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Need weight solution for Pro Vid 2/Canon 7D


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#1 Terry Lasater

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 11:28 AM

Greetings, everyone! I joined this forum in 2002 and even paid for an SOA "lifetime" membership. Apparently, I spent too much time away and things changed as I was no longer recognized when trying to log in; my ad on SOA is gone as well. I searched for myself in the member directory but, apparently, have been purged. Anyhow, I'm back...

My question: I have a Pro Vid 2 that I'd like to use for flying my Canon 7D. Obviously, that camera is far too light to make this a reality on its own. Does anyone have a suggestion on what method of adding weight would be the easiest? I would appreciate any and all replies. Pics of a DSLR set up on such a rig would be great!
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#2 RonBaldwin

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 11:47 AM

Janice Arthur makes a bunch of different weight plates
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#3 James Davis

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 01:09 PM

If you are in the uk Optical Support make some decent weight blocks, here is an example of a build charles papert used a little while back:

http://www.dvinfo.ne...he-bigtime.html

Was with a 5d, but you get the idea, the optimum set-up would be a cage style build, combined with a baseplate/rails set-up, something like this: http://www.letusdire.../dslr-cage.html and this: http://www.letusdire...add-on-kit.html

You can hook a mattebox and wireless follow focus up front, and you can put a v-lock/anton bauer battery plate out the back, that combined with a weight cage or bolted to a weight block underneath like this: http://opticalsuppor...p?product_id=19

That should make everything nice and rigid, however it comes at a reasonable price, there are other ways to do it, but I think that is one of the best and most convenient off the shelf approaches to it, no doubt other people will chip in with their experiences.
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#4 Robert Wall

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 02:06 PM

If you are in the uk Optical Support make some decent weight blocks, here is an example of a build charles papert used a little while back:

http://www.dvinfo.ne...he-bigtime.html

Was with a 5d, but you get the idea, the optimum set-up would be a cage style build, combined with a baseplate/rails set-up, something like this: http://www.letusdire.../dslr-cage.html and this: http://www.letusdire...add-on-kit.html

You can hook a mattebox and wireless follow focus up front, and you can put a v-lock/anton bauer battery plate out the back, that combined with a weight cage or bolted to a weight block underneath like this: http://opticalsuppor...p?product_id=19

That should make everything nice and rigid, however it comes at a reasonable price, there are other ways to do it, but I think that is one of the best and most convenient off the shelf approaches to it, no doubt other people will chip in with their experiences.



What Ron and James said. Additionally, if you're on a budget, let me introduce you to one of the best deals on weight plates that I think you can find: glidecam weight plates, http://www.bhphotovi...ight_Plate.html

The price is right and the holes are too.
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#5 Charles Papert

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 02:15 PM

Huh, it's interesting to see that old picture James--two years ago and things have changed so much since then. That was my first go-round on the DSLR's.

My philosophy was and is (not much longer--heading fast towards an F3) to build out the system so that it is optimized for all modes; studio, handheld and Steadicam with a minimal amount of changeover time. This means flying the focus system onboard, which gives the AC a much better chance with the expanded rotation of the knob vs the short throw of still lenses, plus the opportunity to use an outboard monitor to assist with focus. I hate HDMI so I use a Blackmagic to convert the signal to HD-SDI, which makes all of the various monitor connections more secure. With the expanded capability of discrete rods fore and aft via a custom baseplate, lengthening the fore rods to accommodate longer lenses doesn't affect the rear components. Switching from studio mode to handheld just means adding handgrips to the front and a velcro pad to the baseplate. Remove the monitor, and you are in Steadicam mode (I keep the dovetail on the base and use a homemade catgriller on the head to avoid plate switches).

The setup as seen below looks sort of massive but really, it's most like a Super16 setup in size and weight, so it flies nice and inertly but still lightweight enough to "make sense". I always flew it like this but other ops I've been using like to add 10 or 15 lbs or so via weight plate to make it beef up.

What I like about this setup is that it creates a standard mass out of the DSLR while giving it the capabilities of a "real" camera, without extra fluff. Everything onboard is there to make it work better and more efficiently. All components including camera are powered off the rear battery.

Attached File  photo.jpeg   104.21KB   132 downloads
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#6 RonBaldwin

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 04:09 PM

here is similar set up of Charles' gear from a shoot last November. I lost the monitors and added a 7 lb wt plate to get it up to about 19/20 lbs.
Attached File  dslr2.jpg   256.17KB   107 downloads
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#7 James Davis

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 05:19 PM

Cool set-ups guys, yeah things have changed so much now eh...I guess we have the DSLR-Democratization of the video world to thank for a lot of the highly advanced significantly cheaper cameras we have with us today.
I mean seriously whoever would have thought you would have been able to get a camera like the F3 at this price 2 years ago.....and thank god for compact primes, finally an affordable alternative to the ball ache of pulling focus on modified stills lenses.
It really is amazing how much has changed so quickly, I think the whole camera industry was forced to offer a lower cost more affordable alternative so that the indie/lower budget guys who couldn't quite afford a Red set-up have something decent to shoot on.
I am so glad that there is finally a decent low-mid budget camera out there that can offer commercial/cinema level quality that isn't a pain in the arse to put on steadicam, most people are steering clear of DSLR's now thankfully and for good reason too, they still have their place don't get me wrong....lightweight events camera, no-budget shorts etc..... but I for one will be glad if I never have to mount one on my rig again! :)
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#8 James Davis

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 05:21 PM

The price is right and the holes are too.



That soooooo should go on a t-shirt, or be used as a strapline to sell dovetails/weight blocks or something, made me snigger ;)
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#9 Haris Pallas

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 08:06 PM

Hi Terry,

I am working with an SK2 so I had my mechanist cut and drill a stainless steel block that weight 2.2 Kg.
It's not very glamorous but does the job and costs about 60€.

The Optical Support dead weight with rods looks really nice and it's much thiner!

- Haris -


Here's a photo:

http://www.facebook....&type=1

Edited by Haris Pallas, 20 August 2011 - 08:14 PM.

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#10 Charles Papert

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 03:34 AM

Ron: that setup you illustrated wasn't mine--that's Trevor Meek's rig which was the B-camera on the job, with some extra bits and pieces.

James: thanks to the Preston HU3, working with the Zeiss ZE's is identical in functionality to the CP2's--as far as the AC is concerned, the throw of the lens and accuracy is the same (as is the optical quality) and the lenses can be programmed into the hand unit just like any cine lens. The only difference is in the ability to pull iris on the CP2's vs the in-camera iris adjustment with the ZE's. I considered the ZF's which have an iris ring that can be de-clicked but I didn't care for the thought of having to use a lens mount adaptor.
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#11 RonBaldwin

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 09:15 AM

Ron: that setup you illustrated wasn't mine--that's Trevor Meek's rig which was the B-camera on the job, with some extra bits and pieces.


sorry, it wreaked of Ben-Gay and Geritol so I assumed...
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#12 Charles Papert

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 09:50 AM

sorry, it wreaked of Ben-Gay and Geritol so I assumed...


...and you reeked havoc with it.

see what I did?
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#13 RonBaldwin

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 09:54 AM

sorry, it wreaked of Ben-Gay and Geritol so I assumed...


...and you reeked havoc with it.

see what I did?


f'ing droid auto spell...shoulda typed Been-Gay.
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#14 James Davis

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 10:58 AM

Ron: that setup you illustrated wasn't mine--that's Trevor Meek's rig which was the B-camera on the job, with some extra bits and pieces.

James: thanks to the Preston HU3, working with the Zeiss ZE's is identical in functionality to the CP2's--as far as the AC is concerned, the throw of the lens and accuracy is the same (as is the optical quality) and the lenses can be programmed into the hand unit just like any cine lens. The only difference is in the ability to pull iris on the CP2's vs the in-camera iris adjustment with the ZE's. I considered the ZF's which have an iris ring that can be de-clicked but I didn't care for the thought of having to use a lens mount adaptor.


Yeah if only every production I worked on in the past which were using SLR's could afford a Preston HU3 haha, back before I had my own single channel it was more likely we were stuck with a hofo unit, not that they are particularly bad or anything, but they sure as hell aren't a preston.
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#15 Terry Lasater

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 10:58 PM

Thanks for all the replies, links and photos! I appreciate them very much. I plan to investigate a few options sparked by what has been posted here. If I get something together, I'll write back and show pics.

In the meantime, if anyone has additional comments, suggestions, links, or pics, please post them.

Thanks!
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