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Zephyr and Smaller Camera


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#1 John Stout

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 10:14 AM

Greetings,

 

We had a shoot the other day that presented some interesting challenges...

 

We used our Zephyr rig and a Panasonic HPX-170 camera on a short film.  We did this as a favor.  They had no budget and mixed resources for the shoot.  Pretty much a not ideal situation from start to finish, but we want our kit to have the resources to be able to handle these challenging situations, hence why I am seeking suggestions on how else to rig in this situation.

 

Since the camera is so light, we ordered some of Jan's weight plates.  We got the 6.5 lb and the 11 lb version.  We like the plates a lot and they helped in rigging for a nice heavy rig with such a light camera. 

 

As a side note Jan's plates are VERY nice.  If you fly smaller cameras, you should get them.  She was great, shipped them out on short notice and really took care of us.  We are going to test rig a 5D since we have them now.

 

The way we rigged the camera was as follows:

 

1. Zephyr plate to the bottom of the weight plate.  This worked well, plenty of holes on the weight plate to get a few mounts to the plate.  It was nice and solid.

 

2. We then had a Red Rock Micro low rise plate that was mounted to the weight plate.  

 

http://store.redrock...-15mm-low-riser

 

 

This is were we had our first challenge. It required some longer screws to mount to the weight plate through the bottom Zephyr plate to the riser.  We did not have long enough screws with us to mount from the bottom, so we mounted the plate from the top.  It was solid, but just odd to mount from the top of the riser plate.  I also think that even though it was solid. it wasn't as strongly mounted from the top.  We will add some longer screws to our kit to be able to deal with this in the future.

 

3. The riser had 15mm rods that we needed to mount a Bartech receiver to with motor on the front of the rods.

 

4. We needed to mount a KiPro mini to the back of the rods as well as a cheese plate that held a power J Box and a Black Magic SDI to HDMI converter to mount the Paralinx transmitter.

 

This is were our challenges presented themselves.

 

1. We couldn't get the dog bone for the motor on because there was no space between the rods and the weight plate.  We have longer rods that we could have used but it would have put it too far in front of the camera, but that would have done crazy balance things too.  Bartech was scrapped.

 

2. We could mount the cheese plate and KiPro to the back of the rods but it took forever to pull the twist locks out and crank them down as there was no room to spin them between the rods and the weight plate.  There was just enough room to shove the mounts for both pieces in.  Really tight fit, but we made it work.

 

The weight plate against the bottom of the rig took away any space to mount or tighten screws.

 

What is the best tool to use between the weight plate and the camera plate to get some height between the rods and the weight plate?  Is there a shim plate or spacer that won't add a ton of weight?

 

What other mounting plates or risers are out there that would allow for a higher platform for the rods to allow space between the rods and the weight plate?

 

Any ideas for better mounting of these stacked plates?

 

Any other suggestions are welcome as there is a lot of camera rigging experience in this forum.

 

Thank you in advance for your suggestions.

 

 

John


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#2 Alan Rencher

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 11:43 AM

John,

 

I personally loathe that Specific RedRock plate, but the rod mounts can be shimmed so that they are farther up from the plate. That can give you plenty of room to attach everything. 

 

I actually use a Berkey System Plate (Link Here) that has adjustable rod blocks. I use it for small Panasonic & Sony handhelds, as well as DSLR cameras. I don't attach it to the weight plate with long screws from the bottom, but with those Manfrotto tie-downs that are meant for their thick quick-release plates. I screw the base plate to the weight plate from the top-down.

 

 

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#3 John Stout

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 08:28 PM

Alan, 

 

We got the plate today and it is going to fix our challenge and a few other issues as well.

 

Thank you for the suggestion.

 

John


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#4 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 10:24 AM

Janice Arthur makes amazing weight plates and cages. They come will all the needed screws and are not as thick as the one above which lowers the camera on the stage. Contact her (she's on the forum). I have one and can't be happier (apart from getting another set to match different camera weights)


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#5 John Stout

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 10:57 AM

Victor,

 

We have both her 11lb and 6.5lb weight plates and they work great.

 

We need this riser to get the rails up to be able to mount accessories like FF and what not.

 

The combination of the two has made our lives much easier.

 

 

John


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#6 Alan Rencher

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 12:25 PM

Which base plate did you end up going with?
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#7 John Stout

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 12:30 PM

We got the Berkey 2.5" that you suggested.

 

We are also using Janice's weight plates


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#8 Alan Rencher

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 04:11 PM

I can't speak highly enough about Berkey system products, or their customer support. I don't own any of Janice's plates, but if I were to buy a weight plate, it would be from her.
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#9 Joe Lawry

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 05:28 AM

I use this manfrotto QR plate between my weight plate and whatever rod mount camera plate I am using.

 

http://www.bhphotovi...ct_Adapter.html

 

Its not ideal but its done the trick so far.

 

I designed my own weight plate. Every 2nd hole is extremely counter sunk with no thread, a standard 1/4 20" or 3/8th screw fits down there then threads in whatever you need to attach. The other holes are just normal 3/8th threads for attaching dovetail plates to.


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#10 Wolfgang Troescher

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 06:11 AM

I use a V-Mount battery + a this counterweight to make my cam heavier. With follow focus rcv + motor it's heavy enough.

http://www.hdvideosh...r-15m-rods.html
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#11 Matt Williams

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 11:12 AM

Hi John, we were looking to order one of Janice's weight plates for use when filming with DSLRs. Just wondering which of the 2 you ordered (6.5 lb and the 11 lb) works best with the 5D? We would be using it on the Scout and the Zephyr. My thought is the 6.5 Ib should be plenty and we wouldn't have use for the 11 Ib weight, but would be great to hear from someone who has both! Thanks,

 

Matt


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#12 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 11:20 AM

The 6.5 and a riser plate should be sufficient, in my experience. I don't have the 11 but have never missed it.

 

The key for the Zephyr is to get the total camera platform weight up to 9 or 10 pounds, which is the practical minimum.


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#13 Matt Williams

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 11:35 AM

Thanks for your quick reply Mark, that's very helpful!


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#14 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 01:06 PM

I have the heavier one and wish I had the 6.5 lb one. If you ever feel like it's too light, you gan buy a second 6.5 lb and use 4 rods to turn it into a cage. which will place the center of gravity in a better location


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#15 John Stout

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 05:47 PM

We have been using the 6.5 mostly with DSLR and 5D.  

 

With other accessories it gets us where we need to be.

 

We have used the 11 a couple of times, but mostly the 6.5.


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