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Walking the line with Jerry


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#1 Tom Daigon

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 02:25 PM

I have been getting used to my new rig (Glidecam V-25 / X45) by spending a lot of time refining its balance and practicing my line walking. As I watch Jerry do "the change" (on the old training dvd) I see how close he maintains his position to the sled as he
circles around to the Don Juan and back to the Missionary. Its almost like the sled shaft is his pivot point. The base of the EFP he uses has a battery close to the shaft. It seems that rails these days are very popular and lots of the rigs I have seen seems to have rails that extend out enough to make Jerry's technique almost impossible (ie banging into the rails). I went and reconfigured my system to see if I could get a balance and buy a little extra clearance at the bottom. Is this an issue that the pros have to come to terms with or is it just a newbie distraction?

Edited by Tom Daigon, 31 January 2010 - 02:33 PM.

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#2 RonBaldwin

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 03:27 PM

That particular sled was designed with no way to move the battery -- and I don't think it dynamic balanced btw. Many (most?) who use that sled add brackets to move the battery farther back to balance better as well as increase the pan inertia.

The heavier the monitor (or the farther out or lower it is) the more the batts have to move to the rear. The lighter the monitor (or the closer it is to the post, or the higher it is raised) the more the batts need to be moved inward toward the post. Both shorter and longer sleds will pan flat if properly set up, but the pan will feel different. Everytime you fix one thing you'll screw up another. Shorter rigs give more leg clearance but might be less stable and visa versa. If there's one thing this old fart has learned it's that there is no right or wrong, just what works for you (for instance I suck at don juan, so I never use it...with a steadicam)

I'm sure I just confused the issue and someone else will chime in to say what I did in a better way

Ron
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#3 Jerry Holway

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 07:35 PM

Tom-

As Ron said, every sled configuration is different. As you point out, the EFP's battery was way in, so I did not have to move it away much to do the switch. And out of the box, the original EFP could not be made to dynamically balance (why that subject was not on the DVD, BTW).

So for any rig, one learns just how much you need to separate yourself from the rig to get clearance from the battery. Remember to keep you back vertical (never bend over) and keep the sled's centerpost in approximately the same relation to your body... see the DVD for that aspect, the overhead shot should be clear.

The book explains it pretty well, too.

Jerry
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#4 Tom Daigon

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 08:55 PM

Tom-

As Ron said, every sled configuration is different. As you point out, the EFP's battery was way in, so I did not have to move it away much to do the switch. And out of the box, the original EFP could not be made to dynamically balance (why that subject was not on the DVD, BTW).

So for any rig, one learns just how much you need to separate yourself from the rig to get clearance from the battery. Remember to keep you back vertical (never bend over) and keep the sled's centerpost in approximately the same relation to your body... see the DVD for that aspect, the overhead shot should be clear.

The book explains it pretty well, too.

Jerry


Thank you Jerry. I am honored to have your response. I was finally able to drop the hinged dual battery arm down to a 45 degree angle and position my hd monitor in a complementary angle and distance above it to get good clearance and good balance. Im sure this will be a dynamic process (intended pun) as I learn more about stuff. The handbook has been a good adjunct as well. At 55 years old I love learning new things, but I have to tell you, as I practice these techniques part of me is glad that my "day job" has been editing for 30 years. Pushing buttons has never made me sweat like practicing steadicam has. My hat is off to folks that do this 8-10 hours a day. You people are a bunch of animals ;-)
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#5 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 10:20 PM

From another 55-year old newbie, welcome!

I took a weeklong workshop recently (best investment I could have made) and one of the things emphasized by Jerry, Garrett, et. al., was when making the switch, get out of the way of the sled...in other words, keep the sled moving in its straight line, and YOU need to step/lean back to get the clearance from the batteries. Common error is to push the sled away from you, and/or lean forward. This natural tendency promotes poor posture, fatigue and poor control.

The Handbook gives an excellent, concise primer on how to get dynamic balance. The essence is to set your monitor where you want it, place the camera cg slightly behind the post, then make the other adjustments with the battery and top stage fore/aft knob, to achieve static and dynamic balance (and spread the monitor and batteries for as much or little pan inertia you want). Clearance should generally be a secondary consideration, solved by developing your technique. Good monitor viewing, db, and inertia are your main concerns.

Before the Workshop I had a fair amount of experience with my Flyer (which has very little rear battery extension) and I had to retrain my reflexes in order to lean/step back enough to clear the batteries of the big rigs when switching. But within a day or two of concentrated practice it started to come much easier.
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#6 Tom Daigon

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 11:45 PM

Thanks for the welcome Mark. I played with the placement and balance issues for several hours today and I think I have things at an optimal setup. I am envious of your workshop experience. If I hadnt been layed off from the production facility I was senior editor at for 10 years, I would spare no expense to take a workshop as well. The dvd and book will have to suffice for now . Its nice to have them augmented by the talented and helpful folks this this forum.
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