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Initial Set up with Canon 5D

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#1 Timothy Palmer-Benson

Timothy Palmer-Benson

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 12:05 PM

I think I have got static balance with a Pilot, a Canon 5D Mk11 with standard battery, and a 16-35 Canon EOS Zoom Lens, however I think I may have broken a least one rule or piece of advise in the instructions. Please can you comment....

I have the camera set up on a Bogen quick release plate...(577 Rapid Connect Adapter with Sliding Mounting Pl). Because I could not mount the Bogen plate directly onto the Pilot plate (the holes didn't match up), I had a piece of wood fashioned to the same size as the Bogen plate and then i mounted it with freshly tapped metal screw holes onto the Pilot plate. The whole assembly now sits dead center on the Pilot plate. But, this situation violates the CG instructions! The actual CG of the camera with its male Bogen connector is about where the first ring of the lens starts. When mounted on the pilot, this point is sitting in front of the pillar by about half an inch. Way off! By the way, I have the male Bogen connector screwed to the bottom of the camera and positioned so that the little spring loaded pin is just infront of the body.

However, I notice that with the application of weights on the front and rear of the top plate, and by using the adjustment knobs attached to the plate, I can achieve static balance. I also have some weights at the bottom and I have adjusted the height of the gimbal. The rig spins fine and my drop time is 2 and a half seconds.

So, am I on the right path here, or do I need to go back to my machine shop guy and have him drill and tap four new little screw holes in the Pilot mounting plate so that I can more closely follow those instructions in the manual that call for the CG of the camera to be placed a quarter to half inch back from the center of the sled.

I hope this description has been precise enough!

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#2 Brian Freesh

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 01:12 PM

Hi Tim,

If you talk to operators, or even just read the forums for an hour, you'll find that Steadicam Operating (and frankly, many, many things in life) isn't about what works, so much as it is about what works for you. The only rule is that your shots must be steady and well composed, and even those turn out to just be guidelines... (besides, composition is subjective) Sounds like you have something that works for you. If you're happy with it, don't change a thing. The only reason I would change it is if changing it will make things more efficient for you to work with.

A couple of notes, so that you understand what all is going on with your set-up. For static balance, it doesn't matter where your camera CG is as long as the end result is a vertical sled and a level camera. When the rig is static, it is balanced. Dynamic balance is where the CG position comes into play. The ultimate goal with DB is that the rig pans flat. You said "the rig spins fine" which I assume means it is spinning flat, so it sounds like you are good to go with that. Also, everything above the gimbal is one mass as far as the gimbal is concerned, so the weights you added to the top stage actually changed the CG of your camera mass.

Personally with such a lightweight rig I like a faster drop time, which is what works for me. If 2.5 seconds works for you, go with it!
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#3 Timothy Palmer-Benson

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 02:08 PM

Thanks for the quick response. I have read that the rig performs better with more weight, so might it be a good idea to re balance by adding one weight fore and aft and top and bottom? I notice that the rig seems to take on a special feel when approaching balance. I can't really describe it but it is there. I have no idea what weight I have at the moment with this camera, this lens and one weight set top and bottom. I have heard the closer you get to 10 lbs the better the rig performs... so how many more weights should I try. I ordered four extra weights when I bought the rig because of what I had read.

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