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-   -   Steadicam Pilot - Getting Started Q & A (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/stabilizers-steadicam-etc/115235-steadicam-pilot-getting-started-q.html)

Dave Gish June 11th, 2008 01:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Julian Frost (Post 891496)
But, f I could power the monitor and an FS-C using one set of batteries, that would be excellent.

By the way, the FS-C is rated at 7.5 watts. If the FS-C can run off of 12 volts, then the Pilot-AA batteries could power the widescreen monitor and the FS-C for about 2 hours. The fast chargers I mention at the beginning of the thread recharge in 1 hour. So if you call Focus Enhancements, you may want to ask about the FS-C running on 12 volts...

Julian Frost June 11th, 2008 09:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Gish (Post 891522)
So if you call Focus Enhancements, you may want to ask about the FS-C running on 12 volts...

No dice... I already asked them... they say it requires 15V, and I tested it with 12V myself. No go. :-( Your other point about the fast charger is also a good one.

Steven, yes, I know what you mean about not wanting to play with electricity. I've found that many manufacturers don't want to be too specific because they want you to buy their product, not that of a competitor.

BTW, the Pilot (VLB) got the following review on the B & H website:


Cons:
Not durable, Weak Construction

Bottom Line:
No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Too many plastic parts in high traffic places.
I would have paid extra for a better thought process on durability issues. You have to be very careful with this unit. But does the job.


Anyone agree/disagree with the review, above?

Dave Gish June 11th, 2008 11:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Julian Frost (Post 891739)
Anyone agree/disagree with the review, above?

Yeah, I saw this review as well, and I have no idea what they mean. The Pilot is mostly aluminum and carbon fiber, very little plastic. The wing screws, thumb screws, and post expansion lever are partially plastic, particularly where you touch them, but this seems to be designed for comfort, and it doesn't look like these parts would wear out quickly.

One thing that probably will wear out over time is the Velcro straps on the vest. I'm pretty sure you can order replacement straps, but I'll have to check on that. To be clear, the Velcro that's sewn into the vest (hook side) will probably last a long time, but the removable Velcro straps (loop side) seem like they might wear out sooner.

But overall, the Pilot seems extremely well designed and put together, so I have no idea why the reviewer on the BH VLB page thinks it will wear out quickly.

Joe Lawry June 12th, 2008 03:17 AM

Looking at purchasing a pilot system with either ABs or VL batteries.

I currently do not own either system as am only shooting on an HVX.

Are there any advantages to buying either batteries when it comes to the pilot (im doubting it). But i thought i'd ask.

Am currently looking more towards AB's as im a bit of a panasonic fan boy and all their big cameras use AB's so might be the right battery system to invest in.

Nick Tsamandanis June 12th, 2008 07:48 AM

That review is way too harsh. Of course you will have to be careful with it. I handle all my gear like a baby anyway. Joe I use the Swit 8080s batteries for my Pilot with a single charger (VL). Why? cheaper.

Joe Lawry June 12th, 2008 02:08 PM

Yea, im going to go in and get some prices on swit systems today, ive got a couple of their little batt's for my HVX and they last a long time.

Julian Frost June 17th, 2008 05:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Julian Frost (Post 891739)
No dice... I already asked them... they say it requires 15V, and I tested it with 12V myself. No go. :-( Your other point about the fast charger is also a good one.

I got a reply from Focus Enhancements about the FS-C and it's power requirements. They said they cannot recommend any power source, other than those listed on their web site, but gave me the following information, which included everything I needed:

-- Begin Quote --

The FS products have the following DC power requirements for the DC port on the bottom.

--12V DC min to 20V DC max = Voltage Range
--12V DC = Voltage will run the FS
--14V DC = will charge the battery as well as power. (So it is preferred)
--The input DC connector is Tip Positive.
--2.5MM size

-- End Quote --

So, it would seem a pretty trivial task to make up a fused power cable from the IDX battery to the FS-C and have the battery run both the monitor and the FS-C. This seems like a good solution. I'd expect to get several hours out of the the IDX batteries while running the FS-C and the Pilot's monitor, and you get 2 IDX batteries with the Pilot.

Dave Gish July 13th, 2008 06:32 AM

Excellent review of the Steadicam Pilot here:
http://www.dvinfo.net/articles/camsu...icampilot1.php

Julian Frost July 13th, 2008 01:03 PM

Excellent review indeed. Thanks for posting the link, I've been waiting (impatiently) for it!

Dave Gish July 22nd, 2008 03:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Gish (Post 891784)
One thing that probably will wear out over time is the Velcro straps on the vest. I'm pretty sure you can order replacement straps, but I'll have to check on that. To be clear, the Velcro that's sewn into the vest (hook side) will probably last a long time, but the removable Velcro straps (loop side) seem like they might wear out sooner.

Right. On my last shoot the right middle velcro strap (just under the chest) started coming off the front plastic part of the vest. I fixed it by rotating the strap 180 degrees. In other words, I put the worn out part on the back of the vest and the fresh part facing the front. The left strap did the same thing a month or two ago, and rotating the strap 180 degrees fixed that for the time being.

But it's obvious that taking the middle straps on and off a lot wears out the Velcro, so I ordered 2 extra straps as backup. These are Tiffen part # 801-7812, $32 each (22"x2" Velcro straps for middle chest area of Pilot/Merlin vest).

Hope this helps.

Buba Kastorski August 20th, 2008 03:05 PM

Can I power EX1 from Pilot batteries?
 
I know that guys have been trying to power f.store from VL battery power, but I wonder if anybody tried to power the camera from the pilot battery, I have VL (IDX) version, and one battery is good for powering just a monitor for about 6 hours, I'd be happy if I could power EX1 from the same battery, even if it'll be just a couple hours, but the thing is E-7S batteries are 14.4v and the EX1 takes 12v, does that make it too complicated?
any thoughts would be really helpful.

Charles Papert August 20th, 2008 03:47 PM

The standard Sony BP-U30 and U60 batteries for the EX1 are nominally 14.4 just like the E-7S. You should have no problem powering the EX1 from that battery.

Thanks to the push-on power connectors on both the Pilot and the EX1, this would be a very simple cable to connect the two. I'm not sure if anyone is making them yet (Tiffen should be) but if you had access to a half-decent electronics store that has a variety of those connectors, it would be an easy home-build cable if you have the inclination.

Buba Kastorski August 20th, 2008 07:45 PM

wow, that would be awesome, thank you Charles,
I'm not a very handy man, so probably I will get a professional help,
will post the results :)

Charles King August 21st, 2008 03:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Charles Papert (Post 922708)
...home-build...


Love the use of those two words, CP ;) HA HA

Dave Gish August 21st, 2008 07:34 AM

Steadicam newbie practice partners
 
Any Steadicam newbies looking to pair up with another Steadicam newbie for a practice partner, see here:
SteadicamForum.com - A Community of Motion Picture Camera Stabilization Specialists

Buba Kastorski September 12th, 2008 10:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Charles Papert (Post 922708)
Thanks to the push-on power connectors on both the Pilot and the EX1, this would be a very simple cable to connect the two. ...

Charles , thanks again
wasn't too complicated and it works great, got the sony 12v power adapter from ebay, cut the connector, soldered with the one that came with the pilot,
wow I am a handy man :)
Sunday have to shoot, will check for how long EX1 and the monitor will run on fully charged E-7S

Dave Gish September 13th, 2008 10:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Buba Kastorski (Post 934118)
got the sony 12v power adapter from ebay

Can you give a link for the ebay page? Do you know if the same 12v power connector works on the EX3? I might have to make me one of these also...

Buba Kastorski September 14th, 2008 04:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Gish (Post 934252)
Can you give a link for the ebay page? Do you know if the same 12v power connector works on the EX3? I might have to make me one of these also...

Hey Dave,
sent you an email with the link,
I don't have EX3, but I'm 99% sure it has the same as EX1 power connector,
did some shooting today, powered EX1 and the pilot monitor from the same E-7S,
after 3 hrs non sop, battery still shows like 60%, (two lights out of three)
not too bad :)

Julian Frost September 14th, 2008 05:19 PM

Use BNC or Video Out Connector on XH-A1?
 
The photos on Charles Papert's review of the Steadicam Pilot appear to show the BNC connector on the XH-A1 connected to the Pilot's monitor input. Is this how everyone else connects up the monitor, or do you go via the video-out plug on the back of the camera? Is there a benefit to using one over the other? Is the BNC wired the same as the video-out plug (basically tip to tip, ring to ring)?

Dave Gish November 2nd, 2008 08:20 AM

bump..........

Joe Lawry November 26th, 2008 07:30 PM

After adding a new accessory to my camera i of course had to readjust my balance. When i was playing with the stage adjustment i heard what sounded ALOT like sand or dirt in a lens.. we all know the sound.

I thought at first that somehow i'd managed to get along the back and forward and side to side adjustment tracks on the stage.. upon taking the top plate off the stage i discovered it was actually the screw that was holding my Manfrotto QR plate that was the problem.

The bottom of it, where the slot for your flathead screwdriver goes into was rubbing against the where the top of the post meets the stage.. No real damage has been done apart from a couple scratches so all good.

I went back and found the screw that came with the pilot and noticed that the flat part is a lot thinner than the one that came with my QR plate.. i didnt use the pilot one because it was too short to screw all the way up into the manfrotto plate.

So time to find a replacement. Just thought i'd post this up incase anyone comes across this in the future..

Steven Davis November 26th, 2008 07:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Joe Lawry (Post 969476)

So time to find a replacement. Just thought i'd post this up incase anyone comes across this in the future..

Joe, I went threw the same screwy situations...........wait............wait.....ok, I thought it was funny. You can actually get spare screws from Steadicam. I tried to file some down from the hardware store, but that didn't work so well.

Dave Gish November 26th, 2008 08:03 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Joe Lawry (Post 969476)
The bottom of it, where the slot for your flathead screwdriver goes into was rubbing against the where the top of the post meets the stage.. No real damage has been done apart from a couple scratches so all good.

I went back and found the screw that came with the pilot and noticed that the flat part is a lot thinner than the one that came with my QR plate..

I had the exact same problem.

When I first got the Pilot I was using a smaller DV camera, so I added a weight plate under the camera to make it fly better. I used a longer 1/4-20 screw to go through the weight plate into the camera. The longer 1/4-20 screw had a round head, so it ended up scraping against the inner part of the stage.

I solved the problem by filing down the head, and then carefully removing all the metal filings with a shop-vac. No permanent damage, but you can still see some cosmetic scratches when the top plate of the Pilot is removed.

Now I have an HVX, but I still end up adding extra weights to the stage to make it fly better:
Steadicam | 801-7920-05 Middle Balance Weight
(click on the attached photo below).

Dave Gish November 26th, 2008 08:14 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Speaking of camera tie-down screws, I found an excellent screwdriver for this at Home Depot for only $6:
Husky 5/16 In. x 1-3/4 In. Slotted Screwdriver
Every camera operator should have at least one of these...

Steven Davis November 26th, 2008 08:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Gish (Post 969493)
Speaking of camera tie-down screws, I found an excellent screwdriver for this at Home Depot for only $6:
Husky 5/16 In. x 1-3/4 In. Slotted Screwdriver
Every camera operator should have at least one of these...

I carry pennies around, but a screw driver works well too. Good discussion.

Joe Lawry November 26th, 2008 09:01 PM

Just took my screw and put it in a lathe.. now it works perfectly! cheers

Charles Papert November 26th, 2008 09:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Gish (Post 969493)
Every camera operator should have at least one of these...

Yes indeed, but has your screwdriver been immortalized in TV history??!!!

The very first thing I bought for my own kit (was still using a rental rig) was a mega-screwdriver with a wide bit like the one Dave illustrates but about twice as long. Many cameras back then only had a single mounting point so you had to tighten the crap out of them to keep them from rotating on you. I went for the longest one I could find to maximize torque. This sucker was menacing.

On the pilot of "Scrubs", there was a scene where the Janitor threatens Zach Braff's character with a big screwdriver. The one that the prop department provided was not nearly as imposing so I offered mine up (see it in action here, about :30 into the clip).

Towards the end of the first season, that scene was called back with a new intern arriving at the hospital, and the screwdriver made its second appearance on network TV. Too bad it didn't get residuals.

The story has a tragic end; not long after this my old friend disappeared from my frontbox. Petty thievery brought an end to our long working relationship.

Craftsman Big-Ass Screwdriver: 1988-2002. RIP.

Dave Gish November 26th, 2008 10:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Charles Papert (Post 969511)
Yes indeed, but has your screwdriver been immortalized in TV history??!!!
...
On the pilot of "Scrubs", there was a scene where the Janitor threatens Zach Braff's character with a big screwdriver. The one that the prop department provided was not nearly as imposing so I offered mine up (see it in action here, about :30 into the clip).

Can't top that! Very cool...

Dave Gish February 21st, 2009 12:43 PM

bump..........

Charles Papert February 21st, 2009 09:22 PM

Dave, this thread is a nice resource that has received good responses so I have stickied it. Mazel tov.

Randy Panado February 22nd, 2009 03:01 AM

Great thread! Answered a lot of my questions :).

Danny O'Neill February 23rd, 2009 11:04 AM

I found something in my local hardware store to help stop the camera moving about on the stage.

In the UK in B&Q you can get Draper Slip Mat. Its like a thin, rubbery, foam like substance which feels tacky (sticky). A slice of this under your quickrelease plate (or camera) and it wont budge an inch.

I got a roll of it for about 5 although you only need a small ammount, used the rest on my dash board and rugs :)

Randy Panado February 23rd, 2009 04:36 PM

How many mid weights should I buy if I'm flying a Xh-A1 and plan to later fly an EX-1? Would 2 be enough?

Dave Gish February 23rd, 2009 04:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Randy Panado (Post 1017142)
How many mid weights should I buy if I'm flying a Xh-A1 and plan to later fly an EX-1? Would 2 be enough?

I would buy 8. Unfortunately, Tiffen just raised the price on middle weights from $6 each to $25 each, but it looks like you can still get the $6 price here:
Steadicam 801-7920-05 Balance Weights, Steadicam

Randy Panado February 23rd, 2009 09:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Gish (Post 1017157)
I would buy 8. Unfortunately, Tiffen just raised the price on middle weights from $6 each to $25 each, but it looks like you can still get the $6 price here:
Steadicam 801-7920-05 Balance Weights, Steadicam

Thanks for the heads up. Does the pilot come with 4 end weights already? If so, I need to call and get my order fixed to include 2 more end weights.

Dave Gish February 23rd, 2009 10:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Randy Panado (Post 1017307)
Does the pilot come with 4 end weights already?

The Pilot comes with 4 middle-weights and 4 end-weights. I've ordered an extra 8 middle-weights, for a total of 12. For lighter cameras like the XH-A1, I use all of my weights (12 middle weights, and 4 end weights).

Randy Panado February 23rd, 2009 11:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Gish (Post 1017339)
The Pilot comes with 4 middle-weights and 4 end-weights. I've ordered an extra 8 middle-weights, for a total of 12. For lighter cameras like the XH-A1, I use all of my weights (12 middle weights, and 4 end weights).

Okay sweet. All set then :).

Richard Siberry May 5th, 2009 08:24 AM

XHA1 with 35mm Adapter
 
Has anyone tried using the Pilot with an XHA1 and Letus 35mm adapter? Can it still handle the weight when using a long lens, eg. 300mm f4, approx. 3lbs? Not sure what the entire rig would weigh as I don't currently have an adapter, both it and a stabilizer are on my shopping list, just trying to determine which stabilizer.
Thanks, Rich.
Montauk Rocks - Oscail Films

Dave Gish May 5th, 2009 09:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Richard Siberry (Post 1137861)
Has anyone tried using the Pilot with an XHA1 and Letus 35mm adapter?

See here:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/stabilize...f-adapter.html

Charles Papert May 5th, 2009 10:40 AM

What exactly were you thinking to shoot at 300mm on any type of Steadicam...?!!


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