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Top or Bottom!?!?

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#1 Alfeo Dixon SOC

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 08:45 PM

Ok, seriously.

So I like many of you have the double duty of operating on and off the rig. To make this transition faster, I was looking at the few options that work best. So far I'm torn between these two options and wanted to address the reasoning.

The first being the Ronford-Baker Quick Release [#80003] which would allow the camera to connect to the sleds dovetail or the fluid/gear heads.
Posted Image

Camera stays in the exact location when retuning to the steadicam.
Very stable mounting system proven for years.
Fastest method.
Any Rigging on the Dovetail stays on the rig (motors, rods, MDR, etc.)

Adds height to CG
Any Rigging on the Dovetail stays on the rig (motors, rods, MDR, etc.)

The second, would be the Cat-Griller make by Cam-Tec/Baer-Bel. This one allows the dovetail to stay attached to the camera and over to a head.
Posted Image

Entire configuration goes from steadi to sticks or dolly. (if you build off your rods on the dovetail)
Noting to add into your configuration.

If you build your motors and MDR on the Dovetail and wanted to get into a standard studio mode, your still having to disassemble your config.
Could slip if not properly tightened.

SOLUTION: Versatile top/bottom

Possibly use both. Add the Ronford-Baker above the dovetail, this allows for a quick way to remove the camera without any of your rigging on the dovetail. Then have a Cat-Griller for retaining your wireless configuration that is built onto the dovetail.
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#2 RonBaldwin


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Posted 14 November 2009 - 10:28 AM

I don't like having my dovetail plate stay with the camera. It gets the shit kicked out of it, possibly harming the top stage with the added scratches/gouges/nicks/dings from normal use. Only did it once. Now I take the extra 30 seconds and switch plates.
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#3 Mike Germond SOC

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 12:06 PM

I rented my rig out to a small Indy Film shooting in Michigan this summer (first and last time I do that...hey it was a slow month!), and they got pretty run-and-gun with it. They mounted everything directly to my dovetail plate, and when they wanted to transition to sticks, they screwed the tripod plate into the bottom of the dovetail! I wasn't to excited to see it at first, but it actually worked quite well.

Of course there's something to be said about the weight of an EX-1/RedRock package versus Film..
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#4 Aaron Medick SOC

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 01:05 AM

I say make'm wait. It takes 1 minute to unscrew and re-screw as long as your ACs are ready for it. Most jobs don't move fast enough that is matters. If they do in my experience we are shooting with an ENG style camera and I have a chrosiel/sony quick release on.

If I felt that time was the major factor, I guess I'd pick the ronford, but I'd keep it in my pocket. We only have one body. The extra time may just be the recovery time your muscles need.
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#5 Charles Papert

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 05:39 PM

I think a lot of the time estimate is going to be routed around whether or not there is anything attached to the Steadicam dovetail. If you have rods attached and motors mounted from same, conversion to studio mode is likely to be more involved than simply removing the dovetail and replacing with another plate--now it's a matter of building the hard follow focus onto the rods, adding the mattebox etc. Possibly you might be using an Arri-style baseplate in which case all of those bits may still be able to live with the Arri dovetail. There's lots of permutations. Point is, if the only thing that changes on the setup is having to switch baseplates, my personal feeling is that it is smarter to avoid this step and use a Catgriller or equivalent (I have a homemade one).

Much of the definition of "smart" comes from your perspective. If you are the DP and Steadicam operator, my experience after all of those (long and wearying) days wearing both hats is that I would rather keep the setup as uniform as possible and eliminate any dicking around between modes, so I don't have to factor in conversion time to my already overloaded brain. More often than not the combined DP/Steadicam job is a function of budget, and almost all of the jobs I've done with that dual moniker have involved stuffing 10 gallons of work into a 3 gallon day, so every minute counts and the last thing I need is to have to wait for AC's to take their damn time changing over parts all day long. If I'm just the Steadicam operator, I have much less invested in the concerns of how much work needs to be shot that day and while I am focused on helping everyone above me fulfill their visions in the appropriate time frame, it's not quite the same (as a DP, I always wish the clock would go slower so we can fit more shots in--not the case when I'm just operating).

I'm in the midst of designing a DSLR setup that will accept a generic baseplate and three or more dovetails that will be set up with either a touch-and-go, Steadicam dovetail and handheld pad (plus additional if needed for a crane or car mount etc). Everything is self-contained, integrated and powered from a single battery so that you pull it off one mount and slide onto another in seconds. I did a sort of proof of concept with that on a shoot a few weeks ago and it was glorious to be able to switch modes without any time loss.
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