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Old October 28th, 2008, 09:28 AM   #1
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vibration on tripod

I am filming some in flight footage and the first test I shot showed something I didn't think of at the time... On takeoff, the engine vibration is transmitter through the tripod (I know, I should have known), which makes for really blurry footage.

Do they make a tripod head that absorbs vibration? What are some suggestions?

FYI... the video is here: Inflight Video Testing in Cirrus SR22 on Vimeo
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Old October 28th, 2008, 12:00 PM   #2
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I did a lot of research on sticks before I found mine and I never saw anything that offered that feature in the price range I was looking for, under US$2,000. There might be something out there but I'd expect the price would be quite a bit higher. You might have more luck looking into a stabilization system.

You might try putting foam or a gel type insulator under each leg of your tripod. That might mitigate the vibration some, but it would potentially add issues with the bottom of the legs moving around.

One final thought. You might also look into a clamp like the Manfrotto SuperClamp and clamp it directly to part of the plane. The short distance between the clamp and the camera will minimize flex and whipping motions you might get. There's science in there somewhere but I'm not smart enough to explain it. I use the SuperClamp to mount handicams inside race cars and they work wonderfully well. You can see some of those shots here: One Great Mini Stock Heat on Vimeo Yeah, I know the PAR's wrong.

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Old October 28th, 2008, 01:32 PM   #3
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To be honest, attaching to the aircraft is far, far worse. The frequency of the vibration is the problem. The trick of using a small boom, or steadicam style suspension removes much of the low frequency movement - the lurches and sudden drops, but the true vibration style movement is too fast for even these devices to buffer out. Air cushions are pretty good at isolation, but not good for stability. 3 air cushions and a reasonably heavy tripod spread wide might work, but much depends on the aircraft. I did use a couple of connected stickypods stuck on the inside of the windows and these were not too bad - still some jitter, but on wide shots it was hardly noticeable. If you think light aircraft vibrate, try helicopters or even worse still, autogyros.
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Old October 29th, 2008, 10:23 AM   #4
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I think the first thing I will try is foam under the feet... I am assuming I should get the softest foam I can find?
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Old January 21st, 2009, 01:30 PM   #5
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Vibration in aerial shots

I tried setting up the tripod on the front seat of my Mooney and strapping it in with the seatbelts. What I got was a lot of for-and-aft swaying if you are down low and in bumpy air. Really awful.

If you suspend the camcorder from bungees on the ceiling, any turbulence gives you a nice sea-sickening effect.

Then I tried a monopod, with the front seat passenger holding that as upright as possible on the floor, without interfering with the control wheel. Still lots of for-and-aft swaying in any kind of turbulence, because the passenger couldn't hold it totally vertical, and any bumps have an X-component if the monopod is at any kind of angle. Maybe, maybe in an SR-22 with no control wheel, you can hold the monopod totally vertical and that might work, especially with some rubber on the floor. Don't know.

I am currently using a suction cup mount on the side window, but then I get 41-42 Hz vibration (from the engine) that causes the image to roll in waves. I have not tried turning off the OIS to see if maybe that was actually exacerbating the vibration. That will be next.

If I took the camcorder off the suction cup mount and held it in my hand, and then rested my hand on the suction cup mount, I got perfect images. That's the way I've been shooting most of the "Bird's Eye View" video series at Air-Wave Productions so maybe the solution is some sort of gel or rubber isolator between the camcorder and a suction cup mount on the window.

If anybody runs across a vibration damper camcorder 1/4-20 mount, I'd sure love to try it.

Dave Morris
Air-Wave Productions
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 11:12 PM   #6
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Have you tried the suction cup and RAM mount combination? The RAM mounts use a steel ball which is covered in rubber. This produces an excellent non-slip surface for the ball and also decreases vibration. i haven't tried it in an aircraft, but it works well in a car, so might be worth a try.

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Old January 29th, 2009, 12:52 PM   #7
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You might try "memory foam" for the tripod legs. It has a real interesting makeup.

You can request a sample from Tempurpedic found here:
Tempur-Pedic - Promotions - Free Night-time Renewal Kit
You can also find similar material out on the web. I have a pillow and mattress made from memory foam but not from Tempurpedic.

I don't know if it will do what you want it to but it's worth a try.

Liked the video.

He's only mostly sDEADy.

sort of from "The Princess Bride"
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