Update to Magiquecam purchase at DVinfo.net

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Old October 12th, 2005, 01:02 PM   #1
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Update to Magiquecam purchase

It has been quite a while since I posted here, but the last time was when I was trying to decide what kind of "steadicam" I should buy. I got a Magiquecam due to the many many posts I saw about it on this and other forums. It came about 3 months ago and I spent about a month practicing (should have had longer) and ended up with pretty much what I wanted for this project. I've spent the past 2 months shooting, and when I'm at my worst, the device makes the image look like a handheld heavy camera. At its best (usually when running or at least moving very quickly), it comes close to looking like a steadicam shot. I'm not, nor shall I ever be a steadicam operator...I have such respect for this very difficult skill now. At any rate, bottom line is I've been happy with the purchase. Thanks to all who gave input into what to buy and how to go about trying to learn basic stuff.

I made a short collection of shots taken with the device that I've put on the web for friends in another forum, so I'll put a link here also, in case anyone is interested. Please remember I didn't edit much and I don't even know if these shots will make it into the final cut of the project. Any comments would be helpful.

http://www.olypen.com/sdtaylor/LTCSteadicam.wmv

Thanks so much,

Steve.
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Old October 12th, 2005, 03:23 PM   #2
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Steve,
Good looking stuff you have there! .. Really not too shabby at all, esp for a newbie operator. Thanks for posting the video!

Those lockoff shots as the guys starts his cigarate are really very good. They arn't 100% solid, but still very acceptable.

The biggest problem i'm seeing is your horizon. It is consistantly off a few degrees to the right.. I'd sugest you check teh balance of yoru set-up.. i dont' knwo if you ballance every time, of if you have a set of settings that you liek.. or maybe you have a bubble on that is a little crooked and that is throwing you off. You might also be holding the post a little too hard and that could be throwing off your horizon. Other than that it's really not bad at all.

- Mikko
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Old October 13th, 2005, 03:06 PM   #3
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Mikko,

Thanks for the comments and taking time to look. I'm not sure why the horizon is that way. I did balance before each shot...it could be my eye or something. I'll have to look at the other stuff I did to see I did it all the time.

Oh, and I looked at your demo reel...really nice!

Thanks again,

Steve.
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Old October 13th, 2005, 10:59 PM   #4
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hi steve,
do you have one of those round water level indicator install on the top sled for balancing purpose?

ed
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Old October 14th, 2005, 01:29 AM   #5
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Your clips look good Steve. Your practice shows as you seem to have good control.

Mikko, I just looked at your site and saw some of your stuff. It's really good. I liked th ework in the short film you had on there. Was that all with the XL2 on the Flyer? I really liked your use of low mode shots. Were you using the Steadicam low mode or did you rigged something else up for those shots?
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Old October 14th, 2005, 02:22 AM   #6
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Ed and Mikko's point is well-taken; a spirit level (inexpensive hardware store item, just pick up a line level and pop the capsule out of the plastic assembly) glued on to the bottom of the camera mounting platform will help with the balancing process. I only use a side-to-side level; fore and aft can be set dead-on for initial balancing but can and should be adjusted while shooting, so I've never seen a need for a level in that axis.
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Old October 14th, 2005, 10:10 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Wilson
Mikko, I just looked at your site and saw some of your stuff. It's really good. I liked th ework in the short film you had on there. Was that all with the XL2 on the Flyer? I really liked your use of low mode shots. Were you using the Steadicam low mode or did you rigged something else up for those shots?
Thankyou. :-)
Appletiger was shot with an FX1 running in HDV mode on the Flyer.. (then dumped out from the camera and posted as regular DV. have HDV masters for later.) I've never *actually* shot with an XL2...
Lowmode was with the Flyer too. . We have the Lowmode kit, so I just added the clamp to the camera handle, added the J bracket, flipped the monitor and off I went. ..The looooong arcing lowmode shot in the english version is one of my faves.
..The only shots in Appletiger not with Steadicam are; the opening exterior shot, and the 2 Dolly-zooms (done with a dolly).

- Mikko
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Old October 14th, 2005, 03:27 PM   #8
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Matthew, thanks for the comments.

Ed and Charles, I've got only one shot left for this project using the stabilizer, but it is a very important one and I'll get the bubble level (no, I dont' have one now, just eyeballing it). Then i'm probably going to sell the equipment. 14 shorts on film and almost 2 features on dv, this one will either be good enough to give me some reason to continue doing this, or convince me to move on.

Thanks again for looking,

Steve.
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Old October 18th, 2005, 12:51 PM   #9
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One thing I noticed while using a steady device was that the 2 second drop while balancing made for very good fast motion, I found that a faster drop (more weight on the bottom) made for a more steady slow motion movement (like tracking someone walking). Anyone else notice this?

Steve.
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Old October 18th, 2005, 02:50 PM   #10
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Yep. That's how it's supposed to work.
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Old October 18th, 2005, 11:52 PM   #11
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There really isn't any "supposed to", it's a personal choice.

I rarely beef up the bottom-heaviness except for very specific types of moves, because it makes any amount of tilting a bit problematic--it requires one to apply more force to the post to achieve a tilt, which may potentially have ramifications to the other two axes. Plus one must be careful of the inertia involved when accelerating or changing directions or starting/stopping as the rig tends to pendulum.

A fast drop time is sort of a short-cut fix--when one becomes more experienced with the operating technique, the unwanted motion that a slower drop time may "cover up" becomes less of an issue. I personally find that a bottom heavy rig will reduce my framing accuracy as I have to muscle the rig a little bit to make subtle adjustments.
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Old October 19th, 2005, 01:39 AM   #12
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Steve,

I liked your shots. Not quite the quality of Charles' but then whos are? The lock-off at the beginning of the "old man" shot was good.

With the young man, I was hoping you would have gone all the way to the window (door?) before cutting. Just my preference.

At least we know you weren't doing "day for night" shots. You say it was a FX1? It does a nice job for the low light clips that you did.

Tery
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Old October 31st, 2005, 01:43 PM   #13
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Charles,

Thanks for the free advice...I learn so much here thanks to people being willing to share experiences. I'll keep practicing and see if I can do a slow tracking shot w/out having the sled bottom heavy.

Terry,

Thanks for looking. I think I did go all the way to the window/door, but cut away for that little thing to put online. I'll have to check when I set down to edit everything. I've been in Rome for some R & R after the month long shoot, so now it is back to business.

Oh, and I didn't use an FX1 (that was Mikko). I was using a DVC80 (the non-progressive, now discontinued brother of the DVX100).

Thanks again,

Steve.
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