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Old July 1st, 2007, 12:48 PM   #61
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This is why CP is a DP (Charles Papert is a Director of Photography).

Gee, I just wanted to show various shots that our rig could do and how smooth they could be. I've seen many demos that show just the operator moving forward at the same pace and I wanted to show a series of moves.

I guess I'll now have to redo the whole "Sneak and Scare" thing to make it more interesting. I will also need a more dramatic piece of music. As you can tell, this was quick and dirty. Next time it will be slow and clean.

Actually Charles I'm glad you did this critique as someday I hope to shoot a film and thinking about how the shots should go is something a real good DP does well. I'm just a baby with a foot in my mouth.

Please do make your training video as there is no one that I have found who can explain the steadicam business as well as you. This isn't flattery - just fact! Your training video to me would be a "What to do now that you have learned how to operate a steadicam system". I'd be first in line to buy it.

I watched the "Carlito's Way" clip and I would never have known about the steps backwards in order to get the proper framing and size. Thanks so much for including that in you comments.

Your friend,

Tery
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Old July 1st, 2007, 06:36 PM   #62
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No need to redo the shot Terry, as I said it shows off the stabilizer perfectly well in that the shots are smooth, steady and free of jitter.

The reality is, as I think you and I have talked about in the past, is that many people who are looking to buy stabilizers feel very strongly about viewing footage shot with that stabilizer so that they can evaluate part of their decision on that. But the fact is that given a certain level of mechanical competence in a given rig, the rest is entirely up to the operator. And as I have also said before, a great operator can achieve better results with a mediocre rig than a mediocre operator with a great rig. I would also go as far to say that the most telling type of shot that could be viewed as a demo of a given rig would be the most subtle, such as very slow moving shots with delicate pans and tilts, with a foreground element such as a fence right alongside the lens so that one can more easily see the smoothness of the particular arm in use (a rougher-riding arm will show a "pogo"-type appearance, swelling up and down like a wave). Again, user experience will be able to overcome a certain amount of this effect with a lesser system, but certainly this is one of the sticky points (literally and figuratively) with many inexpensive stabilizers, and why the Tiffen arms are head and shoulders above all others in this class because of the patented technology they use in their arms which isolates the operator's footsteps far better than those that use springs attached to a fixed point.

As far as the ideas I brought up in the previous post, those are very much the type of thinking that is part of the Steadicam (and conventional operator) mentality--certainly a DP will have things to say about framing and shot design but a good operator will have plenty of ideas and be going through this thought process at all times. Framing is obviously well within the domain of operating, but in addition having an understanding of the complete scene and all of the coverage (different shots) that are being planned by the director and DP means that the operator can make decisions based on this, or even discuss or show alternatives to their bosses. In a more indie setting where the operator and DP are one person (or sometimes the director, DP and operator are one person!) this may be a moot point, but even at the highest level of filmmaking, the operator's input in matters of shot design is usually encouraged and expected.

With Steadicam, given the amount of freedom to move in so many axes and make so many choices based on this, what really separates a competent operator from a great one has little to do with the mechanical nature of "taming the beast"--after one has gotten the knack of keep the horizon level and controlling the inertia of the system, it becomes all about where the lens needs to be to best tell the story of the shot at any given moment, and this is where the true fun lies.
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Old July 23rd, 2007, 07:57 PM   #63
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Tery,
I am quite interested in purchasing your Indicam and had my first of probably a few questions:

What does the "single upgraded system" actually mean? How does the product differ? The standard PILOT system is said to hold up to 11 lbs. My Canon XL2 is 8 lbs. at the most. I know its only $200 and change for the upgrade, but do I really need it?

Thanks,
Jon
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Old July 24th, 2007, 02:37 AM   #64
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Charles,

Could you evaluate a video I did to show the difference between a non-gimbal rig and a full gimbal rig?

http://www.indicam.com/media/Flash/flvplayer.html (The last clip)

I used a sled where you hold on to the post directly as there is no gimbal. I won't mention the brand but there are a number of similar ones out there and they work pretty good for the shots they are intended for.

I then did the same shots using the Indicam PILOT sled handheld (as the shots were fairly short and I didn't need the support system). The camera was a Sony Z1U and it was in full telephoto. I'm not looking for comments on framing as I know it was off but my intention was to show in an exaggerated way the movement you can't get rid of without having a 3-axis gimbal. I did my best to make both shots as steady as possible.

I would like to know if there were a lot of parallax errors as seen through your experienced eyes. Any other comments will be appreciated of course.

Thanks,

Tery

===================================================

Jon,

The single upgraded arm should have a different name as it sounds like it is a single articulated arm and it isn't. All our arms are dual articulated.

Because we use a hybrid-arm with different thicknesses of aluminum (see website- http://www.indicam.com/index.php?opt...d=24&Itemid=48) the lower arm holds more weight and acts a bit differently than the upper arm. They both work together well though. This is similar to the human arm.

Anyway, with the single upgrade you can have two springs attached to the lower arm if needed to hold more total weight. Our up-and-coming "double upgraded arm" can have two springs on each of the lower and upper arms.

One other nice thing about the double upgraded arm is that the user can have it set for two different camera weights if both cameras are light enough that they don't need the strength of both extra springs at the same time. An example would be The Canon GL2 and the Sony Z1U. A different example is demo'd on our Flash Video page: http://www.indicam.com/media/Flash/flvplayer.html (second to the last clip) We use a JR and an Indicam PILOT sled with the same arm in less than one minute. It was a quick video.

With regards to your main question Jon...You would need the arm with the single upgrade as the XL2 along with the sled weigh is more than our standard arm can support. The standard arm holds up to eleven pounds total (camera and sled-the sled weighing about 5 pounds by itself).

Sorry for being so long winded but I wanted to clarify the whole single, double thing.

Tery
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Old July 26th, 2007, 11:46 AM   #65
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Hey guys,
Just sent Tery the funds for his magic floating Indicam PILOT and the essential DVD. I only hope it's magic and floats for me.
I'll shoot some trial stuff right after I assemble it and etc. and post it - hopefully it won't be too long.
And for those possible buyers out there, the only thing I discovered late was that I will be in need of a sturdy mic stand to balance the thing. Shouldn't be much. Off to Ebay!
-Jon
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Old July 26th, 2007, 10:55 PM   #66
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Jon,

Your system is in the mail.

To clarify, you don't need a mic stand to balance the sled but it makes it much easier. I also tell everyone if they use a mic stand to make sure it's the sturdy wide-base model with three long fold out legs and also to sand bag or weigh it down somehow so it won't tip over. Murphy's Law you know.

A light stand also works with the upper telescoping part removed so that it will fit the sled handle. They are of course much more stable but also much more expensive.

Tery
Indicam
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