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Old April 7th, 2014, 08:30 AM   #1
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Need Stabilizer Tips (Blackbird)

I just got my blackbird in a couple weeks ago and have been testing it out a bit. Still getting some shaky footage and am trying to smooth all of that out. I didn't think this thing could be nearly as difficult to use as most people have said, but they were right. It's pretty tough even with everything balanced correctly. I'm enjoying using but would love to hear if anyone has any tips that they don't mind sharing on using one.

I made the video below real quick using the Blackbird this weekend. Didn't have a lot of space to work with but I had a few shots in there that I could only get with a stabilizer.

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Old April 10th, 2014, 12:58 PM   #2
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Re: Need Stabilizer Tips (Blackbird)

Hi Brock,

Just over half of those shots could have been done with a tripod - and they would have likely been better that way. Any time the camera is fixed and just pans and tilts, a tripod gives the better result. (Professional steadicam operators hate it when the director wants them to just stand there. It's not just boring but it shows every minor flaw in their technique.)

The real strength of a stabilizer is when the camera moves through space. A dolly and jib is better but can take longer to setup. With a stabilizer, you can just ...go! When both the camera and subject are moving, flaws are masked.

It would be interesting to re-edit this with only shots where the camera moves through space. It would give you a better feel for your technique and the possible quality of your results with the Blackbird. Of course, pro Steadicam operators can do better - they have a vest and arm as well as more mass to smooth things out.
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Old April 10th, 2014, 01:45 PM   #3
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Re: Need Stabilizer Tips (Blackbird)

It's actually not that clear to see what exactly might be the problem as the steadicam is hardly used for what it's intended for, if you want to know what the problem might be I suggest that you do another video and just walk around with it instead of standing still and just move slightly.

Below a short video done with my blackbird which had the panasonic g6 with a 12mm lens on it, I was moving quite fast here to get a total shot from the venue, it's not perfect but I usually use parts of that video where the motion is more or less smooth enough.

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Old April 10th, 2014, 02:02 PM   #4
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Re: Need Stabilizer Tips (Blackbird)

Noa,

You were hauling butt there!

I'm guessing that was shot at 60 fps. With that speed at 24 fps, I'd expect a lot of stutter or blur.

Nice job keeping it level, btw - especially at that pace.
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Old April 11th, 2014, 02:07 PM   #5
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Re: Need Stabilizer Tips (Blackbird)

I always shoot 50p, 24p is so 1980's :) I always bend my knees a little bit while walking to smooth out that walking motion, if I forget to stretch my legs just before I go to sleep right after the wedding I everytime get severe cramps in my legs in the middle of the night, walking around with that blackbird is like doing a workout, but since I get paid it's worth the pain. :)
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Old May 1st, 2014, 09:00 PM   #6
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Re: Need Stabilizer Tips (Blackbird)

There's no way I could walk like Groucho Marx that long. My knees would fall off.

And those colors! How did people keep their meals down?

A couple of years ago I decided I just had to have a Blackbird. I bought the kit and, as they advertise, it was fairly simple to set up and balance. Getting smooth shots, I discovered, was slightly more difficult; but shooting wide, keeping my knees slightly bent, and shooting for slow motion definitely helped a lot. It's a lot less hassle than a jib/crane.

That said, I did a few projects with it and quickly got tired of the novelty. It's been in the closet since. I sold it once, but had to reposes it for non-payment.
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Old May 2nd, 2014, 02:32 AM   #7
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Re: Need Stabilizer Tips (Blackbird)

Quote:
And those colors!
Pink is the new white now, I was thinking in shooting just black and white next time. :)

Brock, how are you managing now with the blackbird?
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