Hollywoodlite Running Rig at DVinfo.net

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Old April 17th, 2003, 10:21 PM   #1
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Hollywoodlite Running Rig

Has anyone purchased or tried out the Hollywoodlite Running Rig?
I am curious to see some footage from the rig in action but the website's video streaming section has no videos so far.

Michael Tien
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Old April 18th, 2003, 12:05 AM   #2
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GTX

I use the GTX model made for systems 6-12 pounds or so. The running rig is for full size video and film cameras. If you go to search and type in Hollywood Lite or Steadicam, look for my name on the posts. I have a few good demos of the GTX at work. The one below in particular is of an infomercial demo with an almost 3 minute continuous shot that wore me slap out!

demo - high speed
http://161.58.78.36/asx/demo/steadic...DICAM1000K.asx
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Old April 18th, 2003, 07:59 AM   #3
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Thankyou James;

That's a big furniture store.What kind of camera are you flying? I need something like the Running Rig to handle the weight of an Arri SRII. I am shooting a TV drama on film for 50 day and would like an economical way to incorporate the occasional steady shot or as much as my knees can handle. Do you know of any other Hollywoodlite Forums? The Hollywoodlite website link to one but there is not much on it. I would like to see some other CU's of the rig.

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Michael Tien
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Old April 18th, 2003, 11:05 AM   #4
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I am flying an XL-1 with the 3:1 lens.

I have to tell you that my experience with the owners of the company has not been the best. They are hard to get a hold of and when you do, it seems like you just talk in circles. Ironically, the product works well and is priced well under its rival the Mini Steadicam so that's one reason that I went with their product. If it only had a high intensity monitor. They have increased the monitor size from 4" to 5.6" since I got mine. Two of three batteries that I purchased from them have failed with very little, short use and they tell me to contact the battery manufacturer instead of them taking responsibility. If you take a close look, you'll see that the GT series looks a whole lot like the Steadicam version because.... the Hollywood engineer came from you guessed it, Steadicam. They used to have video demos from different users on their site but that dissappeared a while back. I gave up a long time ago on any consistency with them.
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Old April 18th, 2003, 03:28 PM   #5
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James:

There are probably 20 manufacturers of stabilizing rigs that would be appropriate to fly an SRII. Some things to consider:

Will you be flying primes or a zoom? Will a clip on mattebox always suffice, or will there be instances when you will have a fly a studio mattebox, or any other accessories that will require you to use the sliding baseplate and rods rather than the mini rods? This can result in a 10 pound variance in weight between a stripped camera and fully loaded, so it's important to make sure the stabilizer you choose can handle the heaviest setup you might need.

Do you plan to use a remote follow focus? For wide-angle work on 16mm, it is possible to do a "set and forget" with focus, i.e. leave the lens at a given mark and make sure you are keeping the subject within the range of depth-of-field. If you need to pull focus, you will then need a remote focus system, preferably wireless such as a Preston, a BFD, or Genio. There are a few wired systems out there but they are cumbersome. Do you plan to hardwire the video to a monitor with a cable, or transmit? These questions are relevant in that many of the smaller rigs such as the Hollywood Lite and the Steadicam Mini have limited power ports, so mounting and powering accessories will require some jerry-rigging.

Good luck!
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Old April 19th, 2003, 10:53 AM   #6
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Charles;

I would want to fly the SR2 without the riser block or rods. I would use a clip-on mattebox and primes. If I use a zoom lens it would be the Canon 8-64. I estimate the weight would be around 19 pounds including a full 400' of film. The body and empty mag is 11 pounds. I have a consumer video transmitter I could rig if needed. The focus would be set and forget. I am hoping the rods of the Hand-held follow-focus would receive a motor bracket if I rented a remote follow focus.

Have you tried the Running Rig? Is it well machined? I know it doesn't allow a lot of flexibility in terms of accessories. I don't want to invest in full-blown Steadicam rig. I want something in the camera truck that I could pull off once in a while in do an impromptu move. If the Running Rig has what it takes to pull off a decent move I could absorb the $8000cdn it would take to buy one.

Cheers
Michael Tien
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Old April 19th, 2003, 01:05 PM   #7
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Video Tap

I know that you said you could rig a transmitter, but I didn't see anything about a video tap. If it's already in the mix, ok, if not, that's more weight to consider.
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Old April 19th, 2003, 02:18 PM   #8
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Michael:

I have not used the Running Rig, but have occasionally tried the Hollywood Lite products at trade shows.

Looking at the pictures on the website, it seems like a well-designed machine for the money. There are a couple of potential issues I could see arising:

The arm to vest interface is a drop-in pin, such as is used in the lower end Steadicams such as the SK and Mini. This is a simplified version of the standard arm socket as used in the higher-end rigs which allows the user to adjust the pitch of the arm, which in turn regulates how the rig floats when the user is standing in operating position. Without being able to tune this, usually the rig will try to "get away" from you, requiring you to reign it in with your gimbal hand. The heavier the camera used, the more force required. This is also a function of a lightweight vest as is used with the Running Rig; the increased torque on the system with a heavier camera may cause the vest to twist in a way that will exacerbate the problem. In the picture on their web site, notice that the arm seems to be leaning out and away from the operator (look at the vertical members of the arm). This is a function of the phenemenon I refer to. The Steadicam SK deals with this by providing an eccentric mount for the pin that can be rotate to partially offset the effect. Ideally, one should be able to let go of the rig with both hands and stand comfortably, and the rig should just float in front of you. With many of these simplified rigs, it will fly away from you.

So what this means is that the system is in a constant state of imbalance on the body, which you have to combat by either leaning back in an unnatural fashion or applying significant force with one hand. With a light system such as flying an XL1, this may be apparent but the reduced mass translates to less force required, and one is more likely to fly a light rig in front of the body rather than the side anyway. When you are talking about a 15-20lb camera mass, proper operating style becomes more relevant because fatigue is a much greater factor (you mentioned your knees, but I'll bet you anything your lower back will get to you first!!)

So what to be done? I don't know how elaborate the show you will be working on is, but if the director is used to having a more conventional Steadicam available, having to work within the restrictions of a limited rig may be difficult. I'm thinking in particular of not having a follow focus, which requires one to have to restrict the design of shots ("OK, now push in on the actor at the end" uh...can't do that" "say WHAT?"). Mounting a wireless system on the sled would take some jerry-rigging as I mentioned earlier. You would have no problem mounting the motor on the 15mm mini-rods, however (although the older Zeiss primes can be a little difficult to access the motor gear...make sure at the check-out that all lenses have been fitted with gears!)

Outside of that, and not knowing the extent of the show and your relationship with the higher-ups (when you say you are shooting the show, are you the DP or the operator?), it could end up to be a bit of a liability if the gear is not up to their expectations. I say this only because I have owned three rigs in my career, starting with a really old and beat up Steadicam that, while capable of flying the heaviest cameras such as BL's, was deficient in a few areas that eventually bit me in the ass, forcing me to have to invest in newer/better/more expensive gear. My experience is that if a Steadicam type rig is available, and the results make everyone happy, it will get used more and more; but if there is a bad experience that wastes time and doesn't deliver the goods, they may throw it (and in some instances the operator) off the set. Not trying to be negative here, just cautionary...!

My recommendation for those purchasing Steadicams has always been similar to what most suggest about computers: buy the most expensive one you can afford, so that you can grow into it before you grow out of it. Hope this helps!
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Old April 19th, 2003, 02:37 PM   #9
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Charles;

I am the DP/operator on this show. The Steadicam idea is something I been thinking about on my own. The director hasn't mentioned it in our meetings. He was very happy with the Fisher 11 and skateboard dolly shots from season 1. Having said that, if this kind of rig worked I sure we could incorporate it into our day.

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Old April 19th, 2003, 09:15 PM   #10
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Very cool. Keep in touch as your reasearch progresses!
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Old September 7th, 2003, 11:26 AM   #11
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Finally Bought a used Hollywoodlite Rig

I finally bought a used Hollywoodlite Running Rig. I am happy with the Purchase. I have it out on a show I am currently shooting. We are flying an SRII with video assist, a channel 69 transmitter and are using a preston system as our follow focus. The machining of this rig is surprisingly good. The gimble is smooth and frictionless and the top of the sled where the camera sits ( I am not sure of the proper name ) has decent For, aft and side to side control. The Arm is long which I assume is a compromise for the price. Charles you mentioned that the docking port for the arm on less expensive vests do not give you pitch control. This is true of this rig. I shoved a piece a duvetyne under the lower vest forcing the receiving hole to tilt backwards. This feels better and I can let go of the rig to keep it steady. I have lots of practice ahead of me.

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Michael Tien
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Old September 8th, 2003, 08:54 AM   #12
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Glad to hear things are working out with the Running Rig. That's great that you are using a Preston, doesn't get any better than that. Sorry to hear about the issues with the pitch of the arm. This is something that really should be addressed--and it's a universal issue amongst the various manufacturers of this level of rig (as I mentioned, only the Steadicam SK has any kind of adjustable pitch control, and that is rudimentary at best).
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