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#1 Tomas Burian

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 02:17 PM

Hi,
I'm a new owner of the Pilot V-lock version. I've been trying to balance it for days now and I'm starting to get headaches.
I've read a lot of material on this forum and elsewhere but still can't get the grasp of how to practically get a good drop time to get closer to dynamic balance.
Everyone talks about it as if it's something that's just for granted, usually saying 'set the drop time to X seconds'.
How do you guys do that? Many claim it's so easy and takes just few seconds but there's nobody who would explain it for newbies.
I've been desperately searching for some video showing the whole procedure of dynamic balancing but there's none. Naturally, if anyone knows how to do this they don't have any notion of making a video about it but I've already done a video for unpacking and I'd like to do a balancing video as well.
Any help is appreciated.
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#2 Janice Arthur

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 02:23 PM

T

Just get static balance now, get a 3 second DT and forget dynamic right now

You're mixing info and it's giving u a headache.

Start wearing the rig after that and as u learn u can get more info about dynamic

No harm no foul. Then take a 2 day class

Ja

Hint. Don't make yourself nuts w this dynamic balance study.
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#3 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 03:34 PM

Hi,
I'm a new owner of the Pilot V-lock version. I've been trying to balance it for days now and I'm starting to get headaches.
I've read a lot of material on this forum and elsewhere but still can't get the grasp of how to practically get a good drop time to get closer to dynamic balance.
Everyone talks about it as if it's something that's just for granted, usually saying 'set the drop time to X seconds'.
How do you guys do that? Many claim it's so easy and takes just few seconds but there's nobody who would explain it for newbies.
I've been desperately searching for some video showing the whole procedure of dynamic balancing but there's none. Naturally, if anyone knows how to do this they don't have any notion of making a video about it but I've already done a video for unpacking and I'd like to do a balancing video as well.
Any help is appreciated.



You are confusing the process. You first balance the rig statically, then you worry about dynamic balance. Honestly at this point in your operating learn to statically balance the rig and learn to operate. Worry about dynamic balance once you learn to operate the gear.

Once you learn what the gear does and the asics of building and balancing, dynamic balance can be very easy to achieve (it's not rocket science like some authors claim)
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#4 Stephen Wymer

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 03:43 PM

I agree with Janice. Don't kill yourself with dynamic balance just yet. Dynamic balance is not necessary to get into static balance and have a workable drop time, and it does sound like you're mixing info.

This video here shows somebody demonstrating drop time on an Indycam stabilizer. Same principle applies to all rigs. He has about a 2.5 sec drop time. Count it as the rig "drops" from horizontal to vertical. Droptime

After you get that figured out, check out this link and heed all advice given there in. Eric Fletcher makes some great points about dynamic balance. Dynamic Balance
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#5 Tomas Burian

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 04:11 PM

I think I've read the Dynamic Balance topic dozen times over but it's hard to distill the right procedure and the philosophy behind it from so many opinions.
Are you trying to say, though, that Pilot is operable even without the dynamic balance?
Static balance is quite easy to achieve, just turn the knobs here and there, add some weights but then when I start to move it the whole thing starts tilting like a drunken master. I guess that's why I'm so worried about getting it all right.
Maybe it's harder for me since I'm trying to balance it for DSLRs which are common in low-end productions around here. Them being quite asymmetrical makes it harder to nail their CG and position them right.

Edited by Tomas Burian, 30 December 2011 - 04:14 PM.

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#6 Janice Arthur

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 04:21 PM

T

YES it works without DB!!!!

The swaying is now something u control when u operate

U need a class to help

Ja
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#7 Stephen Wymer

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 04:27 PM

We're trying to say is don't worry about the dynamic balance until you get the drop time. That pendular effect that you are talking about is caused by too short of a drop time. Short drop time could be caused by a variety of things; Too much weight on the bottom, not enough on top, gimbal is too high on the post, post is extended too much, etc. Figure that out, then move on to dynamic balance. You're getting the two mixed up I think.

Dynamic balance effects whether or not the rig stays in static balance when spun. (aka panning)

Get the "Steadicam Operators Handbook". Every operator should own and read this book several, several times, especially in the juvenile stages of your career.
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#8 Tomas Burian

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 05:01 PM

Thanks for all the info. I'll get the book.
It would be good if Tiffen could update their instruction video based on the feedback from people here, or maybe they already improved everything in newer models, I don't know.
Either way, getting classes is very from where I am. The official workshops are quite scarce and usually sold out quickly and the other ones are hard to find due to language differences throughout the EU. I'll try to watch out if any local ones show up, though.
There's one more thing I'd like to clarify. How far do I need to balance the thing to be able to operate it well? The static balance and the drop time? I can save the dynamic balance for later?
I always prefer to learn from the masters so I'm just curious what your normal procedure is when you need to balance for a new camera.
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#9 Brian Freesh

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 05:15 PM

You're overthinking it. Step back for a second.

To operate well you need to practice operating. It does not need to be in dynamic balance, have a particular drop time, or even necessarily be in "static balance." All of those things may change per shot once you know what you are doing. All you need to do right now is static balance so that the rig is vertical. Start with a 2 second or so drop time, adjustable by moving the gimbal up or down. Get the aforementioned book, and practice. Don't think about anything else until you have a handle on the basic excercises in that book. Once you know what you're doing you can experiment with drop time and dynamic balance (which are two separate things), etc...

It takes months of practice to operate well, no matter how well balanced your rig is. Good luck!
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#10 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 05:34 PM

Yes, get the Handbook and the EFP training DVD.

And take a two-day workshop or hire an operator to give you private lesssons.


To clarify and emphasize, there are three important separate concepts: Static balance (vertical level), drop time (bottom-heaviness), and dynamic balance ("spin balance"). Theoretically your rig should be vertically level in both fore-aft and side-to-side axes, SLIGHTLY bottom-heavy, and be in dynamic balance (will "pan flat", without wobbling, when you lightly pan the gimbal without introducing wobble with your fingers). For a beginner, dynamic balance is both the least important, and the hardest to achieve.

Pendular motion or wobble can be introduced (to some degree) by any of the three being out of whack, but also by your grip, technique and footwork. You could have everything perfect and still get major sway if you are not operating with good form.


The principles to achieve these are the same for all rigs, but the execution can be slightly different, because of the Pilot's specific design (merlin weights, bottom sliding spar, etc.)

Try this:
1. Rough-in your rig for static balance: place the CG of the camera-and-dovetail combo about one-half-inch behind the centerline of the post. If desired, add merlin weights to the camera stage (same number fore as aft). Tweak in your side to side with the trim knob, but DON'T tweak the fore-aft with the camera stage trim knob (yet).
2. Spread your monitor and battery paddles so that they are far apart on the bottom spar (tube). Rough in your fore-aft static balance by sliding the tube back and forth. Then lock the spar in position.
3. Check your drop time, and set it for 2 to 2 1/2 seconds.
4. Repeat steps one and two. The longer your drop time, the less pendular but the more touchy the level (static balance)
5. Finalize your fore-aft balance trim using the trim knob.
6. Check and confirm your drop time once more.

It is conceivable to be in static balance, with a good drop time, and still be WAY off in dynamic balance, BUT because of the Pilot's simple geometry, if you follow the steps above I believe you will automatically be reasonably close to dynamic balance...certainly close enough to start practicing!

Good luck!
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#11 Tom Wills

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 05:41 PM

I can understand that these terms can seem a little esoteric for a beginner, but take your time, don't get frustrated, and read the manual. This video might help too:

Best of luck.
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#12 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 05:51 PM

I think I've read the Dynamic Balance topic dozen times over but it's hard to distill the right procedure and the philosophy behind it from so many opinions.
Are you trying to say, though, that Pilot is operable even without the dynamic balance?
Static balance is quite easy to achieve, just turn the knobs here and there, add some weights but then when I start to move it the whole thing starts tilting like a drunken master. I guess that's why I'm so worried about getting it all right.
Maybe it's harder for me since I'm trying to balance it for DSLRs which are common in low-end productions around here. Them being quite asymmetrical makes it harder to nail their CG and position them right.



STOP

balance the rig statiicly.

Adjust gimbal height to give a 2 or 3 second drop

Learn to operate

Don't worry aout dyanmic balance, that is something the learn once you've often to the point that ou can do normal operation like walking the line. Dynamic balance is important for whip pans, it is not required for normal operation

Learn the basics then worry about dynamic Balance
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#13 Tomas Burian

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 07:19 PM

How do you normally measure the drop time? Do you use stop watch or just count in the head?
Is it crucial to get it exactly right?
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#14 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 07:24 PM

Count in your head. It's not an exact number.
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#15 Janice Arthur

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 07:25 PM

Tom

Just count.

No offense but go work and come back in a week not before
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