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Zephyr for Smaller Cameras


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#1 Shawn Bosley

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 12:00 AM

Hi,
 
I've been working with the Pilot and the Merlin for a little while, and completed the 2 day workshop where I had the opportunity to work with the bigger rigs (and bigger cameras!) I have access to a Zephyr, and would like to get some experience on that rig too, but have smaller camera equipment. Are there any recommendations for weight plates? I figure that I'll need the option to add another 6 to 10 lbs, and the Merlin weights (while good for fine tuning) aren't going to cut it for that much extra weight.
 
Thanks,
 
Shawn

 


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#2 John Stout

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 08:23 AM

Shawn,

 

There are lots of threads about this very subject.

 

Here is an example of one about rigging with Janice's weight plates.

 

http://www.steadicam...showtopic=18911

 

There are plenty of other weight plate options out there, I just prefer her's when flying DSLR on our Zephyr.


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#3 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 09:25 AM

Definitely contact Janice Arthur. Her weight cages are amazing! http://www.steadicam...hp?showuser=888


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#4 Shawn Bosley

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 03:47 PM

John & VIctor, thanks for your input. Will check into Jan's weight plates. Seems like folks are very satisfied with that solution.


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#5 Elliot Gabor

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 10:29 AM

I've been using a manfrotto counterweight for my pilot/dlsr setup.  Its cheap, adds about 4.5lbs, and raises the CG nicely.  It also provides enough clearence to allow for the battery door to open on the DSLR without having to take it off and rebalance.

 

I mount the counterweight it to an additonal manfrotto quick release system (one for the DSLR and one for the counterweight).  This further adds slightly more weight and raises the CG a little more as well.  The main reason for the additional quick release system is to give me a lot of flexibility for front/back camera placement.  This allows me to keep the pilots cheeseplate mounted in the same positioning for almost any camera/lens combination i'm flying.

 

http://www.amazon.co...0?ie=UTF8&psc=1


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#6 Herman Wong

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 04:18 AM

I've been using a manfrotto counterweight for my pilot/dlsr setup.  Its cheap, adds about 4.5lbs, and raises the CG nicely.  It also provides enough clearence to allow for the battery door to open on the DSLR without having to take it off and rebalance.

 

I mount the counterweight it to an additonal manfrotto quick release system (one for the DSLR and one for the counterweight).  This further adds slightly more weight and raises the CG a little more as well.  The main reason for the additional quick release system is to give me a lot of flexibility for front/back camera placement.  This allows me to keep the pilots cheeseplate mounted in the same positioning for almost any camera/lens combination i'm flying.

 

http://www.amazon.co...0?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Do you have a photo of your setup?


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#7 Elliot Gabor

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 02:31 PM

steadisetup1.jpg

 

steadisetup2.jpg

 

steadisetup3.jpg


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#8 Alan Rencher

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 11:14 PM

I've found that spreading the weight out makes for a more stable rig. having the weight stacked in line with the center post the way you do doesn't add much needed inertia.
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#9 Elliot Gabor

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 02:50 PM

Good Point, I'll explain.  The Inertia that I would get from spreading the weight on the stage would be my panning inertia.  The purpose of adding weight on the stage and extending the post all the way is to give me tilt inertia.  I find that it's the tilt inertia thats harder to achieve on a lightweight rig like the pilot.  Yes I could add more pan inertia while I'm at it, however, I like my pan and tilt inertia to be similiar to eachother rather than having a lot of pan and very little tilt. 

 

All that being said, when I shoot DSLR, I take off the monitor/battery on the bottom of the rig, center the bottom hanger and add 4 pilot weights on each side of the hanger.  This not only gives me the perfect amount of pan inertia, it also means that my camera is perfectly dynamically balanced (much like the steadicam solo).  Unfortunatly I don't have a picture of that setup but I'll try to take one the next chance I get. 


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#10 Alan Rencher

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 07:46 PM

You can do the same thing by lengthening the post. Is there a reason why you don't do that?


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#11 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 08:20 PM

So you are looking at the tiny screen at the back of the camera to frame?
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#12 Elliot Gabor

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 08:16 AM

Alan, I do extend the post, re-read my previous post.  I'll take any tilt inertia I can get.

 

Victor, unfrotunatly yes, when shooting DSLR I'm looking at a tiny screen on the stage.  Its not the ideal way of working but this is my setup for DSLR because when I shoot DSLR I'm typically shooting events which forces me to do my own focusing (and without a hack like magic lantern you can't outpout to both the camera LCD and an extenal monitor at the same time.)  Especially with the post extended, Its too hard focus to do critical focusing on the sled monitor (framing is even hard when the post is extended). It's one of the drawbacks of a lightweight steadicam like the pilot.

 

I am however, working on a way to nano clamp the monitor halfway up the post so that I can extend the post and still have proper steadicam form when focusing.  This will of course will add to setup time since I'll have to set up the monitor and dynamic balance.  Not so fun at events but doable for narrative work.


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#13 Alan Rencher

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 01:10 PM

When I had a pilot, I used to use the sled monitor and a Dionic 90. That gave me a good deal of pan inertia. I didn't worry about focus, as I usually had an AC to pull when using a DSLR, and when I didn't I would either set a specific focus point beforehand or adjust between moves. I'm not trying to get you to change what you are doing, I was just expressing that the sled acts a bit squirrelly when the weight is stacked on the top stage as you do in the pictures. Not to mention, that your form goes out the window when trying to frame from the DSLR screen. It's not ideal, and I'm putting that out there for posterity.


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#14 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 01:25 PM

You are adding inertia by speeding the weights. you would get a more compact sled that can go in more tight places if you were adding weight and shorten the pole.  Having a super long pole will be prone to vibrations. and will limit you in your moves.

When I shoot DSLR, I place a weight plate on the top stage, then I place the rod bracket then the camera. My plate is 11lb and allows me to have a similar feel as with a larger camera. Then I use a battery to power my Hyperderk shuttle on the top stage to be used as a HDMI-SDI converter, to feed my monitor. What you are doing is turning a great piece of gear into a Glidecam kind of thing. You have the gear to operate comfortably, yet, you choose not to use it. 

If it works for you, fine, but I am just pointing out that there are better solutions that you could do with the tools you have.


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#15 Elliot Gabor

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 08:59 PM

Alan, I appreciate that you aren't trying to get me to change what I am doing but rather you are discussing the specific drawbacks of a particular setup choice.  On the flipside, Victor, I'm a little torn by the demeanor of some of the things you said in your last post.  You seem to be judging me based on the look of my setup and failing to understand that I am a competant steadicam operator and over the years have customized a lightweight rig to be better suited for my needs and the type of work I do, I don't care what it looks like as long as it improves my work.  For my purposes the pilot is not a perfect solution out of the box in it's "intended" configuration.

 

I'm happy to continue discussing my decission making and do value everyone's input but I see the direction this is starting to go in and want to nip it in the bud before arms start flaling.

 

With this in mind I'll reiterate a few things:

 

  • Even though I have customized my rig when I'm shooting events, there are still drawbacks to it which have been mentioned (i.e. having to use the camera's LCD and having a longer post which can cause microvibrations if not carefull)

 

  • I have decided a long time ago that i'd prefer those drawbacks in order to achieve more tilt inertia and to be able to focus easier on the fly.

 

  • Ideally I would have a larger rig that I could just stack on weight instead of extending the post (I've maxed out the weight of the pilot already and without extending the post there still isn't enough tilt inertia)  If my DSLR could output to an external monitor simeltaniously then that would also be appealing to me (I'm not in love with magic lantern for events).

 

  • The rig fly's great and really feels like a big rig.  Once I figure out a way to power a monitor that is clamped to the center of the post then I will be able to operatate properly and the only issue I will have is that the pilot is, at times, suseptible to microvirbations.  Unfortunatly there is no solution to this that I am aware of (aside from not extending the post). 

Edited by Elliot Gabor, 04 December 2013 - 09:02 PM.

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