Steadicam Pilot Load Limit at DVinfo.net

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Old December 6th, 2010, 12:47 PM   #1
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Steadicam Pilot Load Limit

B&H spec the Steadicam Pilot as supporting up to 10lbs. I can get my JVC HM-700 down to less than that with a bit of work, but how realistic is the Pilot / HM-700 combination? Yes, I should probably use the Flyer or whatever, but I'm wondering whether I can get away with the Pilot instead... any experience or thoughts on this?
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Old December 6th, 2010, 04:12 PM   #2
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I'd say the more practical limit for the Pilot is about 8 pounds of load at the top. You'll want to add about a pound of screw-on weights to the bottom spar for smoother pans, and the 10-pound limit doesn't include the Pilot's battery, which is also at the bottom.

The good news is that you can power the HM-700 from the Pilot's battery. There's a 2.1mm power connector on the front of the Pilot's stage (top assembly), and there's internally wired power cable through the post, so you wouldn't need the added weight of a separate battery for the camera. For example, if you use an IDX batteries, then you would buy the Pilot-VL model, attach the IDX battery to the Pilot instead of the camera, and then use a short 2.1mm to 4-pin XLR power cable to attach from the Pilot's top stage to the camera.

Also, the viewfinder isn't useful for Steadicam shots, so you can remove that from the HM-700 as well.

Bottom line: Remove the viewfinder and battery, but add any other accessories you want to use with the Pilot. If the total weight is less than 8 pounds, the Pilot will work.

If it weighs 8 pounds or over, take a look at the Steadicam Scout:
Steadicam Scout
$6900 at B&H
Steadicam SCOUT V-MOUNT/STANDARD VEST SCBXSDBVFA B&H Photo Video


If you don't have an accurate scale, you can order a fairly good one from the post office for $40:
https://shop.usps.com/webapp/wcs/sto...WT.ac=10001609

One more thing: If you want to be able to move the camera between the Pilot and sticks quickly, you'll need a tripod adapter that uses the same plate as your sticks, so that will add to your accessory weight as well. For example, I use Manfrotto sticks, so I got the 577 tripod adapter and plate:
Manfrotto 577 Rapid Connect Adapter with Sliding Mounting 577
This weighs 9 ounces.
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Old December 7th, 2010, 10:30 AM   #3
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Dave -- thanks. Just the sort of info I was hoping for... With an Anton Bauer battery feed from the Pilot and a bunch of other hacks, I think I have a fighting chance of getting the camera down to about 8lbs (it's roughly 7lbs bare, but mounting plates are heavy...). The question is whether it's worth the effort and compromises -- something I'm going to have to mull over the next week or two until I actually have enough money to be dangerous :-).
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Old December 7th, 2010, 06:40 PM   #4
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Here's something you may want to consider:
Litepanels Ringlite Mini
Not that this would be your main source of lighting, but the dimmer works great to add that perfect glow from the front.

Which brings up another point: Anything with rails will generally go over the weight limit of the Pilot.

On the other hand, you can go crazy thinking of all the possibilities in the future. The Pilot is a great rig, and by the time you outgrow it, Steadicam will probably have a better model to offer.
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Old December 8th, 2010, 11:40 AM   #5
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Dave -- thanks again. It's been an interesting exercise so far -- I've never really had to think about camera and attachment weights at this sort of detail before...
Hamish Reid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 13th, 2010, 06:58 PM   #6
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Used Flyers (original or LE) offer a lot of bang for the buck, and you won't be constantly fighting the Pilot's weight limit.

Original Flyers are 15lb camera weight limit, LE's are 18 or (most recently) 20 lb weight limit.

You should be able to buy a used complete original Flyer for $4500 in excellent condition, or even less.

If you have the budget for new, then the upcoming Scout is a great rig that matches the Flyer in terms of payload. However, other than the inertial weights, the improved bottom stage for easier dynamic balancing, and some other minor design tweaks, it's basically a Flyer replacement. So a used Flyer could be a better buy for you compared to a new Scout, depending on your priorities.
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Old December 15th, 2010, 02:35 PM   #7
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Mark -- thanks -- more food for thought... The Scout certainly looks attractive; the question I can't answer until early next year is what I can afford. That's going to determine an awful lot in the next few weeks...
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Old December 19th, 2010, 02:30 PM   #8
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I recently bought a Pilot and last night I finally weighted everything and tested the capacity.

I loaded the sled with 6 kg (IDX e7s included), that's just above 13 lbs and the arm wasn't sagging.
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