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newbie... not sure about upgrade options


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#1 Fabian Alexander Aust

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 11:56 AM

hey guys. was great just to read around here so far, now this is my first post here... thing is, i want to fly two setups that are quite different: 1. a very, very simple GH1 setup with pretty much... nothing except camera and lens. this is usually around 1kg or even less, like 900 grams or so. 2. a jvc hd100 setup, for now with stock lens and nikons, but in the future, i'm planning to add a hocus focus (pretty soon), a mini35, a matte box and (hopefully, if budget allows...) a nano flash. this final setup will probably be around 8kg, given that i can power everything from the sled battery. let's say 9,5 kg in case i need a seperate idx battery and additional power stuff on top. now of course i'd like to have one rig that covers all that, weight-range-wise. i'm definitely leaning towards the real steadicam stuff, however the flyer seems to go from 2kg minimum and i've read a couple of times that the steadicam arms perfrom somewhat better close to their weight limit... so i've been looking for alternatives to the flyer and also, i'm tryin to understand upgrade options from pilot to flyer. but i'm not really getting the big picture here. ok i'd be very thankful for any input on all this!
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#2 Brian Freesh

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 01:46 PM

The simplest answer is to buy a weight plate for your GH1, or pay a machinist to make one. Say around 4.5kg (10lb). Janice Arthur sells some at various weights that might be useful. I don't know what the hole pattern is on them. I had my own made that has an offset hole for DSLRs, so you might have to have a hole or two added for your uses if you buy a ready-made one.

To upgrade from a Pilot to a Flyer you should sell the pilot and use the money as a down payment on the Flyer. Different arm, vest, sled, etc... everything's different.

9.5kg (21lb) is just over the Flyer LE's weight limit. Technically. In fact, are you counting the battery on the sled in that weight? If not add that on and you're definitely getting into a zone higher than recommended. Make sure you get a clip-on matte box, or a similarly light matte box. Don't forget that everything affects your weight! Naturally, you want the lightest weight of everything.

If it starts to look like you might regularly be over the 9.5kg, you should probably look at a rig with a higher weight range. There are those here that are willing to go over the maximum weight limit of the FLyer and Flyer LE, myself included, but while you're probably just fine for a couple kg or a few lbs, I personally don't recommend more than that, and certainly not every time you operate!

If it looks like you'll definitely never be over 9.5kg (but make sure you've taken EVERYTHING in to account) then the Flyer LE is your rig! Just remember, in the future if you start to see that number rising and there is no way to shave off more weight, it's time to upgrade to a larger rig!
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#3 Amedeo Fabroni

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 01:52 PM

Hi Fabian,
the Flyer is perfect for the JVC HD100 setup. For the GH1 setup you have to use a customized steel plate to achieve the right load weight.
Amedeo
Sorry Brian............In the meantime I posted with the IPhone..............!!!
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#4 Fabian Alexander Aust

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 02:14 PM

great to see you guys feedback so quickly! i was actually thinking that the 19lbs limit means 19lbs on top, going straight on the camera mounting platform so to speak. so that's wrong?
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#5 Brian Freesh

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 02:31 PM

Truth be told, you're correct, depending on what batteries you are using, and how many. IIRC, their math includes 2 power cubes on the bottom. Naturally, if you are only using one battery, your camera is not too heavy! Though with a long sled, I suppose you could still balance with one... Their math also includes the standard monitor, so if you get the HD version (no reason to) you have a marginally lower weight limit. Technically. I include the batteries out of habit, because I use Hytron 50s, which are heavier than power cubes, and because I put too much weight on top anyway. By counting my batteries as part of the total weight it's easier to trick myself into thinking I'm not over (and in fact sometimes I wasn't). This was an easy trick to pull on myself because I used to be under the impression that the weight limit was total payload (which, frankly makes more sense to me because they don't know what batteries you are using, or how many).

So if you want to know TOTAL payload, add the weight of two power power cubes. That way, if you use other batteries like me, you can be more accurate as to what you are working with. Otherwise, you are relatively safe assuming 19lbs on top.
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#6 Mike Germond SOC

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 03:25 PM

Each PowerCube weighs 1.5lbs and has 6000mAh. To put that in perspective, a Hytron 50 weighs 1.9lbs and has 1100mAh. You can do the math...you get longer life with less weight in an IDX PowerCube..

As far as payload goes, I can fly 25lbs on the topstage of my Flyer LE with 2 PowerCubes on the bottom and the SD monitor (or spread that weight between the top and bottom depending on what accessories I fly). It has been my experience with Tiffen that every arm has some variance, but they won't sell you an arm that will allow you to overload your sled..

Edited by Mike Germond, 18 February 2010 - 03:26 PM.

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#7 Fabian Alexander Aust

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 03:28 PM

cool, that makes a lot of sense
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#8 Brian Freesh

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 04:04 PM

Each PowerCube weighs 1.5lbs and has 6000mAh. To put that in perspective, a Hytron 50 weighs 1.9lbs and has 1100mAh. You can do the math...you get longer life with less weight in an IDX PowerCube..

As far as payload goes, I can fly 25lbs on the topstage of my Flyer LE with 2 PowerCubes on the bottom and the SD monitor (or spread that weight between the top and bottom depending on what accessories I fly). It has been my experience with Tiffen that every arm has some variance, but they won't sell you an arm that will allow you to overload your sled..


Just to disagree (as I have before): It's the gimbal that is the potential problem when you do this. Tiffen would never claim you can put more than the specified weight on your sled safely! So yes, apparently they WILL sell you an arm that COULD allow you to "overload" your sled, even if you don't allow the arm to sag. What I assume you mean Mike ('cause we've discussed this before) is that the max weight the arm will take will still allow proper balance of the sled. I agree. I did it with my 2nd gen Flyer, and it didn't have an extendable post! The guys at Tiffen still sigh when I talk about it! Steve Tiffen seemed marginally proud when he heard, though. :)

I stand by my statement in a previous post in this thread and every time this conversation has come up (which is pretty often, cause everyone wants a Flyer that'll take more weight, myself included!): You CAN put more than the spec'd weight limit, but any time you do you are risking gimbal failure! A few pounds here and there is probably not gonna cause any big issues (probably no issues at all, really), but constantly maxing out your arm/balance capabilities could have severe consequences to the rig! There's a limit for a reason guys! Don't push Murphy, he will push back!

Also, Mike and I's arms are generally considered pretty beefy for Flyer/Flyer LE arms (both taking 32.5lbs total before sagging). Don't assume your arm will take quite as much weight until you've tested it! It will always take more than the spec weight, cause that's the only way to guarantee it'll never be limited to less.
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#9 Mike Germond SOC

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 09:27 PM

They do the same thing with the G-50 and G-70 arms then, because the way Peter explained it to me was the Clipper's 35lb capacity is determined by subtracting the 15lb sled/monitor/battery weight from the arm's 50lb limit. The same goes for the Ultra2 with the G-70. But on those sleds, the weak point is in the stage, not the gimbal. I was under the impression that the Flyer LE gimbal has roots in the Ultra 2's bearings..

This is probably bad, but I flew an EX1 w/ Letus35, 70mm canon lens, zacuto rails and mattebox, and a 2lb counterbalance weight on a 1st gen Flyer. The arm took it!
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#10 Fabian Alexander Aust

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 05:51 AM

To upgrade from a Pilot to a Flyer you should sell the pilot and use the money as a down payment on the Flyer. Different arm, vest, sled, etc... everything's different.


so tiffen do that? and if they do, can you get an ok deal?
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#11 Mike Germond SOC

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 08:07 AM

i believe they will take a trade up...not sure how much of a deal it is.
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#12 Brian Freesh

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 12:01 PM

To upgrade from a Pilot to a Flyer you should sell the pilot and use the money as a down payment on the Flyer. Different arm, vest, sled, etc... everything's different.


so tiffen do that? and if they do, can you get an ok deal?


They do, but I'm pretty sure you'll get a much better deal selling it to someone.

They do the same thing with the G-50 and G-70 arms then, because the way Peter explained it to me was the Clipper's 35lb capacity is determined by subtracting the 15lb sled/monitor/battery weight from the arm's 50lb limit. The same goes for the Ultra2 with the G-70. But on those sleds, the weak point is in the stage, not the gimbal. I was under the impression that the Flyer LE gimbal has roots in the Ultra 2's bearings..

This is probably bad, but I flew an EX1 w/ Letus35, 70mm canon lens, zacuto rails and mattebox, and a 2lb counterbalance weight on a 1st gen Flyer. The arm took it!


Sounds about right. I've always felt the Flyer arm should be called the G-30! Though there's no G, so I guess the -30... Hmm... Maybe not... Although 30/30 (boom range)... Still sounds dumb.

Excellent point about the top stage! The top stage of the Flyer is certainly a consideration with the weight issue, someone has mentioned it to me before now that I'm thinking about it. I wouldn't be surprised at all if that was the weakest link in the system as far as stress tolerances are concerned.
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