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-   Monopods (incl. FlowPod) (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/monopods-incl-flowpod/)
-   -   Varizoom Flowpod (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/monopods-incl-flowpod/12413-varizoom-flowpod.html)

Raj Kay August 14th, 2006 04:44 PM

I've recently started practicing using my Flowpod. So far, I've achieved some interesting footage with its use. The movement is fluid, however I get an unexpected lateral motion. I'm still learning its proper use.

It takes me some time to properly balance the device as it's quite sensitive. I've never used any other stabilization device, unfortunately, so I wouldn't know how it compares. The balance is thrown off if I make any changes to the setup, including opening my lcd monitor. One thing I've done to simplify the process is to mark my balanced points with a sharpie.

I've just practiced shooting with my headset monitor plugged into the cam. The balance was thrown off, so I'll need to experiment some more.

-rk

Sean Seah August 16th, 2006 08:27 AM

It takes me 2min to set up. B4 I leave home for the shoot, I will balance it on the plate. U gotta get this quiock release adapter that will allow u to remove the cam. Once I reach the location, I pop up the cam and ta da.. its balanced.

I could use it for 2 min or so. I use it on an FX1 with 3hr battery and Rode Videomic. Plus the fact I'm Asian.. I get really tired after a night out. The thing I do not like is the catch of the monopod section. I rather it was the "turn screw" type then the current latching type. Its too slow to set up the monopod mode. Balancing is easy as long as the counterweight is sufficent. Only problem is the long end of the pole tends to strike against my legs if I'm not careful. Therefore I have to hold it to my right. Its tough but still, it works for now.

Beth Dill August 18th, 2006 02:18 PM

Sean, what quick release adapter do you use?

Steve Sobodos February 3rd, 2008 02:01 PM

I just purchased the Flowpod off Ebay (unknown what vintage) and after using it at one wedding with my Canon XH A1 I have the following comments:

1. If your camera, light and wireless are heavy it is only useable for 30 second type shots. The guy I shot with (Alec Moreno) has been using his for a while and he can go much longer because his right arm is stronger now.

2. On a relatively heavy camera/accessory setup you need to add even more counter-weights making the rig even heavier. The ring weights from VariZoom clamp on the silver part between the handle section and the monopod sections on the bottom. I needed six counter weights at the lowest point to balance the rig (2 Lbs., 5 oz.) The solution I learned from Alec is to mount weight on the lowest monopod section. You need less weight as it is has more mechanical advantage and it makes lowering the monopod easier because it pulls the sections out. I pulled off the rubber foot and used big washers from the hardware store.

3. I use the Bogen 577 quick release plate which uses the same camera attachment as both of my tripod heads (Bogen 519 and 501). It allows for quick balancing adjustments fore and aft.

In summary, don't think you will be using it a lot as a stablilzer on a gig unless you get real strong. Having a monopod built in makes it work as a tool.

BJ Elliott September 15th, 2008 04:08 PM

I've been really torn between getting a Flowpod or a Levelpod. I'm leaning towards the Levelpod because: (1) Easier on the back, shoulders, and arms with leverage and the shoulder strap so it can be used on longer shots, (2) you can change your hand holding point at will to balance the product on the fly instead of having a fixed hand position and needing to rebalance the whole rig if I make a change, and (3) the levelpod has a quickrelease, so I don't need a screwdriver to remove the camera for tape changes (bottom loading camcorder, unfortunately).

Any thoughts?

Dave Blackhurst September 15th, 2008 10:50 PM

BJ - since you've asked in a couple different spots, thought I'd give you some feedback.

True steadicams typically use a gimbal type arrangement that requires you to balance everything out, and when done right, and with some practice, it should keep a camera level and pointed in the direction you want it with minimal sway... Flowpod uses a swivel joint to achieve a similar effect. The penalty is that you have to add quite a lot of weight for this sort of mechanical solution, thus why most serious steadi operators eventually go to a vest...

The Levelcam/levelpod takes a different approach entirely (as he notes on his site). It spreads the center of gravity of the camera, putting a second grip further out so it really helps keep tilt (the thing that makes handheld the most offensive and seasick inducing) to a bare minimum. Fig Rig uses a similar principle, I myself use a flash bracket, or a pair of them, to achieve the same effect, as do many others. I find it's a cheap effective way to "fly" a camera, as you have good control in most axis, and your arms absorb a lot of the bounce inherent in handheld. Once you get used to the idea of "steering" a camera through a shot, it comes quite naturally!

I also use a monopod with a belt clip, though I have decided that using it as a monopod set on the ground is just too wobbly. I'm happy with the versatility, it's very similar to a device I keep coming back to, the Tiffen Steady Stick... it's overkill for the lighter cams I use now, but the monopod and a neck strap work quite well to achieve the same effect. I can use it with the brackets too... it's a little bumpy when you move, but you're highly mobile and quite stable when you stop. I see the Levelpod uses a counterweight system, so it should be a bit more refined than a monopod alone.

You can add a QR to virtually any rig, and if you're doing event video where you're on and off a tripod, this is probably mandatory. Just add in the cost of a couple sets of the QR of your choice.

Hope that helps clarify things a bit. I've come to the conclusion that there is no "perfect" rig for all purposes, but the levelcam/levelpod is pretty similar to what I've cobbled up and use myself from off the shelf components... and it's "close enough" for what I want...

Steve Sobodos December 2nd, 2008 10:50 PM

Update: I switched to using my HV30 to lower the weight (and therefore counterweight). The camera is too light even with no counterweights so I mounted a Anton Bauer EgripZ to the bottom of the camera. It adds just the right amount of weight and the arms add mass to keep it more stable rotationally. If I need a light, I use washers on the bottom of the monopod so less weight is required to balance and I can get more leverage by lowering the monopod section instead of more weight.



Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve Sobodos (Post 819477)
I just purchased the Flowpod off Ebay (unknown what vintage) and after using it at one wedding with my Canon XH A1 I have the following comments:

1. If your camera, light and wireless are heavy it is only useable for 30 second type shots. The guy I shot with (Alec Moreno) has been using his for a while and he can go much longer because his right arm is stronger now.

2. On a relatively heavy camera/accessory setup you need to add even more counter-weights making the rig even heavier. The ring weights from VariZoom clamp on the silver part between the handle section and the monopod sections on the bottom. I needed six counter weights at the lowest point to balance the rig (2 Lbs., 5 oz.) The solution I learned from Alec is to mount weight on the lowest monopod section. You need less weight as it is has more mechanical advantage and it makes lowering the monopod easier because it pulls the sections out. I pulled off the rubber foot and used big washers from the hardware store.

3. I use the Bogen 577 quick release plate which uses the same camera attachment as both of my tripod heads (Bogen 519 and 501). It allows for quick balancing adjustments fore and aft.

In summary, don't think you will be using it a lot as a stablilzer on a gig unless you get real strong. Having a monopod built in makes it work as a tool.



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