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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)

Christopher Witz June 10th, 2008 12:37 PM

I thought this questions was answered for you already in the ex-1 thread.... buying a sony proprietary mini d-sub to composite/svid cable is the only option. Only takes about 15 mins to cut, solder, shrink tube.

btw... this cable is the same as the one for the HC1 and other sony HDV handicams.

Sean Seah June 11th, 2008 12:26 AM

ooh ok. I was hoping there was any chance that someone has access to the connector alone. Thks..

Julian Frost June 11th, 2008 12:54 PM

Pilot, IDX E-7S Batteries and Canon HX-A1?
 
Would the IDX E-7S batteries which come with the Pilot VLB also power a Firestore FS-C? The specs on the FS-C says it requires "15V", which I suspect is probably more like 14.4V, the operating voltage of the IDX battery. Has anyone tried this combination?

I'm still trying to decide which Pilot system would be best for me -- The AA battery system would be cheaper overall and the batteries both the cheapest and easiest to replace at their end of life. But, f I could power the monitor and an FS-C using one set of batteries, that would be excellent.

BTW, I just got back from a 2.5 week trip to England and France. There were so many places where I would have loved to use a Steadicam!

Steven Davis June 11th, 2008 01:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Julian Frost (Post 891496)
Would the IDX E-7S batteries which come with the Pilot VLB also power a Firestore FS-C? The specs on the FS-C says it requires "15V", which I suspect is probably more like 14.4V, the operating voltage of the IDX battery. Has anyone tried this combination?

I'm still trying to decide which Pilot system would be best for me -- The AA battery system would be cheaper overall and the batteries both the cheapest and easiest to replace at their end of life. But, f I could power the monitor and an FS-C using one set of batteries, that would be excellent.

BTW, I just got back from a 2.5 week trip to England and France. There were so many places where I would have loved to use a Steadicam!


Hey Julian,

I went through the same question before I bought my steadicam. I ended up having to relay specs back and forth between Frezzi and Steadicam, because I wanted to know if I could power my light off the plug that runs up the neck of the sled. I don't play around with electricity, so I had to call.

Dave Gish June 11th, 2008 01:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Julian Frost (Post 891496)
I'm still trying to decide which Pilot system would be best for me -- The AA battery system would be cheaper overall and the batteries both the cheapest and easiest to replace at their end of life. But, if I could power the monitor and an FS-C using one set of batteries, that would be excellent.

Note that the Pilot VLB has a "special" charger. I've heard this special charger takes a long time to charge, perhaps overnight. So you may end up spending a lot more for a fast VL charger. If slow charging times are an issue, you might want to check this out.

Hope this helps,
Dave

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.


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