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Old August 30th, 2015, 10:06 AM   #1
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Beholder, 3 axis gimbal

Daddy has got a new toy :) I got myself a beholder 3 axis gimbal for 500 dollar, it's the cheapest and smallest I could find for my personal use and for the few weddings I still have left to do. I don't have persmission to show this footage so that's why I made it look a bit funky because it's about the motion, not what you actually can see. It actually looks a bit what I saw when I got stung by a wasp yesterday :)

There are some good things to say about this one but also some bad, for my purpose it's ok to use and I plan to make a day free this week to make a personal short film.

First the positive things

The gimbal motors are much stronger then the Nebula 4000 I have used before, I can start and stop the camera while the gimbal is active and it doesn't move, the Nebula would go haywire as soon as I touched the camera.

The rotation of the handle and camerasled is limited, you can't keep it turning causing wires to snap which can happen with the Nebula if you are not carefull.

Balancing is very quick done and even if it's off balance the gimbal will still correct to keep it level, as far as I know it's not possible to change parameters.

If you start the gimbal up it doesn't shake like the nebual did, if you keep it horizontal while activating it just remains it's position.

If after you activate the gimbal and it is not pointing straight ahead you can easily correct that with the small joystik on the handle to pan or tilt, something the nebula can"'t do so you need to turn the sled to the right direction.

smoothness is ok, there are some microjitters which I also experienced with the nebula, only the nebula is possible to finetune if you know what you are doing.

It's small and light, I found it easier to take along compared to the nebula.

The not so positive
Eventhough balancing can be done quick it can be a bit of a hassle the first time you set it up, there are no fine adjustment tools, just a small tripodplate which takes the most time to adjust for a good balance because you have to take the camera of the sled each time to make an adjustment. Once that is done you can make a small mark on the tripod plate so you can position it correctly immediately when you use it next time. This only works ofcourse if you use the same camera/lens combination.
Once you slide the camera and tripod plate in it's just a matter of sliding it forward/backward untill it's balanced and lock it with a screw.

The scew to attach the tripodplate is of a poor quality, the metal is quite soft and I can see it being damaged easily from fastening and making it loose each time.

The button to active the gimbal is very small and almost level with theh handle which probably was done to prevent it from accidently being pushed but I have had several tmes where I took it out of the bag and activating the gimbal without wanting to.

It's not possible to open the screen on my gh4 because the gimbal arms are on the wrong side, same as with the nebula.

The lcd screen is hard to see because the camera is almost positioned against the backside of the gimbal arm.

It's limited in camerawheight, the supplier has a gh4 and a 9-18mm lens on it which I also used and that brings the camera to it's max wheight limit I think.

First impression are good, especially considering it's low price, will show a finished short film end of this week taken entirely with this gimbal.

All shots where stabilised in Edius to take out the jitters, a process that is very quick but does have it's dissadvanteges as it not always work with every shot.

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Old August 30th, 2015, 05:43 PM   #2
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Re: Beholder, 3 axis gimbal

The footage looks very smooth and stable to me Noa, I look forward to seeing further results
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Old August 30th, 2015, 07:09 PM   #3
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Re: Beholder, 3 axis gimbal

Looks good Noa!
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Old September 1st, 2015, 05:57 AM   #4
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Re: Beholder, 3 axis gimbal

Any links to buy? steve
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Old September 1st, 2015, 06:06 AM   #5
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Re: Beholder, 3 axis gimbal

Not sure if I"m allowed to directly link here but I got mine from "cnchelicopter" for 500dollar, there you search on "beholder TRD MS1 BHPP 3 axis handhled gimbal pro plus for BMPCC sony A7s nex 5/6/7, pansonic GH3/4 etc. camera"

I"m trying to make a day available this week to shoot and share my experiences so maybe you better wait and see. :)
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Old September 1st, 2015, 06:46 AM   #6
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Re: Beholder, 3 axis gimbal

Off topic Noa, but just happened to watch your Pam and Bram wedding video. It's so very very well put together.

It makes me realise I put too much emphasis on creating great shots and scenarios, but ultimately with a great edit and well done timeline, super fancy shots aren't really needed.

You do of course do nice shots, but I'm surprised how well you do without seemingly having to pose anything or get up close to the couple.

Its a real shame you are quitting weddings!
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Old September 1st, 2015, 07:27 AM   #7
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Re: Beholder, 3 axis gimbal

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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
Not sure if I"m allowed to directly link here but I got mine from "cnchelicopter" for 500dollar, there you search on "beholder TRD MS1 BHPP 3 axis handhled gimbal pro plus for BMPCC sony A7s nex 5/6/7, pansonic GH3/4 etc. camera"

I"m trying to make a day available this week to shoot and share my experiences so maybe you better wait and see. :)
Ok cheers Noa
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Old September 2nd, 2015, 02:06 PM   #8
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Re: Beholder, 3 axis gimbal

OK, did some more serious shooting today :) See first post where I have replaced the earlier video.

The beholder performed quite well, I did have some minor jitter when moving but most I could remove with Edius build in stabilizer, you do see the "wobbly" effect of that edius stabilizer some times but for me it's within limits. I actually had the same issue with jitter on my Nebula which I had for a short while.

Some weird behavior noticed today; just above the power button there is a joystick to manually pan and tilt, you can also press it which in my case only locks the position of the gimbal so it doesn't move when you walk, when I press again it releases and there is pan and tilt motion again when you point the gimbal up/down or left/right. Only 2 times the unit powered down after pressing the joystick which should not happen.

There is only a manual in Chinese included so I am not sure what a single or double press on that joystick actually does and if it's supposed to only lock the Gimbal like in my case.

I shot a full hour of footage and the beholder batteries are still not empty.

Pressing the record button or pressing the shutter button to refocus while the gimbal was active was no problem, the motors keep the camera in place, only when you start up the camera it's best to keep the unit horizontal because then you only feel a minor twitch when it starts up, you feel the gimbal motors slightly vibrate in the handle for a second or 2 and then it doesn't vibrate anymore, if you hold the gimbal in an angle when you start it up it started to vibrate each time and needed a restart.

I have a feeling the gh4 with the 12mm is at the gimbals weight limit, probably a smaller camera such as a lx100 might perform better, not sure though.

Allthough not a perfect gimbal it's worth it's 500dollar. Time will tell if it is reliable.
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Old September 2nd, 2015, 02:29 PM   #9
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Re: Beholder, 3 axis gimbal

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Originally Posted by Clive McLaughlin View Post
but I'm surprised how well you do without seemingly having to pose anything or get up close to the couple.
I just stay in the background, don't talk much and watch for anything special to happen, I shoot a lot handheld as well with stabilized lenses because it gives me more freedom to move around instead of dragging a monopod or tripod around. The Pam and Bram film was done with another videographer which gave me the opportunity to have more time and control throughout the day and I didn't have to work with the limitations that shooting alone always has which was nice for a change. I would do such an American wedding every week, even with my bad back :)
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Old September 2nd, 2015, 02:54 PM   #10
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Re: Beholder, 3 axis gimbal

Incredible Noa. I watched with my mouth open. I think it's a bargain!

In a year or two, we may see a truly killer version released by one of the bigger companies, but it's a fantastic gimbal from what I can see in the films. I didn't really notice where you added stabilisation either.

Apart from the gimbal, great work as well! Great framing as always!

I think I'm readying a purchase of a gimbal next year, but I think I'll wait until after NAB.
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Old September 2nd, 2015, 06:44 PM   #11
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Re: Beholder, 3 axis gimbal

Impressive stuff Noah, I am sure you make it look easier than it really is :) I would be happy to get results like that.
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Old September 3rd, 2015, 01:56 AM   #12
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Re: Beholder, 3 axis gimbal

Quote:
I am sure you make it look easier than it really is
I know a videographer that got the blackbird steadicam because of my steadicam footage he saw and had to sell it again because he was not able to get anything smooth out of it and now he is using a 3 axis gimbal as well. :)

It helps a lot if you have experience using a steadicam, such a 3 axis gimbal is a bit tricky though to get smooth pan and tilt motion because the speed it turns depends on how much you turn the handle or at what speed you tilt it up or down, if you do it too slow you get jerky movement, if you do it to fast you miss your target.

I can get smoother movement out of my blackbird and that one still remains my goto stabilizer at weddings when I"m shooting inside + it's more reliable. It only is not capable of that level of control in motion like 3 axis gimbals can achieve.

Quote:
In a year or two, we may see a truly killer version released by one of the bigger companies
There are already good 3 axis gimbals but they come at a price and from what I have read, they also can malfunction, if you want to get results quicker, then a 3 axis gimbal is the way to go but the same rules apply like using a regular steadicam if you want to have smooth motion. It will enhance your production value and especially for your trailers that go online.
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Old September 3rd, 2015, 03:03 AM   #13
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Re: Beholder, 3 axis gimbal

One question Noa - Are your clips in this video slo mo? I find that can help to give the smooth look. I still think my CAME Single is a beautiful piece of equipment but I'd like to play with the settings.

The abruptness of the gimbal turning along with the handle is something I'd like to 'soften'.

Have you done any software tuning with your Beholder?
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Old September 3rd, 2015, 03:18 AM   #14
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Re: Beholder, 3 axis gimbal

Yes, they are all slowed down 50% apart from one shot at 00:57, I wish the gh4 could do 50fps at 2.7k like my gopro 4 can as that would make it possible to correct framing errors.

I"m not sure but as far as I know it's not possible to do any software tuning but I might be wrong, there is a manual included but it's in Chinese. It does seem to work fairly well out of the box with the gh4 and a 12mm or 9-18mm from Olympus which both are very small and light lenses.

"The abruptness of the gimbal turning along with the handle" is what I described as being tricky with these kind of gimbals and requires some practice to get right but it would help if you could dial in the speed it uses to follow any movements.
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Old September 20th, 2015, 05:06 PM   #15
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Re: Beholder, 3 axis gimbal

My last 2 weddings my blackbird stayed in the car and I only used my beholder the entire day and I am impressed, I have not yet been able to empty the battery as this things keeps on going, in total I have 1,5 hour worth of steadicam footage from yesterdays wedding and the batterylife indicator on the gimbal still was a solid green (I believe it starts flashing red when getting empty.)

The control I have over my movements is much superior to my blackbird, I can start in whatever angle, hold it like that, start moving and let it go to wherever I point it, getting smooth panning and tilt motion is tricky though. Also when I keep it still it's like tripod steady.

One minor issue I discovered so far is that sometimes it's not level and it's leaning to one side, something that can be corrected by doing a calibration by placing it on a straight surface and then pressing a button 2 seconds.

I was not able to place a small and light microphone on top of the camera because couldn't balance the camera anymore, the extension of weight on top of the camera made that impossible, maybe the camera needs a bit larger lens to compensate for that.

Balancing the camera before I start is a piece of cake, I"m up and running in no time.

Like I said this gimbal does not give me blackbird alike smoothness in movements while changing direction which is because the blackbird uses a gimbal without friction while the beholder reacts on how much you turn the handle for panning or push it for- or backward for tilting and that motion is not always gradual, you can manual let it pan or tilt with a joystick but that is one constant speed and it stops abrupt so only usable to correct or lock the position of the camera before you start shooting.

Biggest issue is not having a good view on the viewfinder as that is partially blocked. I was thinking of using the panas wifi function to view on a smartphone which I can attach to the handle.

They have a new gimbal out now that looks much more versatile but I guess will be much more expensive.

My moves at weddings just have become more epic :) I still will have my blackbird as backup, that one doesn't get electronical failure or needs batteries to work. :)
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