c, which weighs about 12 lbs fully loaded as seen. No pictures of the prototype Flyer arm which also showed up at that workshop.
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Old July 4th, 2004, 01:02 PM   #3
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Here are some pictures of the Flyer in action, including a closeup of the arm. It's deceptively simple looking--the isoelastic design makes it perform VERY differently than if the spring was just attached directly to the arm members (which is the case with most stabilizers in this class).
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Old July 4th, 2004, 01:50 PM   #4
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Cool pics, thanks Charles!
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Old July 4th, 2004, 04:58 PM   #5
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Cinegear Expo

Thanks Charles! What do you have to be or do to get into that expo?
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Old July 4th, 2004, 06:08 PM   #6
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Flyer Low Mode

Charles, what can you tell about the low mode configuration? Is it a C channel bracket that simply mates to the stage when inverted?
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Old July 4th, 2004, 07:44 PM   #7
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Hi James,

Admission to Cinegear is like NAB or most of the trade shows; anyone can get in, and it's free if you do it in advance. Unfortunately, you just missed this year's, so we'll see you next June! (I did post some advance warnings about it in here). It's the best show of its kind, I think.

I haven't seen the low mode bracket. Previous versions have either been a handle clamp assembly or a full cage. A c-shaped design really only works for a lightweight camera; as you get up past 10 lbs it will likely introduce too much flex. I used to use a big steel c-shaped setup for my SVHS camera that added close to 20 lbs of weight, but that was to re-create the weight of a film camera for practice.
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Old July 6th, 2004, 11:29 PM   #8
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Design changes/improvements?

Well, I guess my next question is do you see any forseeable design changes/improvements that you think will be made or need to be made in your view to improve the Flyer before we rush out and get this rig? That's my biggest fear about buying first run gear.

I have been waiting for a rig in this price range with an arm as you you've described with the Flyer. I'm tired of fighting this Hollywood Lite rig with pins as pivot joints, that little biddy 4" monitor and the center of vest mounted arm although it was half the price of the Flyer.
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Old July 7th, 2004, 12:09 AM   #9
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James:

As per my conversations with the powers that be at Tiffen, the refinements that are being made between the prototype and the production model will assure that the rig is ready to go. It is in fact not a first generation product, more an updating of the Steadicam Mini which has been around for a few years, and thus a mature design.

I would say that the rig would not be updated for at least a few years. It's the flagship in a new series of smaller-capacity rigs that Tiffen will be introducing.
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Old July 12th, 2004, 03:41 AM   #10
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B&H has the flyer listed at $6100 which I'm assuming is retail... what's the street price supposed to be?
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Old August 19th, 2004, 12:14 PM   #11
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Say Charles, do you know what is the flyer arm made of? I'd gues aluminum, but the way those vertical shels are bent, it would seem to be something else. I don't know if strong aluminum aloys could be bent like that without craking... Could it be steel?
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