Help Needed - Fluid Head Grease or Oil at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Support Your Local Camera > Tripod Sticks & Heads


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 16th, 2015, 08:15 PM   #1
New Boot
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: hobart tasmania
Posts: 23
Help Needed - Fluid Head Grease or Oil

Hi everyone, up until recently i have been shooting most of my Video in roaming mode on one of my 3 custom made hand rigs or my custom monopod, but am now starting to shoot more on a tripod, and as a starting point, i bought a Velbon Vel-Flo 9 (PH368) Mini-Pro Fluid Pan Head (yes i know is not a real fluid head) but i is a dam good head to start out with while i am still using my SDT750 cameras (btw i bought it without a tripod, will be using it on my Manfrotto Art 190 Pro tripod for a while)

The head has pan and tilt tension adjustment as well as separate pan and tilt locking knobs, and the Tilt action is great, very happy, and there is no stickiness to the action when you top and start the tilt, very smooth and fluid indeed.

The Pan action also has the same feel about it, but even with the pan tension turned off it is too tight, so much so that when i try to pan, the tripod will move, so i had to find a solution for this, so i dis-assembled the head from the base plate to expose the internals, and found this very thick orange colored greasecovering the internal parts, so i cleaned it all off with a cloth using a degreasing solvent, and then i applied some Vaseline, put it together, and bam, all fixed, nice smooth action, i now have full tensioning back in the pan movement, BUT the vaseline has that stickiness that you get when you start and stop your pan action, causing a slight jerk as the pan takes off.

So, here i am, seeking some help on what would be the best Grease or oil to use to fix this.

I have read other older threads in this forum regarding this topic, and the only stuff i found was the following.

Fluorocarbon Gel 868VH
High Viscosity Dampening Grease
Viscous Oil
Dow Corning 200 Fluid (100,000 CST)
XIAMeter PMX-200 (100,000 CST) i think this is a silicone based product

Obviously the grease that is used in this camera head is the right type because it is smooth and has no stickiness to it, but for panning it is just too thick to be of any use.

I will email Velbon to see their advice, but i also wanted to see if there was any further advice under offer in this forum as well.

Cheers, and thank you for your time.
Glen Pinno is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 17th, 2015, 03:58 PM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Fairfield, Dunedin, New Zealand
Posts: 3,627
Images: 18
Re: Help Needed - Fluid Head Grease or Oil

Hi Glen, welcome to DVinfo.

Whereabouts in Hobart? I grew up there about 3 life times ago, no, make that 4.

It won't come as a surprise to most of the visitors to this Forum if I say you're on a hiding to nothing with your rig.

The Manfrotto art 190 is a stills support, pure and simple. As such it does not need to be particularly resistant to "wind up" and with a 1:1 or 1:1:1 construction with centre column, it couldn't be so resistant if it tried.

Bearing that in mind, any "fluid" in the head pan bearing interface that has a viscosity greater than water will make the sticks wind up like a rubber band until such time as the "break" point of said "fluid" has been reached, allowing the sticks to snap back, either partially or completely, giving the familiar jerk to the pan start. Repeat ad nauseum.

This is completely ignoring the linearity or otherwise of the head pan bearing which, given the price of the head, probably isn't all that flash to start with. I would also finger the pan drag linearity but it'd just be gratuitous BS.

Bottom line, unless you get the head (any head) parked on something that doesn't display the wind up quotient of those art 190's you can't win.

Even replacing the current Vaseline with a light machine oil doesn't really save your bacon as you then come unstuck on the mentioned pan bearing/ drag linearity problem(s).

The only real cure for your problem is suitably large dollops of the folding stuff, though even that isn't a guaranteed fix unless the system is chosen carefully.

For example these: Speed Lock 75 CF - Sachtler ain't exactly cheap but their 2:1:1 construction allows them to wind up something chronic (this description is "pain threshold" dependent, mine is exceedingly low), as I was witness to just yesterday.

I decided to re - task the set I have in my support armoury to a stills rig and was shooting said stills down at the harbour with a 15 knot (gusting to 20+) wind coming in off the ocean. I was somewhat dismayed but not surprised when the breeze coupled with the sail area of the camera/ lens/ head and the lack of rotational rigidity caused the whole lot to oscillate 5 degrees left/ right around the sticks vertical centre line at about 3 hertz.

I was not surprised as I had already worked out that was exactly what they would do under such conditions. My dismay was because they are the lightest and fastest of all my video supports (one latch per leg instead of one latch per segment) and all of my other options, most of which will solve this problem, run the gamut from heavier/ slower to gut buster/ you cannot be serious, which is not where I want to go for stills.

[Just to demonstrate, here are my other available options:

Manfrotto 520MVB professional video tripod + Manfrotto 501 head and bag | United Kingdom | Gumtree - nope, these aren't any more rigid than the Sachtlers

Vinten VB-AP2M Vision Blue System with Mid Level Spreader
- just the sticks, I'm using a Manfrotto 3 way head. Do the job. Very well.

DV Info Net Review: Vinten FiberTec Video Tripod by Chris Soucy, Part 1 of 5 - oh yeah, these'll solve the problem!

Manfrotto 528XB Heavy Duty Tripod 528XB B&H Photo Video
- these really do answer to "gut buster" but man, are they rigid!

You'll see what I mean about the weights! ]

Hopefully some food for thought.


CS
Chris Soucy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 17th, 2015, 08:26 PM   #3
New Boot
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: hobart tasmania
Posts: 23
Re: Help Needed - Fluid Head Grease or Oil

Hi and thanks for replying from across the cold waters of the Tasman Sea.

Ok, i think i need to do some more explaining here just to clarify a few things.

1. the Art 190 is a Tripod, can be used with any camera head or still camera joystick, which was originally on that tripod, so i removed it, therefore the tripod can have a video head placed onto it, and thus far it has been a great tripod for all my video shoots so far with my previous video head, and i have now shot video with the Velbon head mounted and it too has been great.

I dont need to worry about wind because i do not do any shoots in any windy conditions, so the tripod weight is no issue there, but the only time i find the Art 190 too light on its own is with this Velbom camera head with this very tight panning action, so i can either place a weight on the tripod, or do as i already have done and loosen the pan tension by replacing the original grease with thinner vaseline, and now the tripod is no problem, everything is sweet, Except that the vaseline sticks, causing that slight jolt when i start or finish a pan.

I will be, at some time in the very near future, be buying a new 4k camera as my main go to camera, so i will be getting myself into some Millar gear for that when the time comes, but right now, my 2 SDT750 cams are small, and i need portability because i go places that require a lot of boat travel, walking etc, and with a crush proof cooler bag to carry my 2 cameras, all my accessories and batteries, plus my hand rig, and tripod, i need my gear to be as light as i can get it, but Wind definately has nothing to do with my current circumstances, i just need some grease that is slightly thinner than the grease that shipped in this Velbon head, but it must be also be totally fluid like in its action so it does not have that same stickiness that the vaseline has to it.

like i said, the tilt action is fine, it glides beautifully with no stickiness what so ever, and it would not want to be any lighter than it already is.

I tried to email Velbon, but they are based in UK, and will not accept any contact from outside Great Britain or Ireland, and directed me to another website for contact, but as yet no reply, and i am not holding my breath too much that i will hear back from them.

=TOP= of Velbon Tripod

I am currently seeking the internet looking for a tube of something suitable, as yet i am still not sure which to get.

Cheers
Glen Pinno is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 17th, 2015, 10:38 PM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Fairfield, Dunedin, New Zealand
Posts: 3,627
Images: 18
Re: Help Needed - Fluid Head Grease or Oil

Hi again.

I think you missed the message, as my post had nothing to do with wind (pronounced: wind) but a lot to do with wind (pronounced: wined) up, which is nothing whatsoever to do with wind, unless it's the instigator of same in a device which suffers from wind (wined) up.

Bottom line, and I've heard every single possible excuse on the planet for requiring support gear which weighs nothing but is as solid as a block of concrete, EVERY SINGLE ONE, is you cannot have it all ways.

The physics have spoken, you're sticks will misbehave as soon as you put any "fluid" in that head with a higher viscosity than water. Period. End of story.

As I strongly suspect that my language skills are going to be incapable of coming to grips with your language skills on this subject, I will hand this off to anyone else who fancies a bash.

In the interim you may want to do a bit of research here on the Support Forum, as your dilemma has been discussed ad nauseum here over the years and the bottom line is 'It only works like a block of concrete if it feels like you're carrying said block".

Regards


CS
Chris Soucy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 17th, 2015, 10:49 PM   #5
New Boot
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: hobart tasmania
Posts: 23
Re: Help Needed - Fluid Head Grease or Oil

Yep you have totally lost me m8, so i wont even attempt to quote anything you said.

I just cannot understand this fixation you seem to have with "sticks" not being stable with anything thicker than water in my camera head, and i am sorry but i think you are totally wrong, and seem to have forgotten that i am not doing this professionally, and i am sorry to say that the Velbon head that i just bought is a better head than you may think it is, problem is guys like you are quick to pick the crap out of other peoples gear without even trying them, and i will bet my bottom dollar that you have not even used the Velbon 368 to pass any kind of real judgement anyway, especially not for my specific circumstances anyway.

I do not need a heavy artillery of tripods now massive weights for what i am doing, and i know that if i can find some suitable thinner grade non sticking grease, i will not be having any tripod movement using my camera on the Art 190 tripod, i guarentee you of that.

cheers
Glen Pinno is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 19th, 2015, 07:47 AM   #6
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Glasgow , Scotland
Posts: 172
Re: Help Needed - Fluid Head Grease or Oil

Glen ,

what Chris is trying to say is that mass brings stability : the torque that must be applied to overcome the fluid 'sticktion' at the start of a pan can be enough to topple a lightweight tripod .

As you said yourself , you can add weight by suspending something from the tripod legs to help this .

Re the fluid , I rebuilt a Manfrotto MN116 head many years ago as it always had a bit too much drag for my liking , even with the drag controls backed off to the point of being completely undone !

After some research , I obtained a tube of Rocol Kilopoise grease from Farnell Electronic Components here in the UK . This was somewhat 'thinner' than the original grease and made some improvement , but the 116 head was an older design intended to support heavy studio cameras , and , being pretty heavy in itself , not something you'd want to lug around very far at all . I still have that head up in the attic , although I no longer use it , having moved from larger , heavier cameras to something a lot smaller and lighter these days

We all know that replacing the damping fluid is never going to turn a budget head into a top end model , but a few pounds and a little time can bring a modest improvement .
Derek Heeps is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 19th, 2015, 01:21 PM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Rossland, British Columbia
Posts: 906
Re: Help Needed - Fluid Head Grease or Oil

Glen,
I too have attempted what you are trying. It was a different head, but exactly the problem you had with the pan being too stiff due to a very thick damping fluid. I also tried various different greases etc, but in the end what you need is some damping greese. After the advise of others here i managed to get some small samples sent to me that i was able to try. The thickest of all the samples did the trick.
Hope this helps.
Bryce
__________________
There's never enough hours in the day!
Bryce Comer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 19th, 2015, 10:54 PM   #8
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: PERTH. W.A. AUSTRALIA.
Posts: 4,311
Re: Help Needed - Fluid Head Grease or Oil

You might need to be a little careful with what substitute lube you put into the friction control surfaces of the head, especially if any of the surfaces are aluminium. If the lube layer extrudes to become a thin layer, then breaks down under pressure, the metal may gall, even pickup onto the opposite wearing surface and you may end up with something which looks and operates like it is sandpaper.

There's not much you can do about telescopic tripod legs that flex with the frictional resistance of the head until the friction material cracks and lets go. You might be able to add a fourth solid leg as an arm which pegs down into the adjacent ground but then you are back to lumping more weight around the countryside.

What may be helpful to dampen the initiation of your pan movements is either another pan-handle fixed to the top of the tripod that you can push against as you initiate the pan movement so the legs do not store energy in a flexing movement.

Alternatively you might try a second pan-handle facing forward on the left side of the moving head and use a full firm grip from overhead and full body movement whilst initiating the pan so that your own body mass dampens the movement when the legs reach breakout tension and the friction material lets go. This technique also enables tilt follows of birds and aircraft to be much more controllable.

If a second pan handle cannot be conveniently fitted, then the alternative along with an unconventional operating technique is to make a tee-bar which fits to the pan-handle hole with upright or forward-facing arms for two-handed tilt control and the same overhead full body movement technique. It is a troublesome method as the tee-handle tends to twist around in the fixture, either wearing it out or breaking it off.

You can protect it to some degree by making a shorter spur shaft in place of the pan-handle then attaching the tee-bar via a long and fairly tight bearing. If the tee-bar is free to flex on the spur shaft due to a slack bearing and/or too short a bearing surface, then you are back to square one with the uncontrollable wind-up problem.

At the end of the pan movement, you hold the head stable until your static shot ends, then let it go.

I am no expert in this topic so please heed the better advice of others.

Last edited by Bob Hart; January 19th, 2015 at 10:56 PM. Reason: errors
Bob Hart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 11th, 2016, 01:29 PM   #9
New Boot
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 7
Re: Help Needed - Fluid Head Grease or Oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Pinno View Post
Yep you have totally lost me m8, so i wont even attempt to quote anything you said.

I just cannot understand this fixation you seem to have with "sticks" not being stable with anything thicker than water in my camera head, and i am sorry but i think you are totally wrong, and seem to have forgotten that i am not doing this professionally, and i am sorry to say that the Velbon head that i just bought is a better head than you may think it is, problem is guys like you are quick to pick the crap out of other peoples gear without even trying them, and i will bet my bottom dollar that you have not even used the Velbon 368 to pass any kind of real judgement anyway, especially not for my specific circumstances anyway.

I do not need a heavy artillery of tripods now massive weights for what i am doing, and i know that if i can find some suitable thinner grade non sticking grease, i will not be having any tripod movement using my camera on the Art 190 tripod, i guarentee you of that.

cheers
Hi Glen,
I service all makes of camera support equipment, am fully authorized to do so by the OEM's and have done for some years now.
Chris' reply is correct in all respects, your sticks are only going to be any good with minimal drag. Frankly he spent considerable time patiently responding to your query and gave a good synopsis. I find your response a little disconcerting. Please mind your manners m8!!
Ian Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 11th, 2016, 05:13 PM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Raleigh, NC, USA
Posts: 652
Re: Help Needed - Fluid Head Grease or Oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Pinno View Post
I just cannot understand this fixation you seem to have with "sticks" not being stable with anything thicker than water in my camera head...
You might not get it, but that doesn't mean he's wrong. In fact, he's telling you the truth. You just have to figure out how to understand it. It's simple mechanical engineering -- if you've had the training. Otherwise it can look like magic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Pinno View Post
... and i am sorry but i think you are totally wrong...
You can think that. Doesn't make him wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Pinno View Post
... and seem to have forgotten that i am not doing this professionally...
You'll find the laws of physics don't care whether we do things professionally or not. Pros, non-pros, the laws of physics are just the same either way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Pinno View Post
... and i am sorry to say that the Velbon head that i just bought is a better head than you may think it is, problem is guys like you are quick to pick the crap out of other peoples gear without even trying them...
You clearly haven't done a lick of research. The man you're so busy insulting has. There's probably no one on this forum with more real practical tripod/fluid head experience than Mr. Soucy. But I suspect you've heard the last of his advice. Who could blame him after this little tantrum?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Pinno View Post
I do not need a heavy artillery of tripods now massive weights for what i am doing, and i know that if i can find some suitable thinner grade non sticking grease, i will not be having any tripod movement using my camera on the Art 190 tripod, i guarentee you of that.
Go for it. Spend all the time and energy you need to. Tell us how it turns out. I guarantee that it'll be an interesting learning experience for ya.
Bruce Watson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 12th, 2016, 06:12 AM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Aberdeen Scotland
Posts: 429
Re: Help Needed - Fluid Head Grease or Oil

I have a cheap Fancier head. I find if I give it a good workout prior to use it slackens off for smoother moves. I can only assume it might get better the more I use it. In my case I make do with what I can afford. If the wife knew it would even be less ;-)
Donald McPherson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 12th, 2016, 03:13 PM   #12
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 165
Re: Help Needed - Fluid Head Grease or Oil

When I was young and stupid (now I am old and slow) I bought three O'Connor 1030 heads. They are wonderful but very heavy. Because of heavy use, we serviced them every two years. O'Connor sells some special lubricate that really does the job. Unfortunately, it costs as much as a decent head.
Lose that Velbon! Look at the Sirui! I needed an additional head but I was not going to shell out the money for another Sachtler.
I gambled on a Sirui for my small cameras. Beautiful quality and very good pan and tilt.Surprisingly good head for the money.

BTW, I use light Gitzo CF tripods.

Good luck
Dan Gunn is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

Omega Broadcast
(512) 251-7778
Austin, TX

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

EVS
(800) 238-8480
Glendale, CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Support Your Local Camera > Tripod Sticks & Heads

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:33 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2015 The Digital Video Information Network