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Old October 16th, 2006, 08:17 AM   #1
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Hi guys,

After months of research and asking questions, I'm finally taking the Steadicam class through Tiffen Europe, and buying a Flyer. Ideally I would have liked to buy the archer, but I can't afford it, and I have read in a couple of places that you can fly "other formats" on the flyer as well...I'm talking about stripped down cameras like the SONY 970 and DVcams.

I haven't bought the Flyer yet...I have a trip to the U.S planned in Nov and I was thinking I'd get it from there, costs $6,500.

Is it stupid to do the class BEFORE i have the rig, or does it not matter? Your thoughts on the issue? I could order it by mail, it would cost an extra $265.

Also, what is the flyer made for? If the pro video formats are meant for the Archer and the Merlin is flying the DV cameras, I don't see the Flyer fitting in anywhere...especially at this price. How many would fit a remote follow-focus on a DV camera and fly it, so the 15lbs limit doesn't really compute.

Vasi.
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Old October 16th, 2006, 12:51 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vasi Hasan
Hi guys,
Is it stupid to do the class BEFORE i have the rig, or does it not matter? Your thoughts on the issue?
Not stupid, many people do the workshop absolutely cold. The advantage is that you will be learning the proper technique right off the bat rather than potentially learning bad habits. However, if you were able to get some hours in on the rig and get comfortable with it beforehand, you will likely get even more out of the workshop as you can focus more on the nuances rather than the most basic technique. I've taught a number of workshops in the past and have seen people with and without prior experience have a fantastic experience, so it works either way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vasi Hasan
Also, what is the flyer made for? If the pro video formats are meant for the Archer and the Merlin is flying the DV cameras, I don't see the Flyer fitting in anywhere...especially at this price. How many would fit a remote follow-focus on a DV camera and fly it, so the 15lbs limit doesn't really compute.

Vasi.
Once you start adding virtually any accessory to a 3 chip DV camera or equivalent (let's say an HVX200 with a wireless receiver/onboard light/ shotgun etc) it becomes a bit cumbersome/tiring with a Merlin or handheld rig. Also anyone using a 35mm adaptor on a similar camera is going to need a more robust stabilizer but not necessarily an Archer. True enough that few DV users are into wireless lens controls yet, but they will be as the 35mm optic is not going anywhere (adaptors today, RED tomorrow) and a low-cost alternative to the current systems will be introduced eventually.

The price point is what it is--just because the last few years have seen prosumer cameras offer an incredible amount of features and quality for the money doesn't mean that support gear will automatically follow. As I often say, you'll likely own your head/sticks and stabilizer through various generations of camera, so it only makes sense to spend as much as you can afford to get the best possible one. The fluid head I use for DV stuff (O'Connor 1030) costs more than many 1/3" cameras, but I've had it for years and expect to have it for years more, and it is flawless in operation.
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Old October 16th, 2006, 01:51 PM   #3
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CP, just let me know when you're gonna give a workshop in europe and I'll be there. :)
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Old October 16th, 2006, 02:39 PM   #4
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Sounds like fun!

My teaching run was largely '95 to '01, only a couple of appearances in the last few years. I miss it a little. I hadn't had the chance to be the lead instructor, was always backing up gents like Paul Taylor, Larry McConkey and Garrett of course, which was a great experience. Always thought it would be fun to lead one though.
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Old October 16th, 2006, 04:27 PM   #5
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Not much I can add to CP's post except my take on the uses for the lower end rigs.
In my oppinion:
Merlin - Mostly for comsumer cameras, but also a very economical solution for lightweight DV & HDV (ok and DVCPRO with the HVX) production. Very nible and agreat tool to have around.
Flyer - A rig for 'proper' (serious) DV, HDV, (& the HVX) and lightweight profesional video production. All these larger 1/3" cameras with proper accessories fall right into this category. Also works for lightweight brodcast use with the lighter 2/3" TV/Video cameras. DigiBETA, DVCPRO and DVCAM cameras all fly on the Flyer. As do lighter Triax cameras. - The Flyer is a fantastic light rig for long video shoots.
Archer - A fully caipable rig for broadcast video work. It will of course fly all teh DV stuff too, but flying 2/3" broadcast cameras it it's main use. Still nice and light, good for long durations in the rig either as video or multicamera shoots.
Then it's the big rigs from there on up for the heavy duty TV and film work.

Merlin = Consumer and lightweight DV
Flyer = Full DV, and ultralight broadcast
Archer = Full broadcast



CP, You can count me in with CK if you come teach a workshop in Europe.

- Mikko
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Old October 16th, 2006, 05:08 PM   #6
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thanks charles, and thanks charles... :)

mikko, happy to hear that DigiBETA, DVCPRO and DVCAM will all fly on the flyer - that was my main concern with the flyer, but Robin, of Tiffen Europe, did say that it would-kinda. Not that I have a choice really, archer is a huge jump up in price.

after my class on the 3rd of november, i have my "steadicam-run" to the U.S... nobody sells them on ebay.
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Old October 16th, 2006, 07:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikko Wilson
Also works for lightweight brodcast use with the lighter 2/3" TV/Video cameras. DigiBETA, DVCPRO and DVCAM cameras all fly on the Flyer.
Mikko, not that I've put such things on a scale, but I would have thought that it would be a bit dicey to include all those as Flyerable; just a peek at the Sony 709/790 Digibetas show them at 15 lbs with lens and viewfinder--could be a bit dicey if other accessories are tacked on, yeah?

Or is it the case that the Flyer can carry a bit more than the 15 lbs it's rated at?
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Old October 16th, 2006, 09:24 PM   #8
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The arm can carry a bit more than the specc'd 15lb max camera if you can make the sled balance. If you take off the viewfinder, and use the stock lens hood (not a matte box), tape filters to the front when necessary, it'll fly, even the Varicam.

Depending on how sneaky you are rigging-wise, you can get the camera weight low enough to add focus gear or audio receivers...perhaps not both. If you need downconvert, try running the sdi through the sled, and use the downconverter at the base as weight. If you're flying an SD camera, no worries. The 15lb max can be pushed a bit, but it still has to balance, so anything that can be below the gimbal should be below the gimbal.

The IDX E-10's are interlockable, meaning you can stack a few on each other. This is a good thing, because you'll need weight down low. One thing to note is that it may be hard to put the sled in dynamic balance, as the monitor weighs basically nothing. When you figure out everything that needs to be on the sled, think about putting some stuff strapped under the monitor arm, so it's out of the way but also on the monitor-side of the balance equation. I just had a discussion with Peter Abraham, who is by trade a Flyer guru. He seemed to agree that there's a bit of space left in the post, perhaps enough for an audio cable. With thin enough cable, you could run a feed up to the camera's inputs, and place the wireless receivers under the monitor arm. I'll be attempting it soon, so I'll keep posted.

Should the arm sag a bit, and as long as it's not your usual arrangement, you can always wrap rubber bands around the bones of the arm, a few should give some more lift, perhaps enough to fly the occasionally heavy sled.


As a side note, I just finished watching American History X again a second ago, nice work Charles! I said it before, but after just watching it in its entirety again, really really nice work!
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Old October 17th, 2006, 05:56 AM   #9
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Good post Jaron.

Now that flip-out screens are starting to show up even on larger cameras, going without a viewfinder is more doable (it can be an issue sometimes to get the alerts and menu items on the Steadicam monitor on demand in case fiddling needs to be done). I've certainly done it myself for concert shoots and other stamina-testing jobs.

One of the knocks I have on the Flyer is that it isn't really a flexible sled in terms of dynamic balance--it wouldn't have taken much to have allowed the monitor and batteries to be able to migrate fore and aft. On my sled I can project the front battery way forward in the event of using my lightweight LCD monitor to even things out.

Thanks for the nod for AHX. Amazingly that was 10 years ago now! A challenging shoot on many levels.
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Old October 17th, 2006, 06:23 AM   #10
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Handily, there's a discussion about just this issue going on over at the Steadicam Forum.

p.s. I'm not really making a good example here by linking to other industry forums, but since this one is so specialized I think it's OK.
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Old October 17th, 2006, 01:05 PM   #11
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Vasi - one more quick thing to consider. The $6500 does not include accessories, that's a price for vest, arm, sled, monitor and case. You still need batteries and a charger, as well as other accessories. It adds up quickly! Budget more like $14,000 and you'll be able to get most of what you'll need up front. The nice thing is, down the line if you grow into a different rig, everything outside that $6,500 is still usable with any rig, and flyers will hold a good deal of their value.

Batteries can cost thousands of dollars. Check http://www.batteriesforbroadcast.com if you want off-brand to save a lot of cash. Otherwise, B&H has good prices on the IDX stuff, which works quite well.
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Old October 17th, 2006, 03:50 PM   #12
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Another good point Jaron. Accessories are pricey and will add up quickly. A good rule of thumb with batteries is to have 3 complete sets, which may simply consist of 3 batteries if you use the Flyer in 12v single battery mode, or 6 if you fly two batteries at a time. If you only have 2 sets, you run the risk of getting caught shorthanded. It's not worth the risk.

If you are planning to work with larger (2/3") cameras, especially HD, chances are good you will need to power them from the sled rather than flying a battery up top, which means a substantial drain and probably another set of batts (or higher-capacity ones).
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Old October 17th, 2006, 04:17 PM   #13
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I must type fast as my laptop battery is dying...

I have flown notbaly over the Flyer's 15lbs with 2/3" a Dockable (heavier!) DVCAM package. Details here: http://www.steadicamforum.com/forums...ndpost&p=14984
Chris Fawcett has flown DigiBETA, and I'm almost certain a flvor or two of DVCPRO on his Flyer.

Not much room for accessories up top though.

Lots of good discussion, I'll chime in more tommorrow.

- Mikko
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Old October 17th, 2006, 04:50 PM   #14
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Note: previous advice about having spare hot batteries may also be applied to laptops...!
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Old October 17th, 2006, 05:42 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaron Berman
Vasi - one more quick thing to consider. The $6500 does not include accessories, that's a price for vest, arm, sled, monitor and case. You still need batteries and a charger, as well as other accessories. It adds up quickly! Budget more like $14,000 and you'll be able to get most of what you'll need up front. The nice thing is, down the line if you grow into a different rig, everything outside that $6,500 is still usable with any rig, and flyers will hold a good deal of their value.

Batteries can cost thousands of dollars.

<START DARTH-VADER> Noooooooooooooooo!!! <END DARTH-VADER>
Say it ain't so!!! $14,000?!! I thought it was just the batteries I had to buy? Down the line I'm thinking of selling my kidneys man....can't even begin to think about the archer or anything up...

Will some kind soul tell me what all I'll need, other than batteries?
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