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Old August 31st, 2010, 06:09 PM   #1
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Steadicam Z1

Hey guys what steadicam- flycam/glide cam

models what fit the sony z1, with a vest

thanks

Ollie
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Old August 31st, 2010, 07:39 PM   #2
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Steadicam Pilot should take good care of you with the Z1 and most anyother camera in that same size range.
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Old September 1st, 2010, 12:11 AM   #3
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Hi Ollie

The overall weight of your camera, including accessories is quite important too... weigh the cam and add your battery, mics, matte box, and whatever else is going to be part of the rig.

For me the flyer cost doesn't justify it's use. $10K over here !!! I actually use a modified Flycam ..it's the comfort vest/5000 setup with an extra arm added and for just under $600 it's worth having for the amount of income it directly produces... I cannot see the point of paying a fortune unless you are making use of that asset!!

If, of course, you are shooting $10K jobs each month then I would get a Flyer LE at least, but for the budget concious there are less expensive options that can be made very useable with a few mods and tweaks!!

Chris
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Old September 1st, 2010, 04:52 AM   #4
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Hey both thanks for your replies been helpful

the jobs are small but i want to use one, so which flycam do you recommended?

for low budget productions

Thanks

Ollie
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Old September 1st, 2010, 06:20 AM   #5
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Hi Ollie

I have owned both the 6000 and the 5000 !! The 6000 needs quite a bit of work done on the spring system unless you plan to use a 40lb betacam!! My new springs cost me $200 alone !! I felt that the 6000 was just too heavy and bulky to use in the field...the vest is huge, the arm is really heavy and I regretted changing it for the 5000.

I am back with a 5000!!! The vest is super-light but it's only a single arm rig. It works very well in normal situations but lacks the finesse of a dual arm rig....BUT for less than $540.00 it's a gem!!!! What I have done is made a few mods to my rig including adding a second arm so I have the sensitivity of a dual arm at a bargain price (extras were $100)

The 5000 only needs a few minor extras to get it really working well (even using it as a single arm).... if you want to pop me a PM I'll point you in the right direction on what mods to do to it as well.

Chris
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Old September 4th, 2010, 06:46 AM   #6
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Ollie, i've got a Pilot for sale.
pm me if you need more details.

Paul.
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Old September 5th, 2010, 08:02 AM   #7
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I used the Z1 with the Pilot for one job. Works very well.

I also tried a friend's Flycam and had all sorts of problems. The Flycam looks like it would work really well, but when it comes down to actually working - not good. In particular, the gimbal gave me a lot of problems.

One more thing to consider: Your investment in a stabilizer will probably last through many cameras.

Also, it takes a while to learn how to use a stabilizer well. It's like snow skiing, more about balance than strength. And it takes a lot of practice. You can get fairly good at skiing in a month or two, but to compete at a professional level will take longer.
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Old September 7th, 2010, 12:07 PM   #8
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I've come across many who have bought anyone of the many Steadicam knock-offs and almost all have said the same thing: "they all are pretty good...85-90% there.....but, with Steadicam, that last 10% is everything"

Jim Martin
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Old September 7th, 2010, 12:54 PM   #9
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Depending on the specific manufacturer, I'd say that gap widens quite a bit. I'd put the best of them at no more than 75%, with the remaining 25% a result of the arm design in the Steadicam products as well as overall build quality, easy of adjustment on the top stage and gimbal design. Some of the third-party stabilizers I would put in the well-below 50% category.

I had a student at one of my workshops with a Flycam and tried to help him with the design issues. I was honestly astonished at how far off the mark they got that rig. It's one thing to reverse-engineer from a proven design using cheap materials or shortcuts, it's something else to hobble the operator with a design that barely get the job done. Chris H. points out what others have said--be prepared to make plenty of mods to the design to get it to work with any degree of comfort.

Where a lot of people get confused is that they go to a manufacturer's website and see a demo video of the rig in action, and say "well, that shot seems pretty steady to me". There are so many other factors in play other than the achievement of removing footsteps in a shot. If the rig is awkward, uncomfortable, requires your body to twist like a pretzel, slow to balance and configure, noisy (clunking springs), takes twice as much practice to overcome its shortcomings...is this actually worth it? (amazingly, yes, to some people).

I've seen MANY people go through "budget" stabilizers and end up with the Steadicam brand (usually taking a loss on the resale of their old rig).

Heed Dave Gish's advice: a stabilizer is a long-term investment that you will own through many generations of cameras, like a good tripod. When it comes to the rigs for smaller cameras (i.e. under 20 lbs), the Steadicam brand is best. And this is coming from a guy whose large rig is NOT a Steadicam brand.
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Old September 7th, 2010, 08:04 PM   #10
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Hi Charles

One would be foolish to not need advice from the Master but there is too often the question of budget. Here in Australia a Flyer LE will set me back $10K !!!! For the amount of time I use it (maybe for 15 minutes during a wedding photoshoot) the investment is out of my budget.

I think the bottom line here is don't expect a $500 rig to perform the same as a $5000 or $10,000 rig!!!
If you can afford a real Steadicam then for goodness sake get it!!!!

I think I would get a Flyer LE if the cost was warranted (plus I'd absolutely LOVE a genuine Steadicam)
However IF your budget is sub $1000 and you get a "reverse engineered" copy then it's important to realise that you CAN make it work fairly well but not out of the box ...My current "hybrid" started as a ComfortVest/Flycam and I have spent a considerable time getting it up to scratch and it actually flies very well now. You can make them work BUT it does take a lot of DIY mods to do it!!!

People also have the illusion that you dump the camera onto the rig and away you go and produce footage comparible or even better than "Charles Papert" footage. Your comment made a while back is one I use frequently and is very true ... "Every time I fly the rig I suck a little less"

Chris
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Old September 7th, 2010, 08:24 PM   #11
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There is logic to that. If one is handy and willing to invest the time/effort to modify their rigs, then it certainly is possible to improve a cheap rig in certain ways. The Flycam does honestly irritate me though--they could make that rig a lot better without it having to cost any more, there are just some illogical aspects of the design.

If the Zephyr ever materializes, it should be a good rig for the money (between Pilot and Flyer)---who knows what it will sell for, however.

There's a validity to pointing out that gear should be considered in terms of its payoff, that's good business sense. If you consider a stabilizer as being at least a 10 year investment, that's a long time to pay it off, and if it is a source of frustration during that time, that should be figured in to the equation.

It's extremely seductive for people to go for the cheapest rig, especially with the economy being what it is.There is often a perspective that the Steadicam products rest on the laurels of the brand name and are only lightly different than the competition (Jim's 10%, for instance). Again, when it comes to the smaller-camera market, the performance of the Pilot and Flyer arms are so far beyond the competition that it will assuredly make a difference for slow-moving, subtle shots, as well as the operator's stamina (takes a lot more energy to "wrestle" a lesser performing rig into smoothness, including adjusting one's walking style).

Consider this simply a counterpoint!
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Old September 8th, 2010, 07:02 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Here in Australia a Flyer LE will set me back $10K !!!!
There are many cases where people assume they need a Flyer when a Pilot will do. Here's an example(see picture).

There are a lot of ways to reduce weight. The camera can be powered by the sled. Unnecessary parts of the camera can be removed (in this case, the EX3 EVF hood). Custom cables with light connectors. You can lose the rails by using a clip-on matte box, or even a simple custom matte box made from black coroplast and gaff tape. Some of these require a little DIY ability, but it's relatively minor compared to modifying the rig itself.

Obviously, there are cases where a Flyer is mandatory, but I tend to find they are fewer than most people realize.
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Old September 8th, 2010, 08:52 AM   #13
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Hi Dave

Fair enough assumption but we are still looking at US$4500 which is often way beyond the reach of some people. I guess if you can afford an EX3 then a pilot is also within budget.

However the poor guy who struggles to buy a used Z1 for a few thousand as best is unlikely to be able to afford to pay for even a used pilot. That's where the copy models find their market!! You can currently buy the Indian Rig for under $500 which must be a huge drawcard for Indie film makers even if it's only 50% capable compared to the real McCoy. I actually did weddings with an unmodified model and admittedly they were a trifle bouncy but for the amateur film maker they must have a place.

I'm actually using a highly modified Comfort Vest/Flycam setup but with a dual arm and many hours of work to get it right and if I don't include my time then it has still come in way under $1K...still within the reach of the enthusiastic amateur who's wife would probably kill him if he spent any more than that!!!

The Tiffen rigs are still, of course, the industry standard but one has to allow for the poorer folk too!!

Chris
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Old September 8th, 2010, 09:16 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hi Dave

I'm actually using a highly modified Comfort Vest/Flycam setup but with a dual arm and many hours of work to get it right and if I don't include my time then it has still come in way under $1K

Chris
If you can afford to "not include your time" in your cost analysis then the numbers may look good. And if modifying a Flycam rig makes your work better and gets you more work, it's a valid way to calculate your investment. But if it takes you away from other business development or other money-generating uses of your time (marketing, networking, actually working on gigs) then it could make more sense to invest up-front in a well-engineered and well-built name-brand rig.

I bought a used Flyer (2nd gen) for $3500, in like-new condition. Bargains can be found that lower the cost of entry for a genuine Steadicam.
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Old September 8th, 2010, 10:58 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
I guess if you can afford an EX3 then a pilot is also within budget.
To be clear, that's not my camera, just one of many I've worked with.

I've used the Pilot with the Sony EX1, EX3, Z1U, V1U, and the Panasonic HVX200 on various gigs. I've also flown an old Arri SR3 film camera with a rented Glidecam V20 (see picture).

My camera is an HVX200 I got cheap on eBay.

In general, I think cameras have gotten really good, so you can get good results from most of them. Now it's getting to the point where other things seem to matter more than the camera, like good content, lighting, and how smooth the camera moves, whether on sticks, dolly, jib, or steadicam.
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