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Old January 17th, 2005, 12:54 AM   #16
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more gems from Charles

O.K. Charles, I just had to add this last post to my "Charles Papert" document of Steadicam gems. I find it amazing that you have the time to answer these posts and not only answer them but also elaborate and teach. I haven't met you but you have my respect for all the good you have done here in the DV Info Net community.

My biggest problem is trusting my rig to stay level while moving. I have the feeling that I must do something with my control hand rather than letting the rig and fine balance do most of the work. On many of my shots in Las Vegas I flew my camera without the use of my control hand at all and the shots looked better. The hardest part of the whole thing is, of couse, changing directions or stopping while getting footage. There is a fine line to control and over control which is becomming more evident the longer I shoot. Any thought on this?

Thanks,

Terry
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Old January 17th, 2005, 10:58 AM   #17
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Ah, Grasshopper, you have entered a new level of understanding!

You've nailed it, actually very concisely. Trusting the rig is definitely the right idea. Virtually everyone who is new to operating will over-control the rig, use too much force on the post. Over time, the hand-eye-brain feedback will develop an intricate communication which starts something like this:

Eye: shot looks good and level.
Brain: Everything's fine.
Hand: Well, then I'll grip a little harder then.
Eye: Woah! Starting to lose level and we're drifting left...
Brain: Compensate!
Hand: No problem, I'll just grip even harder and pan it back right.
Eye: Too far to the right!
Brain: Pull out! Abort! Mayday!
Hand: I'm just hanging on tight till someone tells me what the hell to do!

And eventually becomes this:

Eye: shot looks good and level.
Brain: looking good.
Hand: I'll stay loose, barely touching the rig at all.
Eye: tiny little drift to the right.
Brain: watch that...
Hand: miniscule correction for a fraction of a second, then I'm loose as a goose again.
Eye: we're back.
Brain: we're about to take a corner. Remember how to do this? The rig will want to swing out...
Hand: ...I know, I know, I'll compensate the other direction.
Brain: start panning now.
Hand: Panning.
Eye: we're starting to lose level in the middle of the turn.
Brain: Don't overcompensate!
Hand: gotcha.
Brain: the straightaway is coming up. Make sure to lighten up as soon as we hit it.
Eye: OK, we've panned far enough.
Brain: cut the pan! lighten up!
Hand: done.
Brain: we got through that one! Nice job fellas, see you at the bar.


With all credit due to the Woody Allen movie "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex"; that's basically how it goes. It's a subtle series of checks and balances that takes a long time to dial in.

If one was to put a pressure-sensing meter on the post of an experienced operator, they would see a constantly-evolving parade of values. The idea that you had, Terry, of not using your control hand at all is actually correct in theory. You just don't want to have it dangling at your side; that's too far away. Better to have it in position on the post, just with the fingers barely making contact or not at all for those periods where no help is needed. As soon as help is needed (during any period of acceleration, deceleration, direction of travel or stops/starts) you can instantly apply the appropriate force (which, with a small rig, is still as little as you possibly can and still have an effect).

One thing worth mentioning is that the axiom of a rig moving in a straight line at constant speed not needing any operator control is only true if your gimbal works properly. If there is any friction or non-linearity present, it will likely cause the rig to start panning off in one direction or another. This will require a certain amount of constant force (again, as light as possible) to overcome. This is why operators who start with older or cheaper rigs and then move up to the creme de la creme are amazed at how "free" a good gimbal feels, and tend to over-compensate for things that no longer need compensating. Certainly happened to me when switching from a 3A gimbal to a PRO gimbal.
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Old January 17th, 2005, 09:37 PM   #18
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You're the SteadiMAN

Charles,

Not only can you operate a Steadicam very well, but you can explain it like noone else I know. Hey, you should make a training tape or something. FMI (For My Information) what will your video contain? I'm hoping it will have all the tips and tricks you have explained on this site as well as on other sites but in visual form. Another thought...If you want to show someone who does everything wrong, I'm available. I working on changing that to "someone who "has done" everything wrong".

Since I asked you can toot you own horn...put in a plug... whatever...

Terry
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Old January 18th, 2005, 02:01 AM   #19
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Thanks for all of the kind words, Terry.

Yes, my tape will include all of the basic things I've shared here and a lot more, and obviously in visual form. I've got some nifty things planned that will take advantage of the "multiple angle" feature on DVD players.

Unfortunatley that project is taking the back seat at the moment to a short film that I am putting together. I've just helped a filmmaker friend get his short to Sundance; next year it's my turn! Plus I start a feature in February. But hopefully, after that I can get the bloody instructional video in the can...stay tuned!

chas
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Old January 18th, 2005, 12:04 PM   #20
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charles,

"This is why operators who start with older or cheaper rigs and then move up to the creme de la creme are amazed at how "free" a good gimbal feels, and tend to over-compensate for things that no longer need compensating."

i agree totally. but what if the person have only use the real thing and switch to a cheaper rig? its totally a different encounter. well, i'm refering to myself. i have rented and used the efp for a few of my earlier projects (in total less then 40 hours of flying), so i don't consider myself any good. when i first got my magiqcam, i was really very dissapointed with it performance and time it take to setup. the learning curve compare to efp is so much different.

i've received the new sled from john and have tried it out once. the new adjustable gimbal enable me to use less weight at the bottom and now i don't have to set the sled at the maximum lenght. the not so good thing is, it very difficult to adjust the sliding gimbal on my own as both the top and bottom will move and mostly in different directions. i need to have my assistance holding on to the bottom of the sled when i loosen the gimbal and this is done with the sled in horizontal position. i would assume lighter camera shouldn't have this problem.

i still have not solve the bouncing effect yet. i still think the arm is not build for camera weight of 6 kg.

ed
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Old January 18th, 2005, 02:31 PM   #21
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Ed:

Not sure about the gimbal issue you are presenting...

>.both the top and bottom will move and mostly in different directions.>>

top and bottom of what exactly? Doesn't the gimbal just slide up and down the post...? Haven't seen the new design yet.

bouncing effect...6kg (13 lbs as I see it) is a good heft, but a more completely loaded arm should show less bouncing than with a light load. As long as the arm has enough adjustment to carry the load, it should be fine.
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Old January 18th, 2005, 04:02 PM   #22
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charles,

unlike steadicam, the magiqcam sled post does not have a "guide track". so when the sliding gimbal is loosen for adjustment, the top - camera, and the bottom - battery and monitor will turn either to the left or right. i can only hold-on to either the top or the bottom with one hand and the other on the tightening knob. my assistance will hold-on to the other end which i'm not able to hold. i hope you get what i mean.

as for the arm, the spring adjustment is almost to the max. my test is to run on the spot with the shot frame at a light stand. the result, the light stand look bouncing. i've tried loosening it but than two thing happen. first thing i notice is the spring start to have noise. second, it take alot of effort to rise the rig. i'm still working on this part.

also, guess what? the new sled beleve it or not, is faulty. don't know its my luck or what. i just realise that one of the screw on the gimbal was loose. on closer inspection i saw that the hole drill to the gimbal is bigger then the screw itself. thank goodness, my camera did not drop. really giving up hope on this rig. anyway, i'll have to wait for john reply.

charles, any advice on how to adjust to the arm to it best?

ed
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Old January 18th, 2005, 10:05 PM   #23
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Ed:

The general rule of thumb is that the two sections of the arm should hang slightly below horizontal.

The running test is a good one, but I would have to check your form to make sure where the problem lies exactly. The Magiqcam arm is not going to have the isolation of an EFP arm, but it is also 1/20th the price.

I guess I'm not understanding how the gimbal adjusts. Apparently it doesn't slide up and down the pole; it involves two telescoping components (top and bottom of the rig...?) I'd have to see a picture.
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Old January 19th, 2005, 12:21 AM   #24
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you are right on my expectation of the rig. i keep reminding myself on the among of money i've spend compare to buying a real set. but i was under the impression that it should work on the most fundemendal thing. anyway, guess its just my luck getting something that does not work.

the sled post, yes you are right. its in three part - top, gimbal and bottom. i'll have some pics posted next week. schedule abit tight this week

ed
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Old January 19th, 2005, 02:18 AM   #25
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I think titanium spring will perform better than normal spring in the arm.

Here is a link for reference.

http://www.coilspring.com/performance/why_titanium/

Regards
Leigh
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Old January 19th, 2005, 03:53 AM   #26
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<<<-- Originally posted by Leigh Wanstead : I think titanium spring will perform better than normal spring in the arm.

Here is a link for reference.

http://www.coilspring.com/performance/why_titanium/

Regards
Leigh -->>>


Not really. It has nothing to do with the operations of the rig, if that is what you thought. In terms of durability and strength- yes
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Old January 19th, 2005, 08:17 PM   #27
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Magigcam looks impressived, but wow, Charles Papert's demo reel is pretty amazing.

I hope someday I'll be able to shoot like you, or have someone like you shooting for me!

My 'handycam' system at the mo consists of a shoulder support that cost me $40... :)
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Old January 24th, 2005, 05:12 AM   #28
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Hi all, my Magiqcam rig has XL1 and a small lead acid battery for power (well not so small at the moment), have spent many hours practicing with the rig now about to start work. had to ovecome 'binding' of the lower arm adjustment system. gimbal bolts being loose, vest straps tearing out and most of all 'overcontrol' of the whole rig.

Now I am comfortable wearing the rig, work continually on keeping control light but in step with the shot.

Overall I am very content with Magiqcam, it's not 'top shelf', but is a 'great' rig for the dollars, it really flies, so it lacks some of the finer points available in expensive rigs but I'm happy.

The gimbal adjustment can be achieved by griping the post above the gimbal, loosen the gimbal nut, then either grip harder (spreading the hand) to raise the post, or the other way around to lower post.

Have fun guys
Trevor Crump
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Old January 27th, 2005, 03:55 AM   #29
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Magiqcam new sled with moving gimbal

here are some photo of the new magiqcam sled with moving gimbal. http://visualline.7p.com/magiqcam_new_sled.html
let me know if you need any other view of the sled.

ed
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Old January 27th, 2005, 09:55 AM   #30
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Ed:

Regarding the new Magiqcam gimbal, which, according to your picture, now functions similarly to the standard tool-free gimbals available on full size rigs, I'm continuing to not understand the issue you are having. The action of loosening and moving the gimbal (always with the rig horizontally, folks) only involves that component and the center post; the camera and battery/monitor assemblies should not move relative to each other as a result. The lower telescoping adjustment on the post should be tied down whenever adjusting the gimbal to prevent this. Position the rig with the lens facing straight down or up during balancing.

Use one hand to loosen the gimbal handle and the other to hold the post in the horizontal position. Tighten the gimbal, and test the drop time. Adjust as necessary. If you get really slick at this, you can allow the rig to fall just a few degrees with a loose gimbal to judge your drop (be VERY careful as letting it drop too far with the gimbal not tightened down will result in it jamming up to the stage suddenly and possibly catching your fingers).
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