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Old December 31st, 2002, 08:10 PM   #16
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Charles, I've thought of that, and it's probably the most efficient way to do it, mounting the batteries of the LCD at the bottom to act as the counterweight. Except sometimes I don't have time to set up the LCD and batteries and just want to run and gun with it.
Getting the 12v adapter to run the XL1 off the 12v batteries is a pretty good idea. I've never looked at one before. Thanks!

At least a 20lb rig is a good workout! ;)
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Old December 31st, 2002, 10:20 PM   #17
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I'm looking to build one myself. I've looked at all the sites mentioned (and unfortunately I have no others to recommend).

Is there a big difference between the straight type ('I') and the curved type (like a '<' but less acute)? Specifically, the steadicam design vs. the glidecam design.

The glidecam design looks a lot easier to build, but is it as good?

Another concern: Can the steadicam design hold the camera on the bottom for low shots?

jim
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Old January 2nd, 2003, 03:40 AM   #18
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Just start lifting weights...hehe 20lbs at about 90 degree angle for your arm might hurt if you do it long enough...So i guess you need to make a support system for them too. I was looking through their vest on the homebuiltsteadycam and wow I think i need a machine shop for most of those parts. Anyways They sure make some nice steadycams.

Rob
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Old January 2nd, 2003, 02:50 PM   #19
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Jim:

The difference between the Steadicam (manufactured by Tiffen) and the Glidecam designs is that the Steadicams use a patented inter-gimballed handle; this means that the handle, the gimbal and the camera platform are all lined up vertically and thus the force on your arm and hand is straight down. Wiith the Glidecam, the gimbal is offset to the side which creates a bit more torque and may be more tiring to operate. The Steadicam has to curve out and around the gimbal to allow for room to operate. In terms of results, they will function similarly. As I mentioned earlier, having the weighted components leveraged out from the center helps increase inertia and makes the rig more stable, and the curved Steadicam design may take the nod in this regard.

There are two models of handheld Steadicam out there, the JR and the DV. The JR is an older design and perhaps more clunky looking (it has the "<" shape rather than the "(" shape) but from what I have heard, the DV was not as well built.
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Old January 3rd, 2003, 02:34 PM   #20
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Just an idea:
I have used my tripod as a Steadican-type device before. Just retract the legs and push them all the way in. Then extend the neck thing all the way and hold it by this. It works well and is cost free if you already own a tripod (which I hope you do ;-). Run some tests to find out for yourself. I learned this from someone on this forum but can't remember who. Thanks to them, whoever it was! Good Luck!
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Old January 3rd, 2003, 03:48 PM   #21
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I was about to say "I used to do that" about the tripod-with-legs-out trick, but then I checked back in the archives and realized I've already said that, and maybe that was the post you read, Scott! It's weird how little I remember from posts I wrote only a few months ago. Then again, nothing related to memory loss surprises me anymore. What was I talking about again?
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Old January 3rd, 2003, 05:21 PM   #22
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When people ask me about recommendations for stabilizers, I say that a lot depends on your expectations. Do you expect to do highly choreographed, movie-style, dialogue shots? Then I don't know of any stabilizing device for a dv camera I would recommend, save the two Steadicam models available.

On the other hand, if what you are looking for is something to give a sense of motion to a chase scene, or, movement in a music video, or some other ad lib type situation, where you don't have to repeat the move exactly, and a bit of camera wobble is acceptable, and you can get by with a wide angle lens, then, you have a number of options. Just don't buy any device because it advertises a grinning blonde with big hooters having the time of life strapped into the gear.

I love the student video mentioned above, but notice that he is moving quite fast. Ask him to slow down and walk alongside two people who are engaged in dialogue, and things quickly deteriorate. This type of device works best in a fast motion environment. When Michael Mann was making "Last of the Mohicans," the story goes, he was uninspired by the smooth, gliding movement captured by the Steadicam in the action sequences. Way too slick for the chaotic action. So, they switched to a more dynamic device (I believe it was the Pogocam) which gave a "rougher" edge to the camera motion, and is not unlike the student video's little demo movie.

But I agree with Charles that he should make the device out of pvc pipe instead of lead pipe. I made a very simple pvc low mode contraption that I use to chase my cats around the yard. Very effective, in short bursts. The other item I referred to is a wide angle lens. This is almost a must for these devices. Later, when you get really good, move up to tighter lenses for really dramatic work.

Another point on operating these devices with a wide lens in low mode. You really will get some great footage if you don't bother to look in an lcd while you are moving. Just point and go. You'll be pleasantly surpised how good the footage will be once you get used to it. Sound crazy? In the Army, they teach you how to shoot without aiming your weapon down the sight. Same principle. Also works for a lot of hand-held situations.

Have fun and experiment. Just have realistic expectations. And if you must buy, know your return policy rights, and pay with a credit card.

Wayne Orr, SOC
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Old April 2nd, 2003, 06:01 AM   #23
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Is there a thread tha explains the physics behind balancing and counter-balancing cameras?
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Old April 2nd, 2003, 04:23 PM   #24
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Check out http://www.hocast.com.

I am working on a stabilizer based loosely on the Hocast design. So far so good.
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Old April 4th, 2003, 10:18 AM   #25
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Check out http://www.hocast.com.

---------


Has anyone bought plans from these folks? Anyone have any experiences to share about their stuff?

It looks good but I'd love to hear some feedback before I tax my poor mechanical abilities toward building something like this. (G)
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Old April 4th, 2003, 12:23 PM   #26
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I bought the original hocast plans (back then they had one model.) They e-mailed me a pdf file which was easy to follow and relatively well organized.

I have/had a couple of complaints. The model plan set I bought is based on a specific model of monopod which I had difficulty finding and when I located it on line was more expensive that estimated in the plans. (I ended up not using a monopod but ratehr just an aluminum tube). I also couldn't find the one key component, a specific sized roller bearing. I e-mailed ho-cast and ended up buying it from them. It also cost more than estimated in the plans.

I am not unhappy with hocast. I paid a modest amount for the plans. They aren't perfect but they aren't bad. I have freely modified their design for my own convenience and have ended up with a functional if not quite finished stabilizer.
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Old April 4th, 2003, 01:56 PM   #27
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<<<-- Originally posted by Chris Simmons : Is there a thread tha explains the physics behind balancing and counter-balancing cameras? -->>>

If not, Chris, maybe I can kick in some thoughts--which aspect of the physics are you interested in?
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Old April 4th, 2003, 05:06 PM   #28
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Charles I am not quite sure. I want to learn what makes the camera balanced. I want to be able to look at my camera design and somewhat be able to say, "Ok...weight should go here to balance this. Yeah...counter weight should go there to balance that. Uh huh...my rod should bend a little this way to counter balance over that-a-way."

I guess what I am looking for is where would I start to balance, if I wanted to build my own plans for my own needs. Or at least how do I add on to another design without arbitrarily adding or taking away stuff?
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Old April 4th, 2003, 08:54 PM   #29
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Chris, here is a page that you might find some useful info. The whole section on Steadicam is worth reading.

In terms of a simple design such as on the hocast.com site, which is essentially a copy of the original Glidecam, the easiest way to think of it is that the center of gravity is at or just below the gimbal, and any masses beyond the gimbal must be mirrored in the opposite direction. For instance, adding weight to the left side of the camera will require adding weight to the right side of the counterweights below the gimbal. More realistically, one would prefer to shift the center of gravity of the components rather than add weight.

Your "sled" should start off in good fore-and-aft and side-to-side balance. Using a rod as a fulcrum, sit the sled on the rod (like a see-saw) and slide it fore and aft until it tends to not fall forward or back. That point should ideally be under the center post. If it isn't, reposition the weights from front to back until it is. Do the same for side-to-side balance by turning the rig 90 degrees and placing on the fulcrum again. Now the sled is fairly well balanced.

You can do the same thing with the camera, i.e. place it on a rod in both directions. The intersection of the fore-and-aft and side-to-side balance is the center of gravity of the camera as seen from above. This point should end up directly over the center of the post on the sled. Hopefully your rig will allow for some sort of adjustment when mounting the camera to facilitate this.

Once mounted, the last axis of top-to-bottom balancing should be adjusted by either moving the gimbal up and down or adding weight to the bottom(less preferable). When you turn the rig horizontally, it should fall back to vertical slowly, around 3 seconds. Perform a fine adjust on the camera (fore-and-aft and side-to-side) until it is truly level, and the rig will be nicely balanced.
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Old April 7th, 2003, 04:56 AM   #30
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There's allot of info on www.homebuiltstabilizers.com. I learned allot from this site and eventualy built my own rig. You can see my system on "full rigs" ("cosmin's rig"). Is not the best to be displayed but I'm quite proud of what i acomplished. Also, you can see a "demo clip" ("cosmin's system"/"VideoClips").
Anyway, you will not find ready made plans. But there's all you need to know and allot of help from the community to design your own system
Good luck!
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