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Old July 4th, 2004, 10:51 AM   #1
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my new magiqcam

Open my new magiqcam. Same as Scott, first impression very well made. The gimbal to me is very smooth. The workmanship is very good.
But, I think the sled is not very well design, to me that is. I find it a bit difficult to align the top part of the sled parallel to the bottom. It lacks of any alignment marking. Also, the bottom sled will just slide off if when you pull it to the maximum. I would think it should have a stopper or something to help when adjusting the unit. Imaging when balancing the telescope sled with a camera mounted on it and the bottom part drop off.
So far I have not been able to fly the magiqcam yet with my camera mounted. Reason being the so call monitor and universal battery mount does not come with any mounting screw hole. In the 6-page manual, it says, to mount the monitor and battery we should use gaffer tape or velcro. If I may quote, “thank god for gaffer tape and velcro”. I don’t think I would take that risk. Now I need to think of a way to mount my Anton gold mount on to this piece of 2” by 6” plate.
Overall, the practical side of this unit is not as good as the cammate steadyshot – the unit I was comparing to before. But, I guess you get what you paid for.
And I hope magiqcam customer service will not send me another nasty mail for writing this here as the last time. No bad intention but just for others to compare before investing their money on such rig. With the price I paid, I do think I’m having a good product.
Will post some pics here soonest.

regards,
ed
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Old July 26th, 2004, 05:31 AM   #2
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manage to fly my camera on the magiqcam. not bad, i think. the footages tend to wobble side to side alot. could it be i don't have enough weight at the bottom of the sled. i'm using it at the maximum lenght with all the weight there is. also, i have to take out the camera view finder and use a smaller lens just to get it to balance. any advice?
also, how and where can i upload some pic and video clip?

ed
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Old July 26th, 2004, 12:30 PM   #3
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Ed:

Easiest way to check alignment is to sight it from behind the rig, or above by setting it on the floor and looking down. You can easily make your own aligmnment marks with a paint marker, available at an art supply store. It's like a Sharpie that uses paint, so it will be visible on the black powdercoat.

The side to side wobble is, to be frank, most likely "operator error". Everone experiences this at first. You are most likely over-controlling the rig and this is causing the rolling. As far as increasing the bottom weight, you should not be creating a more-than-2-second drop time--i.e. while on the balancing pin, rotate the rig so that it is horizontal, then let it fall back to a vertical position. The time it takes to rotate those 90 degrees is the drop time. A shorter drop time will make the rig more stable, but it will pendulum out more when you come to a stop, and it will require much more force to tilt.
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Old July 26th, 2004, 01:03 PM   #4
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thanks charles for the reply.
you are right on the over controling part. i'm having difficulty getting the arm to stay properly. it tends to drift away from me when i start to move.
for the drop time, its less then 2 second. i'm looking for way to increase the bottom weight so that i don't have use the sled at it maximum lenght. my knee keeps on knocking into it.
one thing for sure, the feel of this rig compare with a real thing is very different. the time it took me to setup the rig and the way to handle it is just very frustrating. but, with the price, what can be said.
will post some pictures and hopefully, video later.

ed
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Old July 26th, 2004, 02:28 PM   #5
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Ed,

Are you using an XL1 with this? I can balance it fine with the view finder on and with the full lens. In fact, I use a large wind muff and isolator on mine as well. 1st thing that I noticed when I started was that I had the arms reversed for the LCD and Battery. After correction, it was much easier to balance.

I have the LPRO 4" lcd on the lcd mount and I use their battery mounted all the way at the end of the battery plate. I have 8 washers on the battery plate mount as well.

I use Superlock instead of velcro. You can get this at RadioShack. It is a hard version of velcro and is called the "200mph velcro" It works very well.

The other thing is I have to mount the dovetail plate far back on the xl1. Just ignore the 2nd pin and just mount it towards the rear of the plate. It will definately help and it will still be reasonably locked in place.

I watched a video on balance. Charles is right, it should fall from horizontal to vertical in 2-3 seconds. It should not twist when it falls or it is out of balance as well. I use the viewfinder to fine tune the side to side balance as it is easier than the 2 thumb screws.

Also, I fly mine with the top only 1" extend and the bottom about 4"
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Old July 26th, 2004, 11:48 PM   #6
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hi scott,
i'm using a panasonic agdvc200 camera, weight if i'm not mistaken less then 6kg without battery. still trying to get the perfect balance.
i was wondering how mark got to balance his dv500 with a 19x lens. with this configuration, i think it would have weight more than 7kg or so.
also, on the subject of drop time, does anyone have this crack sound when the sled is almost reaches the vertical position? mine has it, as though it havvve some alignment problem.

ed
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Old July 27th, 2004, 12:38 AM   #7
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Geez, I can't hardly wait for mine !
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Old July 27th, 2004, 08:44 AM   #8
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I don't have a crack sound at all.

But, on the balance, if you get your top balanced front to back, you can increase your weight by dropping your lower sled. This will greatly change the balance. Your top should still be adjustable both on the dovetail mount and the dovetail slide.
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Old July 27th, 2004, 08:50 PM   #9
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i'm using the maximum lenght of the bottom sled and the sound actually come from the joint between the sled handle and the gimbal.
any help from owner using heavier camera?

ed
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Old July 28th, 2004, 12:42 AM   #10
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Ed:

As far as the rig trying to get away from you as you start moving, the probable reason for this is that you are actually leaning forward as you make the move. Remember that the position of the rig in space is completely dependent on your own body angle. When you lean forward, the rig flies forward. Most new operators tend to lean in to the rig, usually in an effort to see the monitor more clearly. Keep your back straight and your shoulders back, and the rig should fly more normally. Also try practicing having the camera float in front of you without any hands on it (be very careful, start with your hands almost touching but ready to grab it if it starts to slide out of control). Progress from this to shifting the camera from one side of your body to the other side, all without using your hands, just by changing the angle of your body. And then you can go after the Holy Grail; walking 360 degrees around the rig without hands.

The crack sound is not good. Check with John at Magiqcam about this.
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Old July 31st, 2004, 09:46 PM   #11
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thanks for the advice charles. was abit busy with work. also, just finish making a sort of junction box for the dc power with video loop for the camera and the monitor. will try your tips tomorrow.

i have check with john on my problem but they are closed till 4th. i'll wait till then.

ed
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Old August 4th, 2004, 07:08 PM   #12
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charles,
tried the first two technic but the rig still slide away from me. if i stand still, the arm only stay at one position. when i move, either by walking or turning, it slides away. i also tried adjusting the side-to-side adjustment, same thing.

"the position of the rig in space is completely dependent on your own body angle". do you mean i should use my body instead of my right hand to control the rig?

i found out where the cracking sounds coming from. its from the horizontal bearing which connect to the gimbal. i get the sound and vibration on the same spot each time i move the sled. i also noticed the docking adapter is sort of tilted toward the balancing side. when the sled is on it, i can see the sled handle is pointing down instead of horizontal. anyway, i'm still waiting for john reply.

ed
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Old August 5th, 2004, 02:12 AM   #13
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Ed, yes, you absolutely should be using your body angle to position (not control) the rig. If it is sliding away from you when you start to move, the reason is that your body angle has changed. I would first make sure that the vest is tight enough so that you are not able to shift within the vest, that may be making the difference. Try that experiment that I described where you "fly" the rig around your body without using your hands. Notice how little body tilt is required to make the rig shoot off in one direction or another.

Your gimbal handle hand is there to fine-tune the position of the rig once your body angle has done the rough work. If you are getting white knuckles with that hand, you need to adjust your body angle. You shouldn't be having to rein it in with your hand.

It takes a while for your body to get used to finding and maintaining the center of gravity that you and the rig share, just like riding a bike and doing fancy maneuvers. Keep practicing!
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Old August 5th, 2004, 06:37 AM   #14
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thank you for all the help. i'm work out with the rig, about 2 hours a day. still trying to get the hang of it. also, am putting in some gadget from manfrotto to make the balancing easier.

ed
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