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Old July 25th, 2005, 04:22 AM   #1
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Balancing an asymetrical load on a Jr.

Hi all,

I've had my Jr. for a few months now and after an afternoon I got it balanced with my Sony HC-85 mini-dv camcorder. The camera is a bit light so I needed to add a little weight to the stage (tape on tire weights). Other than fatigue, I've gotten more comfortable with it and have a pretty good idea what I need to do the keep it balanced.

Well, in my quest for better sound, I added a Rode VideoMic. I have tried to rebalance it, but seem to be "out to lunch" with this. The Rode sits high and is offset to the right and forward. This is making it very hard to balance. It barely seems to stay in trim, and if it passes a certain point (forward to the right) it won't return upright. To make matters worse, it already drops faster than the 1-2 second drop time so I'm pretty sure I'm too heavy on the bottom. My question is simple: If I'm too heavy on the bottom, why doesn't return upright? Any thoughts would be appreciated?
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Old August 1st, 2005, 11:34 AM   #2
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Steadicam JR balancing

I'm using a Steadicam JR with PD150/big battery and Canon W/A lens (7.5 pounds all in!) and found John Brune's site ( http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Lot/7385/ ) really helpful. I emailled him and he offered loads of help...
USed the rig on an outdoor concert shoot at the weekend with 3 other cams and am still impressed...
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Old August 1st, 2005, 04:34 PM   #3
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John's a good friend of mine, we live about a mile apart. Both John and I are most likely the biggest users of the jr in the NE Indiana area. John's been a GREAT help to many with his website offering tips and information on the jr for many years now. Hats off to John for his on going help for the Steadicam jr community!!!
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Old August 1st, 2005, 06:21 PM   #4
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I'd echo that - John was instrumental in getting my JR working well and his experience is invaluable. Patience is required but once set up, its worth it. My PD150/JR goes to every shoot in case an opportunity arises to use it and with a tripod mount on the lower spar makes a useful backup camera! Main thing with the JR is don't give up!
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Old August 1st, 2005, 06:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin Sato
Hi all,
Well, in my quest for better sound, I added a Rode VideoMic. I have tried to rebalance it, but seem to be "out to lunch" with this. The Rode sits high and is offset to the right and forward. This is making it very hard to balance. It barely seems to stay in trim, and if it passes a certain point (forward to the right) it won't return upright. To make matters worse, it already drops faster than the 1-2 second drop time so I'm pretty sure I'm too heavy on the bottom. My question is simple: If I'm too heavy on the bottom, why doesn't return upright? Any thoughts would be appreciated?

I think there is a term for this is, in a article I read about "dynamic balance."

http://www.steadicam-ops.com/soamanual.shtml

The information is for the big rigs...but it applies to Steadicam JR/Glidecams...

It might help...

Is there a way to get more of the weight towards the center of the camera?
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Old August 2nd, 2005, 01:56 AM   #6
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It sounds like you might even be top-heavy--the rig is trying to turn itself upside down. What do you mean exactly by passing a point that is forward to the right (please explain in terms of pan or tilt)? Also make sure that the mike is 100% secure in its mount and is not shifting when you tilt the rig at all.
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Old August 2nd, 2005, 04:12 AM   #7
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Wow, thanks everyone for all the replies .... all at the same time! I ended up taking the whole thing apart and starting all over again. I think that I mamaged to get it right. Charles, what I was tryig to describe was if it tilted forward ~20 degrees, it could return upright, but if it went 40 degrees, it would continue down till you reached the limit of the gimble.

I'm going to read the links above becasue they really look interesting and I'm sure I'll learn a lot.
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Old August 2nd, 2005, 01:35 PM   #8
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Colin, the only thing I can think of is that as I thought before, the mike is shifting slightly once you reach a certain point of tilt, which is throwing the balance forward.
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