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Old October 28th, 2018, 11:38 PM   #1
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Mounting gimbal onto van? Ronin? Zhiyun? Other?

I want to mount a camera on the outside of my van (Ford Transit medium roof) in order to use it to shoot cars driving.
I think a gimbal would be the way to go for smoother video, and I want to be able to control it from inside the van.
I have several places I want to attach the camera:
I plan on makig a camera mount to attach the camera setup to the factory hitch.
I also plan on getting some type of magnetic mount
maybe this: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...2855/KBID/3801
to attach a camera to the top rear, top front and high on the side.

So knowing this, is something like Zhiyun Crane 2, too light duty and tall to cope with wind?
I like the simplicity of the Zhiyun and the new one can be controlled via usb cable remote.

Is something more like a Ronin MX a better idea? It is said to have better motors than the "M" and can be controlled via wireless controller, but I wonder if that will be a big issue trying to operate it from within the van (aka a big metal box)?

I've never used a Ronin and don't know if this is a good choice and a hassle.
The cameras I plan to use are mirrorless size or smaller.
This has been a long term goal of mine for years so I hope to actually do it now
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Old October 31st, 2018, 02:36 AM   #2
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Re: Mounting gimbal onto van? Ronin? Zhiyun? Other?

No idea if a US Ford Transit is the same as my UK Ford transit, but the gimbal idea didn't;t work very well on my van at all. The snag is vertical movement and the van springs. Hand held gimbals work really well, but use your arm to remove short sharp movement. Attaching it to my van was very disappointing as bumps in the road - and I don't mean big potholes and manhole covers, I mean those little ridges where sections of smooth road surface get joined cause a sharp upwards movement that the gimbal transmits very clearly to the camera. My gimbal is for GoPro size cameras, and the gimbal again loses efficiency when you get above about 20mph as the wind causes a shuddery/jittery reaction. On wide angle, it's not too intrusive, but if you do a little cropping, its horrible.

I'd advise you to try the gimbal without the r/c first just to see if yours has the nasty up/down jitter first. If that works on your vehicle - maybe the US suspension is softer??? - then move forward. I abandoned trying to do this and went back to my old fixed sticky pod system.

Just a thought. I never tried mounting the gimbal on the sticky pod suction cup mount. Maybe that would give some isolation and cure the problem. I just bolted to the rails.

Last edited by Paul R Johnson; October 31st, 2018 at 10:11 AM.
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Old October 31st, 2018, 08:03 PM   #3
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Re: Mounting gimbal onto van? Ronin? Zhiyun? Other?

Thank you very much Paul for the information.
It's my understanding that the US Transit is close to a carry over but with the drivetrain changed.

The jittery road bumps are a primary concern as is wind with increased speed.The more I look at this the more it seems an isolator will be needed such as this cloud mount to use in conjunction with the gimbal.
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...2855/KBID/3801

This real world demo video really sold me on the idea that what I want to do is possible:

I have no experience with the Ronin and some users say it's a pain to use. Also, assembling the cloud mount to a correct configuration may not be too fun, either.
The worst thing of all (besides theft or breaking) would be to spend all this money and the results not be satisfactory. The product demo on rougher ground than I plan to use makes me think it might be possible.

Hard to find a lot of input from users since not a lot of people seem to try to do this
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Old November 1st, 2018, 02:16 AM   #4
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Re: Mounting gimbal onto van? Ronin? Zhiyun? Other?

I'd not seen that product but it does seem to do the things that a rigid mount does badly. Seems a solution, but not sure about the price? I've not seen anything similar to it, so it does appear to do what it says on t box. It does seem something you could build if you can drill and fabricate?
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Old November 1st, 2018, 11:03 PM   #5
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Re: Mounting gimbal onto van? Ronin? Zhiyun? Other?

Thanks again, Paul.

You have a point. An aluminum plate with steel cable attached is something a DIYer could do.
I'm not good at that and am extremely busy unfortunately.

You mentioned the Sticky Pod earlier. I have several of those for a long time now. They have served me well and the rubber suction cups probably help those. So on that note:
With a cloud type concept, theoretically it seems some type of rubber isolator that compresses and rebounds could be used instead of the wires but then if you wanted to change the tension.....uh. Wheras the wires can be changed to adjust for different loads with the actual cloud product.

So yeah I think you are right. The bumps and jarring needs to be dealt with somehow.
I never had a problem mounting action cams with sticky pods, but somehow I don't want to mount a more expensive camera.
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Old November 3rd, 2018, 04:45 AM   #6
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Re: Mounting gimbal onto van? Ronin? Zhiyun? Other?

I used a sticky pod on a big heavy camera - I modified the aluminium plate to take an old manfrotto 501 head and then mounted the camera on that. The straps are simply to stop the camera falling sideways and to act as security - the straps were not tight, and the rubber mounts worked surprisingly well. Worked pretty well on the small 4x4 that has little in the way of soft suspension.
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