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Old March 31st, 2014, 11:36 AM   #16
Inner Circle
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Camas, WA, USA
Posts: 5,513
Re: Which Stabilizer for DSLR

I spent some more time with the Blackbird on the monopod last night. I mounted a juicedLink preamp under the 5D2 to lift the camera, which required more and more extended weights for more inertia. It definitely helped make things easier.

Then it struck me. Well over half of my shots would be done with a tripod, given an assistant to schlep it around. The Blackbird/monopod setup would mean that all of my shots would be done on a gimbal - and the last thing a steadicam operator wants to be is a tripod. Even the best operator will have a bit of drift. (And I'm not the best operator.) Rather than steady, a gimbal can be like a boat on rolling water. However, when you move the camera around and track things, the drift seems to disappear and (if well-framed) you simply perceive the smoothness.

This all points me back to the Solo again. I prefer the solid connection to the camera most of the time. But when the opportunity to fly presents itself, it sure would be great to just grab the handle and go. It's really ideal for my style of shooting.

The other thing I do with my monopod setup is mount Redrock handles, shoulder pad and follow focus. Depending on the carrying capacity of the Solo, this could also work, adding yet more mass and stability to the operation. With a quick-release plate, I can set the handles and shoulder pad on the ground to create an impromptu low-boy tripod for locked down shots - perfect for time lapses.

One thing I want to test at the show is a large steadicam setup - possibly with just the sled on a stand - so I can feel the stability of a larger unit. And then I want to test the lower-weight Solo/DSLR setup. I want to know if this light stabilizer thing is realistic, or are we really kidding ourselves. Maybe I'm not as poor an operator as I think...
Jon Fairhurst
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