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Varicam and the Dionics

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#1 Michael Stumpf

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 01:21 PM

Well, first off let me say this. My commercial the other day with the Varicam went well. BUT...I don't know if it just isn't available with the Varicam, or the assistant just lied to me because he didn't get the right base plate, but the camera came with a base/dovetail plate that you use when mounting a 35mm camera.
I mean the long (about 14" steel dovetail plate) along with the large sliding base plate that allows the 15mm rods to be attached.

This combo alone must have weighed 6 pounds. There was NO quick release lightweight short dovetail plate that I could mount my base plate too. The assistant told me they didn't have that. But someone please tell me that we don't have to fly that dovetail/sliding base plate combination everytime we fly a Varicam?

Next, for some reason this Varicam (with the Evertz downconverter hooked up) didn't like the Dionic's

I tried to power the camera/downconverter from my J-Box into the 4 pin, but it wouldn't work ( I should of read Alec's response to my other post). The tech said I had to power the downconverter directly from the onboard camera battery. So I slap on one of my AB Dionic 90 and my picture on my TB-6 was all scrambled. Check cables, etc. the same result.
The tech asks to put on the HUGE Hytron 100 or 120 and we plug in, all is fine.

I thought, "hmm that's weird"
Let's give a different Dionic a try. We turn off the power to both the camera and the rear power switch that's under the backmounted battery on the camera.

Turn ON the camera power, all is fine, but no picture of course, because we haven't hooked up the Evertz downconverter yet. I go to plug IN the power cable for the Evertz, and spark, all goes dead. What? The power switch under the mount was still off, so there shouldn't of been ANY power coming OUT of the power cable that's on the back mount. So why the spark?

As you can imagine, I was scared that we just fried the camera and one of my brand new (only used once) Dionic 90 batteries (the read out when blank).

Unplug everything and the assistant notices the power cable thats attached to the AB battery mount on the camera is a bit loose. He tightens down that little screw just a bit. We mount another huge AB Hytron 100 to it and plug everything back in.
All works fine.

Check my Dionic and the read out has "recovered"

So I don't know what happened, but the Varicam along with the Evertz didn't like 2 different Dionics that I put up. I doubt if it was the slightly loose cable (maybe) but it all worked fine with the Hytrons.

So anybody know what the deal is?
Has anybody else tried to use a Dionic 90 with the Varicam and the Evertz downconverter? Maybe it's just the Evertz downconverter??

Needless to say, the rest of the shoot went great. But I had to lug around this camera with 6 to 7 pounds of baseplate attached, a 5.5 pound brick battery, the fujinon glass zoom lens, a 4 x 5 clamp on mattebox with 2 filters in it.

I flew my Proformers in all three positions on the battery cage, and I still had to extend my post to 4.5"

This was heavier than the Compact but less than a BL4

Sorry the post is long.

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#2 Mitch Gross

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 04:37 PM

You most certainly do not have to use a big bulky sliding baseplate with this camera. It works fine with a standard V-mount quick release plate, same as any other Panasonic or Sony or just about every pro video camera out there. That plate, btw, was designed by Vinten (the tripod company) and is almost as close to an industry standard as the 3/8"x16 threaded bolt. So either your AC was lying or was so film-oriented that he just didn't know any better.

Abel Cine Tech regularly sends out their Varicams with either Dionics or the Pag equivalents, so there's certainly no issue there. Perhaps something odd with that particular Evertz but I can't imagine what. Also, while you cannot feed power directly into the camera's 4-pin XLR because the downconverter won't be juiced, you can sneak power IN using the power OUT 2-pin Anton/Bauer PowerTap on the battery mount. I have not tried this, but I don't see any reason why you shouldn't be able to run both the camera and the downconverter off your sled in this fashion. Just get someone to make the cable for you.
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#3 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 11:22 PM

BUT...I don't know if it just isn't available with the Varicam, or the assistant just lied to me because he didn't get the right base plate, but the camera came with a base/dovetail plate that you use when mounting a 35mm camera.

Liar, liar, pants on fire! That sucks Michael. You should have had a quick release plate. If you hear this again and need one give me a call, I own one. It's always convenient to have my own when they want to switch from tripod or dolly to steadicam when there's only one camera, and therefore only one plate. This is the one thing that is nice about shooting video. You can balance the rig and take the camera off and just come back, plug everything in, and be balanced again. No fuss.
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#4 barryidx


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Posted 02 April 2004 - 01:53 PM

Hello Gentlemen,

First, please note that I do work for IDX and have allot of experience with the Varicam.

The Panasonic Varicam has very high inrush when powered up. Protection circuits inside Li-Ion batteries must be programmed properly. The Varicam generally draws about 38W on its own, but spikes much higher on power up. The Evertz unit I believe draws about 10W. Were you using on-board lights at the same time? All batteries have a high load limit, but Li-Ion is programmed based on length of inrush. Not all Li-Ion batteries are programmed the same from each manufacturer. I am more than happy to discuss this in further detail and I can be reached at barry@idx.tv or 310-891-2800.

We have a few Steadicam owner/operators who have converted to our IDX Li-Ion ENDURA System and you will see more activity from both Tiffin and George Paddock Inc regarding the use of our systems.

We would ask that you investigate IDX ENDURA System products when you get a chance. IDX has been manufacturing Li-Ion power products for over eight years and have more systems in use worldwide than any other manufacturer.

Again, should you like to discuss these issues further, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Best Regards,
Barry Rubin
General Manager
IDX System Technology, Inc.
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