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Old April 5th, 2005, 08:40 AM   #1
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Steadicam Flyer newbie question

l currently own a PD170, VX2000 & a Steadicam Jr which l use with the VX2000, l am looking at buying a Steadicam flyer on the theory that l can use it with my PD170, but also with bigger cameras. So can anyone tell me if they have ever used the Flyer with a camera like say a Panasonic AJ-SDX900 or similar, the reason l am asking is because from what l can see from weight figures it would appear that it may be possible but l haven't seen any posts showing evidence of these size camera's being used.
This is what my figures are based on,

Steadicam Flyer can hold 15lbs

SDX900 is around 8.6lbs
Fujinon A20x8.6ERM is 3.3lbs

Total = 12lbs

Now l haven't included the VF or the tape as l don't know there weights but l'm guessing/hoping that they may come under 3lbs.

l'm guessing the battery isn't a issue as you would use the one that's used on the Flyer as a bottom weight, although l don't know how the battery is connected to the camera (cable) ???

Any help would be great as l live in Australia and not in a capital city so l can't just go down to the local camera shop find this info out and if l do go ahead with a purchase it will most likely be from the states any way.

Andrew P.
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Old April 5th, 2005, 09:00 AM   #2
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The numbers for the Flyer are correct.
I fly that rig and she's a wonderfull rig.

Good move remebering to wiegh your lense!

with 12lbs for your camera + glass you should be right on the money with the flyer!

You won't need your viewfinder with a Flyer (it's no good anyway) because of the monitor on the rig. - Of course you may choose to have the VF for some on screen data between shots.

You are correct that the camera will be powered by the same battery as the rig. - When you order the flyer you specify which batteries you use and it will come with the right mount so that you can use you existing batteries. - The Flyer also comes with a short XLR-4 cable to power the camera from the 12v socket on the stage of the sled. - It also comes with the video cable from the camera to the stage (just like the JR).

The wight range for the Flyer si for the Camera - so the batts arn't included in the wights as they are below the gimble. - of course, don't forget to ad the wight of other gear you want on the camera - like focus control, transmitter, etc..

But sounds like the Flyer is the rig for you, it will also fly the PD-170 nicly (i fly the PD-150 a lot).

- Mikko
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Old April 5th, 2005, 07:22 PM   #3
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Thanks a lot Mikko, your info has helped alot. The hardest thing for me is that l've never used any other camera except for the PD170 & VX2000 so l don't really know anything about the pro features that are on camera's like SDX900 etc.
l'll be hiring a sony DSR570 though for a job coming up so l'm excited and a bit scared as l'm going to have to learn the camera in about a day before shooting.
But also this is why l wanted to know if the Flyer could handle these sort of camera's because as much as l would love to buy a camera like a DSR570 or SDX900 the thing is with HD standing in wings as the next standard l think it would be silly to spend up to $60k AUD for one of these camera's plus everthing else needed to run them and then with in 2-3yrs of having them then see that a HD version of the same camera has come out.
So my point is that it seems all these sort of camera's are in the same weight catagory, so therefore regardless of if l hire or buy any of these sort of camera's in the future it would stand to reason that the Flyer will most likely be able to work with them as l can't see why camera's will be made out of heavier material instead of lighter material in the future.
By the way Mikko l've had a look at the DSR570 manual and it shows a DC in XLR 4pin connector at the back of the camera for power so this would be where the XLR connector from the Flyer would connect correct??
Another question to is would l be pretty safe in going with Anton Bauer version of a Flyer in that l would most likely not have any compatablity problems if l wanted to use the battery from the Flyer directly with the a camera if l wasn't using the steadicam as it seems that ever professional camera can use a Anton Bauer system as thay seem to be an Industry standard. ???

Many Thanks
Andrew P.
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Old April 6th, 2005, 07:32 AM   #4
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Ok, you have a couple of misconceptions that may turn out to be a bit of a problem!

The first rule:
Every camera is different, not only in features, but contructions, and most importantly for Steadicam; Weight!
Not all "real" (big) cameras weigh the same, and not all of them will work on the flyer. - For example there has been debate about getting DigiBeta on a Flyer - supposedly possible with some cameras.
What you did with the SDX900 by weighing it and the lense (so everything you want to fly) is the correct way to check for compatibilty.
The PD/VX seriese fly well with the Flyer, along with lighter of the Big Cameras, like the SDX900, but if you expect to fly lots of bigger cameras with lots of accessories, then you may very well want to look into a slightly bigger rig.
The good news is that as a rule camera's are getting lighter all the time.

You are correct about the 4pin XLR power connector - This is an industry standard. I have never head of a big Video Camera that didn't have it.

Now: Batteries.
for a long time AB has been a major player, but not the only one.- Definatly not an industry Standard!
If you use a lot of Sony, then you will see a lot of "V-mount", and in europe PAG-LOK is used a lot. Then there is also IDX who make great batteries. The Flyer is avaibale with any one of these battery mounts - just as most any professional camera can use any one of these batteries. (the mount in a seperate piece on the back of the camera - look closely!)
I'm not sure what is used mostly there in Australia, but it's worth it to check aroudn for best compatibilty.
Of course it doens't matter what battery you have one the flyer, it will still be the same 12v from that XLR connector for the camera.
But if you allready have a camera with AB batteries, then it would make sence ot get AB for your flyer so that the batteries are intercahngable (more spares).
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Old April 6th, 2005, 06:31 PM   #5
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Mikko sorry about the "big camera" comment, l didn't really explain myself well. What l ment by " big camera's" was camera's like Sony's DSR 370,570 PDW510,530 or Panasonic's SDC 615,905 or SPX800,SDX900 & HDX400.

Those are the sort of camera's that l was talking about.The reason l'v picked those camera's is because l can't see for the market l will be shoting for, that there will be any need or budget for a higher end format which basically would be film, the Pana HDX400 is basically the start of a snowball so to speak of where HD is going so my thinking is that these camera's all fit somewhere into a broacast standard so as time goes by l would think these models will end up tuning into some sort of HD versions.

Now all the above camera's going by there dry weight and then adding a 3.3lbs lense come's to around 12-13lbs if you don't use VF or battery on the camera, you still have the tape or disk and maybe a mic or receiver so it might be touch & go but if it was over weight it would only be by a touch.

l'm not real sure of the price but to my knowledge the next step up from the Flyer is about $20K US l think and l'm not to sure what the model name is VECTOR ??? so that is probably not practical for me.
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Old April 7th, 2005, 04:08 AM   #6
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If only the Vector was that cheap! - The Vector is 2nd from the top of the line!

Basic list of Steadicams goes as follows (note there are options and variations to each moddle):

[Prices are VERY aproximate in USD]
JR (without monitor): ~$300
JR (with moitor): ~$500
Flyer: ~$7000
SK-2: ~$8000
Provid series: ~$12,000-$16,000
Clipper: ~$20,000
Vector: ~$40,000
Ultra series: ~$55,000-$66,000

- that's PLUS accessories (normally about another 40%).


So yeah, if you wanted a bigger capcity then you'd need a SK-2 (No were near as nice rig) or a Provid (Again, I'd prefer the Flyer)
But realisticly, for your needs, I'd say the Flyer is just the right tool for the job! I'd go for it!

- Mikko
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Old April 7th, 2005, 05:03 AM   #7
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Thanks again Mikko l really do appreciate your thoughts and advice on the matter especially because as l understand it you yourself have a Flyer and l take it from your comments that you or people you know(Charles Papert) have used the Flyer as well as the higer end Steadicam units to make legitiment comments about it's pros & cons, althought l haven't seen many cons about the Flyer. Though l realise that just like my Steadicam JR you have to put some work into it to get results as l realised doing my first gig with the JR which was a greek wedding holding it for at least 30mins in the service and all l can say is that if it wasn't for me playing drums for the last 20yrs building those forearms l think l would of passed out with muscle pain so using any steadicam rig that has a vest is a good thing.

l'll be making my decision in the next week or so of where l'm going to buy it from as l'm still waiting to hear what the price is from the Aussie distributor but l still thibk it will still be cheaper to get it from the states. So if l get it l'll be sure to let you know what l think.

Many Thanks
Andrew P.
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Old April 7th, 2005, 09:04 AM   #8
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Np. I'm happy to help.

Yeah, be sure to budget some time in for practice, you will need it.



(now for the shameless bit)
..you wouldn't be thinking of selling your JR would you?

- Mikko
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Old April 8th, 2005, 05:20 AM   #9
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Mikko:

I'm selling my JR shortly...it's a B&W monitor model. I just have to pick up some replacment parts from Tiffen so that it will be complete. Interested? Save me the eBay experience?? I'm looking for $300 for it...
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Old April 8th, 2005, 10:17 AM   #10
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Thanks for the offer Mikko but l think l would regret selling it, because it's nice and small which is good for wedding work, and also it is Pal model.

Looks like Charles has come to your rescue though.

Hey Charles can you recommend any good instructional videos/DVDs that might help me get the most out of using a Flyer ?

Andrew P.
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Old April 8th, 2005, 10:43 AM   #11
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He would probably recommend his video, if he ever got ROUND TO MAKING IT!! ;)
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Old April 8th, 2005, 10:48 AM   #12
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Hahahaha
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Old April 8th, 2005, 02:05 PM   #13
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LOL!
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Old April 9th, 2005, 02:36 PM   #14
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Laugh while you can, monkey-boys!
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Old April 9th, 2005, 10:29 PM   #15
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Yes indeed Charles you may have that last laugh on us all.

Charles or anyone else for that matter can you tell me what powers the screen on the Flyer ?
l would of thought that it would be the battery that is used to help balance the Flyer and give power to your camera. But from the comments that Charles King said on his Flyer video he posted, was that the AB battery was just to help for balance as he was using a PD170 which of course uses it's own battery.

So it would seem to me that maybe the screen is powered by separate batteries like on the JR, or am l wrong.

Andrew P.
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