I recently flew an Epic on a Zephyr and had some serious shaking issues. The rented rig didn't come with enough weights to properly keep the bottom end heavy, so we fitted a circular 5lb weight to the post and it worked perfectly in all of our tests.
We had two Steadicam shots that day, and the first, a low-mode shot following the hand of a character went flawlessly, but the second shot had one issue that may have ruined the shot. The shot was a high angle (tilted ~30 degrees) running shot for about ten yards to a lock off, a few booms, then a walk in to a lock off. The entirety of the second half was perfect, but the running had some terrible shaking throughout it. If they were just footsteps, I would have understood and learned from my mistake, but they were consistent throughout the movement, not just when I stepped. The ground was awful; our location was an ally in complete disrepair. It looked like it had never seen a full, even state in the history of the city, and was instead patched with lazy pothole fills. This didn't stop the first shot from being completed as planned, though. We did 27 takes of this shot and the problem was in each take, but we had a hard out fast approaching, and nothing immediately stood out when I docked. While watching dailies the 1st AC suggested that it was something in the build on top and took responsibility, however, I want to be sure so that this doesn't happen again.
Issues that I think may have caused this:
-weight on the bottom of the sled possibly being loose
-loose parts on the camera
-operation issues (what could have caused constant shakes from operation? trying to hold the angle?)
I really appreciate any advice anybody can give me about this.
This is the best shot I have of the build from our tests; I don't know if this is going to be enough to tell what's wrong..
Hey Morgan. It looks like you diagnosed your own problem. All those mentioned will introduce vibrations into the image.
It would be wise to get a secondary battery plate for the Zephyr, and also get an Epic power cable so you can lose the onboard battery. I also avoid lengthening the post on my Zephyr, especially when doing any running. Since the post is so small, it has a lot of flex to it.
Some of the vibrations can also be chalked up to technique, as well. You must learn not to walk to heavy-footed.
With the Zephyr, if the post is extended at any length, there is definitely a high probability you will find vibration on a mid-to- heavy build, especially when running.
Do you have any photos of your setup? how much was your post extended ? Unfortunately the Zephyr isn't extremely stiff even when the post is fully retracted, especially with extra weight at the bottom.
Pics just loaded (I'm on my phone) I definitely agree with Alan. I think that battery is a big contender for the vibration coupled with the extended post. Get a power cable and you probably don't need that weight at the bottom once the battery is gone.
PS I found mounting the monitor laid down onto the support much more sturdy, that monitor looks like it could vibrate a lot being so far out.
Edited by Mark Baluk, 11 February 2015 - 10:28 PM.
We had a few people with SLRs on set doing bts here and there, but this is the only photo posted with the rig in it so far. It sounds like the post is the biggest issue, and I can only imagine that the tilt emphasized the shake since the weight wasn't exactly above and below the gimbal. That picture is a better show for the camera; we were testing some soft mounted dolly shots that day, so I wanted a quick drop time. I'll definitely work on keeping my post short and find power and weight solutions with ACs in the future.
I would vote for post vibrations too. I too get some vibrations when running with a heavy build. Chris's solution of adding a line between the front of the camera and the monitor is a good idea, also I never tried it.
zephyr vibrations (esp on red epics) is a known issue. I had my fair share of it when I owned the Zephyr previously. the vibrations come unexpectedly and is not directly related to your footsteps, socket block, etc. I may guess that the shaking is just on the horizontal axis, and the shot behaves as if you are on a boat? tilting from left to right like a minor jiggle?
judging from your gimbal position, it will be more ideal if you can shorten up your post a bit and shift up the gimbal, that will help bring the CG of the general rig down and closer to the gimbal.
It is ok to have a heavy build, but do take note to not build anything excessively high. The v mount is in the strangest position, it might be friendly for a tripod gig, but definitely not when on a steadicam, especially when is on a zephyr, keep the v mount as low as possible to the top stage. also take note and ensure that your matte box is mounted on properly. The problem with the red epic is that the contact point for the dovetail is very small, it is essentially a small box with everything possible built around it, all these extra mounting points will introduce unnecessary shakes and vibrations and they will end up in your short.
Just another quick observation, your setup is pretty back heavy, the CG of the camera setup looks like it is in front of the post, try to shift it back, and put some weights on the monitor side instead, the marshall is a pretty light monitor.
And for safety, i wouldnt mount my docking bracket on a cardellini clamp. it's a costly mistake.
My top stage was loose when I got my Zephyr, there are three screws to tighten a bit inside under the plastic cover (search the forum there is a thread for it)
Also, any vibration can come from the v mount plate. I know that Red Bricks are prone to move and the battery plate itself is not always properly secured either. I use a lot of bongos to tighten all this up .