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Old July 14th, 2005, 12:14 AM   #1
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Flyer Questions?

Hi,
I was just looking at a Flyer and loved it, but I had a couple of questions that I was hoping someone could shed some light on.
1) The unit I was demoing had a difficult time static balancing in all directions. It seemed that it was really tempormental. I would get it balanced in one direction and then rotate it 90 degrees and it would lose slightly lose balance. In addition it was not always repeatable. It improved when the drop time was changed from 2-1/2 seconds to about 1-3/4 seconds, but it seemed a bit strange. Anyone have any insight or similar experience?

2) Since the post cannot lengthen or shorten, do I understand correctly that the only method of balancing a heavy camera is to move the gimbal up? It looks to me like if one chooses to add weight with big batteries say, then the fore/aft balance at the bottom can get out of whack. What's the general experince here?

thank alot,
Matt


P.S. Hey Ed Liew - Did you ever get your Gimbal back from Magiqcam?
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Old July 14th, 2005, 03:07 AM   #2
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hi matthew,
received the gimbal from john about 2 weeks ago. the repair work is slightly different from yours. flown it once, its easier to control now. have been busy with post work, so no time to really fly it.

are you thinking of upgrading to a flyer?
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Old July 14th, 2005, 10:27 AM   #3
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Hmm.. not sure what your ballancing issue might be. *almost* sounds liek it *could* be a gimbel problem, but i doubt it.

As for verticle ballance, yes the general adjustment for verticle ballance is to move the gimble. (which is actually better than just extending the sled [glidecam])
And yes, with a heavy camera you may need to ad sled weight. - But that's why it comes with 2 battery mounts, just stick your spare battery ( you should have a spare) on the other mount and you can put a mcuh heavier camera.
With more batteries you will need to swing the furthur forward under the sled to preserve ballance, but that's not an issue.

My experience with the flyer is that i can ballance from a GL1 or PD-150 (about the lightest cameras without accesories the arm'll take) all the way up to a Hitachi V-21W (Pro-DVCAM) camera that jsut maxes the arm.
I have achieved fine static and dynamic ballance with these and a range of cameras in between, jsut by using 1 or 2 batteries and moving the gimble.

I see no limitation here.


- Mikko
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Old July 14th, 2005, 11:10 AM   #4
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******1) The unit I was demoing had a difficult time static balancing in all directions. It seemed that it was really tempormental. I would get it balanced in one direction and then rotate it 90 degrees and it would lose slightly lose balance. In addition it was not always repeatable. It improved when the drop time was changed from 2-1/2 seconds to about 1-3/4 seconds, but it seemed a bit strange. Anyone have any insight or similar experience?*******



I have always had this problem with my flyer. Doesnt seem to affect its performance when you learn to fly with your hips. Practice is key.


John
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Old July 14th, 2005, 12:19 PM   #5
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Ed, Glad to head that you finally got it back. Wow, that took a long time. Hopefully it took care of the problem and you will finally get some use out of the unit. Let us know how it goes when you get some time to fly it again.

Mikko, thanks, that's what I sort of thought about the sled weight. I sort of gathered that that was the situation from reading your earlier discussions of the unit. I know that it is probably siuation dependent, but what kind of drop time are you usually using?

John,
Thanks for the reply. so what I said makes sense to you? You don't see any affect on the stability when it won't balance just right? Do you copmpensate when you are flying anyway?

thanks all,
Matt
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Old July 14th, 2005, 07:59 PM   #6
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*****You don't see any affect on the stability when it won't balance just right? Do you copmpensate when you are flying anyway?******


I have a theory(correct me if im wrong Mikko). The problem is caused because the rig is slightly out of dynamic. In the old days operators didnt know what dynamic was and still got great shots. I think(again correct me if im wrong) dynamic spin wasn't part of balancing until the late 90's. With good posture, and practice one can over come sloppy sled balance(to a point). In the video "Advanced Steadicam Techniques" Jerry Holway purposely off balances his master rig so the cam can fly pointed down. Obviously the rig was out of static/dynamic, and it didnt stop him from getting the shot.



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Old July 15th, 2005, 02:28 AM   #7
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John,
you may be correct about the dynamic ballance history.
And it *could* be the problem with the flyer, but ONLY while it is spinning.
If it's inballance you move and stop it 90 and let it hang there and it's out of ballance then there is another issue.
But if the shift in ballance is only while the cmaera is actually panning, that it is Dynamic ballance.

There is a very good explanation of DB wirtten by Jerry here: http://www.steadicam-ops.com/soamanual.shtml

And yes, with good operating (read: "experience") you can overcome imperfections in ballance, esp with dynamic ballance if you need to.

Or if you are lucky enoguh to have a Steadicam Ultra, it has a tilting stage, so you can tilt the camera and keep the sled in DB!

- Mikko
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Old July 15th, 2005, 10:33 AM   #8
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Hi John,
Mikko is right. I just spoke with the folks over at Steadicam about the issue and they said it was not supposed to be that way. They said that the problem is that the gimbal yoke is not perfectly centered. They use shims to get it perfectly centered when they are made, so they said bring it in and they would fix it.

Regards
Matt
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Old July 15th, 2005, 12:30 PM   #9
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The Flyer can indeed be squirrely when it comes to dynamic balance. I have flown it where it pans flat; I have also flown it with a different camera that would not balance dynamically no matter what I did. Unfortunately it's not designed to give a full range of adjustability between the monitor and battery--you can do a certain amount but perhaps not as much as might be needed. I do believe that the gimbals can suffer from non-linearity as described above, as I tried two different units and found the second one much less likely to precess (i.e. dip during a pan) with the exact same load onboard.

While it is possible to "muscle through" with a rig that is not in dynamic balance, it does take more mental and physical attention as you have to apply additional force (we're talking microscopic amounts with your gimbal hand, not a white-knuckle squeeze) to compensate for the rig wanting to take a dive on you. John, I would hesitate to endorse the idea that one's posture is a factor on controlling issues relating to the gimbal--certainly it is always helpful to maintain the proper attitude of the body to avoid the gimbal having to do extra adjustments, but nominally the issue is independent of the body mount as can be demonstrated by mounting the sled on the balancing pin on the dock and attempting gimbal pans.
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Old July 17th, 2005, 07:08 PM   #10
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Well, I went over to Steadicam and talked to the folks (BTW, extremely nice and helpful) about the Flyer and the non-static balance issue I described and they said that there are very thin shims for the yoke that solve the problem. Looks like each Flyer has them when they come from the factory, some units may just need further tweaking.

I got a chance to look at a unit that has had some mods made that the new all black Flyers will have and it raised some interesting questions. Some of the bearings in the arm have been replaced with bronze bushings. The gentleman there told me this was done to add some friction to parts of the arm. Apparently, Steadicam, felt that the arm was too frictionless, particularly in the horizontal direction in the bone at the socket connection. He explained that the arm had a tendency to move too easily and that these mods made it behave much more like their bigger arms.

So I'm wondering if anyone has had such experience and/or thinks this would make an improvemnt to the dynamics of the system. I didn;t get a chance to actually try it, buit I'm thinking of getting one and wondering if I should wait for the newer version.

thanks,
Matt
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Old July 19th, 2005, 01:31 AM   #11
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I'm not a Steadicam operator, so I can't say how much of a difference it makes, but on the bigger arms there is a pretty stiff torsion spring around the pin between the male socket block and the first link of the arm. This first link spaces the arm away from your body so in the bigger arm this spring biases the first link towards the side of your body. But if you pull hard enough you can overcome this spring and move the whole arm away from your body. On the Flyer, they omitted this spring so maybe they found out they needed to add friction in the pivot point at that first link to emulate the torsion spring in the bigger arms.
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Old July 19th, 2005, 01:50 AM   #12
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Good insight Tim. That's exactly what the folks at Steadicam told me. I just made the leap into a Flyer, so I'll find out first hand here pretty shortly :)
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Old July 25th, 2005, 12:32 AM   #13
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hi matthew,
are you selling off your magiqcam set? saw a listing at ebay.
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Old July 25th, 2005, 01:03 AM   #14
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Hi Ed,
Yeah, I got a little crazy and bought a Flyer, so I need to sell my Magiqcam. It was a little hard to do since I put some time and effort into setting it up and, well, you know better than anyone about putting time into it. How's yours working out by the way? Have you had a chance to use it since you got your gimbal back? Look forward to hearing good news about it.

regards,
Matt
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Old July 25th, 2005, 05:29 AM   #15
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thats nice, to be able to own a set of the best.
nothing new on my side. anyway, the earlier plan with one tv programme and one music video did not work out due to the "delay". so, the rig is just collecting dust at the moment. will fly it once all the dateline are met. good luck on your side.
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