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Old July 29th, 2004, 11:59 AM   #1
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Kenyon Gyros

Hey Charles P,

Have you ever used a Kenyon Gyro on the fromt of an XL-1? I'm looking into building a gyro stabilized rig for some flying shots I need. I know that singel units are used under Binoculars on ships for stability. Would a single gyro aligned with and under the lens on 15mm rods, dampen the majority of movement?

Anyone else feel free to chime in.
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Old July 30th, 2004, 12:06 AM   #2
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Hi David:

I have used the Kenyans in various configurations but not with an XL1 specifically. By "flying shots", do you mean on a stabilizer like a Steadicam, or from an airplane??

One thing to know about gyros is that they operate in two out of the three spatial axes, in other words they can be effective in pan and roll but not tilt, or tilt and roll but not pan. Being as they are the shape of a huge Tylenol gel capsule, or if you prefer a microphone zeppelin, now imagine putting one on the ground and rolling it. The direction that it rolls is the one axes that it does NOT stabilize. This should help in figuring out how to orient the gyro. If you are looking to stabilize all three axes, you will need more than one gyro.
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Old July 30th, 2004, 11:36 AM   #3
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Hi Charles,

Well, I have two purposes. One, I have built a small version of a cable-cam. Mostly for long dolly type shots it consists of a 3/8" Spectra cable fastened between two solid anchor points. The sled rides on the cable and is moved by a motor unit that is controlled wirelessly. I want to use the gyros on the tower arm above the cable to stabilize the sled under the cable. Similar to the Skycams. (It sucks having all these ideas in my head..... but they help keep the voices at bay)

The second reason is for handheld work when I want to be on a telephoto lens and reduce movement of the camera.

I don't need this for Steadicam work. I'd just use a Steadicam for that. Go figure.

Lastly, I don't feel like dropping 12K on the gyros and platform that is manufactured when I can build my own.

So...am I nuts for trying this or what?
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Old July 31st, 2004, 12:09 PM   #4
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David:

There are significant power concerns with the gyros--they are quite power hungry! I'm not sure how you are planning to feed power and video out of the cable rig, but it's something to keep in mind in terms of voltage drop and power requirements. The Skycam (well, more acurately the Cablecam or Superflycam, since the Skycam travels via three or four cables in multiple directions) uses active motors rather than gyros to achieve stabilization. Garrettcam.com has a lot of pictures and things that might be of interest with this project.

Handheld work--it should help out, although it's a bit of an antiquated concept compared to optical image stabilization.

As far as Steadicam applications, we do in fact apply gyros to the rig to enhance the inertia for certain types of shooting (high winds etc).

Understood about the cost of the gyros. I myself have avoiding investing in them--they are 1970's technology and I wish someone would come up with a more efficient design. I tested some Israeli knockoffs that were promising on paper but not great in practice.

The cable rig will be an interesting challenge. Certainly not a casual project! Let us know how it is turning out.

Charles
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