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Pilot Dynamic Balance


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#1 Jake Bulgarino

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 04:46 AM

Hello All,

I am a new owner of a Steadicam Pilot. I have been trying to get dynamic balance with my canon 7D and I get close but still can't nail it. Static Balance is super easy but dynamic is another story.

Does anyone have any quick tips for achieving dynamic balance?

Should I spend more time on trying to achieve dynamic balance instead of flying the rig?

Any seasoned steadicam ops have experience Flying DSLR's?

Thanks for all your input!

Jake
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#2 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 01:13 PM

If you're close, don't sweat it for now.

Concentrate on static balance, drop time. Do the exercises. Get comfortable with the rig, practice your form.

The new Zephyr manual has lots of good practice tips that apply to all rigs. Download it from the Tiffen site. It also has an excellent primer on dynamic balance.

You have bought the EFP Training DVD and Steadicam Operators Handbook, right?
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#3 Chris McKissick

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 09:51 AM

Hey there,

First of all, get some weight up there! The 7d alone is really light as you've probably noticed.
The pilot performs best at it's weight capacity or slightly under so try and get it there.

Then make sure the battery is at the very far end of the lower spar and so is the monitor on the opposite side.
I like to put as many of the small silver weights on the bottom of the rig as possible to maximize the inertia and "bigger rig feel".

Next, get it statically balanced. But you already got that far.. :)

Then, the easiest way to get perfect dynamic balance is to give it a spin. It will most likely wobble around. Open the middle scew on the lower spar and move the whole thing a bit in one direction. Tighten the screw, statically balance the rig again, give it another spin and see if it got better or worse. If you're on the right track, i.e. if you get less wobble when spinning keep going in that direction with the spar.

That way you have the greatest possible inertia you can achieve and you get dynamically balanced in no time.

Hope that made sense.

Good luck!

Cheers, Chris
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#4 kelso kubat

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 04:54 PM

ok man... I'm a newbie myself but i feel there is a lot of misinformation going around... people are feeding pieces of infromation but you need to understand them as a whole to grasp the concept of dynamic equimibrium quickly and effiently.

the steadicam pilot video everyone is posting is decent instructional video but doesnt really "teach" you how to get any closer to achieving balance without a bunch of trial and error.

so..
Find the CG of your camera. its center of gravity. i use a ruller, so does the video...
after you have found its CG, line that point (CG) as close as you can to the center of your stage plate. not the screw itself but the center of gravity. this means you'll probably be mounting you camera towards the ack of teh stage.
nowput your stage in a 50-50 position i like to call it. dead even in the middle on both axis.

move your batter all the way to back, and your monitor wherever you prefer it...
now adjust the lower spar to balance hte monitor and the battery. ( NO CAMERA ON SLED YET),

now mount your stage up.

with the camera mounted and secure tip the rig to 90 degrees and loosen the gimbal screw. position you center post so you have a 2-3 second drop time. i personally prefer about a 2 1/4 drop time. 3 will be very sensative and if your starting off your want a little more weight. 2 second is good, remeber a little over is fine but under is going to cause more wobble when you move the sled. KEY NOTE: try to weight up" your rigs sled to just under its maximum lift. this will better insure staility in your rig. merlin weights work good but for cameras under 5 lbs you may need more weight yet. so, get more merlin weights at 25 bucks a weight or be creative. but be safe. dont jsut scotch tape some crap to your camera. wahtever you add needs to be well secured and firmly in place.

adjust the top stage screws until you have achieved static balance. use your bubble levels to insure absolutet static balance. Steadicams do not come with these bubbles you need to add them. i have pictures of my steadicam setup which you can view and compare....
give the sled a spin? is wobbling? is so pay attention closely to the direction of teh tilt. hold the rig in a 90 position with the battery and monitor alos turned 90. or parrell to the floor. let it go... does it fall to one side. meaning does the nose or tail drift to side as opposed to the other? adjust the top stage again, keep in mind it is essential that cameras CG be 1/2 inch behind the center post, try to keep it in that general area. if you need to adjust more the 2 or three revolutions of the stage plate fore and aft nobs then you base is off. again compensate by adjusting the lower spare. LEAVE your batter and monitor alone! especially the battery. slide the spar until the balance get better. when fine tuing adjust your monitor slightly. we're talking like fractions of an inch! better worse? it is important to know what to adjust and a what time. remember to keep the CAMERA CG 1/2 inch behind the center of the center post. use the SPAR to make most of your adjustments and fine tune the stage and monitor when needed! you'll get ti juspractice setting up different rigs until you're comfortable.
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#5 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 07:31 PM

ok man... I'm a newbie myself but i feel there is a lot of misinformation going around... people are feeding pieces of infromation but you need to understand them as a whole to grasp the concept of dynamic equimibrium quickly and effiently.

the steadicam pilot video everyone is posting is decent instructional video but doesnt really "teach" you how to get any closer to achieving balance without a bunch of trial and error.

<<SNIP>>





Close but no cigar, you are STILL making it to difficult.

Why is everyone so damned concerned with finding the CG of the camera then placing it 1/2" behind the center of the center post? in the last 10 years that I have be using my "90 Degree Drop" method of dynamic balance i have NEVER ONCE "found the CG of a camera" before I built the rig much less used a freaking ruler.You are creating work that gains you NOTHING.

Here's what you do:

With nothing mounted to the camera stage, (no follow focus, no camera, no camera plate, no cables) Lay the rig on it's side and balance the batteries and monitor until the lower section is balanced so that it neither rolls to the monitor or the batteries.

Build the camera to the rig with all the accessories that you are going to use find a rough side to side on on the built camera and mount the camera to the Camera Mounting plate

Put said camera on the Upper camera platform (Stage) and mount the accessories that you normally fly off the stage (MDR, Preston interface)

Set a 3 second drop time (which is a proper drop time for most work)

Balance the stack side to side (using the stage adjustments)

Balance the stack to hang level fore and aft with the camera mounting plate in the stage (you did zero the stage to it's center position before you started this, Right?)

Spin the rig and Guess what?

You are in dynamic balance. It took all of 60 seconds to do it. Want to double check your work? Bring the post up to level, pan it 90 degrees so that the batteries and monitor are level to the floor and drop, everything should stay in place, the post should not rotate as the gimbal rolls to level.

oh and guess what again.... You will NEVER have to change your dynamic balance again, you can put any payload on the top, adjust for a 3 Second drop and the rig will STAY in dynamic balance FOREVER

I dynamic balanced my XCS Ultimate when I bought and have never done it again. People who claim that this is rocket science are wrong

I cannot begin to tell you the number of people I have taught this to in the last few years that have looked at me and said "Really? it's that simple" as their rig is sitting there spinning flat all day long.
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#6 Erik Brul

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 08:29 PM

ok man... I'm a newbie myself but i feel there is a lot of misinformation going around... people are feeding pieces of infromation but you need to understand them as a whole to grasp the concept of dynamic equimibrium quickly and effiently.

the steadicam pilot video everyone is posting is decent instructional video but doesnt really "teach" you how to get any closer to achieving balance without a bunch of trial and error.

<<SNIP>>





Close but no cigar, you are STILL making it to difficult.

Why is everyone so damned concerned with finding the CG of the camera then placing it 1/2" behind the center of the center post? in the last 10 years that I have be using my "90 Degree Drop" method of dynamic balance i have NEVER ONCE "found the CG of a camera" before I built the rig much less used a freaking ruler.You are creating work that gains you NOTHING.

Here's what you do:

With nothing mounted to the camera stage, (no follow focus, no camera, no camera plate, no cables) Lay the rig on it's side and balance the batteries and monitor until the lower section is balanced so that it neither rolls to the monitor or the batteries.

Build the camera to the rig with all the accessories that you are going to use find a rough side to side on on the built camera and mount the camera to the Camera Mounting plate

Put said camera on the Upper camera platform (Stage) and mount the accessories that you normally fly off the stage (MDR, Preston interface)

Set a 3 second drop time (which is a proper drop time for most work)

Balance the stack side to side (using the stage adjustments)

Balance the stack to hang level fore and aft with the camera mounting plate in the stage (you did zero the stage to it's center position before you started this, Right?)

Spin the rig and Guess what?

You are in dynamic balance. It took all of 60 seconds to do it. Want to double check your work? Bring the post up to level, pan it 90 degrees so that the batteries and monitor are level to the floor and drop, everything should stay in place, the post should not rotate as the gimbal rolls to level.

oh and guess what again.... You will NEVER have to change your dynamic balance again, you can put any payload on the top, adjust for a 3 Second drop and the rig will STAY in dynamic balance FOREVER

I dynamic balanced my XCS Ultimate when I bought and have never done it again. People who claim that this is rocket science are wrong

I cannot begin to tell you the number of people I have taught this to in the last few years that have looked at me and said "Really? it's that simple" as their rig is sitting there spinning flat all day long.


Maybe besides explaining your method in plain text you can explain your method with a small video also?
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#7 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 09:40 PM

Maybe besides explaining your method in plain text you can explain your method with a small video also?



Sure let me get right on that in all my free time....
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#8 Jay Kim

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 10:47 PM

With nothing mounted to the camera stage, (no follow focus, no camera, no camera plate, no cables) Lay the rig on it's side and balance the batteries and monitor until the lower section is balanced so that it neither rolls to the monitor or the batteries.


I use a little device called 'Micky' made by Markus at Baer-Bel and this simple device makes the above procedure so easy.

If you want to see how it works, check this YouTube video.

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#9 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 12:06 AM

With nothing mounted to the camera stage, (no follow focus, no camera, no camera plate, no cables) Lay the rig on it's side and balance the batteries and monitor until the lower section is balanced so that it neither rolls to the monitor or the batteries.


I use a little device called 'Micky' made by Markus at Baer-Bel and this simple device makes the above procedure so easy.



Yup the micky works great
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#10 Andrew Stone

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 09:31 PM

I use Eric's method and it works for me. I believe it has to do with the rig following the "Conservation of Angular Momentum" law. You effectively have a rig that is in a frictionless environment so the angular momentum that would cause the rig to lilt (if it wasn't in perfect balance in all directions) when you drop it from the horizontal position with Eric's method is achieved in an instant rather than building up over time as we would expect following common sense reasoning. I may be blowing wind with my theory. Regardless, Eric's method does work.

-Andrew

Edited by Andrew Stone, 31 July 2011 - 09:33 PM.

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#11 RonBaldwin

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 09:44 PM

here comes an equation.

three...two...one...
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#12 Adnan Siddiqui

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 02:11 PM

ok man... I'm a newbie myself but i feel there is a lot of misinformation going around... people are feeding pieces of infromation but you need to understand them as a whole to grasp the concept of dynamic equimibrium quickly and effiently.

the steadicam pilot video everyone is posting is decent instructional video but doesnt really "teach" you how to get any closer to achieving balance without a bunch of trial and error.

<<SNIP>>





Close but no cigar, you are STILL making it to difficult.

Why is everyone so damned concerned with finding the CG of the camera then placing it 1/2" behind the center of the center post? in the last 10 years that I have be using my "90 Degree Drop" method of dynamic balance i have NEVER ONCE "found the CG of a camera" before I built the rig much less used a freaking ruler.You are creating work that gains you NOTHING.

Here's what you do:

With nothing mounted to the camera stage, (no follow focus, no camera, no camera plate, no cables) Lay the rig on it's side and balance the batteries and monitor until the lower section is balanced so that it neither rolls to the monitor or the batteries.

Build the camera to the rig with all the accessories that you are going to use find a rough side to side on on the built camera and mount the camera to the Camera Mounting plate

Put said camera on the Upper camera platform (Stage) and mount the accessories that you normally fly off the stage (MDR, Preston interface)

Set a 3 second drop time (which is a proper drop time for most work)

Balance the stack side to side (using the stage adjustments)

Balance the stack to hang level fore and aft with the camera mounting plate in the stage (you did zero the stage to it's center position before you started this, Right?)

Spin the rig and Guess what?

You are in dynamic balance. It took all of 60 seconds to do it. Want to double check your work? Bring the post up to level, pan it 90 degrees so that the batteries and monitor are level to the floor and drop, everything should stay in place, the post should not rotate as the gimbal rolls to level.

oh and guess what again.... You will NEVER have to change your dynamic balance again, you can put any payload on the top, adjust for a 3 Second drop and the rig will STAY in dynamic balance FOREVER

I dynamic balanced my XCS Ultimate when I bought and have never done it again. People who claim that this is rocket science are wrong

I cannot begin to tell you the number of people I have taught this to in the last few years that have looked at me and said "Really? it's that simple" as their rig is sitting there spinning flat all day long.


Maybe besides explaining your method in plain text you can explain your method with a small video also?



Hi Eric,

2 quick questions: What do you mean by "zero the stage to it's center position before you started"?
Will the Mickey work with a Steadicam pilot?

Thank you,
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#13 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 04:38 PM

When you build and balance you should start with the adjustments in the center of their range ie zero'd to home. To many balance issues are because people build the rig with the adjustments out of zero.

And the answer to you second question I think so. As long as the post can be supported by the rollers it will work
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#14 Adnan Siddiqui

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 06:39 PM

When you build and balance you should start with the adjustments in the center of their range ie zero'd to home. To many balance issues are because people build the rig with the adjustments out of zero.

And the answer to you second question I think so. As long as the post can be supported by the rollers it will work


Thank you for taking the time to answer Eric. That's what I though you meant. I'll try it again. Lets see what happens.
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#15 nealnorton

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 08:00 PM

Well, I know I'm being a masochist but I am going to respectfully disagree here with Eric.

Take a look at Jerry Holways' wonderfully put together "Dynamic Balance Primer" and you will quickly notice that the "Mickey/Eric" method fails to take into account the forces of inertia on the uneven monitor and battery configuration. As Jerry points out, if the monitor and battery block were of equal weight and equal distance from the post then with the camera placed in static balance the whole rig will be also in dynamic balance. In many cases, this is not what we are dealing with.

Just to make sure I would not look dumber than normal I built a "mickey" and followed the directions. I am using a GPI Pro sled with Gen 3 battery hanger and an XCS monitor arm with a Nebtek monitor and Dionic 90's. The lower unit was very stable on the "Mickey" as per instructions. I then mounted a camera and found a static balance with a 3 sec drop. The rig exhibited a pronounced wobble when spun at any speed. Not horrific but not good either.

So, I then followed the Jerry Holway empirical method of putting the camera on the top stage 3/4" behind the measured CG of the camera on the center line of the post. I then adjusted the battery block only to find static balance. Very close - nice flat spin. If I knew I were looking to do a whip pan I might spend a little more time tuning but not too bad.

Regards,

Neal
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