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#1 Mark Phillips

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 11:12 AM

Hello All
My name is Mark and I've recently started using and have limited access to a flyer system (one without the telescoping post). I have the handbook and have been reading over it as well as the EFP dvd, but am having trouble applying some of the balancing techniques from both of those materials to the flyer. I can get it fairly balanced no problem, but when I start to fine tune the balance it seem I can never get it quite perfect. Also once I put it on the arm the sled seems very sensitive when compared to the unit in the EFP dvd which seems so stable. I'm guessing that I'm not dynamically but I just don't know how to achieve dynamic balance with the flyer. Any tips or tricks would be greatly appreciated. Also I usually have a HVX-200 on the sled if that helps.

Thanks for all the help
Mark Phillips
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#2 Kevin Andrews SOC

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 11:21 PM

Hello All
My name is Mark and I've recently started using and have limited access to a flyer system (one without the telescoping post). I have the handbook and have been reading over it as well as the EFP dvd, but am having trouble applying some of the balancing techniques from both of those materials to the flyer. I can get it fairly balanced no problem, but when I start to fine tune the balance it seem I can never get it quite perfect. Also once I put it on the arm the sled seems very sensitive when compared to the unit in the EFP dvd which seems so stable. I'm guessing that I'm not dynamically but I just don't know how to achieve dynamic balance with the flyer. Any tips or tricks would be greatly appreciated. Also I usually have a HVX-200 on the sled if that helps.

Thanks for all the help
Mark Phillips



Mark, the Flyer is going to be a very touchy rig especially when used with a light camera like the HVX. It will not feel or act like the EFP in the video with a betacam on it.

It is mass that creates the inertia that makes the sled stable. Mass of camera and sled weight combined. The Flyer in most cases, cannot achieve dynamic balance due to it's design. You can try adding weight to the monitor to balance out the batteries and it should help a little.

The good news is, if you can learn to rangle a light Flyer, you can take those techniques to larger rigs. Keep on practicing.
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#3 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 11:57 PM

Save yourself months if not years of trial and error but taking at least one of Tiffen's two day Flyer workshops with Peter Abraham. Search the Forum and you'll find this topic covered in-depth and then some. Workshop and practice, lather, rinse, repeat!

Robert
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#4 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 10:16 AM

Hi, Mark

I have a Flyer rig with a HVX200, like yours. Yes, touchier than an EFP or other big rig, due to less mass=less inertia (and the lower sled design doesn't allow spreading the masses out to increase intertia.) However, this "touchiness" could also be relabeled "responsiveness". It definitely requires a lighter touch than a big rig but once you master it, it can be a real delight to operate, and great results are possible.

Now, touchiness and dynamic balance are two mostly-separate issues. My thoughts on each:

Dynamic balance: totally possible with an HVX on a Flyer. Here are some tips:

-remove any external shotgun mic, and anything else that will affect side-to-side balance. Tape or velcro any floppy cables.
-the monitor bracket should always be fully horizontal.
-the battery paddle on older Flyers tends to slip and mess up your db. Remove the battery paddle, get a metal file and file some nice deep grooves into the surfaces where the bottom spar and battery paddle mate. Slip a toothed lock washer in. For good measure, buy a Kipp lever from Tiffen and replace the existing screw, so you can quickly and toollessly crank that puppy down.
-follow Jerry's instructions from the Steadicam Operator's Handbook for db...find the cg of the camera, mount it so the cg is just a little behind the center of the post, get good static balance, check dynamic balance, adjust and tweak per instructions, etc.
-With my HVX200 (bare, with extended life battery onboard) and one Hytron 50 battery below, I can get excellent db with the battery paddle just about vertical (actually very slightly "tucked in" past vertical).

Once you've balanced everything, you can mark all the positions with a pencil or something, to make it easier to get back to. Small changes in the rig (wireless mic receiver, video transmitter, etc.) make a significant difference in both sb and db.

Regarding touchiness, it's mostly a matter of mass:

-you can increase overall mass on the top plate. Janice Arthur sells 6.5 point weight plates, or fashion a homemade one.
-another way to increase mass is to load the camera down with accessories, such as wireless receiver
-load the camera with a Tiffen lowmode bracket, which in turn you could screw additional weights into
-or you could fashion homemade antlers, which will give you great gains in pan and roll inertia without adding large amounts of extra mass.
-you could add mass below the gimbal (like an extra battery) but this will force you to mount the gimbal lower on the post, which you don't want.
-try a shorter drop time than a big rig...experiment with 1.5 seconds. The rig will feel more stable in some respects.

Of all of these techniques, I use a slightly shorter drop time and sometimes (but not always) use a weight plate. The rest is just a matter of proper balance, getting to know the rig, and practice, practice, practice.

Oh, and make certain that you have your socket block adjusted with proper in/out and side to side threads. This is critical to good form and good feel, and will affect your experience greatly.

And yes, take a workshop! Good luck and have fun!
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#5 Andrew Stone

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 12:31 AM

I have the handbook and have been reading over it as well as the EFP dvd, but am having trouble applying some of the balancing techniques from both of those materials to the flyer. I can get it fairly balanced no problem, but when I start to fine tune the balance it seem I can never get it quite perfect. Also I usually have a HVX-200 on the sled if that helps.


If you have a baseplate, wireless microphone receiver, mattebox, etc. put it on the camera to add weight. If you are using just the HVX operate it with the battery on the back of it. On the bottom, assuming you have the TrimPac batteries - use just one.

When you are bringing the rig into initial balance remember to find the center of gravity (CG) of the camera with ALL the stuff on it. Use a thick pen or screwdriver (I sometimes use the side of my finger) as the fulcrum to locate the "CG". When you do that make sure you place the CG over the back half of the side to side adjustment screw. That is effectively the sweet spot that Jerry and Ted speak about in the DVD, the 3/4" back from the centerpost of the rig. Once you do that adjust the battery so the unit is roughly balanced. Get your droptime to about two seconds or slightly over. Adjust the battery again. Now adjust the fore and aft as well as the side to side for fine balance and you should be very close to being properly balanced.

Generally speaking you want the top of the gimbal a couple of inches below the topstage of the sled. If you have it more towards the center of the post the rig will tend towards listing and be very difficult to operate.
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#6 Douglas John Kropla

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 09:33 PM

OR, you could completely modify the lower part of the sled. Its easy, like gettin hit in the head with a hammer. Just wanted to throw in my 2 cents. Seriously though, after the modification I did it is a lot easier to get DB on my Flyer.
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