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Old January 1st, 2006, 06:29 AM   #1
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Advice for my First Stabiliser

hi all,

Never used a stabiliser before but I'm interested in buying one as I think I could make good use of it for certain projects. I've been recommended the flyer but at $6000 its prob a bit too much, more looking to spend between $1200-$2500, new or second hand.

here's some info which may help to give me advice:

1. i'm quite tall, 6'6"

2. the current camera I own & would be mostly practising on is the Sony PDX10 but for some projects i'd be renting either a PD150 or the HVX200 when its released.

3. preferably something which isn't too difficult to repair (my workplace has a machinist so making certain spares could be done), since i'm in australia I don't want to have to send my rig back & forth.

thank you, happy new year to all...
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Old January 1st, 2006, 01:30 PM   #2
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Hi James,

I manufacture stabilizer.

Here is a video I shot using my stabilizer. The camera is jvc gy-dv5000 which weighs around 6.25kg. My stablizer also works with panasonic gs400 which weighs around 600g.

wmv format encoding with 2mbps
file size around 26mb
http://www.salenz.com/movie/www.sale...2_31_2mbps.wmv

wmv format encoding with 500kbps
file size around 7mb
http://www.salenz.com/movie/www.sale...12_31_500k.wmv

You can watch other videos by clicking my signature video links.

Regards
Leigh
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Old January 1st, 2006, 02:12 PM   #3
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There is also the GlideCam "Smooth Shooter" that is in your range. The V8 might be too. (I've worked briefly with the V8 and liked it but I'm not nearly experienced enough to make informed comparisons between say GlideCam and SteadiCam). I just stumbled across the ad for the Smooth Shooter and liked the price.

I do know that if you use a gimbal stabilizer and especially one with vest and spring loaded arms that you should be prepared to not only spend money but a lot of time practicing. They are weird and somewhat counter-intuitive to use but give great results.

While the pros sometimes dismiss the weighted post type without the gimbal, like the SteadyTracker, I'm looking into them for the short camera moves partly because of budget and also because as Director-Camera Op-Gaffer-Editor-3D and Motion Grafx guy I've got only so much time to learn and keep up so many skills. Then I start to read Charles Papert's and others posts and their enthusiasm makes me think, maybe I really should spend the money and take the time...
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Old January 1st, 2006, 02:16 PM   #4
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James, I'd say go for the Smooth Shooter and a Glidecam 2000 Pro. It's a pretty good rig, and definetly very nice for the money. It isn't a perfect rig, but it does offer a lot of flexibility, and once you learn it, a lot of those same skills can be used on more professional rigs. It'll serve you well, and also you can detach the arm and vest and fly the rig handheld.

As to the height issue, the vest should be able to adjust to that extreme. I have problems with that myself being 6'3 and built like a football lineman. I'm lucky in that I'm designing my own rig from the ground up, so I'm building a vest that's the right size for me.

Also James, I'd say take a good month of practicing on a daily basis before you critique your shots too much. I learned this the hard way when I took my first arm-supported stabilizer on a shoot a week after I built it. The shots will be okay, but certainly not as good as they can be.

Leigh - I understand that you want to try and sell your rig, but I'm sure your rig would be above his budget.
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Old January 1st, 2006, 02:28 PM   #5
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I'm (partially) sorry Leigh, but, enough allready!

When you have a rig to sell, them come sell it (and even then, these boards arn't designed for free advertizing). But the way you are going now, empty promises of a rig with no details, it's quickly becoming vapourware. When you actually have something contructive to offer, more than just your practice videos, then offer it, untill then, quite hijacking threads.

Ok, sorry everyone for that rant, I jsut felt it had to be said.


Now, James;

The Flyer that has been sugested is a perfect option for the PD150 and HVX200. However it will need aditional weight for a camera as light as the PDX10 .. I have tried a PDX10 on a Flyer at a demo, we had to add a lot of weight to get it to balance at all, and it was still light. Pictures here if you are interested: http://personal.inet.fi/yritys/filmi...adikokeilu.htm

The best Steadicam for the PDX10 is the Steadicam Merlin. It will also fly the PD150 fine, even with a few accesories, and also the HVX200 (without accesories).

Either rig will work for what you mentioned, however without knowing more about what type of shooting you will be dooing it's hard to make a exact recomendation. The Flyer would give you the most options, but the Merlin may very well be all that you need.

Lukily how tall you are doens't have any effect on the purchase of most stabilizers - as long as the vest fits, not normally a problem. (You can be sure Any standard size Steadicam vest will fit, Garrett Brown, invetor of the Steadicam, is very tall and all the vests fit him. :-) )

Unfortuanly all stabilizers are rather omplicatred and most self-repairs are not advisable, especially anything that needs spare parts. But if you buy a rig from someone with a good service record, repairs will not be a problem.

Let us know a little more about what type of use you are planning for the rig and we can give you more helpfull advice.

- Mikko
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Old January 1st, 2006, 02:38 PM   #6
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James - there you go, another quite viable option, the Merlin. I'd say either of these are quite good rigs, and it's now up to you to evaluate which one suits you best.

Good luck with your future stabilizer!
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Old January 1st, 2006, 04:07 PM   #7
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Hi Mikko,

James asked for candidate. So I offered him a choice. He said that he never used a stabiliser. So it is no point to show him a metal item. Does that stabilizer look nice in paper will shoot steady picture?

If he watched the video and thought the stabilizer does not shoot steady video, it is no point to urge him to buy it. Don't you agree?

Customer want choice. The best decision is made by himself by compare it.

Of course I don't expect you to agree what I said.

Regards
Leigh

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikko Wilson
I'm (partially) sorry Leigh, but, enough allready!

When you have a rig to sell, them come sell it (and even then, these boards arn't designed for free advertizing). But the way you are going now, empty promises of a rig with no details, it's quickly becoming vapourware. When you actually have something contructive to offer, more than just your practice videos, then offer it, untill then, quite hijacking threads.

Ok, sorry everyone for that rant, I jsut felt it had to be said.
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Old January 1st, 2006, 04:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Wills
Leigh - I understand that you want to try and sell your rig, but I'm sure your rig would be above his budget.
Hi Tom,

I am pretty sure my rig is in James's budget.

Regards
Leigh
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Old January 1st, 2006, 04:21 PM   #9
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Leigh,
How much is your rig? where can I buy one? (I've asked all these questions before.)

Once you rig is avialable, then I'll be happy to recomend it as an option if it's any good. Untill then it's just not an option for someone who is looking for a rig to buy. These are the wrong people for you to try and hook with hype about your supposedly forthcoming rig.

You haven't, and probabaly won't get my point. But the others who read this thread have, and therefor I've said enough.

- Mikko

Last edited by Mikko Wilson; January 1st, 2006 at 05:35 PM.
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Old January 1st, 2006, 04:37 PM   #10
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Hi Mikko,

You can't get Steadicam merlin several months ago. Does that mean it's just not an option for someone who is looking for a rig to buy?

I just simply don't want to the customer order the rig and don't know the date they can get it. I want to offer my customer once they pay the money, the goods will be delivered the same day by ups/dhl.

Regards
Leigh

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikko Wilson
Leigh,
How much is your rig? where can I but one? (I've asked all these questions before.)

Once you rig is avialable, then I'll be happy to recomend it as an option if it's any good. Untill then it's just not an option for someone who is looking for a rig to buy. These are the wrong people for you to try and hook with hype about your supposedly forthcoming rig.

You haven't, and probabaly won't get my point. But the others who read this thread have, and therefor I've said enough.

- Mikko
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Old January 1st, 2006, 04:44 PM   #11
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Leigh, your rig is not in anyone's budget because it doesn't exist... At least nobody can buy it (yet).
And anyway, as Mikko said, stop hijacking the threads! It's really annoying to say the least. People are smart, they can read old threads, so be sure they already know about your rig, you don't need to mention it each time. When are you going to understand that?

Quoc
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Old January 1st, 2006, 05:31 PM   #12
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I have a Varizoom Flowpod/Sportster (gimbaled sled, with single-section sprung arm, vest, low-mode kit, cases) that I am interested in selling.

I
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Old January 1st, 2006, 07:40 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the advice everybody...

I'm wanting more of a rig with vest that you wear, not just the bar like the Merlin, unless does the Merlin come with a vest?

At first I just plan to practise with the rig, then once competant i'll start paying off the rig by doing real estate house walk throughs, seems like a decent way to generate some income to pay it off. But i'd also like to do moves like walk/run down stairs whilst following a skateboarder doing a trick. Just generally following people, perhaps even in rough terrain.

Also I might also be renting a Canon XL2 so hopefully a rig that can handle that too. I guess an ext monitor would be good or do people just use the camera screen? I'm assuming an ext monitor would be a big help because then you can mount it in front of your legs so you can see where you're walking as well as looking at the ext monitor because the camera might be too high, correct?
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Old January 1st, 2006, 08:20 PM   #14
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The Merlin is certainly mcuh more than a bar! But, it does sound like the Flyer would be the best rig for you.

If you are planning on dooing more "rough" work with it, running, stairs (both! [be carefull!]) then you will definatly want a rig with a dual articulated arm - that's 2 sections with springs. It will tolerate the bumps better and give you much more boom hight for chaning the cameras, or your, level. Running with a one-section arm rig isn't always so smooth.

A rig with a monitor is advisable because, as you note, the monitor on the sled is definatly advantagious to your field of view. Looking down you see the groudn and the picture together. - it also alows you to operate aroudn the rig more - an on-camera LCD will limit you to beeing on one side of the camera.

Another option, as you will be renting cameras is to also rent the rig. - But this doe make practice dificult. If possible go somewhere and try out a selection of rigs, see what you like.

- Mikko
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Old January 1st, 2006, 08:47 PM   #15
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Thanks Mikko,

Yes, definitely renting makes sense, as I generally rent cameras when I need a better unit (I only own a PDX10) but the problem is my location... Nobody as far as i know rents any steadicam equipment here in Perth.. I believe there are very few operators here also....

Thats why i'm trying to research as much as possible.. Even then i'll be taking a small gamble by having to order from the U.S. to see whether the rig is suitable...

Yes The Flyer seems the way to go but the $6000 price tag is probably too much as a beginner. Sure, later on when I get more competant i'd go for something like that but for now, even if its only 6-12 months i'd like to go for something cheaper even if it means not being able to do running or going over rough terrain. I could probably even push up to $3000 now....
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