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static balancing ALWAY or SOMETIMES


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#1 Shawn Bossick

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 02:11 PM

Hello all I just got my 1st Steadicam scout less then a week ago, I am new to this scene
my question is after balancing the scout both static & dynamic, I was inside a house doing a shot, the shot required me to tilt the camera down quit a bit, after doing a couple takes I thought why not just use the duff tail pull the camera forward so that the Steadicam does the required tilting for me now I just have to watch my horizon.

as a beginner the IDEA seemed to work, but now I'm not balanced RIGHT so my question is, do the pro's do this? should I keep doing this when I think it might be easier OR am I starting what could be a VERY BAD HABIT? something that I should not be doing for whatever reason I am not aware of at this time as a beginner? is this what adjusting your head room is? or at least part of what your headroom is?

THANKS for the feedback
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#2 William Demeritt

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 02:26 PM

Rules are made to be broken. If you achieve your shot by doing that then I'd say that you're probably fine. It may not be the solution for every time, but if it was the solution for this time then it's probably cool.

We've all performed shots with our rigs in configurations we may not be proud of or want photographed, but sometimes that's what you need to do to get the job done.
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#3 Ryan Rodinis

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 06:36 PM

Hi Shawn,

I'm no pro yet, but that is definitely acceptable from what I've been taught. If the entire shot requires this tilt-down, that is. If not, then you may consider slowing your drop time so that you can hold the tilt easily and still come back level easily as well.

My two cents aren't worth as much as the others around here, but I thought I'd chime-in anyway. :)
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#4 Mark Britton

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 08:01 PM

If you don't need to pan, adjusting fore/aft balance to trim the rig so it naturally tilts up or down to assist your vertical framing is a good use of the tool. Making physics work for you is always acceptable. I was taught to do this by an instructor, in fact.

General rule of thumb is, adjust your rig so that the hardest part of your shot is the easiest to achieve. Sounds like you did just that, so well done :)
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#5 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 08:17 PM

Something else you might want to try is keeping your rig balanced but making your drop time very very slow (like 5 or 6 seconds, almost neutral). This will allow you to easily tilt and still maintain balance.


But, whatever gets the job done is probably ok.
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#6 Alfeo Dixon SOC

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 07:20 AM

Shawn,

Mike and Ryan are saying the same thing [drop time] and the advantage of this is that if you need to continue your shot in a regular operating way, you won't have to fight the rig. But the thing to consider is what makes you more comfortable operating the entire shot. Your thoughts on changing your fore/aft to git you the tilted position is one of the advantages my rig has with the motorized top stage. I can simple recall three different balance positions (i.e. kiltered/dutched, looking up or down and normal) all in one move, granted I can only choose one speed to set for each motor of the two motors.


But, like everyone said, do what gets the shot done!


-Alfeo
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#7 James Davis

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 08:41 AM

I think it comes down to personal preference as well to some degree, everything everyone has said so far works but as they say there are many ways to skin a cat.
I had a slightly different scenario a while ago, I had a shot a where I had to start with a tilt and then level out into a normal mid-mode tracking shot, I tried a longer drop time but for me the rig then felt too unsettled when back in its normal upright position, so I went back to my normal drop time (3-4 seconds) which then meant I was having to put more effort into tilting the rig, however during the point in the shot where I had to level the rig back to normal felt a lot better because of the rig trying to naturally re-settle itself as I was tilting it back to neutral.
For me this was better, because although physically harder than extending my drop time and making the rig easier to tilt, it gave me a good feel for where the horizon was without potentially overshooting it as I did when making the rig more floaty with the longer drop time, I found that although the tilting motion was easier the rig did not settle as easily back into a neutral position.
But for the shot you had to do it sounds like you picked the most sensible option for sure, thought I would just chip in about tilted shots in general as well :)
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#8 Shawn Bossick

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 12:34 PM

Thanks all to answered

after reading all posts, the practice seems to be used by others, as being very new to STEADICAM I don't want to develop BAD HABITS

so let me try to be more clear with the question
the shot in it's entirety from A-Z requires a hard continues tilt, regardless of panning the camera remains at one hard tilt, I will not bring it back to a level plane for this shot, let's ask what JERRY HOLLOWAY would do just as an example, when he talks in the EFP training video about adjusting headroom

IS THIS A TYPE OF HEADROOM?

OVERALL at this time I'm thinking YES? please correct me if I'm wrong or starting to develop A very BAD HABIT
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#9 Brian Freesh

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 01:02 PM

Shawn, You did good. You solved a problem in a way that worked well for you, and you did it with your own ingenuity. Well done. :)

I believe you're over-thinking it in an attempt to do everything "right."

Your question has been answered with good responses from everyone here, and it boils down to, "do what works for you to get the shot" (within safety limits, naturally)

Personally, I believe you are being too strict on the term "static balance" in that you're considering what you did as not statically balanced. You balanced it for the shot. Without controlling the rig, it remained tilted at an angle that allowed you to properly frame the shot. I would call that statically balanced (for that shot). Mine may be a unique way of phrasing, I'm just trying to get across the idea that you can adjust the balance for the shot all you want so long as it's working, which is the same thing Jerry is talking about when he discusses trimming for headroom. If you have a wide lens on and a shorter actor, you may have to tilt down so their headroom is reasonable. Rather than hold that tilt, you may adjust the balance so the lens is tilted downward without controlling the rig. Many of us will adjust balance like this per shot, depending on what the shot calls for.

10-1 your shot is far better because you weren't fighting the rig wanting to tilt back up the whole time.
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#10 Shawn Bossick

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 04:41 PM

OK Thanks for answering, I wasn't sure if this would be something I should continue to do or not since I am only a week into my training, now I'm convinced it's OK & practiced by others so VERY GOOD thanks all to answered.
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#11 PeterAbraham

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 12:38 AM

Hi Shawn,

I'm on with a lot of the comments made by our esteemed colleagues.

Allow me to add one bit to the mix.

If you introduce a tilt by moving the camera on the stage all the way forwards ( or backwards ) until the plate cannot move any farther, you will have moved the camera's c.g. so far out from being over the gimbal's center that as you walk hands-free, the camera will "boat" side to side fairly aggressively. It is in the nature of all gimbals to do this.

If you see this artifact, it means you've taken the fore or aft plate adjust too far. The way to beat this and accomplish very clean extreme tilt shots is to move the rig to what some call the "zero G" state. That is to say, adjust the gimbal very carefully so the rig does not drop at all, but is not flipping over. Set it to a neutral state. Then go and adjust side/side and fore/aft so that the rig truly hangs there straight up, with no inclination to roll.

You can then go about doing 90┬║ tilts straight up or straight down with none of the aforementioned "boating" effect found if you try to do a very extreme tilt just by sliding the camera all the way to one extreme end of the stage.

Great for shooting the rotunda of the Capitol, the ceiling of a cathedral, the lobby of a large atrium / hotel setting and so on. This technique also makes easy and gratifying work of circular stairs.

Best,

Peter Abraham

Director of Technical Services, Steadicam®
The Tiffen Company
and
26 years as a Steadicam Operator
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