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Old May 27th, 2010, 02:09 PM   #1
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Sony VCT-SP1BP Monopod Camera Support System

Sony | VCT-SP1BP Monopod Camera Support System | VCT-SP1BP | B&H

Would this be a suitable replacement for a steadicam? Any thoughts on the product itself?

I would like to use a steadicam but do not have the $3500 to spend on it. I use a EX1R

Thanks in advance.
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Old May 29th, 2010, 11:34 PM   #2
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Hi William

For over $700 I would cringe!!! It's basically a harness with a pouch and a monopod!! Without any sort of gimbal you will get stability but not freedom of movement.

The closest I have seen with a monopod system so far is the "SteddiePod" ($499 at B&H) This has a bearing collar and grip on the first section of the monopod tube so you can at least have a 2 way gimbal and actually fly your camera. There are quite a few YouTube videos on the rig too showing it in all it's modes. The EX1 is fairly heavy so the fact that you fly by holding the monopod directly under the camera's centre of balance will make life a little easier!!!

If you are not prepared to pay the $4000+++ for at least a Steadicam Flyer then this is probably better than Sony monopod.

I use a DIY support on my cams which cost me less than $40 and it essentially does the same job as the Sony one (without the "crane" feature) The support is a tripod leg so you could also use a monopod.

Chris
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Old May 30th, 2010, 02:30 AM   #3
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Hi Chris! good to hear from you.

There is another solution, for cameras designed to be hand held - that is, under 10Kg and not shoulder mounted, why not use a serious monopod, such as this one from Manfrotto.

tripods, heads, monopods, light stands, camera supports, lighting supports, professional tripod 679B - MONOPOD (3-SCTN) BLK

Originally designed for the stills user with a large aperture lens, such as a 400mm f2.8 and in situations where stability AND mobility is a must, such as at the football, the monpod has been used to great success with moving pictures.

Those of us who remember TV news cameras before Betacam... that is running 16mm cine, will remember news scrums where every "cammo' (Aussiespeak for News Camera Operator ) used one whenever it was impractical to use a tripod.

They are fantastic, and I used one in my newspaper days to keep the 4kg of Nikon glass from sagging in my hands.....

Most small video cameras have the 3/8 Whitworth thread hole underneath, and this will mate perfectly.

The other advantage is the camera will be rock solid when the 'pod is on the ground, and you dont have to stop breathing during a take - to avoid camera shake!

Ben
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Old May 31st, 2010, 06:46 PM   #4
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Hi Ben

Nice to hear from you also!! Actually the guy that designed the "SteddiePod" was Eddie Barber and he started off modifying monopods for ENG cameramen in his earlier days.

Even if you just want a support then his idea also has merit with the 3 foldable legs on what is basically a monopod!! If you look at his site, in support mode, two of the legs are used against your body to take the camera weight and all you have is a simple strap around your neck for full support.

I really cannot see any advantage in having a complete "vest" like the Sony one just to hold a monopod!!
It's actually a lot more expensive than the generic stedicam vests you can buy at the moment so if a vest is a must, CineCity in India would probably part with one from their flycam range for around $300 and you can buy a nice monopod for less than $100 too!!!

Disregarding the pic in my post, I have a Benro hefty monopod (25kg capacity) and have attached a moveable disk on the upper shaft which allows you to hold it in one hand at a balance point and works pretty well considering there is no gimbal.

Thanks for the link...nice stuff!!!!

Chris
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Old May 31st, 2010, 11:57 PM   #5
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perhaps a glidecam hd 4000? for an EX1R? its about $500

Thanks for the replies thus far.
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Old June 1st, 2010, 06:11 AM   #6
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Hi William

Depends on what length of shoot you are planning and whether you go to gym 5 times a week !!!
Using a handheld sled is not for the faint-hearted. Because you are using a complete gimbal you have to hold up maybe 15lbs of weight on one tiny handle...that's not easy and that's why you have a vest and arm ... The steddiepod is a little easier because your hand is directly under the camera, not offset. Something like the Blackbird rig (under $500) would be better but remember the EX1 is close to 6lbs and the sled will be, with balance weights around 7lbs ... throw on an LCD and battery and you won't lift it for very long!!!

IMO with an EX1 you need a proper stedicam with arm and vest to fly decently!! Otherwise stick to the monopod/steddiecam route if the lower budget suits you better. There is a video on YouTube with a guy who flies an 8lb camera on the steddiecam ..it's about a snake in his garden ... it's gives pretty nice footage ..(Search YouTube for "steddiecam") I would buy one if they were available here!!!

I really don't think just a handheld sled is an option unless you buy a smaller cam to use on it!!

Chris
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Old June 1st, 2010, 01:10 PM   #7
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That is very true. And that was my main concern. I wonder how the glidecam x-10 with the hd4000 would work at $2500 it could be within my budget. I would ideally like the steadicam pilot but the $3800 is just to high.

Thanks again.
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Old June 1st, 2010, 06:30 PM   #8
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Hi William

The reason that Steadicam is nearly twice the price comes down to absolute precision engineering!! If you want something that flies true then it's about the only option. I have owned two of the Indian Flycam "copies" and yes, they work very well but the alignment really is poor and you have to work for months getting the rig "flyable"!!!!

Why not keep your eyes open for a second hand Pilot or Flyer rig ..IMO it would be more desireable to own a used Flyer than a new rig that you are going to battle with.

I dunno what you are shooting but also bear in mind that it takes quite a while to "suit up and set up" I was using my rigs at weddings and the time involved getting everything right and ready wasn't worth it!!!

Chris
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 01:19 AM   #9
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Very true Chris. I tend too shoot short films now and features in the near future. I have to to come to terms with myself that there really isnt a cheaper effective alternative to the steadicam pilot so I will try and pick up a used one but in Miami that is hard to find. Thanks for all the advice though.
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