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Old October 9th, 2005, 03:23 PM   #1
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Exercise feedbacks for steadicam

Hello,
I did a couple of exercises yesterday, I would really appreciate some feedbacks about how to correct the visually obvious problems we can see on the following videos.

I'm sorry, these videos are pretty boring, but well, I guess that the nature of exercises. Piano exercises are never fun either! ;)

Overall, I have a major problem keeping the level, especially when I am starting. And because of this "pan problem" I've described in another thread, I always have to adjust/correct it, which doesn't help. I didn't quite managed to adjust the pan without affecting the level, so it gives this very annoying pendular effect. Any clue how to correct this? Maybe by placing the post hand in a special manner?
When I'm starting to walk, I tried to prevent from affecting the fore/aft level by using my pinky finger, not sure if this is a good technique...

I also have some difficulty to prevent from having this pendular effect when I am not moving. It's so sensitive, it seems I never manage to keep it completely steady!

Anyway, any tips/feedbacks/clues... are welcome.
For these exercises I did a cross on my monitor with two small stripes of paper to help me to see any changes in the framing.

Walk straight and stop with the cross in the center (on the good side, I kind of like that I sometimes managed to stop quite nicely)
http://www.chojin.neomagie.net/video...64_300Kbps.mov

Couple of tries at "walking, stop and walk again"
http://www.chojin.neomagie.net/video...64_300Kbps.mov

Trying to walk faster:
http://www.chojin.neomagie.net/video...64_300Kbps.mov

Trying to turn around an object and someone (don't pay attention to the framing here, and I was getting tired)
http://www.chojin.neomagie.net/video...64_300Kbps.mov

By the way when I was praticing, I had this "panning by itself" problem. I was not touching it, I was even trying to stabilize it at a given position, and it was panning by itself.
Here is the video which shows this problem:
http://www.chojin.neomagie.net/video...64_300Kbps.mov

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Best Regards,
Quoc
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Old October 9th, 2005, 03:43 PM   #2
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Hi Quoc,

I would suggest that you first fix your "pan problem" with your flyer.

Regards
Leigh
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Old October 9th, 2005, 03:48 PM   #3
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They won't play for me. What version of QT do I need for my WINXP machine?
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Old October 9th, 2005, 03:54 PM   #4
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Bob: You need Quicktime 7.

Well, in terms of the videos, the first thing I notice is that you need a clearer path. There should be no obstacles (during training that is). Also, it appears your sled is a little too floaty. What's your drop time? (You may like it this way, but personally, I prefer a shorter drop time, as once you've mastered keeping pendulum under control, you can create incredible dolly-like moves.) Other than that, the walk clip looked good, and the rest I only roughly glanced at. Just keep practicing and things will get better.

I really don't know what to say about the panning by itself problem though. Not quite sure what'd do that, or how to fix it. Good luck on that respect.

EDIT: Just watched the walking faster clip. It definetly looks better. That's where the slow drop time will come in to play. I'd just make the drop time shorter for the slower shots.
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Old October 10th, 2005, 02:59 PM   #5
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Hi Quoc,

Little off topic, I noticed that louver in your video flashing. Do you know why?

TIA

Regards
Leigh
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Old October 10th, 2005, 04:04 PM   #6
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2-3 seconds drop time is considered "standard" but I know operators that like to work at 1 second, and others who operate virtually neutral (infinite drop time). Nothing wrong with starting out with a shorter drop to get your confidence up, then gradually moving towards a longer drop as you get comfortable. As Tom will no doubt correlate, the disadvantages of a short drop will manifest during starts, stops and changes of direction, as well as making tilts difficult (holding a tilted up shot requires a lot more effort).
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Old October 10th, 2005, 06:57 PM   #7
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Exactly. That's a big plus of the flyer over some other cheap systems, the compltely adjustable gimbal. Boy, do I ever wish I had that on my first rig.

Just keep practicing and you'll get better. I think that's all the advice you need.

Oh, and I know all about the disadvantages of shooting with long drop times, as I'm so accustomed to doing it. My old sleds have always been excessively bottom heavy. Thankfully, I've not only learned how to overcome the pendulum to a good extent, but I've also learned to make my gimbals adjustable. I do like the long drop time for slower shots (which I find myself doing quite a lot of) and lockoffs.
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Old October 10th, 2005, 09:03 PM   #8
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Thanks for taking the time to look at the videos and for the advices.
I contacted Tiffen about my panning problem, they said the gimbal might need an adjustement, I'll double check any balance problem this weekend before sending it back to them.

I didn't understand one point: if my major problem is to control the pendular effect, wouldn't it be even harder with more bottom weight? I'll try it anyway.
Why fast drop time is better to walk slowly?
Now that I'm really thinking about it, is it for the following reasons?
- when I walk slowly the pendulum/inertia when starting should be manageable even if I have a fast drop time because I'm actually walking slowly. But having overcome this issue
when starting to walk (and stop) it should look less "floaty" when I am actually walking
- Whereas if I want to run/walk fast, the pendulum/intertia when starting would be too hard to manage if I have a fast drop time.

Is it something along these lines, or am I completely missing the point?

Leigh: I'm not sure I understand what a "louver" is (sorry, english as my third language). What is it, and which video?

By the way, I got the answer from Anton Bauer, there is actually a nice solution to power the Canon XL2 when it is on the steadicam Flyer using the provided XLR cable.
For those who had the same problem:
You need their XL1/XL2 gold mount (that you probably already have if you have an Anton Bauer battery and a Canon XL2 camera...): http://www.antonbauer.com/7_14_gold_mounts.htm
And then you need the SO-XLR bracket: http://www.antonbauer.com/universal_gold_mounts.htm (at the bottom).
Just plug the SO-XLR to the XL1/XL2 gold mount and voila! ;)

Thanks for the feebacks, I'll continue praticing.

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Old October 10th, 2005, 09:21 PM   #9
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Quoc, the Anton Bauer route is a good one if you plan to use their batteries or are already, obviously it's a little pricey for many people. If you are using AB's on the Flyer, this will indeed work well. Come to think of it, considering that most of the cameras that folks will be using on the Flyer have 7.2v needs, the rig itself should include a variable voltage regulator...hmm, something to mention to the Tiffen folk next time I talk to them.

And you are right about the long vs short drop time. Tom, I think you might have gotten those backwards (a common error in terminology, I've made it myself). Long drop time is less bottom heavy, short drop time is more bottom heavy (and more inclined to pendulum).
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Old October 10th, 2005, 09:26 PM   #10
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Two bubble levels (side-to-side and fore/aft) included in the sled plate would have been a nice (and cheap) addon I think.

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Quoc
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Old October 10th, 2005, 10:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quoc Peyrot
Leigh: I'm not sure I understand what a "louver" is (sorry, english as my third language). What is it, and which video?
Quoc
Here is a link

http://www.istockphoto.com/file_clos....php?id=105433

The video is exercisesteadicam1-turnaround-H264_300Kbps.mov

from 4 seconds to 12 seconds in that video.

Regards
Leigh
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Old October 11th, 2005, 12:10 AM   #12
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I see what you mean now. I don't really know what it is. It is sometimes really annoying (we recently did a documentary, and it was really ruining some of the shots).

If anyone know how to prevent from it, I'll take the hint :)

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Quoc
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Old October 26th, 2005, 06:49 PM   #13
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Hi Quoc,

Any progress with your rig?

Have you returned the rig for repair?

Regards
Leigh

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quoc Peyrot
I see what you mean now. I don't really know what it is. It is sometimes really annoying (we recently did a documentary, and it was really ruining some of the shots).

If anyone know how to prevent from it, I'll take the hint :)

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Quoc
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Old January 22nd, 2006, 08:30 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Wills
Exactly. That's a big plus of the flyer over some other cheap systems, the compltely adjustable gimbal. Boy, do I ever wish I had that on my first rig.

Just keep practicing and you'll get better. I think that's all the advice you need.

Oh, and I know all about the disadvantages of shooting with long drop times, as I'm so accustomed to doing it. My old sleds have always been excessively bottom heavy. Thankfully, I've not only learned how to overcome the pendulum to a good extent, but I've also learned to make my gimbals adjustable. I do like the long drop time for slower shots (which I find myself doing quite a lot of) and lockoffs.
Tom can you explain what an "adjustable" gimbal is and how you adjust it?
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Old January 22nd, 2006, 09:25 AM   #15
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An adjustable gimble means that it's position can be adjusted on the post.

With the help of the included T-handle allen wrench you can quickly and easily move the gimble along the post of the Flyer to very precisly trim vertical balance.

All proper stabilizers (should) have a sliding "adjustable" gimble.
Some low end ones don't, they require you to telescope the post and/or change the counterweights, thus greatly reducing the flexibilty of the system.

- Mikko
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