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Heavier Gimbal oil for smaller rigs idea?


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#1 Janice Arthur

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 09:41 AM

Hi all;

I've been thinking about the use of a gimbal to control a camera and as we all know its not the best way but its all we've got; being so 'loosey-goosey' it makes our jobs hard.

Now, we all have these light weight, very little mass rigs and its even harder

So, why not try a few drops of something like car motor oil/or something like that in their gimbals instead of this very, lightweight/super-thin/or none at all oil some ops like?

The added viscosity would 'dampen' the rig more, or at least some and maybe help us.

This is an idea I've never seen anyone offer before and maybe it would be a good idea?


Heck we never thought back mounted vests or 2 hand operation would work but they did.

Pre-emptive points.

1) no it would not be grease, which could be peanut butter thick.
2) use something that wouldn't get a much thicker in cold.
3) swish pans, you could still do them and maybe the best way would be the body pan, so that you wouldn't rely on the gimbal turning very fast.
4) The gimbal would still turn fast, it might take a slight bit more effort but that's the good part.
5) As with everything its about compromise; which oil you choose and exactly how "viscose" it is.

Let's think here, maybe this could work and make our lives easier?

Janice
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#2 Jerry Holway

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 10:06 AM

One important function of a gimbal is to absorb vibrations from ourselves; damping that function is not a good idea.

Jerry
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#3 Janice Arthur

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 10:23 AM

Hi Jerry;

That's one thing I didn't think of, now I know.

That said and a little bit of 6th grade science class in me still wants to test my theory.

If I get around to it and anyone else, its clearly subjective too, (do I really see it better or do I just think so) but let's see.

Have a great holiday.

Janice
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#4 Afton Grant

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 08:15 AM

The primary function of the gimbal is to further isolate our movement from that of the sled. The theoretical ideal gimbal would have zero friction. Since that's not physically possible, the closer we can get to it, the better. Adding friction just seems to be moving in the opposite direction. You'd be fighting yourself.

Maybe for stylistic reasons one may want the rig to behave slightly differently, but those instances would be the exceptions, not the rule. I wouldn't want to do anything to my gimbal for a rare occasion that would compromise all others.
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#5 Janice Arthur

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 11:07 AM

Afton;

I started this to topic to have a new discussion point and I'm happy to discuss this with only good hearted intent so here's my answer.

I think some points are off;

1) You would want frictionless to keep any "bad influences" off the rig but our hands are the ultimate "bad influence". We twitch and imperfectly make the rig go where we don't want it most/some of the time.
2) If we did have a dampening system to the gimbal to take out some of that "imperfection" our hands add maybe it would help?
3) With big rigs and lots of mass we had 'help' with our gimbal hand, now we don't even have mass or as much inertia of the rig to help us. Its more than ever our imperfect hands and selves that always prove the issue.
4) I think of tripods on the zero setting, the last thing you do is set a shot using those. We've been using a tripod on "zero" setting for 3+ decades and made it work amazingly well and a tribute to the skills of everyone here, but lately I've been asking why can't this be different.

Everyone's gotten so good at this device it would be fun to think in another way about even more stuff.

Janice
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#6 Chris Poynton

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 10:47 AM

I like the "out of the box" spirit of the enquiry Janice, grappling with some sort of not-quite-known frontier. Just wondering if you can describe the parameters of the light-weight rigs you are thinking of? Are you talking specifically of say a Pilot with a DSLR? What camera weight and total sled weight are you referring to? Would be helpful to clarify the niche.

 

Three angles that come to mind. 1) The CMR Blackbird stabiliser has a variable friction universal joint if you wanted to experiment with the feel of that. It has the "Merlin curse" of basically no real-estate for one's operating fingers to operate on, so it is a bit if a dead-end in terms of rig geometry, but it will allow you to experiment with variable friction without gumming up a higher-value gimbal. It also uses an antler arrangement on the lower spar.

 

2) The use of multiple pairs of micro-antlers (on a Pilot for instance) is a possibility, sitting maybe 4 inches from the optical axis at both the front and rear of the camera and also at the front and rear of the sled base. This will only slightly increase the required operating distance from the body in some positions, but may have an interesting multiplier effect. 

 

3) Also I have been experimenting with kooky hand positions that are counter to years of practice but emerged naturally when I recently tried a 5kg sled on a cheap chinese system with a sticky pan bearing and a poky annoying gimbal sleeve. My jury is still out but I think there may be something useful in it, especially for windy conditions. Position as follows; With the post hand I tried placing the thumb on the top of the gimbal handle so that the mass of the hand is not having to "chase the post" and will therefore not jiggle the post. Meanwhile I have my fore finger on the post above the gimbal and ring finger below the gimbal, separated by about three inches, (not touching the gimbal) while maintaining the thumb on the gimbal handle.This combination opens up slightly kooky opportunities to add manual dampening to the various axes of the gimbal as required, especially for lock-offs. (which may give more flexibility than an oil change!). I am finding that manually tilting the gimbal yolk with the boom hand makes radical tilts kind of fun and easy, especailly for lock-offs, as long as the gimbal handle is at correct 90 degree orientation to camera axis. 

 

Not sure if any of that is relevant to your quest Janice, but thought I would just articulate a bit of the learning curve I am on too   :)


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#7 Jerry Holway

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 12:00 PM

Janice-

 

I suggest any stiction and or friction from a heavy oil is a bad thing in any gimbal bearing, as far as isolating our movements. The smaller masses and limited inertia of a smaller rig would make any friction even worse than on a bigger rig. The gimbal bearings should be free to absorb any angular lift change and/or rotation of our hands, the arm post, etc.

 

Chris: "The Merlin curse" as you call it is a very deliberate design decision - a larger surface would give our big fingers way too much purchase on this delicate object.

 

Jerry


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#8 Jeff Muhlstock SOC

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 07:51 AM

Hi Janice,  

 

Thought Id chime in here.  Very interesting conversation!  I would have to go with Jerry here, for a variety of reasons.  I certainly like your thinking and it would make sense to me in terms of its basic logic.  However,  No one has experimented more with this then Jerry, all the R & D and different size gimbals and bearings that he has played with, you gota go with that expertise...

 

I will add that i have experimented with some different lubes on my older gimbals and always found that the least amount of the lightest oil has been best for me.  In earlier days, I found that I grew out of my 3a gimbal once I tested a PRO gimbal.  The PRO had less friction/drag... The CP 3a, felt like it had too much drag on it, which translated into seeing more "hand" effect in the shot.  Of course thats just me and we learn and adjust.  But from personal experience, I found, even the slightest addition of friction/drag, adds unwanted movement as a result of more touching and pressure from fingers over compensating.   I  even see this with my current gimbal after a few years of muck build up...  I like to clean out the bearings occasionally.  

 

Of course many other factors come to play in this conversation.  The balance, bearing quality, size, the operator..., etc.  

 

I will add one other thought here.   Once I tested a 2 inch diameter Gimbal (XCS), I never went back.  I feel the larger diameter makes it easier to remain flat!  I know, this is counter intuitive of my previous statement about more fingers touching, but, its not more touching, its more about letting the larger surface do its thing.  The larger diameter takes longer to roll which in turn is easier to keep flat...  just my own little theory on this.

 

Cheers, 

Jeff


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