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Canon XLH1 with FlyerLE - help

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#1 Tomislav Koren

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 01:58 PM

Hello guys,

this will be my first post ever, so don't bang me for asking, I did my homework and I haven't found anything similar.

After long and painful decisions, I bought FlyerLE to fly my Canon XL H1 through my weddings. Everything was OK
until I discovered that I cannot move anywhere because I'm not able to manage anything what was written and spoken about
DB. So, I'm thinking about throwing everything to garbage and forget about it all.

XL series camcorders are known that their weird about weight distribution. After five years of working with XL series I became familiar with that, also with Canon's dumb habit of adding approximately 1kg to this line of camcorders every year.
So, now we ended in about 5kg with basic setup (largest battery, stock lens). Reading brochures, contacting Tiffen, I found out that this weight was too much for Pilot (don't blame me, this is my first ever stabilizer) but Flyer should take it fine. Everywhere was written that camera capacity of this system is around 8kg, so I thought that I have much of reserve left. Now I have found that sled's weight isn't included in that 8kg of system/arm capacity, and with my camcorder,
base monitor and one 0.6kg battery I founded myself @7,9kg what would be near limit of what arm can support.
The question is whether I'm right? If I add eventually some weight to the monitor, I would quickly jump out of weight limit, right?

Second, again thanks to Canon, this camera has CG approx. on lens mount. It's far far in front of mounting plate center.
If mounted few milimetres back (in order to achieve DB) with that battery I have (0,6kg V-mount) It is impossible to achieve DB without adding weight to monitor.
I cannot add too much, or I'll be out of the Flyer's range.
Basically, It is impossible for me to move away from achieving SB with that camcorder/battery...

What I'm interested is if someone on this forum flies XL H1 on FlyerLE...any help would be highly appreciated.

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#2 Sydney Seeber

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 02:30 PM

your numbers aren't adding up there... Sure, you may have to add a weight here or there to make up for a camera's wacky balance, but that camera had been used countless times in the very setup you mention. Are you sure you're not adding extra peripherals or something?
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#3 Tom Wills

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 05:57 PM

I don't think the weight capacity on your Flyer should include the weight of the sled. You certainly shouldn't be topping out the rig with an XL-H1. The XL-H1 is not a terribly heavy camera - especially compared to the RED and ENG setups that some people have flown on their Flyer LE systems. Take a look at some of Mike Germond's posts. He's flying a quite heavy live studio camera on his rig, along with 2 monitors and a ring light on the lens, all on his Flyer LE. Check it out. I'd venture a guess that that's heavier than your XL-H1 setup. The thing with good rigs like the Flyer LE is that if you overload it, you won't have enough room to adjust the arm to float properly. You'd tension the arm up fully, and it'd still sag - if it doesn't do that, you're not above the weight capacity. Really, if it flies, it flies.

As to getting Dynamic Balance, it sounds like you're doing the right thing by placing the CG of the camera behind the centerpost - but it really only needs to be very slightly behind the post on a rig as small as the Flyer. I've never been an expert in DB, though, so hopefully someone else can chime in with help on that!

Good luck with your rig! I always salivate over the Flyer LE every time I get to fly it - such a nice rig for the weight range.
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#4 Andrew Stone

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 07:10 PM

If you are using the sled to power the camera, I would suggest using a battery designed for your camera to put some weight on the back of it. I have a similar problem to yours as I often have a heavy lens on the front of an EX3 which I use on the Flyer. The battery hanger on the lower spar isn't a lot of help with DB but it is definitely doable. Try to put some weight on the back of your camera with accessories and a battery. Your camera weight is well within the Flyer's range.

I am sure you have read this... You should take at least a 2 day course, if you haven't done so. It will help tremendously.


EDIT: to correct spelling

Edited by Andrew Stone, 21 June 2010 - 07:12 PM.

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#5 Charles Papert

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 07:47 PM

Remove the viewfinder. If you still need the microphone, you can get a simple hot shoe mount.
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#6 Brian Freesh

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 09:37 PM

Hi Tom,

I see you are very frustrated! Starting to learn a musical instrument from books and recommendations is a similar exercise in futility. If you like the look for your wedding videos, keep at it, you'll make it! I agree with the workshop suggestion, there's no beating it!

I'm not sure why you are unable to move anywhere, can you please elaborate? what is going wrong when you try to move?

DB is not a necessity, certainly not perfect DB. It's definitely nice to get close, but unless you are doing a lot of whip pans in your wedding videos, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Master the basics first.

The payload of the Flyer LE is 20lbs (9kg) so you are well within limits. As you said, that payload does not include the weight of the sled, monitor, or battery on the sled. What that means is that your camera could weigh up to 9kg. The pilot payload limit is 10lbs (4.5kg) so it would indeed not be the correct rig for your 11lb (5kg) camera weight.

You won't ever achieve perfect DB with a Flyer, it's just not designed for it. You can get decent DB by swinging the battery to be vertical, if not slightly more than vertical. You can also add weight to the monitor as you suggested, you have 9 lbs (4kg) of leeway for your payload. I have done both to great success.

Good luck, let us know how you do!
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#7 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 11:21 PM

A flat weight plate about 6 x 12 inches and 3/8 to 1/2" thick mounted on the bottom of the camera between the dovetail plate and camera will lower the CG, add some mass and help the entire rig behave better if your arm will fly it and you can counter weight the bottom without an overly extended post.

There's more than one way to dynamically balance a rig and you can easily over-complicate it. Especially if your rig does not offer you the weight / mass distribution options to counter a camera that was not necessarily designed with Steadicam in mind. It's part rig, part experience, part camera and the sum of those elements that either allow or deny your ability to dynamically balance and fly the rig.

Hang in there and good luck!

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#8 Mike Germond SOC

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 08:56 PM

I could only find 1"x4" steel stock when I milled this one, but if you look up the specific weight of steel (and give it the old college try) you can gauge how long you need to make it to achieve the needed weight for your application. This one is about 13lbs:

Posted Image
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