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Old October 29th, 2009, 03:55 PM   #1
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Steadicam Pilot too light, can that be helped?

I bought the Steadicam Pilot for use with my EX3. But now with Nano Flash and improved base plate, plus wireless for sound the set up is too heavy. Is there any way I can change the Pilot to be able to carry a heavier load? Trading it in turned out to be very costly. I only have the Pilot for a couple of months.
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Old October 29th, 2009, 06:22 PM   #2
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No, each version of Steadicam is engineered as a system, in other words if the Pilot arm is maxed out then even if you could modify it with industrial rubber bands or whatnot, the gimbal is only designed to bear the same weight range as the arm.

You will need to go with something like the Flyer LE, which is a great rig...you could also find a used Flyer (2nd generation) for about $4-$6000 depending on how it's outfitted.
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Old October 29th, 2009, 10:46 PM   #3
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Roelf, you may also consider looking into the Glidecam X-22, which will hold a bit more than the Flyer, and costs significantly less.

Your pilot will not support the EX3, and you cannot make that happen. Bummer, but that's the reality of steadicams, as mark said in his post above.
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Old October 30th, 2009, 01:18 AM   #4
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Okay, thanks for the info. I'll look into the Glide cam. And see if I can sell the Pilot. Thanks again. Roelf
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Old October 30th, 2009, 08:11 AM   #5
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EX3 on Pilot no problem

As with 35mm film professional Steadicam setups, you need to remove the unnessary stuff from the camera to make it work. Also, use the Pilot IDX battery to power the EX3. I used this cable:
Vortex Media: VIDEO & PHOTO Tools and Training
and put a 2.1mm cable on the end. Click on pictures to enlarge.

By the way, I've also added a wireless video transmitter to this setup. The only change was to replace the 2 middle weights on each end of the bottom with 1 middle weight and 1 of the smaller round end weights.
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Old October 30th, 2009, 05:04 PM   #6
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Thanks Dave, I was hoping to use the Nano Flash on the Ex3. Plus the more stable base plate. It is just possible to still use the Pilot but the position of the camera is very close to the gimball. And that is a big limitation. For instance very low or very high shots can not be done. Or do I not see this correctly?
When I try my present set up the 'arm' of the steadicam sinks to slightly under horizontal when not supported.
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Old October 30th, 2009, 06:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roelf Wentholt View Post
Thanks Dave, I was hoping to use the Nano Flash on the Ex3. Plus the more stable base plate.
I don't own an EX3 - just fly it occasionally. So I don't know the weight of these accessories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roelf Wentholt View Post
It is just possible to still use the Pilot but the position of the camera is very close to the gimball.
Actually, this is the preferred position for most shots.

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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roelf Wentholt View Post
And that is a big limitation. For instance very low or very high shots can not be done. Or do I not see this correctly?
Are you extending the Pilot sled to it's full length?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roelf Wentholt View Post
When I try my present set up the 'arm' of the steadicam sinks to slightly under horizontal when not supported.
You are over-weight. Try removing stuff. For example, are you using the Pilot's battery to power the EX3? Have you removed the EX3 eyepiece?
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Old October 30th, 2009, 07:30 PM   #8
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The nano flash weighs 400 grams, I don't think you will be able to scrape through with it on the EX3.
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Old October 30th, 2009, 07:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Tsamandanis View Post
The nano flash weighs 400 grams, I don't think you will be able to scrape through with it on the EX3.
That's roughly the same weight as my shotgun, shock mount, and mic cable shown in the pictures above.
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Old October 31st, 2009, 02:12 AM   #10
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Yes, I understand about the camera to gimbal position. Indeed! Well I am learning...
So the EX 3 can be used on the Pilot if only I make it as light as possible by removing the camera battery and the Nano Flash. I think I have to keep the base plate on the camera else it is too much work when the camera has to go back on a tripod..
I do not yet exactly understand how you power the camera from the Steadicam battery. If you have time, could you explain this to me?
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Old October 31st, 2009, 04:43 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roelf Wentholt View Post
I do not yet exactly understand how you power the camera from the Steadicam battery. If you have time, could you explain this to me?
The Sony EX1 and EX3 both have a connector that allows you to use an external source to power the camera. So the idea is to remove the EX1/EX3 battery, and wire a connection between the external power source and the camera. Click on this link for an example:
Vortex Media: VIDEO & PHOTO Tools and Training

If you have the Pilot version with the IDX E-7S batteries, this will power the EX3 and Pilot monitor for many hours. If you have the Pilot with the AA batteries, using that to power the EX3 probably won't work too well.

So if you have the IDX batts, the idea is to get that power to the camera. The Pilot has an internal power cable running from the bottom to the top through the sled post, which ends on the front of the Pilot stage in a standard 2.1mm power connector. This allows you to power various accessories (on-camera light, video transmitter, etc.). And if the camera uses the same 14.4 volt power, it can power that as well.

The only problem is that the EX1/EX3 doesn't use a very common power connector (why am I not surprised?), so you need a custom cable that has the special Sony power connector on one end, and a standard 2.1mm power connector on the other end. I made this custom cable myself, but there are also people that will make custom cables for you.

The other issue here is that on the EX3 you don't want this power cable sticking out and hitting the left side of your face as you're flying, so you really need a right-angle version of this special yellow Sony power connector. I got one of these by ordering the cable from the link above, and used that to make my custom cable.

Click on the 3 pictures in my previous post to see more details.

By the way, if you have the Pilot version with the AA batteries, you can order a part from Tiffen that changes that to the IDX mount. The different battery mounts swap in seconds. The IDX batteries and charger cost more, but for the EX3, it's worth it.
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