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Need advice on a new C300 Set Up


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#1 Bobby Holbrook

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 11:31 PM

Hello Everyone.. I looking to purchase a rig for my C300. I will be using EF "L" lenses primarily with a matte box and rail system. I guessing the total weight to be 6 -14 lbs (70-200 is heavy) ... So I'm looking for advice on what is the best rig to handle this kind of weight? Any Ideas..Pilot...Zypher....Thanks Bobby
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#2 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 12:30 AM

Hello Everyone.. I looking to purchase a rig for my C300. I will be using EF "L" lenses primarily with a matte box and rail system. I guessing the total weight to be 6 -14 lbs (70-200 is heavy) ... So I'm looking for advice on what is the best rig to handle this kind of weight? Any Ideas..Pilot...Zypher....Thanks Bobby



Don't forget a follow focus system. and for the record, I don't think you're going to be using a 70-200 that often
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#3 Wolfgang Troescher

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 12:36 AM

Saw C300 with all these equipment on a Zephyr already.
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#4 James Davis

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 09:26 AM

First of all, I would never bother using a stills camera zoom lens on Steadicam, why?
Well tilt the camera down with the zoom on before mounting it to anything and see what happens.
Then imagine how that will effect Steadicam if you need to tilt, or stop/start suddenly.

Secondly....those bodies take PL mount now and compact primes exist for those still stuck with canon mount.
Do yourself and your focus puller a favour and use compact primes, or proper cine lenses instead, you get nice long throw focus rings on the lens body, consistent lens sizing across most of the range for quick swaps and it is just one less thing to irritate you on a job, when you already have enough to think about.

You'll also want to add a wireless video link to that camera build, unless you want the director trying to follow you around during every move all day...

and possibly an on camera mic, a lockit/timecode box, a decent size on board monitor, all the extra cables, possible on board v-lock/AB battery for extended camera run time (and better spread of mass for easy balancing due to the shorter length of the C300 body), battery plate etc etc.

I think you will go past 18 lbs of payload weight on the sled quite easily for some jobs.

But then again, I don't know the market of where you work, so if the C300 is not the only camera you plan on flying, you need to be able to accommodate a Red One/MX, a Red Epic, an arri Alexa, a Sony F3, maybe decent sized Broadcast cameras etc...
Then you are easily closer to 20-25lbs upwards in camera package/accessories payload with most of those cameras once you start adding accessories and decent sized matte boxes etc.
Which is comfortably past the maximum weight capacity of a zephyr...food for thought.

With all due respect Steadicam is never as simple as it seems, sometimes you are better off saving yourself time and hassle with just hiring in an experienced operator to make you look good, luckily there are plenty to choose from on here ;)
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#5 Bobby Holbrook

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 11:50 AM

Great advice from all. As for the follow focus, I will have 2 options... a Genio set up and Canons new Wifi Transmitter (The WFT-E6A) to ipad for shutter,iris,white balance, focus and rec/stop control as well a starlink in case I have no WIFI.... As for the lenses...I have the C300 EF model.. The PL has not been released yet.. so the EF Lenses will have to do for now. Hot Rods and a few other brands will be premiering a ef-pL mount just for the C300 at NAB so i dont have to worry about my FFD ( focal flange distance). Once I choose I will one I will be switching over to S4's and Pancho's.. This rig will be used primarily for commercial work and tourism type big wide beauty reveal shots...

With all of that said.. what are your opinions on a SK-2 system with up-graded arm for up to a 25lb? is it old technology compared to the newer ones out? Am I going to love it or Hate it..

Thanks again for all of your help so far..
Bobby
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#6 James Davis

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 12:34 PM

Great advice from all. As for the follow focus, I will have 2 options... a Genio set up and Canons new Wifi Transmitter (The WFT-E6A) to ipad for shutter,iris,white balance, focus and rec/stop control as well a starlink in case I have no WIFI.... As for the lenses...I have the C300 EF model.. The PL has not been released yet.. so the EF Lenses will have to do for now. Hot Rods and a few other brands will be premiering a ef-pL mount just for the C300 at NAB so i dont have to worry about my FFD ( focal flange distance). Once I choose I will one I will be switching over to S4's and Pancho's.. This rig will be used primarily for commercial work and tourism type big wide beauty reveal shots...

With all of that said.. what are your opinions on a SK-2 system with up-graded arm for up to a 25lb? is it old technology compared to the newer ones out? Am I going to love it or Hate it..

Thanks again for all of your help so far..
Bobby


Panchros are really nice lenses, unless you need the speed of the S4's, they are also a lot cheaper to rent/buy than the S4's and at more typical t-stops like t4-6 I honestly can't tell the difference between them, I think you would need to start looking at charts and things to see any difference.
But they do have the obvious advantage of being much faster which is a real asset when dealing with low light conditions...plus they output lens data to the camera with some cameras which can be really useful for VFX work.

SK-2....well I own an archer 1 and i've tried various rigs at demos etc and after spending a day at a University helping out with some introductory steadicam stuff strapped into an SK-2 rig I would say you summed it up perfectly in one sentence....it is "Old Technology" and it feels like old technology, not a rig that I would bother with these days considering what else is out there, unless you are really strapped for cash, better off with a newer medium sized rig, or an older big rig in my humble opinion.
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#7 Brian Freesh

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 01:01 PM

at more typical t-stops like t4-6


That's it, I'm moving to the UK.
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#8 Bobby Holbrook

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 04:00 PM

Thanks that really helps... so I'm about to make a buy.. Choices

1 Steadicam Flyer Complete Package with both Composite and HD/SDI for Shooting HD

OR


2 Steadicam Tiffen Scout Camera Stabilizer with Vest

OR

3 Steadicam Zephyr High Definition System with Standard Vest and High Definition Monitor with IDX V-Mount


So Lets say my camera for a particular shoot only weighs 12lbs.... Will I have problems with the Zephyr for instance.. because there is not Enough Weight???


i guess what I am trying to say is ... Is there a Minimum weight requirement for each system??? LOL

Thanks Bobby
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#9 James Davis

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 07:09 PM

at more typical t-stops like t4-6


That's it, I'm moving to the UK.



I'll take you out for a pint if you stop by ;)
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#10 James Davis

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 07:15 PM

Thanks that really helps... so I'm about to make a buy.. Choices

1 Steadicam Flyer Complete Package with both Composite and HD/SDI for Shooting HD

OR


2 Steadicam Tiffen Scout Camera Stabilizer with Vest

OR

3 Steadicam Zephyr High Definition System with Standard Vest and High Definition Monitor with IDX V-Mount


So Lets say my camera for a particular shoot only weighs 12lbs.... Will I have problems with the Zephyr for instance.. because there is not Enough Weight???


i guess what I am trying to say is ... Is there a Minimum weight requirement for each system??? LOL

Thanks Bobby


Hey Bobby,

Please take this in the nicest possible way, but how much operating have you done so far with Steadicam?

I ask this because even after say 4-6 months of work and/or one workshop, you would be able to answer all these questions yourself.
If you have yet to operate a rig, I would strongly suggest a workshop followed by renting a rig a few times and seeing if you can put yourself out on some freeby jobs to get a feel for it.
you
It might sound great in principle, but with no actual experience you might find that buying a brand new rig and all the accessories required will be an expensive experience if it turns out to not be the right profession for you, on the other hand you might fall in love with operating and do really well at it.

Who knows, but I certainly wouldn't take such a big financial risk until you know for sure, just my two pence.

Edited by James Davis, 21 March 2012 - 07:25 PM.

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#11 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 08:07 PM

Hey Bobby,

Please take this in the nicest possible way, but how much operating have you done so far with Steadicam?

I ask this because even after say 4-6 months of work and/or one workshop, you would be able to answer all these questions yourself.
If you have yet to operate a rig, I would strongly suggest a workshop followed by renting a rig a few times and seeing if you can put yourself out on some freeby jobs to get a feel for it.
you
It might sound great in principle, but with no actual experience you might find that buying a brand new rig and all the accessories required will be an expensive experience if it turns out to not be the right profession for you, on the other hand you might fall in love with operating and do really well at it.

Who knows, but I certainly wouldn't take such a big financial risk until you know for sure, just my two pence.



Hence my 70-200mm comment
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#12 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 08:50 PM

Bobby,

You've been given some good advice. Adding mine, from experience with a Zephyr rig:

If you are intent on investing in a rig, Tiffen offers some excellent ones at under $9K. You must understand their limitations as well as strengths, and you should understand that you will need to invest in accessories, that add to your total investment. You would be hard-pressed to find a used big rig in good condition for anywhere near that price, and I would agree that smaller old rigs (old SK's, etc.) are not a future-facing investment.

To directly answer your questions:

1. Zephyr's actual weight limits are 9-24lbs "camera payload" (everything on the topstage, including camera, rods, matteboxes, ff, etc.) I confirmed this through experimentation and Tiffen changed their advertised payload, matching my results, shortly after I reported them to Tiffen. Many dealers still list incorrectly that the minimum payload is 5lbs. This is an error. 9-24 is correct. 9 is pretty absolute, 24 is a little flexible.

2. On the high end you can comfortably fly 20-24lb payloads. I do it all the time, with some mindful attention to how I distribute weight down below. You could go up to 25lbs or a little higher, but you end up with some significant compromises to keep under the approx. 36 lb arm lift maximum (long post, in particular.) There are a few threads on the Zephyr, packed with good information. I suggest you read and study them.

3. Scout and Flyer have similar weight ranges to each other (around 18lbs max). Scout has some advantages, but cannot be upgraded to HD-SDI without running external cables (a pain at best) or possibly a third-party upgrade. Some Flyers are outfitted for HD, some not. Both lack sufficient power connectors to add much in the way of connections.

4. Zephyr certainly has some limitations on weight, but you can fly most fullsize broadcast cameras, many more configurations of Red One, and even a very stripped down Alexa (with some significant sled upgrades needed). That extra 7 lbs of capability compared to Scout makes a huge difference.

5. You can save enough by buying a standard def Zephyr, and then buying a Marshall HD monitor and a custom monitor power cable, to just-about pay for a used Bartech BFD wireless follow focus.

Good luck whatever you decide.
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#13 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 09:55 PM

1. Zephyr's actual weight limits are 9-24lbs "camera payload" (everything on the topstage, including camera, rods, matteboxes, ff, etc.) I confirmed this through experimentation and Tiffen changed their advertised payload, matching my results, shortly after I reported them to Tiffen. Many dealers still list incorrectly that the minimum payload is 5lbs. This is an error. 9-24 is correct. 9 is pretty absolute, 24 is a little flexible.

<Snip>

4. Zephyr certainly has some limitations on weight, but you can fly most fullsize broadcast cameras, many more configurations of Red One, and even a very stripped down Alexa (with some significant sled upgrades needed). That extra 7 lbs of capability compared to Scout makes a huge difference.



A few things 9-24lbs is Payload, not "Camera Payload" doesn't matter if it's on the top, bottom or mass center of the post. The payload is arm lift after you remove the nominal sled weight from the total lift of the arm.

also I know that you are a proponent of flying a Alexa or other high current camera on the Zephyr but any rig that has 24 gauge wiring (Verified on the one that I saw, not the 22 ga that we previously thought) is not suitable for that job
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#14 Bobby Holbrook

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 12:36 AM

Thanks Guys..I have a lot to read up on.. I owned a Glidecam4K about 10 years ago with the body pod Which really doesn't mean much.. But anyway... I strapped on a scout last year at NAB and really liked the feel. I am going to take everyone's advice.. First... Rent one for a week or so... Second watch and read up on as many tutorials as I can...Third... Come back to the forum and give everyone my results and conclusion...with posted footage and pics... Now If you know the best place for rentals of Steadicam ..let me know. because after taking in everything you guys have said.. it's interesting how an investment of 10k can easily turn into 20-30K after accessories... SOOOOO... I'm gonna rent first and see if I can skin this cat!!

Thanks Guys

Bobby Holbrook
http://www.youtube.c...brookMultiMedia
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#15 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 09:06 AM

Whatever you call it, the Zephyr will fly 9-24 lbs of mass above the gimbal. This is tested by me and then confirmed by Tiffen. Actually they publish a slightly more conservative 23 lbs. At the same time they changed the published weight limits for the Zephyr, Tiffen changed their terminology from "camera payload" to "net camera weight", presumably to avoid the confusion of the word "payload".

So, I will conform to their new terminology. 9-23 lbs "net camera weight".

Using your payload definition, The Zephyr's payload is approximately 16 to 31 lbs, as the sled nominal weight is 6 1/2 lbs without monitor or battery. The total arm lift is roughly 38 pounds.

I am not a "proponent" of flying high current cameras on the Zephyr. I am reporting my own experiences and research. I recommend that everyone do their own research, know the limitations of their rig, plan ahead, make informed choices, and take responsibility for their choices. If someone is uncomfortable with powering a particular camera through the rig, then don't. Alexa could be powered by external cable, Epic/Scarlet from a Red Brick on the camera stage. Certainly bigger rigs offer more robust platforms for Alexa.

As for the wire gauge of the Zephyr, I have been told three separate times by different Tiffen employees, that the Zephyr has 22 gauge wiring. I do not have an explanation for the discrepancy of what you observed.
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