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Old September 1st, 2006, 12:58 PM   #1
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what's the right stabilizer for weddings (and future use)?

I've debated about getting a stabilizer/steadicam for a long time now but havnt found a real reason to justify buying one.

i've now been asked to film a wedding. since i'm filming with one camera i can only think that some sort of stabilzer is essential, i'm presuming that setting up and moving a tripod would take too long and be too noisey.

i'm using a sony z1 and would appreciate any thoughts on the most suitable unit. would the merlin be impossible to hold for the length of a wedding? what about monopods?

many thanks in advance.

neil.
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Old September 1st, 2006, 01:14 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil Corbett
I've debated about getting a stabilizer/steadicam for a long time now but havnt found a real reason to justify buying one.

I've now been asked to film a wedding. since i'm filming with one camera i can only think that some sort of stabilzer is essential, i'm presuming that setting up and moving a tripod would take too long and be too noisey.

i'm using a sony z1 and would appreciate any thoughts on the most suitable unit. would the merlin be impossible to hold for the length of a wedding? what about monopods?

many thanks in advance.

neil.
A Merlin would be way too much to use and hold for an entire wedding day. Also, in case you have never operated a steady cam type device, they take alot of paractice and tweaking to get solid footage everytime with.

What would be best, in your case would be a good tripod and fluid head for lock down shooting. And a monopod for handheld free moving shooting.
Make sure that both, your tripod and monopod have the same quick release adapter and plates, so you can switch from one to the other quickly.

Also there are some very good stabilizer type devices out there, that are not steadycams and much easier to operate.

One that I use (and highly recommend) is called the DVRig Pro shown here:
http://dvtec.tv/id27.html
which enables me to load up my rig with everything from camera, wireless receiver, shotgun mic, PAG C6 light system and light battery attached to the back. I can move freely and shoot fatigue free all day long and get very steady shots with it. If I need to I can also mount the entire rig on a tripod for lockdown shooting.

The builder has also released a new very small compact version of the unit caled the DVMulti rig, which is a swiss army knife rig of sorts, and looks like a real winner as well. I should have the full rig in my hands next week sometime.
Check it out here:
http://www.dvmultirig.com/

Either of these would be great options to a monopod as well.

Just so you know, i would still recommend having a good tripod and fluid head with you at ALL times and have one of these devices in addition to your tripod.
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Old September 1st, 2006, 04:05 PM   #3
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Hi Neil,

I think monopod will be good for your case now.

Regards
Leigh
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Old September 1st, 2006, 06:52 PM   #4
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I agree that this isn't the right time to get a stabilizer.

A Steadicam is normally always a "B" camera tool, vary rarely the only or 'Master' shot

And learning proficiancy with one does take time.


Use sticks, both one and three, plus possibly a bit of handheld and you can go a long way with the production.

- Mikko
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Old September 2nd, 2006, 02:52 AM   #5
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thanks, the monopod seems a good cheaper option at present.

i can't find any recommendations on the site for a z1. could someone point me in the right direction for a good monopod that could carry it's weight? any accessories i should get with it?
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Old September 3rd, 2006, 07:00 AM   #6
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You might look at FlowPod ...

http://www.varizoom.com/products/stabilizers/vzfp.html
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Old September 3rd, 2006, 07:09 AM   #7
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I think the Merlin would be a great idea for a wedding.

The Merlin, like the original Steadicam JR, folds up and collapses and can also be used like a shoulder mount which gives you more options in holding your camera.

And when you need to fly the thing, just go into flying mode.

You should be able to mount the camera with the Merlin attached via a quick release to your tripod also.

You should download the manual from Tiffen and look at the different modes of operation.
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Old September 7th, 2006, 02:24 AM   #8
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Saw this posting, thought.. let's drop in !
I'm shooting Weddings for several years now.., about 6 to 8 a year. It is a nice way to make the extra bugs besides the commercials and national television documentery I do to keep the equipment on a nice level.

Starting in 2004 with a Magiqcam Rig.. on a Wedding.. and did shoot a 1.5 hour with it. I almost breakdown at the end of the day. Besides the weak performance of the Rig, it is also very heavy to have strapped on the whole day.
After this and many postings from a lot of experienced guys like Charles and Mikko.. i thought, let's upgrade to the Steadicam Flyer. 5 Months after above mentioned wedding I did another one with the Flyer. UNBELIEVEABLE !!!, I had the rig on for almost 3.5 hours and did still feel great. Only some sweat but no pain of the heavy weight whatsoever..

I have build a nice dockingstage in the Chrysler(Dodge) Voyager so everytime we go to a another location during the Wedding, I can dock the Rig.. secure the Rig and drive away. Let's say about 25 to 30 minutes and put the rig back on. Another 3 hours no problems at all..

So if you consider to use a Steadicam on a Wedding, to me the Flyer is the way to go ! All the clients overhere loving it.., I'm still the only one in the Netherlands with Steadicam on Wedding shooting -;)

Best,

Erik

Last edited by Erik Rene Brul; September 7th, 2006 at 04:03 AM.
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Old September 9th, 2006, 01:15 AM   #9
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Neil,

I have to agree somewhat with Dean. Varizoom does have an interesting system for a monopod and a stabilizer in one package. While it's not the best stabilizer it does smooth out movement and it works well as a monopod. It's priced right and would be a good place to start.

Terry
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Old September 20th, 2006, 08:26 AM   #10
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I was thinking of picking up the Smooth shooter to start, as I can't afford a flyer. Does anyone here have experience with the smooth shooter, or should I save up for a mid-range like the V-16? I'm going to be shooting weddings and possibly other stuff as well. I was curious as to the comment eariler about how steadicam shots are usually "B" roll, why is that? I figured a steadicam shot would be used for the primary shots and a stationary cam would be used as a "B" cam.
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Old September 20th, 2006, 08:37 AM   #11
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i've only shot a few weddings, mostly as favors for friends, but one camera locked-down a tripod on one side of the room, attended by a friend or acquaintance (just to keep people from tripping over it or examining it) at the wedding, and me using a mobile camera mounted on a Steady Stick is a good option. that way you can be a single operator and still be able to have multiple angles on the event. you can always cut away from the shaky footage, and the Steady Stick is fairly comfortable to wear over a period of hours, and you can add fairly stable motion to your shots with a little practice. you just have to be aware of your belly breathing. it's a far cheaper alternative that requires less practice. the shots tend to be less smooth, but with a locked-down second camera, that's not much of an issue.
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Old September 20th, 2006, 09:54 PM   #12
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Noah,

What camera will you be using? If it's not a huge one there are lots of options available for stabilizers. Some are real good and some not as much. This forum is a good place to do your research.

The Smooth Shooter works well and is priced good. It is a single-arm system and can be used with one or two springs allowing for different weight cameras. It has a 14.75" boom range which is fairly good. Some other systems go to 30" or more.

I've tried one a few times but not for any extended duration so someone else will need to take over from here.

-----------

The "A" camera is the primary camera for most shots. It can be handheld, locked down, on a dolly, crane, or even on a steadicam. The "B" camera (if there is one) is an extra camera shooting the same scene but from a differently prospective. In film the "A" camera it is considered the "money shot" and gets it's designation to keep things straight for slating purposes and to keep track of which camera shot which film stock. This is in case one of the cameras messes up (scratches) the film stock. They can then trace it to the correct camera.

In the video world, the terms are "camera 1", "camera 2", etc.

Hope this helps.

Terry
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Old September 22nd, 2006, 09:54 PM   #13
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Terry,
I have an FX1 and I'll be getting a Z1 soon, or selling the FX1 and getting two XHA1's. I also have access to several DVX100B's that I'll be using from time to time. So basically all the common mid-size cams. I guess my post wasn't clear. I fully understand the concept of A roll, B roll. What I was unsure of was why a steadicam shot is usually used as B roll, as I usually think of a steadicam shot to be the "money shot" in most of the videos/movies/ect. I've seen.
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 12:47 AM   #14
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Noah,

I suppose it's "B roll" if it's not the main camera in use. If it is the main camera as in some movies (i.e. "Stargate Atlantis") that use mostly steadicam shots it would be the "A" roll camera. Just something else to confuse us I suppose.

I think sometimes there's logic to it and sometimes not. We still refer to the steadicam camera stage, post, gimbal, monitor, and counter weights as a "sled". It doesn't look like a sled anymore but there you are.

Have you taken a look at our system for weddings. It's getting popular. Don't want to steal the thread so that's all I'll say here.

Thanks,

Terry
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 12:24 PM   #15
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I think you might be a little confused on the context of the question Terry.

Normally a Steadicam is used for "effect" or "cutaway" shots. Though it is increasingly being used as A camera too for stuff like The West Wing and ER.

Normally a Steadicam is used for a specific, special, purpose though.
At an unlimited budget & resources wedding ceremony shoot, I'd use a Steadicam for a portion of both the walk in and out. But probably not much more than that.
With tighter budget and for example 3 cameras. I'd use the Steadicam as those walking shots, but to also get some special angle shots during the ceremony, but I would rely on the other two cameras for most of the coverage.

- Mikko
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