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Tilting Stage


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#1 WillArnot

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 03:25 AM

OK. You gotta admit. A tilting stage is a great thing to have. When are you ever looking dead ahead in Low Mode? No, 90% of the time you are looking up ... the battery/ies are behind your shoulder and the camera 2 ft in front. OK, so sneak around the door jam quickly. OK well done, not an inch to spare ... but now WHIP PAN!!. Ha, nice try.

Hmm sure would be nice to get that post sorta vertical huh? ... And a great use Larry told me about. Picture yourself in a narrow bus aisle. It's another Low Mode shot. The camera HAS to be dead center. Where are you? Behind it (no room for you to the side as normal). And far enough behind so that you don't kick the camera. Getting ugly huh. Now, get it on the deck. Ouch. Really ugly.

Larry's very quick solution w/ his Ultra was to be in super-post mode, tilted back/up at let's say a 20º angle, with the batteries coming right over/next to the head. This puts the camera comfortably out in front ... but the camera is looking up . Now take the tilt stage and tilt forward/down 20º. Got IT?!!?

Nice right. Now Do a little exercise. Frame up w/ a 50mm a nice single on your leading lady. Note any tilt to the rig. Little to none on the 50mm. Now put the 27mm up... but don't boom down to re-frame, it's not flattering to the ladies, we still like to be at or above eye height to look them in the eye. Now look at the tilt angle of the rig ... considerably tilted down now we're on the 27mm.

I don't want to start a whole framing thing here. My point is that the differential between lens heights and lens angle (mm) can often mean we have to maintain a certain amount of tilt throughout the shot. This would be called "Trimming for the Shot". Since we would adjust our fore and aft to hold that frame accordingly. This however has serious repercussions to all that precious time we've spent getting the rig to 'flat spin' or 'be dynamically balanced'.

YOu can check out the Ultra PDF on the 'Tilt Head - maintaining lens height' (http://www.steadicam...ltra_manual.htm) to further mull over all this.

After coming from a Master series which served me very well for 6 yrs, and after 2 yrs of researching and flying lots of different rigs there are some very good reasons that I didn't end up going with the Ultra as my 2nd Steadicam purchase.

BUT. COULD SOMEONE PLEASE MAKE A NICE DROP IN STYLE TILT PLATE????. It would probably be good if it had 3/8 holes on the bottom so we can obviously put our baseplate on, but also a quick-release plate to go into a tripod/geared head. The tilting part should have a drop in style clamping mechanism to then accomodate the camera.

Also of course you will need to fix the FF receiver to the rods for obvious tilting needs (ie. down). Greg Bubb's lovely baseplate leaps to mind. fashion a bracket that would slide onto both 15mm rods and butt up against the plate. It would tongue down and still attach to your 'H' bracket that currently holds your FF receiver.

I have talked to Greg at lenth about this. It is quite easy to make, it's just a question of enough interest to make a run of them. Greg, I'LL BUY TWO!! I really want one. Especially the way you are talking about making it dual tiltable. Otherwise I would consider the one that Baer-Bell sells called 'the dogcatcher'... see #18 (http://www.baer-bel.de/Web/index2.htm)

OK, comments?? suggestions?? more fire for Greg's butt?? :o

Will
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#2 RobVanGelder

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 05:17 AM

Hi Will,

you are absolutely right about the angles to maintain. Cutting back and forth between shots made with different lenses on the same subject have to be in some way similar or totally different. When it´s slightly off, it looks odd, most of the time.

About the drop-in tilt plate: I have tried to make one, and they are available from different manufactures I think,(baerbel, try also Chrosziel)
But with all these drop in you will experience the basic limit: the front of the topstage/FF-driverbox is often in the way to make a serious tilt down.
This is because you will most likely replace the CG of the camera backwards ( on the for-aft adjustment) as it is moved forward by the tilting. That means that the bars of your camera will be even closer to the topstage front.

That´s why I made mine to fit underneath the topstage and I think this is the only good place for it. That´s also the reason why Tiffen and Chrosziel went this way.

Of course there are possibilities with a "Dogcacher" kind of plate, but I tried it and it was not enough to bother.

Also, any drop-in plate will raise the camera height from the the gimbal considerably and with a 20-30 degrees angle you might have difficulties raising your gimbal enough.


Rob van Gelder, Bangkok, Thailand
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#3 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 07:45 AM

Hey Will,

You might also try talking to Howard Smith at MK-V. He showed me a prototype of a drop in tilt plate that he was working on a long time ago. Seemed to work quite well but it was in the early stages of development back then (over a year ago). Maybe he abandoned it to concentrate on the Revolution, maybe not.
If greg at XCS does do a run of those plates id be interested in one as well.
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#4 Anthony Hardwick

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 12:19 PM

Greg, if you're listening... Count me in for a run! I'll definitely buy one.
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#5 Brad Hruboska

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 01:35 PM

It seems to me when I visited greg two weeks ago we spoke of this very thing, keep on him guys.... B) I'll be there with the checkbook too......
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#6 guillermo nespolo

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 01:42 PM

did all of them works as the ultra ....cause the main thing about the ultra its that keep cg of the camera in the same place...that its nice !!!!!
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#7 joe mcnally

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Posted 01 March 2004 - 02:50 PM

I have seen the Chrosziel Tiltplate and it is a beautifully made piece of kit. It fits between post and stage so no tilting problems.
Bar Bels Dogcatcher is also nicely crafted. If you attach your lens control etc to the Bar Bel dovetail then you can tilt up to 20 degrees,I think. If you have problems with the stage, just turn it all around 180 degrees. It is also useful for catching dogs !
We have an Ultra kit, and unless I am missing something and I often am it does not maintain C of G when you use the tilt stage so yes you do need to adjust for and aft when changing tilt though I would be very happy to learn otherwise.
Hope this is helpful
Joe McNally
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#8 RobVanGelder

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Posted 01 March 2004 - 03:34 PM

The Bearbel Dogcatcher does not maintain center of gravity, it´s just a simple, but well designed wedgeplate.

I am not shure the Chrosziel version maintains the CoG, as it seems to be a rocking wedgeplate (± 20 degrees) but notas the one from Tiffen, which also slides back and forth while tilting. The last one has in fact 2 different radia in which it moves, that´s why it makes a shift as well as a tilt . More sophisticated and thus more research & expensive.

Rob van Gelder, Bangkok, Thailand
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#9 Ari Gertler

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Posted 01 March 2004 - 03:44 PM

Greg, please keep it in mind..

Ari Gertler
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#10 joe mcnally

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Posted 01 March 2004 - 06:46 PM

Another little thing to remember about Bar Bel Dogcatcher is that when you are not using it you can take it off in seconds.
I am still not convinced Rob about the Tiffen Ultra maintaining C of G. It says it does in the manual but in practice ?
I am not criticising the Tiffen tiltstage it is very nicely put together it is just in my limited time with the Ultra rig it does not keep C of G for a video camera when tilted and yo need to adjust fore and aft and I am happy to this no problem. Maybe a specific camera with a specific C of G would work better on the Ultra rig.
OK it maybe nearer C of G but if you have to adjust the fore aft an inch or half an inch where is the real benefit.
joe
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#11 joe mcnally

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Posted 01 March 2004 - 06:54 PM

Rob
don't answer that last one for me, it suddenly dawned on me.
Steep learning curve going on here.
BTW Rob what tilt stage are you using is it your custom design ?
Are you living permanent in Thailand now ?
Joe
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#12 Jerry Holway

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Posted 08 March 2004 - 06:58 PM

As the guy who designed the Ultra tilt head, perhaps I can shed some insight here.

Because the c.g. of various cameras are at different heights from their bases, and different cameras will weigh different amounts, there is no way to design a tilt head to tilt perfectly on the c.g. of all cameras. So I chose a pivot point that was close to the c.g. of many cameras and a variety of camera weights WHEN the rig would be in dynamic balance.

I also made it with as low a profile that allowed + or - 20 degree tilting. Critical for using heavy cameras.

Re-balancing statically after tilting (two seconds) restores dynamic balance - again with most cameras that usually fly on the bigger rigs. (I've demo'd this 100's of times at workshops)

One alternative (using a simple tilt head) would require completely remounting the camera to maintain dynamic balance.

The single most useful thing about the tilt head is maintaining dynamic balance regardless of the angle the camera takes.

Try this: spin balance your rig into great dynamic balance. Then trim the rig to tilt down a few degrees (as we so often do) and spin it again. What happens? Trim it down a few more degrees. Spin again. (incidentally, it's best not to spin at a really fast rate, but that's another topic).

My first shot with the tilt head was on Music of the Heart, with a normal length sled. Used the tilt head for the nominal trim. Post remains vertical. Lots of accelerations, little whip pans. Very, very controlled, very very precise. Pleasantly surprised and humbled.

Also very annoyed that it wasn't instantly clear in 1988 (when we figured out dynamic balance) that the rig should have an integral tilt head.

Some stuff just takes awhile to sink in.

Jerry
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#13 RobVanGelder

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 10:20 AM

Hi Joe,

Yes, the tiltingstage is my own design, though it is of course very similar to the Dog catcher or any other variable wedge.

It took 3 prototypes to make this and performs very well, for the simplicity of the design.
It was also the only thing I could make for the customized Master I have.

And yes, I have relocated myself to Thailand for this year and like it VERY MUCH!
(Go where the work is......)

Rob van Gelder, Bangkok, Thailand
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#14 JamieSilverstein

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Posted 22 March 2004 - 05:32 AM

All of the features that Jerry mentioned about the Ultra's tilt plate make tremendous sense to me. But I don't have an Ultra, so the next best option is to buy a tilt plate and use it when a "special shot" is called on.......... I put "special shot " in quotes because it used to be a special shot whenever the steadicam was used on set.........
So I buy a Dog Catcher, or whatever name Greg wants to put on his and I leave it on my sled all the time so as to be able to have a tilt in my bag of tricks whenever I need. I balance the sled and I rebalance whenever I use the tilt, and unless I am missing something, isn't that what we always do whenever we introduce a new piece of equipment onto the rig, say a heavier lens or another piece of follow focus gear?
Regardles of wether its a piece that was placed on the donkey box as a permanent fixture or added afterwards, we still do what we always do, which is, try to find the best static and dynamic balance possible for the shot.
Am I missing something?
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#15 WillArnot

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Posted 22 March 2004 - 09:45 PM

I don't think so Jamie.

And how the heck are you?

Your humour slays me and I have always admired your distinct knack for seeing through the....

Thanks for just keeping it simple.

all the best,

Will
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