EX1 better on Steadicam Pilot or Flyer? at DVinfo.net

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Old August 26th, 2009, 11:02 AM   #1
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EX1 better on Steadicam Pilot or Flyer?

Had a go at the Flyer and felt that it is a lot of sturdy somehow. Is the EX1 with only an extended battery good on a Flyer? Works well with the Pilot but its at the max thou.
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Old August 26th, 2009, 12:44 PM   #2
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I'm using the EX1 with a Flyer. The camera with the big battery works fine. Fully loaded, I'm using it with a wide angle adapter, 2 wireless receivers, and an on camera light. Heavier rigs are more stable than lighter ones on a breezy day.
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Old August 26th, 2009, 08:22 PM   #3
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I personally find the design of the Pilot sled preferable to the Flyer (particularly when it come to dynamic balancing) but all things considered, you are always better off with a larger capacity sled to allow for the possibility of adding bits and pieces. It's a drag to always be worrying about nearing capacity on your rig.
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Old August 27th, 2009, 08:04 AM   #4
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Ooh.. sounds like the Flyer can be a little tough to balance it. Actually the Pilot is very comfortable for me now. The additional payload is really something to be worked around eventually. Most importantly, I feel that the Flyer is more stable but that was with a HMC-700. I guess I will try the EX1 with only the extended battery and have a go. Thanks guys.
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Old September 4th, 2009, 10:16 PM   #5
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Since we're talking about the EX1 with lot's of extra stuff on it, and if this will work on a Pilot, it's worth noting again here that the Pilot battery will power the EX1.

This is also true for the EX3, which you can see here:
http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/attachme...x1-3-ex3_1.jpg
http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/attachme...x1-3-ex3_2.jpg
http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/attachme...x1-3-ex3_3.jpg

In order to do this, you will need a custom cable that goes from 2.1mm to the special sony power connetor.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 09:26 AM   #6
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Woah Dave, looks really cool!
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Old September 11th, 2009, 02:32 PM   #7
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I fly EX1 on the Pilot, but I also tried it on Flyer and I will be switching to the Flyer soon,
it's more stable, but a bit heavier, well depends on the setup.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 07:55 PM   #8
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What about the EX1 with a Letus Extreme, support rods, and a lens attached? Will that fly on the Pilot?

I read that the Pilot arm can support cameras up to 10 pounds, but does that mean the combined weight of the camera and sled and everything on it, or does that assume that if your camera weighs 10 lbs, you'll be adding 10lbs of counter-weight on top of whatever the sled weighs by itself?
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Old September 14th, 2009, 08:29 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by David W Williamson View Post
What about the EX1 with a Letus Extreme, support rods, and a lens attached? Will that fly on the Pilot?
The Pilot won't work with a lens adapter - too much weight. But that's just the beginning of the story...

Lens adapters work great on sticks, but adding a lens adapter to a Steadicam is a whole different proposition. You'll need a larger Steadicam rig, a wireless follow focus, and a really good assistant cameraman to run it. Remember that Steadicam is not easy. Just getting stable shots takes practice. Creating very stable shots with perfect framing is incredibly difficult. This will take all of your attention, so you won't be able to make critical focus adjustments as you're operating. You'll need another person for that. Also keep in mind that many have produced great projects using lens adapter footage on sticks intercut with non-lens adapter footage on Steadicam. Good lighting and scene design can give the Steadicam shots depth. More on this here:
Best recommended Steadicam for XH A1 with letus35 Elite DOF adapter?
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Old September 15th, 2009, 01:09 PM   #10
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So when they say that the Pilot can support cameras up to 10 lbs, I take that to mean the weight of the camera and only the camera. The stock EX1 weighs about 6 lbs. Say some accessories are added (big battery, mic, wireless packs,etc), bringing it to 9lbs. That still falls in the range of the Pilot, does it not?

If that is true, that would imply that the Pilot arm can in fact support about 20lbs. You'd need another 9-10 lbs to counter balance the weight of the EX1. I assume that would be the sled, monitor, and battery, with the latter two positioned the proper distance from the camera mounting plate to get the right CG.

Are my assumptions correct?
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Old September 15th, 2009, 07:02 PM   #11
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No, you must include the battery powering the Pilot and any other accessories, including the Merlin weights.
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Old September 15th, 2009, 07:30 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David W Williamson View Post
So when they say that the Pilot can support cameras up to 10 lbs, I take that to mean the weight of the camera and only the camera.
Camera plus all accessories, including Pilot screw-on weights and Pilot battery.
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Originally Posted by David W Williamson View Post
The stock EX1 weighs about 6 lbs. Say some accessories are added (big battery, mic, wireless packs,etc), bringing it to 9lbs. That still falls in the range of the Pilot, does it not?
Sort of.

My Rode NTG-1 short shotgun, shock-mount, Dead-cat furry windscreen, and cable with 2 right angle XLRs weighs around 3/4 pound.

The Sennheiser G2-100 wireless receiver, 2xAA batteries, and cable with right angle XLR weighs just over 1/2 pound.

The Pilot works best with a couple of screw-on weights on either end of the bottom cross-bar. This adds 1 pound.

The Pilot battery is around 1 pound, unless you use a huge VL or AB battery.

You'll probably want to buy a tripod adapter/plate so you can move the camera from Steadicam to sticks easily. The Manfrotto adapter weighs just over 1/2 pound.
Amazon.com: Manfrotto 577 Rapid Connect Adapter w/Sliding Mounting Plate (3433PL): Electronics

The EX1 weighs around 5.5 pounds without a battery.

There's not a lot of incentive to fly the Pilot/EX1 with the big EX1 battery. In fact, it's probably better not to use a battery at all. The Pilot VLB battery works great with the EX1. Same is true for the EX3, as shown here:
http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/attachme...x1-3-ex3_3.jpg
More on that here:
EX1 power options.

Here's my rule-of-thumb:
You want to keep all the stuff you add to the top (camera, camera battery, accessories, and any screw-on weights) to total around 8 pounds. The bottom weight (Pilot battery plus screw-on weights) should total around 2 pounds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David W Williamson View Post
If that is true, that would imply that the Pilot arm can in fact support about 20lbs.
I don't think the Pilot sled and monitor weighs 10 pounds. It's mostly carbon fiber - really light. The arm probably goes to around 15 pounds or so.

Hope this helps.
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Old September 16th, 2009, 06:44 PM   #13
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I second Dave's recommendations. I tuned my Pilot to it and it works better now. Especially having the gimbal about 2" to the stage.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 12:10 AM   #14
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Yes, that was a greatly detailed response, thank you, Dave! It is much clearer to me now. I was forgetting the telescoping pole on the Pilot's sled, which means that there wouldn't have to be the same amount of weight at the bottom to counter balance the EX1 + accessories. The pole just gets longer, which shifts the CG.

Thanks again!
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Old September 17th, 2009, 04:44 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David W Williamson View Post
I was forgetting the telescoping pole on the Pilot's sled, which means that there wouldn't have to be the same amount of weight at the bottom to counter balance the EX1 + accessories. The pole just gets longer, which shifts the CG.
I actually run with a fairly short pole most of the time. The key to understanding is that the Pilot's gimbal moves along the post. There's a little hex nut that loosens the gimbal ring. This allows you to get the gimbal up closer to the lens, which is usually where you want it.

Adding weight to the top moves the gimbal closer to the lens, and adds a little inertia in general.

Adding weight to the bottom moves the gimbal further from the lens, but adds a lot of inertia in the pan axis.

To understand the gimbal position issue, grab a pencil. Hold it between thumb and finger of your left hand, and wiggle the bottom of the pencil with your right hand. When you hold the pencil in in the middle, the eraser moves a lot. But if you hold it up close toward the eraser, the eraser moves much less. So having the gimbal closer to the lens decreases the effect of sled movement at the lens.

Adding inertia makes it harder to move he sled inadvertently. Since the Pilot is such a relatively light rig, it reacts to the slightest pressure on your left hand, giving you that squirrelly/seasick look. Adding weights in general seems to help a little with that. Adding a couple of weights to each end of the bottom crossbar increases pan inertia significantly, which make for smooth pans.

So that's why I recommend 8 pounds of total top weight (camera, accessories, & weights), and two pounds of bottom weight (Pilot battery & weights). This seems to be the best compromise for good inertia and minimum lens-to-gimbal distance.

Hope this helps.
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