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Zephyr roll call


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#1 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 06:49 PM

Shouting out to other forum members with Zephyr rigs...

Who's out there? How's the rig working for you? What kind of work are you doing with it? What cameras have you flown and what do you hope to fly? What challenges are you seeing and how are you handling them? What do you like best about it? Is it your first rig or an upgrade...what did you upgrade from? What are your favorite mods or upgrades you've done?

I'll go first...I'm in the process outfitting mine for live TV and music video. Done a couple of commercials with it and happy with its performance.

Flying/planning to fly: most HD video camcorders and studio cameras (Sony 1500, etc.). DSLR's, a variety of RED Epic and RED One configurations. Planning to see if I can find an Alexa setup within the Zephyr range...it seems possible by the numbers...

Biggest challenges: weight. Most video cameras will work but I shot with a XDCam 800 with a Telecast copperhead fiber setup and maxed the arm. The vest was uncomfortable at that weight, too. Mounting AKS...the Zephyr design is challenging for attaching things, but I'm experimenting with workarounds.

Favorite accessories: I got a G-zoom for gimbal zoom/focus. Love it. Lightweight (see above), ergonomic, can control the focus on some video lenses. Got a BFD and Heden motor, which can be controlled by the G-zoom, too. I also just took delivery on Tiffen's aux battery hanger: for hotswap, improved weight distribution, increased load and runtime. Marshall's high-bright 7" monitor with AB plate on the back. I also have a 6 lb weight plate from Janice Arthur that allows me to fly lighter cameras such as DSLR's, Sony EX, Panny HVX200/HPX170, etc.

I upgraded from a Flyer so I'm already used to a light touch. Everything about the Zephyr has a familiar-but-upgraded feel, with bigger gimbal diameter, smoother and more inertial control.

Working on building a tally remote, return monitor, and low-budget HD wireless video assist link. Still working out my "borrow-to-buy" ratio on cables and jumpers.

So, that's a quick rundown. Who's next?
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#2 Andrew Stone

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 11:07 AM

Not to derail Mark but could you shoot up a photo of the auxiliary battery hanging device?

-Andrew
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#3 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 11:50 AM

Here you go! Weight right at one pound. Nice, solid aluminum construction. Unlabeled 12/24V switch, "I" is 12v, "II" is 24v. I forgot to snap a pic of the front of the box but there is a 3pin 12/24 lemo (same as the others on the sled) on the front.

Note my sled is v-mount with AB adapter and the aux hanger is AB mount. So my rear battery rides a little lower than it would on an AB sled, relative to the aux hanger.

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#4 Andrew Stone

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 12:54 PM

Interesting so with this TIFFEN has now released the 24V capability of the sled. I assume the sled was pre-wired for this 24 volt use and that a small dovetail plate comes with the add-on. TIFFEN doesn't appear to have pricing for the battery hanger on their website. Could you let us know the pricing on this?

Thanks for the images Mark!

-Andrew
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#5 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 01:11 PM

Yes, this is their 24V implementation for Zephyr. The Zephyr power connectors are all pre-wired for 12/24V and all tied together. They are small-diameter 3-pin Lemos (EGG-0B-303), except for the 12V for monitor which is one of the signals on a 6pin Hirose.

The Zephyr sled base has an integrated dovetail that is the same width as their camera dovetail plate. The battery hanger, as you see, has a dovetail grabber that allows some fore and aft adjustment. Plug it in to the empty power connector and it ties into the sled power. 12V mode parallels the batteries for higher current draw and longer runtimes.

They call it the "Zephyr 12/24 adapter plate." $650. Item code for Anton version: 807-7350-02.
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#6 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 09:43 AM

Bumping this thread in case some Zephyr owners who are infrequent forum visiters missed it the first time.

I know there are not a lot of these systems in the wild yet, but would like to build a community of Zephyr owners to share experiences, problems, solutions that relate to the specific qualities of this rig.

If you don't want to make a public post, feel free to PM me.
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#7 James Davis

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 03:44 PM

Fascinating read so far, it really looks like it does a great job of bridging the gap between the flyer and the archer/archer2 weight category, quite impressed by that neat little dovetail auxillary battery system too, looks great!
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#8 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 09:30 PM

Am I the only Zephyr owner? Well actually I know of two others. Come on, don't be shy.
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#9 Ryan Rodinis

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 01:16 PM

Zephyr owner checking in. Just got it yesterday.
This is my first real rig. Going to a workshop next month. I've used a Pilot before this, a Merlin, and an arm-less Glidecam.
I plan on using it mainly for event filmmaking with a 5D, and moving back into production with it once I'm ready.

Looking at the Marshal Transflective monitor upgrade, a gimbal focus and a shorty power cable for the DSLR.

But for now, quite humbly, I'll be practicing with my custom weight cage. :)
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#10 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 01:38 PM

Congratulations!

I wouldn't worry about the shorty power cable. Just put your camera on a Manfrotto quick release and buy a few extra batteries to directly power the camera. Any power cable will have to have a power converter in it anyway to drop down to the 7 volts the camera wants, and that's more expensive than an extra battery or two. The only reason to power from the sled would be to save weight, which you don't need to do with a DSLR!
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#11 Ryan Rodinis

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 05:32 PM

Thanks!
I have 7 batteries but it's always nice to have more. We had a custom lemo to LC-E6 power the 5D on the pilot. can't remember if it had a converter on it.
I've already run into a problem with the 501 plate QR base - there's not enough room to quickly loosen it between the body and the weight plate. will have to mess around with that more, or use a different QR base.
and that problem is only a problem when using that minimum configuration with just body and lens.
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#12 Ryan Rodinis

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 02:12 PM

Hey Mark, from your experience with it so far, have you noticed any vibrations in your shot from running/walking unsmoothly? I haven't, I'm just curious if you have since you've had the rig a while now. Cheers,
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#13 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 07:11 PM

I have not done much running. I haven't seen any issues with vibrations in the work I've been doing with the rig.
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#14 Dave Wowchuk

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 07:22 AM

Hey Mark ... you know I'm a Zephyr owner, but I'll post anyways.

This isn't my first rig. I sold my Glidecam Gold rig (too big for the size of cams I'm shooting with nowadays.) The Zephyr is a tremendous upgrade IMHO.

I've shot with the Sony XDCAM PDW-355, EX1, and tricked out 5DM2. All have worked very nicely. I love the simplicity of the rig, and the fact that it is HD/SD compatible. Of course the major weakness was the stock monitor (junk) which I replaced with the Marshall 6.5" STX. I had to modify the wiring harness to accommodate the 4 pin XLR to power the monitor, and also changed the RCA connector to BNC. (Nice to have friends that are broadcast engineers.) Also had to change the socket cap screw to mount the monitor as the one Tiffen supplied was too long.

Tried flying a iPad teleprompter from ProPrompter and it worked well. I added a couple of Merlin weights as I don't like extending the post all the way (I'd rather have weight vs. length.)

Issues: I have noticed some slight vibration, and I suspect it is from the upper stage. But then again, this was with the 5DM2 in a Redrock Micro setup. Another issue was with the bottom section of the post. It doesn't have a safety stop so it can come right out if you're not careful. My lower section slipped out on a shoot because the clamp wasn't tight enough. Easily fixed, but still freaked me out when the post came out.

Love the arm, love the vest. Hate the docking bracket. Jerry Hill will be getting more business from me soon. I wish the post was a wee bit larger.
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#15 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 09:17 AM

Dave, thanks for the report. Interesting.

Your monitor was mounted with a socket cap screw? Interesting, mine had one of those plastic t-handle caps.

Also, I'm curious about the safety stop. My post never has come out but I thought I'd read somewhere that a safety stop was part of the spec.

After using the aux battery hanger for a live multicam shoot with a fullsize broadcast camera onboard, I highly recommend it. Keeps the post short and helps tremendously with balancing. At about a pound, you can use it without a battery if you just want a little extra weight.
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