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Aaton Penelope on steadicam

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#1 Michael Wilson

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 02:28 PM

I'm shooting a short on steadicam with the penelope that leads two characters up a steep hiking path.  I want to get the camera and rig as light as possible.  This is my first time shooting 35mm.    


Cam power will come from sled - 1 dionic 90 through xlr 4 pin 12 volts cable

Preston will be powered off my sled zoom and focus

Lightweight zoom hasn't been chosen.  Starting around 35mm and zooming to just over 50mm.  The dp wants to shoot at f11 so we can get away with an inferior lens at that stop.  Something light.  Any suggestions? 


I noticed there is a bridge plate that has the rod inserts.  Will my pro plate fit on the camera sans bridge plate and dovetail?  


Any vibration issues having only one spot to attach plate? (ie alexa vibration issues)


I'm going to have to compromise on balancing the rig to make up for film movement and zoom weight transfer.  Any thoughts or suggestions?  


Anything I'm missing here?


Thanks everybody.



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#2 Nils Valkenborgh

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 10:35 AM

The penelope has a rather flat and large base to mount the dovetail but if you're worried I'd keep small wooden wedges among your AKS to prevent or fix any vibrations that may occur.


As for lenses, anything Angenieux makes is always fantastic and then there wouldn't be a solid reason to shoot at f11 (except to make the life of the AC easier) to fill in the range you're looking for I'd recommend the 28-76, it weighs about the same as an ultra prime and doesn't really need a rod support (unless you've got a heavy clip-on mattebox filled with filters). Another reason to combine the Penelope with the Angenieux is because they're both, well..... French, "Vive la Cinéma!". Also if you're going to be zooming the lens in a shot (either you or the dp), this lens has minimum weight displacement so you won't really notice an imbalance.


Which brings me to the next point, since the Penelope sadly enough can't be equipped with a steadimag, this means you're going to have to fight the fore and aft balance during long takes (If you're scared of this phenomena, fill up the camera with a dummy reel and let it run to see where the weight is displaced to, that way you can anticipate the forces you'll have to counter)


Good Luck and have fun shooting 35!



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#3 Michael Wilson

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 07:33 PM

Nils thanks for the info.  I got to take a look at the camera today.  I became concerned when I saw how far the film travels in the back of the camera.  


I was thinking about a solution for this.  Adding very small weights via velcro or clips gingerly to the mattebox or under the lens on the rails in increments as we progress through the shot to combat the film weight distribution.  


It looks like just under 2lbs of film will travel 6 inches in the back of the camera.  So I'll have two pounds of weight added equidistant from the first core towards the front of camera.  Or adding less weight as far front as possible as to not effect drop time too much.  


I was thinking fishing sinkers could be clipped on to some sort of line secured to the rails.  Or small weights velcroed to some structure in front.  


I know it sounds convoluted but has anyone ever done this or can lend any ideas?  

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#4 Michael Wilson

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Posted 22 September 2014 - 11:49 AM

The shot worked out really well.  I got some small strips of metal that weighed probably 1 or 2 ounces each.  Put some velcro on them and velcro on top of the mattebox.  Found the best places in the shot to put one on and it worked beautifully.  The grip would gingerly place on one about every minute or so.  Couldn't feel or see it at all.  We had to climb a very steep hill and at that point I had the grip put 3 plates so the sled was tilted down for the climb up the hill.     

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