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Steadicam vibration


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#1 Luiz Oliveira

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 11:52 PM

I have been a Steadicam operator since 2004 and I owned / rented / operated stabilizers from Glidecam 4000 pro all the way to the Steadicam Archer.

I honestly don't know what's causing this extremely undesirable vibration. I strongly believe this problem has to do with the camera type, brand and design being used. And the load of course.

Funny... Usually this happens on reverse, not when you are an experienced user: The very first time I ever tried a stabilizer was with a Glidecam Smooth Shooter with a Panasonic DVX100B. NO VIBRATION. Even fully loaded with camera, hard drive, light, monitor, wireless receiver and even a follow focus. No vibration with the camera alone as well. I could run really fast and result: Vibration free footage. Canon XL-2 caused a slight vibration on the very same rig though. For either camera, same setup above, I also discovered that vibration occurred using a quick release (even the expensive ones) I removed it and the vibration is gone. Therefore, I haven't use a Q.Release since.

NOW, I owned and used the following stabilizers: A Glidecam V-20, Glidecam X-10.

Cameras that were used with the rigs above: Panasonic DVX100B, Canon XL-2, Canon XH-A1, Canon XL-H1, Sony HVR Z-1u HVR Z-7U. VIBRATION occurs when running and EVEN when walking! Just the camera itself or fully loaded. Doesn't matter.

I currently own a STEADICAM PILOT loaded with the Z-1 and the Z-7. Vibration AGAIN occurs no matter what. Different stabilizer brand and still happens. Vibration decreases when walking on a soft surface such as carpet. On pavement, basketball court, wedding dance floor, forget about it... This vibration is very slight but it is unnacceptable! Now, whatever I do, I experience such vibration, enough to make me very upset and think twice before I use my rig that I know it will let me down.

Can somebody please help me with this?? This is frustrating and the footage is less than I consider perfet as a professional videographer. What Am I doing wrong?! The arm levels, vest and slead and all setting are correct.

I'm not a beginner user and I can dynamic balance a sled fully loaded to perfection, before you finish a cigarrette.

Strangely, the first time I ever used a stabilizer, as a beginner back in 2004, the footage was flawless, vibtarion free no matter what I loaded to it...

Anybody with same problems I'm having with vibration?
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#2 John atkinson

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 03:19 PM

[Sounds like your vibration is electronic. This can be the OIS being on in the camera or the Progressive scanning can't keep up with the camera movement.
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#3 Sydney Seeber

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 06:04 PM

yeah, that's probably electronic. I use a lot of Canon DSLR cameras and it happens all the time with them. It'll just jitter for a half second or so, and sometimes drop a frame or two, maybe freeze for 3 frames. It happens here and there with other prosumer cameras as well when you throw a lot of sustained movement at them, which a Steadicam will introduce. Running through a forest with lots of tiny leaves isn't helping
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#4 RobVanGelder

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 11:07 PM

You probably already switched off the image stabilizer..... in any case I mention it.

The Pilot has not the sturdiest mounting plate of all and you need to be really careful that there is no wiggle between the camera and the plate. Often they are attached with only one screw which is bound to become lose and wiggly, combined with the fact that the mounting plate might become a bit curved after some time, specially around the holes that you use for mounting the camera.

One thing to improve: put a piece of tape on either side (front and back) of the screw, so the camera bottom is supported on 2 places and the crew pulls in between.

If it is an electronic wiggle (that I haven't seen so far) this all will not help of course.

Walk and hold gently!, because you noticed less vibration on soft carpet it means that it is coming from the movement you introduce in your system, either by walking of having a too tight grip on the - very thin and maneuverable - post and gimbal of the Pilot.


Rob
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#5 Nick Tsamandanis

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 11:36 PM



My first attempt at running with the Pilot a couple of years ago, have never had a problem with vibration. Check that everything is tight.
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#6 Luiz Oliveira

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 02:31 AM

You probably already switched off the image stabilizer..... in any case I mention it.

The Pilot has not the sturdiest mounting plate of all and you need to be really careful that there is no wiggle between the camera and the plate. Often they are attached with only one screw which is bound to become lose and wiggly, combined with the fact that the mounting plate might become a bit curved after some time, specially around the holes that you use for mounting the camera.

One thing to improve: put a piece of tape on either side (front and back) of the screw, so the camera bottom is supported on 2 places and the crew pulls in between.

If it is an electronic wiggle (that I haven't seen so far) this all will not help of course.

Walk and hold gently!, because you noticed less vibration on soft carpet it means that it is coming from the movement you introduce in your system, either by walking of having a too tight grip on the - very thin and maneuverable - post and gimbal of the Pilot.


Rob



Thank you all for caring about my problem. I appreciate.

The vibration, I assure you that is not electronic. It's coming from the arm. Again, I'm going to my 6th year of Steadicam and I use it a lot.

Everything is tight and extremely well balanced. I also walk with the Steadicam almost floating my feet, as gently as possible. I have the ability of shooting a subject at max zomm 99 keeping the subject dead center on the screen marker when going in a circle around it over and over. I also shoot straight like a dolly on track just like seen in the movies without that "wave" effect as I see many people doing it. The springs from the pilot are in my opinion too weak. Shooting with the Sony Z1U (the very one they use in its manual)the arm (close to the vest) is already maxed out. The Glidecam X-10 arm can support a huge load and still have capacity for more stuff.

The only rig that I did not experience vibration was the Glidecam Smooth Shooter (my very first rig). That one gave me zero vibration. With the rest, I have vibration. It is very minimal but it is there to annoy any professional eye. On bare concrete there is no vibration but on pavement there is...What the hell? With such experience with Steadicam, I almost feel like giving up what am I doing wrong now that somehow was right when i got my first rig...
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#7 Luiz Oliveira

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 02:34 AM



My first attempt at running with the Pilot a couple of years ago, have never had a problem with vibration. Check that everything is tight.


That was nice! Very smooth and straight. What else did you have loaded to your rig? Just the camera?
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#8 Luiz Oliveira

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 02:45 AM

You probably already switched off the image stabilizer..... in any case I mention it.

The Pilot has not the sturdiest mounting plate of all and you need to be really careful that there is no wiggle between the camera and the plate. Often they are attached with only one screw which is bound to become lose and wiggly, combined with the fact that the mounting plate might become a bit curved after some time, specially around the holes that you use for mounting the camera.

One thing to improve: put a piece of tape on either side (front and back) of the screw, so the camera bottom is supported on 2 places and the crew pulls in between.

If it is an electronic wiggle (that I haven't seen so far) this all will not help of course.

Walk and hold gently!, because you noticed less vibration on soft carpet it means that it is coming from the movement you introduce in your system, either by walking of having a too tight grip on the - very thin and maneuverable - post and gimbal of the Pilot.


Rob


Not only did I already do what you suggested, I even have a Sticky pad between the plate and the camera which prevents the camera to rotate off place without the need to add those pins which are not convenient for me as I change cameras often and as you know, they go into different holes. If you didn't try this awesome rubbery sticky pad (dashboard cell phone holder) I suggest that you try it. You will never use it without it. This idea came from a friend of mine who operates the ultra II Steadicam.

On my early steadycam days, i tried using a quick release and it caused vibration. I removed it immediately, attatched the camera straight to the plate and it stopped.

I guess I have to agree with you that the problem might be from the stage part but the arm is sending the sled shocks somehow even on the tip of my toes I still see it. I will be posting a footage here soon so you can see what's going on.
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#9 Luiz Oliveira

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 02:53 AM

[Sounds like your vibration is electronic. This can be the OIS being on in the camera or the Progressive scanning can't keep up with the camera movement.


The vibration is mechanic.
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#10 Fabrizio Sciarra SOC ACO

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 03:26 AM

Hi Luiz,
would you mind to post a link to the over mentioned vibrating shots? This may help in find where the problem sits.
Let us know
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#11 Ken Nguyen

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 03:35 AM

Hi Luiz,
Can you up load a video clip of the vibration problem, so we can take a closer look at it?
Vibration comes from every parts of system.
Make sure to check the battery and monitor mountings also.
A photo of the set-up and a video clip will help us to analyze your problem better.
Cheers,
Ken Nguyen.
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#12 Luiz Oliveira

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 04:17 AM

Hi Luiz,
Can you up load a video clip of the vibration problem, so we can take a closer look at it?
Vibration comes from every parts of system.
Make sure to check the battery and monitor mountings also.
A photo of the set-up and a video clip will help us to analyze your problem better.
Cheers,
Ken Nguyen.


Video upload will happen soon. Thanks.
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#13 Amedeo Fabroni

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 05:24 AM

Hi Luiz,
I made this shot with the Steadicam Pilot.
http://www.ciakframe...cam_shot_01.htm
If all the parts of the sled are tight the problem could be something in the arm.
Amedeo
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#14 Nick Tsamandanis

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 08:56 AM



My first attempt at running with the Pilot a couple of years ago, have never had a problem with vibration. Check that everything is tight.


That was nice! Very smooth and straight. What else did you have loaded to your rig? Just the camera?


Sony Z1 & quick release plate.
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#15 Luiz Oliveira

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 01:11 PM

Hi Luiz,
I made this shot with the Steadicam Pilot.
http://www.ciakframe...cam_shot_01.htm
If all the parts of the sled are tight the problem could be something in the arm.
Amedeo

Definitely something from the arm. By the way, you did an excellent work. it almost looked like you were on a Segway designed for the steadicam. Veri nice!

What a GREAT forum! Everyone here is awesome. Thanks for everyone's help!
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