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Overloading Your Rig


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#1 Adam Brown

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 12:05 AM

Hey guys and gals,

I've got a shoot planned this Monday and I'm using the Aaton Penelope on a Steadicam Zephyr arm/vest. With Aaton batteries, a Cooke S4/i lens, Bartech receiver, Heden m28 motor, clip-on Arri LMB-5 matte box, the camera is ringing in at a whopping 30 pounds. My rated limit is 23-24 lbs as I've read.

I have read on the forum elsewhere that it would obviously be frowned upon to overload your rig as it prevents you from properly operating it as your hand would have to support some of that extra weight. However, I haven't read anywhere regarding just how far an arm/gimbal can be overloaded before serious damage would occur? Does anyone have any experience with this, to at least make me feel somewhat comfortable with this extra 6 pounds?

Any advice?

Thanks!
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#2 daniel hanit

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 01:04 AM

I guess that a 6 pounds overload will not break the gimbal/sled, but i would check the max cababilities of the arm, to make sure that it will be able to lift the weight.
Good luck!
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#3 Adam Brown

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 01:42 AM

I'll double check te specs on the Zephyr arm.

Does anyone have any tips for trying to balance an overweight rig (ie. center post all the way extended, max out weights on the base, gaff the second battery)?

Thanks very much!
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#4 daniel hanit

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 04:47 AM

I know of an operator (Johan Sandklef of Sweden) that had a custom add on weight made for his EFP rig.
Maybe you can arrange something like that made for you.
It attaches to the post like a mayfair, so he can decide where to put it according to the camera weight.
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#5 Kareem La Vaullee

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 07:45 AM

Hi Adam,

As a start I suggest that You remove one of the two batteries on the Penelope, with one battery You will get plenty enough of running time, and better yet, if You have the 12 volts 4 pins XLR power cable for the Zephyr then remove the other battery too and power the camera from your sled's battery, that way it will be much easier to balance the rig and there's even a chance that You are not going to be overloading it at all. (I don't know the exact numbers for the Penelope without batteries and for the Zephyr but on my PRO removing one of the two batteries of the Penelope is one of my simple pleasures, but I don't remove both as I would consider it pure laziness... also I am always aiming at a preferred camera weight and too light is too light)

Enjoy shooting on film!

K.
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#6 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 10:15 AM

You will find that your arm will float level with about 35-37lbs total (camera, batts, sled...everything). More than that, you run out of adjustment and the arm starts to sag. The 23-24lb camera weight is an estimate that is indirectly derived by Tiffen from this arm limit.

From my conversations with Peter Abraham and Micheal Craigs, the Zephyr system parts are all engineered to the same overall limit, with some reasonable margin for safety.

So you may have to monkey around with reducing camera weight, weight placement, and post length in order to keep the total weight under that limit, but the rule of thumb as i understand it is, if the arm can lift it, the system will handle it.

Specific suggestion:

The bottom of the sled is light, especially if you have an SD Zephyr with its very light monitor. With heavier cameras you definitely benefit from adding weight to the bottom of the sled, to keep the post short. Tiffen sells weights, but I prefer the second battery hanger. You'll have to experiment with battery sizes and placement to achieve both static and dynamic balance. Cheap way to go is make weights and screw to the bottom of the centerpost, there's a 1/4-20 screw hole.

Zephyr doesn't handle very well with a long post, as it has a small diameter and not very rigid with heavy loads.
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#7 Alan Rencher

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 11:08 AM

I would definitely suggest buying the secondary battery hanger, and you might even think about buying another one of the primary battery hangers to attach to the rod above the first hangar. Be careful though, if you notice that the sled doesn't balance properly after you overload it, you will need to have the gimbal serviced.
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