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Old March 8th, 2003, 11:50 PM   #46
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Thanks, Casey...I'll try that out.

I've been wondering about something you said earlier...

<<Drill a hole in the back of the center post about an inch or so underneath the head...and another directly out the bottom of the sled base, right in the center of the post where it connects to the base plate. File the holes a little bit so they are nice and smooth and run an RG59 video cable in there (without any connectors)...>>

What if, instead of drilling the hole in the back of the center post, you drill the hole exactly opposite the bottom plate...in other words, straight down through the base of the "bottom half" of the top plate so that the cable drops straight through the post from top to bottom, then the excess cable can be snaked under top half of the sliding top plate to connect to the camera. That way, there's no cable anywhere in the post region. How do you think that would operate...and would that void the warranty?
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Old March 9th, 2003, 08:06 AM   #47
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Tex,

"Chisai (small) washer" is what you should ask for. Skoshi does mean little but it isn't used in this context. The actual Japanese word for washer is "zagane", but it isn't used anymore.
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Old March 9th, 2003, 08:12 AM   #48
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Hi John, I didn't realise you'd have yours so soon or I'd have hurried up doing a little training video, if you still feel that you could do with some video tips I can knock one up, just let me know. Anyway I'm using the V8 with a Sony VX2000 which is quite a bit lighter than the XL1 so I've got 5 weight plates with a quick release plate on top. I started out with all the plates on top and like yourself found it was just a bit too top heavy, so I only had to remove one to make it balance out.

Good luck with getting setup, and If I can use my whole weeks worth of experience to help you out then let me know :-) BTW how does it balance when you spin 180, does it need a washer?

Looking forward to seeing some footage :-)

John.
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Old March 9th, 2003, 09:27 AM   #49
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john, i would not recommend trying to snake the cable through the sliding components of the head...i actually looked at doing that once and decided (don't remember the exact reason) that it wasn't a viable solution...easiest and safest method is to drill into the back of the post just under the head.
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Old March 10th, 2003, 01:40 AM   #50
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Hey John S.

I will be purchasing the v-8 for use with my DVX100 in a few weeks so Id DEFINITELY appreciate a training video. :) Thanx!

-Emery
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Old March 10th, 2003, 03:23 AM   #51
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OK no probs Emery, I'll knock one up :-)

John.
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Old March 10th, 2003, 04:15 AM   #52
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John,

Finally got mine balanced last night. It took quite awhile to get it just right. I'm not sure what you mean by using the washer on the gimble. Mine seems to be pretty well balanced...or maybe I'm just unbalanced, therefore it seems balanced.

The only problem I came across was attaching the quick release plate to the top of the camera mount on the sled. I used two bolts and tightened it down securely, then realized that the tightening knob was pressed so tightly against the top of the camera mount (since it's flush against it) that I couldn't turn it either way. So, I worked around this by putting a washer on each bolt between the quick release plate bottom and the camera mount top. This created a small gap that allows the quick release knob to be turned a half turn. It still doesn't tighten down as tight as I'd like it to, so I'll be using one of the side bolt holes on the QR to create another knob.

Now I'm starting to move around with it and trying to get the feel of it. It's damn difficult to keep it perfectly steady!! (Charles, you have my undying appreciation now)

I'll start the real tests this coming weekend.
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Old March 10th, 2003, 05:13 AM   #53
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I know something I would like to see. If you run (not at full speed but a little bit faster then walking) but the trick is, run like you didn't have the glidecam. I would love to see how the video turns out.. Just to have a guide to how much the pratice actually does when it comes to gliding a camera.

/Andreas
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Old March 10th, 2003, 05:43 AM   #54
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Hi John, I'll post a picture of the washer mod, but it would be pretty obvious if you needed it. When the sled is balanced on the balancing pin, spin it round 180 degrees, if it doesn't stay level then you would need the washer, if it's OK then there's nothing to worry about :-)

John.
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Old March 11th, 2003, 11:47 AM   #55
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Charles,

Is there any special technique required for going up and down stairs?

John.
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Old March 11th, 2003, 12:31 PM   #56
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Well, uh...not falling??!

Seriously, just be careful more than anything. Going any direction on stairs there's always a possibility of tripping, and even a short fall can be dangerous while wearing all this hardware.

That said, a long drop time or presetting the tilt can be useful. To elaborate:

When performing a shot that is exclusively following someone down stairs for instance, crank the camera forward on the top platform so that the rig naturally angles forward. This way you don't have to exert any force to hold it in that position.

If that same shot were to continue onto level ground, it would be awkward to continue operating in this fashion. Thus, it is usually preferred to lengthen the drop time i.e. make the rig less bottom-heavy. Now it requires less force to hold the rig at an angle for the stairs, and the same force to straighten it back up again at the bottom. The disadvantage is that the rig becomes more sensitive and a lighter touch is needed.

As far as the physical aspect of walking backwards or not when preceding an actor up or down stairs, this becomes a personal issue. I know many operators who are able to climb stairs backwards. I find it extremely difficult myself. The alternative is to work in Don Juan, which is where you spin the rig 180 degrees around so that it is pointing behind you, so you can walk forwards/shoot back. Disadvantage here is that your sightline to the monitor is a little funky and you can't see the actors as easily, but it's the best way to go in a high-speed situation.

If you have a copy of "American History X", you can watch the toughest stairs shot I have had to do to date (and hopefully for all time!) in the first scene, where Edward Norton runs down the stairs in his house, gun in hand. It required going in and out of Don Juan during the shot, plus a few stops and starts, with a particularly heavy camera and a lot of takes. Not pretty. One particularly amazing stairs shot comes in "Contact" when the little girl (Jodie Foster's character in a flashback) runs up to the bathroom--some great CGI in that shot that overshadows the flat-out preceding run by the operator.

Another thing about stairs: very often it can be quite unflattering to shoot someone on stairs because of the angle. As much fun as it can be in theory ("look! I can move the camera down stairs and it doesn't bounce"), the viewer is usually unaware of the coolness of it and it may be just as effective to watch the subject enter the stairwell from one end, then cut to the other end as they emerge.
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Old March 11th, 2003, 04:39 PM   #57
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lol, Good advice Charles, not falling, thats where I'm going wrong :-) I was going to add that to the standard steadicam positions aswell and call it the "Ass first" :-)

Seriously, thanks for the tips, I've not seen American History X, my friend has it so I'll borrow it and check out the move you were referring to. I don't know if I'll have much call for going up and down stairs but at least I've got some info on it If I need to. :-)

Thanks.

John.
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Old March 11th, 2003, 06:10 PM   #58
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John,

Did you get the L4-Pro monitor from Glidecam along with your V-8? I'm not really clear on the hookup. I found some BNC-to-RCA adaptors for the monitor. Anyone know how exactly do I go from a two-video-input setup on the monitor to a one-video-input on my XL-1?
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Old March 11th, 2003, 09:52 PM   #59
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the L-4 is a two input monitor...pick one =) use the lil switch to select which input is shown...one bnc - rca will do ya
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Old March 11th, 2003, 11:54 PM   #60
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Doh! The little switch! It's always a little switch, isn't it?

You can't imagine how much time I've spent trying to figure out how to split a video signal from the XL1 to two BNC inputs. (sigh)

Thanks, Casey!
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