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Help a newbie! pilot or glidecam?


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#1 Nikos Thomas

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 02:57 PM

Hello,

I work the last two years as a camera operator. I have done some shorts, two feature films, corporates and weddings.

I own a glidecam hd 4000 and i shoot certainly with Dslrs. I don't have a vest and i want to expand the recording duration because after 4 minutes my arm starts to pain.
I want a future-proof solution and because i already own the sled by glidecam i'm considering buying the Glidecam X-10 Dual Support Arm Stabilizer Vest System
which costs approximately 2000$.
The other solution i have in mind is Steadicam Pilot which costs approximately 3800$ (a bit struggle for me but i can wait if it's the best solution).
The max payload of these products is 10 lbs and i was wondering if its enough to hold a red epic or at least a scarlet.
Another thought is to buy a second hand Steadicam but i'm located in Greece and i haven't found anything in the market here. Any advice would be great..

(Sorry for my poor English)

PS:I started reading the Steadicam operator handbook which is really helpful to understand how this thing really works!

Thanks in advance!
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#2 Evrim KAYA

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 04:05 PM

Hello neighbor!

Pilot is a great rig. It behaves like a big rig and it is resonably priced. If you are between X-10 and pilot you certainly should go Pilot.

But,

Both have same upper weight limit of 10 lbs (net camera weight). If you want to use your rig for Red Epic both pilot and X-10 will be very limiting if not impossible. You wont be able to use the camera with any accesories. No lens control, no video transmitter and no PL lenses. A stripped down epic with light EF lens will be your limit.

There are some topics on the forum discussing Epic usage with zephyr (23lbs/10.5kg net camera weight limit). You should read them. Even with the Zephyr some Epic configurations might be close to 10.5kg weight limit of the arm.

You could also buy a second hand Flyer LE which, if I remember correctly, had the same weight range as the Zephyr and being an older model would be cheaper (aprox. $4/5k). Check the marketplace.

If you find yourself at Istanbul, contact me. We’ll talk steadicam and drink Raki ;)
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#3 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 05:56 PM

Hi, I fly Epic and Scarlet on a Zephyr and I feel I almost max out the weight on it. (with batteries for balancing, follow focus, lens, matte box wireless focus, digital recorder (HyperDeck Shuttle)
If you plan on buying the Pilot to mainly use it with a Red camera, this is a bad idea as it will leave you unsatisfied.

Go with a Zephyr of a Flyer LE for sure.
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#4 Brian Freesh

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 06:13 PM

to hold a red epic or at least a scarlet.


Just as a heads up, those camera bodies weigh the same.

Flyer LE which, if I remember correctly, had the same weight range as the Zephyr


The Flyer LE had a max weight of 19-20lbs, the Zephyr is 23lbs.

I used to do stripped down Red Ones at 19-22lbs (depends on the build) with no battery on the camera, so an Epic/Scarlet with a battery could easily be in the same ball park. It's a pain in the butt if you're using a different camera package each time.
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#5 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 07:13 PM

Practically speaking you can probably eke another pound or two out of a Zephyr above the 23lb advertised. Older Flyer LE's had a lighter camera payload, I believe, more like 15lb...so be aware of that if you decide to buy a used Flyer LE.

The current Tiffen model that is closest in payload and features to the Flyer series is the Scout. Don't remember the exact payload limit though.

I agree re: Epic/Scarlett. If that's the camera you expect to fly, the Zephyr will offer the most payload capacity for adding accessories or dealing with a variety of configurations that would add weight. The Pilot won't cut it; certainly is not future-proof.
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#6 Brian Freesh

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 08:20 PM

Older Flyer LE's had a lighter camera payload, I believe, more like 15lb...


That's the 1st and 2nd gen Flyers. The LE was first 19, then 20lbs. The Scout is 18lbs.

I do know of at least one time a 2nd gen Flyer was sold as an LE, the buyer didn't realize the mistake until I saw and identified it months later.

So to Nikos, if you look for an LE, make sure it is an LE before you purchase. That said, you are likely to be able to squeeze a heavier camera onto these rigs and have it balance on the sled and the arm. You just may wear out parts faster if you do it continually (I sure did).
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#7 Nikos Thomas

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 04:40 AM

Thank you all guys for your replies this is really helpfull.

If you find yourself at Istanbul, contact me. We’ll talk steadicam and drink Raki ;)

For sure Evrim that would be nice!

In the marketplace of the forum Flyer LE costs approximately 6000$(correct me if i'm wrong) which is too much for me right now but i realize that if i want to be future-proof that's the best solution.
I have some questions regarding the remote follow focus and the battery pack.

Is it Steadicam operators responsibillity to have it in his gear or focus pullers ? if so whats the cheapest and robust solution?

The battery pack of the Steadicam is standard for all Flyers LE or they differ? If so in what ways?

Thanks again.
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#8 Evrim KAYA

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 05:03 AM

Is it Steadicam operators responsibillity to have it in his gear or focus pullers ? if so whats the cheapest and robust solution?


jury is still out about this question! it depends on your market. i personnally, decided to have my own so i could arrange cables and brackets beforehand and be sure the unit will work properly. most operators have 1 or multiple motor FF sets included in their kit.

BARTECH for sure! it's cheap, readily available in numbers as 2nd hand. reliable. simple. and Jim Bartell is a great guy who always takes cares of his clients.
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#9 Haris Pallas

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 09:09 AM

Geia sou Niko,

Haris apo Thessaloniki edw...sou esteila prosopiko minima me to email mou gia na ta poume sta elinika an theleis...pistevw pws mporw na se voithisw se polla ap'auta pou se apasholoun...

- Haris -
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#10 Stavros Papastavrou

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:08 AM

Nikos, as a fellow newbie amateur steadicam op and pilot owner, my vote would go to the pilot, Zephyr being the better but more expensive choice.

Greetings to you Haris as well... love your stuff.

-Stavros
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#11 Haris Pallas

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 08:25 PM

Hallo Stavro,

Nice to hear from you...and thank you so much!

- Haris -
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