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Old May 2nd, 2010, 12:38 AM   #1
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Help stabilising a tripod

I film at loud concerts and sometimes we have problems with vibration off the floor through the tripod.. It can be really hit and miss and i hate deciding where to put a camera based around potential for vibration rather than the best angle for the shot..

Does anyone know a solid way of tackling the problem ? Other than going hand held ? Sometimes in the past i have used a monopod and if the floor is vibrating i just put the pod on my foot and raise my toe slightly and it stops it.. Not the solution i want obviously but it has gotten me out of a hole at the last minute.. In that instance i guess my body is absorbing the vibrations but its made me wonder how and why vibration becomes a problem and how to reliably solve it..

There are often situations where the floor is a bit flimsy and the conceert is just too loud, but those are things we cant change so i need to find a way around it without compromising the angles..

Does anyone know if its better to try and place weight on the tripod in order to make it firmer or would it be better to allow more freedom somehow ? If the floor isnt solid to start with and i put more weight on it im wondering if that will just intensify the vibratipon through the legs ? Sound travels through something solid better than it does loose i thought..

Also a steadicam isnt an option really, we need to be elevated really high and steadicam isnt practical without a very firm platform to stand on and we dont have that facility.. It needs to be tripod..

Anyone have any ideas ?
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 01:40 AM   #2
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Hi Randy.............

We meet again!

You pretty well had it nailed in your question, but missed it, so I'll fill in the missing letters.

In order to keep that tripod from moving, you need two things, a decent mass to make it as imoveable as possible AND something between it and what IS moving that needs to move in preference to the tripod etc.

My suggestion (based on a whole 3 minutes thinking) is to plonk the tripod in question (unknown) onto a sheet of 3/8" plywood and mark out a circle that will encompass all three legs at the maximum spread you're ever likely to use it at such a venue.

Find the radius and mark it clearly, then cut it out of the sheet.

Now, you have a camera platform.

Check your tripod type and find out whether you can buy tethered boots that can be screwed to a solid surface - like these:

tripods, heads, monopods, light stands, camera supports, lighting supports, professional tripod 565 - RUBBER SHOES FOR SPIKED FEET

If so, buy a set and fit them to the top of the platform.

Then, here it gets experimental.

You need to find some solid foam (if that isn't a complete contradiction .........) that can be glued to the underside of the platform and some weights that can be placed on top of said platform.

If the deformation charachteristics of the foam can be matched to the weight/ inertia of the platform weights and camera weight, you're home free, or at least a heap better off than you were.

I could bang on about this but I'm sure you've picked up the drift by now.

I can't see any other way to isolate the tripod/ camera from a vibrating floor, apart from a Steadycam which you've already ruled out.

Give it some thought.


CS
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 03:01 AM   #3
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Chris.. I never thought of creating a base under the legs and its a great idea.. This would allow the entire underside of the base to be covered with absorbing material and makes it easier to experient.

For the material underneath the base, i guess some sort of foam is the obvious choice but i also just thought maybe an inflated tyre tube ? Since that would allow you to regulate the air pressure , it might be good to help work out what "settings" worked best ? But maybe air in that situation wouldnt work too well either ? Im not sure..

There could even be some other material im not aware of out there, having the base definately makes it easier to work with..

I will try calling some foam places tommorow as a first start and see what people say.. If i do this i will use some material stapled to the edge all the way around the platform so that it hangs down a few centimeters to hide whatever i have underneath it.. Then i could just use some sandbags on top for extra weight also..
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 03:40 AM   #4
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Well, thank you Randy...........

I may be old(er) but I'm not a complete cretin, just yet.

I'm really intrigued as to how this goes, 'cos if you can get this sussed, there may be a market for it elsewhere, heck, you're not the only one in this situation.

May just make your fortune, who knows.

Send me a commision cheque sometime if it takes off.


CS
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 03:41 AM   #5
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I just found something that looks promising in the war against vibration...

AAC Alpha Gel Silicone Thermal Gel Sheets, Pads Mounts

The silicone gel mounts look good.. I could bolt them to the underside of the platform and then put normal rubber feet underneath that which could work.

Last edited by Randy Sanchez; May 2nd, 2010 at 04:21 AM.
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 03:47 AM   #6
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Way to go , kid...........

way to go...........

suck it and see, keep us posted.

However, remember, the path to true love........................


CS
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 04:34 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Soucy View Post
I may be old(er) but I'm not a complete cretin, just yet.

I'm really intrigued as to how this goes, 'cos if you can get this sussed, there may be a market for it elsewhere, heck, you're not the only one in this situation.

May just make your fortune, who knows.

Send me a commision cheque sometime if it takes off.


CS
I do think its a fairly common problem which doesnt seem to be addressed by any video companies.. maybe its because its difficult to overcome properly ? Im not the entrepaneur type but its possibly an oppourtunity there..

It would be a great project (to make a marketable product), if you worked a day job somewhere that dealt with the science of vibration or even somewhere like the store i linked which made related products so you could test your inventions as you go without needing to pay so heavily for trial and error.

Some other stuff on that site looks really promising but it gets expensive.. Something tells me this would really do the trick.

Air Springs

I emailed them anyway so i'll see what they say.. If it takes me a while to get something together i'll still make sure to get back to you with my results.
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 05:03 AM   #8
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Ah, I've seen them before............

They, or something very similar, is what sits under just about every train carriage in the UK that was manufactured after 1990 or thereabouts, and thinking about it, some buses as well.

They work great, but, of course, the loads have to be worked out.

Keep us posted, Randy, I think this is very promising.


CS
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 05:23 AM   #9
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Thinking a bit more......

You're idea of an inner tube doesn't sound all that silly, apart from one small problem, the wobble effect, which I think would drive you to distraction.

Keep thinking there Randy, you'll make it fly yet!


CS
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 05:52 AM   #10
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thanks mate.. i'll see what that place recommends.. im confident they will understand the nature of the problem.. in the meantime i'll look to get the wooden platform cutout and i might even see if i can find an inner tube to experiment on the cheap.. that would give me an idea..
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Old May 6th, 2010, 01:37 PM   #11
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Randy,


I have two thoughts:

1. quality carpet sublayment ( you can get pertty firm stuff if you look about.

2. At cosco or wall mart there are firm foam matts for kids to play on and they are inter locking,,

these or a combination there of would likly do the job!!!


I have a shoot in two weeks, I think I might try them on. they would also be good for slick floors!! At least if the camera is stationary.

dale
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Old May 6th, 2010, 01:46 PM   #12
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Try turning on your steadyshot. In this instance it might be more help than hindrance on a tripod.
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Old May 16th, 2010, 04:37 PM   #13
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I cut some 6-in squares from a camping mat (closed cell foam - I think this is what Chris meant by solid foam) and taped a double-thickness to each tripod foot. It certainly helped, although my problem was a wooden floor with people dancing, and probably the music not quite so loud as your concerts.
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Old May 16th, 2010, 06:13 PM   #14
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before speaker isolation was commercially available, we used to use 2" thick neoprene rubber. It's REALLY heavy and damped out any vibration thrown at it. Typically we'd use four 3"x3" squares under a speaker. I'd imagine you could put his stuff under a tripod with great results. I'll see if I can find a source. It's been a lot of years!
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Old May 16th, 2010, 06:42 PM   #15
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You could try several styles of blister sheet used for packaging, you know the stuff they give little old ladies to pop in nursing homes.

This has both the air cells and a good spread of them. So there hopefully should not be movement of the shot by the operator walking around on the plywood sheet if you make it larger. By the way, I would make that thick to avoid compliance in the board allowing the tripod to move or local bends popping the cells during the concert. You don't want people diving for cover thinking the local gangbangers are having at it.

You could also try strings of the larger sausage cells used for heavy items in crates but I think you will find these too compliant and hard to manage, needing two plywood sheets and glue to hold the cells in place. The strings would have to be laid out in concentric boxes otherwise they will tend to roll in one direction.

These would be the closest you will get to three or four concentric patterns of small to medium kiddybike cycle tubes for corner airbags which would also be a bit floaty.

To stiffen cycle tubes, fill them with water. What little air remains in them and their ability to stretch would do the rest

Last edited by Bob Hart; May 16th, 2010 at 06:44 PM. Reason: error
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