Aviator vs. Flyer? at DVinfo.net

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Old September 9th, 2006, 09:46 AM   #1
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Aviator vs. Flyer?

Hello folks, totally new in steadycam but in plan to have one to fly my hd 101 (with idx battery and chrosziel mattebox and ff). i've been reading a lot and found many usefull info here, i'm wondering if anybody is owning a varizoom aviator which looks good for my rig and my pocket (can't afford the price of a Flyer) Which are the main differences between the two? I know the Flyer is rated as a great steadycam, what about the aviator? Will perform good compare it with the flyer? Limitations? Thanks all for your time in advance
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Old September 18th, 2006, 05:55 PM   #2
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They will look exactly the same on basic moves. The differences come when dealing with extended booming of the arm, tilting from the arm and fine adjustments...ease of use. I have not worked with a flyer or an aviator. I did at one time own a Steadicam EFP. It was a fine piece of gear that was very easy to make adjustments to, on the sled, the arm and the vest. Recently I had to do a job with a Glidecam V20. I was able to do almost everything I could do with the EFP, but some movement was limited, and making adjustments was not as intuitive or easy. But again you get what you pay for. You can easily get the basic shots you want with the less expensive brand. Just don't expect it to work the same as the more expensive brand.
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Old September 18th, 2006, 07:29 PM   #3
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When it comes to DV-sized body-mounted stabilizers, the primary reason that the Flyer stands apart for me is the arm, which has no equal in this market and rivals the performance of the best arms available at any price. The booming is smoother and the isolation is greater. For many shots and for most operators, this may not show up in the final image. However, it will be easier for the average operator to deliver better shots with the Flyer arm than any other on the market. A very skilled operator can overcome the deficiencies in a lesser arm, generally by detuning it so that the operator is providing a certain percentage of lift and shock absorption.

What makes it difficult for a new operator to judge stabilizers for themselves is that without having a certain amount of prior operating experience, they can't just slip on a rig and have it "speak" to them. It's a bit like a kid getting his first clarinet; the $3000 Buffet will likely deliver the same "duck fart" the first time he blows in it as the $400 Taiwanese student horn. But down the road, if he sticks to it he will one day realize that he's outgrown the cheap instrument and start looking at the better ones (this is an analogy--I'm not making a direct comparison to the rigs in question).

Just the same with stabilizers; if you know for sure that you are serious about it and are very picky about the shots you plan to make, it may be worth the additional investment now; otherwise it will make perfect sense to work out on a lesser rig for now and see how things go. Many people are perfectly happy with their Varizoom, Glidecam, Magiqcam etc. rigs. They may never outgrow the limitations peculiar to their rig because their expectations are in line with the amount they spent and the rig they received.

FYI, I'm not a shill for Tiffen, in fact I have some issues with the Flyer sled, in particular the pivot points that tend to loosen and the limited ability to dynamic balance the sled (the one time I had to use it on a shoot, I found this particularly frustrating). I actually haven't owned a Steadicam product for nearly 9 years; my rig is made up of something like 5 other manufacturer's products. But that Flyer arm is simply amazing.
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Old September 18th, 2006, 08:46 PM   #4
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Fabrizio,

When I tried out the Aviator at NAB I thought it worked well. Charles is correct (of course) about beginning users and advanced users. You can get great shots with it and the monitor is nice. The arm is works well and the vest is OK. The price is pretty good too.

The Flyer is in it's own category because the company and designer are in their own category. I mean Garret Brown really. That being said, not everyone needs a Flyer but those who do won't settle for anything less. They are the ones who can usually afford it because they will use it on a regular basis and make enough money to pay for their investment.

Now we get to all the rest of the stabilizers (mine included). Most work very well and you would be hard pressed to see a difference in the final results but a real experienced operator would know the differencs between each rig. Leigh, I, Charles King, Cody Deegan and other manufacturers or designers know somewhat more about the differences between rigs than the general user as we know what does and doesn't work.

Conclusion: If you are new to stabilizers and don't know if you will be using it all the time or if you don't have a lot of work so you can justify the price then the Aviator, or Smooth Shooter, or Indicam, or SmoothArm, or many other rigs (not all) will work great and be paid off quickly.

Mikko and many other users are very loyal to Steadicam and that's great. It doesn't mean all other rigs are junk though.

Terry
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Old September 19th, 2006, 04:50 AM   #5
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Sorry for my late response in thanking you all to give advice in this thread.
I'm still quite confused on which will be my "fitting choice", due to my lack in steadicam experience off course. I'll make treasure of all your suggestions.
Anyway, my personal tought, what is maybe missing in this market it's a more detailed infos on products, and as you sayd probably the best way is to try before to buy. That said, for the use i'll be doing of the steadicam i have to buy, i'm almost shure i'll be happy with a cheaper rig than the Flyer that is too expensive for my pockets. Sigh, no "real" comparison came out between the Flyer and the Aviator.....
Thanks all once again
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Old October 3rd, 2006, 12:03 AM   #6
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Fabrizio... Just my two cents...

Can't say anything about the Aviator as I've never worked with one. But I can give you a bit of insight about my own limited experience.

I have used a Glidecam V16 with a Canon XL1 for a few years now and got used to how it works and feels.

This past April at NAB I had a chance to try a Steadicam Flyer.

With the Glidecam I always develop this ache in my lower back, despite all my efforts to carefully wear the rig so that my bones are supporting the load, not my muscles. And I've worn the rig for up to an hour at a time without getting physically wiped out.

When I tried the Flyer I didn't notice any lower back ache. And I felt more nimble with it. Was easier to move around and the arm didn't stick out to the right as it does with the V16.

But when I tried the V25, even for only a few minutes, that familiar ache was there, just like the V16. Something to do with the way the vest interacts with me, or the way the load transfers the weight to my torso. The hardware of the V25 is way ahead of the V16 and the machine work is impressive. But the comfort factor and the maneuverability of the Flyer was better than the V25.

So while all these rigs can do the job, more or less, you might develop a personal preference for the way one works and feels over another. And you'll find out only by actually using it.

And then there's the consideration that you can buy only what you can afford. In which case you may as well get the best that you can afford and get as much hands-on experience as you can.
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Old October 3rd, 2006, 05:42 PM   #7
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Dean and others,

Just an comment concerning the placement of the arm connection (or socket block). When we were prototyping our connection point we tried it closer to the center and further away-on the side. One thing we noticed with our system was when the connection point was closer to the center we had more back strain and it was noticably more. We can't say this applies to other systems but we went with the side connection over our hip because it works for us.

Just a thought.

Tery
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