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Old October 3rd, 2005, 10:39 PM   #1
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Exercise and tip for steadicam

Hello,
I'm receiving my Flyer tomorrow. Thus I'm wondering if anyone could give me some tips/good exercises how to balance and operate the Flyer (I'll be using an XL2 by the way).
I could find some tips on other threads but it seems they are all over the places. Therefore it's a little bit hard to find them.

So... I guess it will be explain in the manual, but how do you correctly balance the steadicam? What are the first exercises you would recommand to do for praticing?

I also have a couple of stupid questions ;)

- I'm "fake"-right handed, I say "fake" because I cut my meat with my left hand whereas normal right handed people usually swap the fork and the knife and cut it with the right hand. But I write with my right hand. I'm a little bit ambidex. Anyway, I'm wondering on what side I should attach the arm, and therefore what hand (the opposite) I should use considering I am right-handed.

- I understand the fore/aft adjustment is to adjust how far the sled will go from you. But what is the purpose of the side adjustement?

Thanks,
Best Regards,
Quoc
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Old October 3rd, 2005, 11:35 PM   #2
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The traditional way to operate Steadicam is with the arm attaching on the right and the rig hanging on the left. This is counter-intuitive to many who are used to having a camera on their right shoulder. It's best to play with it on either side, one will "speak" to you more. If you want to be really slick, learn to operate just as well both ways...!

The side to side adjustment on the socket is to trim where the rig sits, just like the fore and aft...if the rig wants to fly off to the left, you can dial it back to the right.
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Old October 4th, 2005, 12:58 AM   #3
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Hi Quoc,


I fly goofy foot(right hand operation) with no problems. I am right handed mostly, but like you, can use both. Currently the poll on the steadicam forum is 28.85% goofy(right hand operation) vs 48.05% regular(left hand operation) with 52 total votes. Only 3.85% of goofy flyers can switch to regular operation vs 15.38% regular switching to goofy. Im sure the numbers will change as more operators post, but it gives you an idea.

Not sure about flying the XL2, but with the PD-170, the battery should be almost all the way up, with the monitor almost all the way out and flat. Don't pull your hair out trying to find dynamic right away, dont even turn the monitor on. It took me four months before I could walk behind someone.

If you cant afford a workshop checkout "Advanced Steadicam Techniques" VHS trainning tape. If you have anymore questions feel free to ask.

John
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Old October 4th, 2005, 02:35 AM   #4
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Quoc, you are in for a treat.

Good advice about "regular" and "goofy" however that I'll add: Once youve figured out which works best for you; stick to it and practice that. Don't bother tryign to learn both at the same time, you will only end up confused. Once you can operate one way, then work on going the other way.

I don't belive you will recieve the upcoming Flyer manual with your rig yet... I *think* they are still shipping with the Mini-manual and the SK2 training video. - These will get you off to a good start.

However, get on to: http://www.steadicam-ops.com/soamanual.shtml
There is some EXCELENT reading there.
The Ultra manual is very applicable also to the Flyer - allbeight a few differneces, but it cetrainly wont' lead you astray. Be sure to read page 20 of the Ultra manual, as it explains the socket block which you will need to know. - Note the flyer has rollers on the rod-ends for side-side, you don't need a wrench. [confused? read and look at your rig, you'll get it]
And the Dynamic Balance Primer will tell you everything you need to know about D.Bal!
...Great stuff by Jerry

To flip the system to "goofy" mode [arm on the left, rig on the right] you need to pull apart the front of the vest and reconfigure the arm:
*Pull on the lock in the middle and lide the top half of the vest all the way off. Then loosen the 4 thumbscres on the brigeplate and slide that up off the vest, then back on the other way around, and reasemble the vest.
*To convert the arm, you need to undo thsot side-side rollers to slide the whole arm side of the socket block off the rod-ends. Dont' loose the 4 nylon washers! then flib the block and put it back on the rod ends.. remebreing to put those washers back in again.
..Needless to say, not somethign that you will want to do every day on set. - Normally an operator sticks to one side. But you can flip it if you need/want to (it takes about 2-3mins once you know how.)

Also there is suposedly a Flyer training video in the works.. right Charles? *nudge*

Have fun with your new rig, and FLY SAFE.

- Mikko
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Old October 4th, 2005, 10:53 AM   #5
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Thanks for the answers.
Unfortunately I think I will have to do this whole mess because I will probably prefer goofy: last time I tried snowboarding I prefered right foot forward (and the same for skateboard), thus I guess it would be the same with the steadicam if I try to walk sideway.
Thanks for the detailed explanations, it will probably be handy later this afternoon... It's out for delivery! I can't wait... :)

I read the Dynamic Balance Primer yesterday, it was very interesting and very well written. Thanks for the other link. For the manual I don't really know, It's confusing. On the BH Photo's webpage, it is written it comes with an owner's manual but on the flyer's webpage, they still don't have the manual... So, you're probably right.

For the workshops, I tried to find one in California, but it doesn't seem they have any soon on steadicam-ops.com.

Thanks,
Best Regards,
Quoc
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Old October 4th, 2005, 11:40 AM   #6
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Haha, dont' worry, it's not really that much of a mess! - just be sure to try regular before you flip it though, just incase you prefer it ;)
Also, when operating, you should be walking straight - the rig is at your side, but that doesn't mean you walk sideways like a tennis player!

Yeah the manuals can be a little overwhealming. I refered to page 20 ebcause that's where it mentions the socket-block. But i might be simpler (and I'd sugest anyway) to read the whole manual from teh start. Lots of good info :-)
Oh you will definalty get A manual with the rig. - And I do know that Tiffen is working on a manual especially for the Flyer.


I'm not actually aware of any posted upcoming workshops in Ca.. but don't fear, they have them prety regularly down there, and sometimes they are only posted with a couple of months notice.

- Mikko
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Old October 4th, 2005, 02:31 PM   #7
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By sideways I meant the following:
Imagine you track someone by walking backward. Instead of walking backward
without really knowing what is on your back, I guess I can probably point the camera on my right side (goofy, pointing on the left side if regular) and walk sideway, such that I can
both look at the walking subject (and the monitor) and the direction in which I am walking. Well, what I imagine is not really sideways walking since my top body would be oriented toward the subject but my bottom body will be oriented in the direction in which I am walking.

It's like walking in a direction while looking in the opposite direction
I'm not sure if you see what I mean...

Is it a good technique to do backward tracking or should I really walk backward and look on my back to check where I am going?
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Old October 4th, 2005, 04:41 PM   #8
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Quoc:

Once you have started to get comfortable with your equipment, a lot of this will just fall into place. WIth Steadicam you have the option of "Don Juan", where you walk forward and the camera is pointed behind you, which is helpful for climbing stairs or running shots but very few prefer for general shooting--it's helpful to be oriented towards the subject. Backing up is not as blind as it seems, it's always possible to steal a look backwards here and there, that's the joy of having the camera physically separate from much of your body. Sidestepping is not a great way to move with the rig on as a standard practice.
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Old October 5th, 2005, 02:12 AM   #9
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I received the Flyer! :)

But I only realized now that I would need a quick release adapter.
Considering I already have a manfrotto tripod with a 503 fluid head (#3433PL quick release plate), do you think the bogen/manfrotto quick release adapter #577 would be a good choice?
Or do you have any better advice?

Thanks,
Quoc
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Old October 5th, 2005, 04:45 AM   #10
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Quoc,

you don't *need* the quick release, you can of course mount the camera directly the Steadicam dovetial plate.

However if you are allready using a a bogen quick release, then a quick release plate would make a lot of sence! - And yes the #577 would work for you. Just mount the Quick release to the dovetail, ballance once and then you can just quick release in and out as you wish! :-)

- Mikko
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Old October 5th, 2005, 12:06 PM   #11
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I'm sorry I have another stupid question. It might be specific to the XL2.

The Flyer comes with a female XLR power cable. Where am I supposed to connect that on the XL2? Initially I thought I could powered the XL2 using the XLR audio, but apparently it is the other way around (being able to power the mic using the XLR audio from the XL2). And anyway the XLR audio outs are also female on the XL2.

So am I supposed to get a sort of XLR power adapter for the XL2 and if yes, can you give me a few URLs?

Thanks,
Quoc
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Old October 5th, 2005, 03:46 PM   #12
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The power output on the sled is 12v. The supplied power cable (with the 4pin [notice?] XLR connector) is for profesional cmaeras, which most all of them have a 12v power input that uses a 4-pin XLR connector.
The XL2 does not hav a 12v power input.. so that cable won't work directly to power the camera.
It will be by far the easiest to just power your camera using standard canon batteries.
Canon does however sell a "car kit" that will run the charger, and in turn teh cmaera from a 12v source. But that would take a bit of cutting wires for new connectors. http://consumer.usa.canon.com/ir/con...&modelid=10350
Or if you are handy with electronics you coudl makeyoruself a spacial cable with the right power convert built in.. depending on your needs.

I just use the normal camera batteries for MiniDV cameras.

- Mikko
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Old October 6th, 2005, 09:28 PM   #13
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I contacted Anton Bauer and Tiffen to see if they have a good idea. Tiffen said they didn't know (and from the "tone" of the answer I could tell they didn't really care), I'll see what Anton Bauer says.

Anyway, I played a little bit with the Flyer, it's really fun and addictive!
Here is a small video of my crappy attempts in the first 10min or so ;)

http://chojin.neomagie.net/blog/cine...y-a-steadicam/
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Old October 6th, 2005, 11:42 PM   #14
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By the way, my steadicam Flyer is gray, I thought it was now supposed to be black. Am I missing something? (I ordered it on B&H Photo).
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Old October 7th, 2005, 12:54 AM   #15
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The curent production moddel of the Flyer arm is Black.. however B&H probably has a big stock of them, and there-for is still shipping the gray ones...

Be sure to make you you dont' need the upgrades from: http://www.steadicam.com/steadiService.html

- Mikko
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