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#1 MattDavis

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Posted 17 April 2007 - 04:03 AM

I guess most operators here will be part of a larger team, mostly working with an assistant.

I work in the event/corporate/documentary world, and most often I'm working alone.

Thinking about the Flyer/Z1 - its not a big rig, sure, but there's still plenty of spring loaded engineering floating about - is this a rig you'd be prepared to fly solo? For long periods of time?

For example, gettings GVs: park up the car, fit the rig, balance up and trim, pack the stand in the car and lock, get your shots, return, derig, pack and on to the next location.

For example, following a group of inspectors round a building site or factory for a couple of hours, with two on radio mics.

Would you spend half a day working alone in a Flyer, also carrying a light 2 or 3 step step ladder? (If you've seen press day at a car show, you'll get the picture! ;) )

Hey, not the most exciting shoots, welcome to my world. :)

Perhaps I should also mention that this world requires things like 'Risk Assessments' so I'm duty bound to consider fatigue and its implications for me to keel over and hit some poor innocent bystander and design a way of reducing that risk to almost nil.

(Thinking aloud, maybe the Flyer's overkill in the light of the new Steadicam products. I'm guessing that the Pilot is going to be fine, no special requirements, no chance going clumsy and fumbly with fatigue (I usually cart a Z1 and tripod plus 10 kilos of gear in a backpack). But in the world of steadicam, weight can be good... especially outside... thoughts welcome)
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#2 Matt Mouraud

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Posted 17 April 2007 - 05:17 AM

Hey Matt-

I've recently shot a corporate doc for the Hilton Group, using a Flyer/Z1 setup, with a RedRock Micro 35 with Bartech FF and The Boxx video HF. You can stay in the rig all day, including lunch, nap and wrap party. :lol:
The Flyer is a fantastic rig.
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#3 Rob Vuona SOC

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Posted 17 April 2007 - 12:42 PM

Hey Matt-

I've recently shot a corporate doc for the Hilton Group, using a Flyer/Z1 setup, with a RedRock Micro 35 with Bartech FF and The Boxx video HF. You can stay in the rig all day, including lunch, nap and wrap party. :lol:
The Flyer is a fantastic rig.

---------------------------
Hey Matt,
Recently did the Detroit Auto Show, With a full HD rig, 30 Cars a day . . . .and you should most definitely have an assistant with you. If for nothing else safety for you and others, money well spent in my opinion and a necessity that the production shouldn't consider doing without.

All the best

Fly On.
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#4 MattDavis

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 02:21 PM

most definitely have an assistant with you. If for nothing else safety for you and others


Heartily agree in that case. Even if it's just a Z1 on a Flyer, at least breifing the interviewer to 'cover your six'. :)

Were you the only camera on the team?

Edited by MattDavis, 18 April 2007 - 02:24 PM.

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#5 Rob Vuona SOC

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 02:54 PM

most definitely have an assistant with you. If for nothing else safety for you and others


Heartily agree in that case. Even if it's just a Z1 on a Flyer, at least breifing the interviewer to 'cover your six'. :)

Were you the only camera on the team?

-----------------
Hey Matt,
There was also a Jib on the gig, but each one of us always have an Assistant/Utility/AC with us at ? ALL ? times and sometimes more than one depending on the cabling needs, being that I do alot of Live multicamera TV (Triax and Fiber). So in the future you should always bid the gig with an assistant included or at least make sure they have someone there to cover you. Don't get the producers or clients used to a steadicam showing up on a gig without an assistant! Even if it's a Z1 on a flyer. your still doing steadicam and all the same boundries are there. Oh and briefing the interviewer to cover your six, not such a good idea, they almost always have other things on their mind other than making sure you don't step backwards into a fountain or a fence, and it's not thier job. If it's a budget thing with the client always make it a safety issue and they'll find a way to fit it into the budget.

All the best

Fly Safe
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#6 MattDavis

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 03:38 PM

Don't get the producers or clients used to a steadicam showing up on a gig without an assistant! Even if it's a Z1 on a flyer.


That's cool. I'm here to learn things like that.

Please note that my Car Show filming was to film the BOOTHS not the cars, that I was doing it with a PD150 on sticks, and had a local rep look after me (though she studiously avoided carrying anything). I was a 'videographer' and felt a little like a pack animal with a lens (hey, people pay for GYMs to get this experience), but I'm quite pleased with the results.

The event videography market has almost zero contact with the world of steadicam, so I'm keen to introduce it to my clients properly with the right structure and practice in place. I'm concerned that the Pilot and Merlin/Arm might get some folks too excited and pop their cork before their ready. If it was as easy as it looks, everyone would do it. I don't want people bad-mouthing lightweight rigs because a few weekenders who don't read manuals poison the pond.

Oops - ranting. Sorry.

Fly Safe


THanks - you betcha! ;)
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#7 Dan Coplan

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 05:23 PM

I of course agree wholeheartedly with getting an assistant, though there are times that you can't (they simply won't go for it) or you really don't need one. This is obviously job specific.

Shooting Miss Universe in two weeks on Beta SP (yuck!). Even though it's a major production, they don't use assistants. I'm talking about all the intro and behind-the-scenes work that leads up to the actual pageant - don't know about the pageant itself. My assistant will be a Zoe zoom control. Retarded? Yeah, I think so, but that's the way they do it.

I've also worked on a few corporate gigs with small rigs like the Flyer or handheld Glidecam where an assistant simply wasn't necessary. Small chip = deep depth of field and simple moves that don't compromise focus means no assistant necessary.

Dan
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#8 Rob Vuona SOC

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 05:37 PM

I of course agree wholeheartedly with getting an assistant, though there are times that you can't (they simply won't go for it) or you really don't need one. This is obviously job specific.

Shooting Miss Universe in two weeks on Beta SP (yuck!). Even though it's a major production, they don't use assistants. I'm talking about all the intro and behind-the-scenes work that leads up to the actual pageant - don't know about the pageant itself. My assistant will be a Zoe zoom control. Retarded? Yeah, I think so, but that's the way they do it.

I've also worked on a few corporate gigs with small rigs like the Flyer or handheld Glidecam where an assistant simply wasn't necessary. Small chip = deep depth of field and simple moves that don't compromise focus means no assistant necessary.

Dan

------------------
Hey Dan,
Just for the record, Bullshit on the Miss Universe not allowing a utility/AC to be with you. I have done the actual show with Triax in Quito Equidor. They are notorious for cheaping out especially on Travel and Transpo. That being said it's just Trumps people penny pinching. Stick to your guns and they will come around. The usual guy won't do it because of these reasons and it's complete bullshit!! And as far as Zoom and focus rent or buy a stanton Zoom/Focus control, it's heaps better than that Zoe thingy and you have zoom and focus for Canon and Fuji. FYI, the utilities on the last Miss Universe made $55 an Hr. and since they were asking for it to be NON Union they charged 20% more.

Fly safe and stick to your guns, again make it a safety issue and they will for sure get someone to be with you
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#9 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 19 April 2007 - 06:41 AM

I do generally the same kinds of studio and corporate work that you're describing where it's me, my sound mixer, and a useless producer. More often than not, the logistical demands of the day don't allow for luxuries like Steadicam, but I do suggest that we use it when appropriate. The downside is that because this level of production isn't used to anything beyond the normal camera (F900, DigiBeta, BetaSP) and small lighting package (ARRI kit, Cstands, Grip/Electric pelican, flag bag), the added expense of the rig is hard enough to talk them into much less an assistant.

The benefit to me suggesting it instead of them is that I am in control of how much it gets used during the day and for which shots. I want to make it worthwhile to them, but there are other factors to consider beyond my own fatigue when making those decisions, such as, do we really have time for me to set the rig up and light the set before the talent arrives. Ideally an assistant would be great to have (to save some setup time, to save myself by having someone else push gear around, etc) but that isn't the reality at this level of production. Budgets are tight, or so they say, so just getting the rig approved is a big step. I'm sure the money is there, or could be, but the suggestion of adding one more body tends to just nix the whole idea which means the rig stays in the box. At best, they'll spring for a cheap inexperienced PA, but sometimes having someone like that is more inefficient because I'd have to tell them exactly what to do and babysit them anyway. And I'm not about to trust him to pull focus! Often, it's just less hassle to do it myself.

So what I do is make sure I have a great audio mixer with me who isn't afraid to pitch in to help with lighting and/or setting up the camera. If he knows how to put the Steadicam together, that's an added bonus.

I too use the Stanton Focus. While again, not ideal, it is helpful in a world where we don't have actors hitting specific marks and the ability to do a second take. Being able to take control of the lens is necessary in those situations anyway whether you're on a Steadicam or not.

It's interesting....having spent a considerable amount of time in the narrative film world on a lot of sets, I often don't think that "film" guys appreciate just how hard "video" people work. There seems to be an assumption that because it's "just video" that all we do is hit the button and haphazardly shoot whatever is happening in front of us. Not only is that categorically not true, we have to do multiple jobs simultaneously all day long, from Transportation to Set Decoration on top of being the DP, Operator, Assistant, and usually, the Director too. If it were only as "easy" as moseying onto a prelit set and knowing exactly what the talent was going to do and say.... ;)
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#10 MattDavis

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 04:18 PM

a few corporate gigs with small rigs like the Flyer ... where an assistant simply wasn't necessary. Small chip = deep depth of field and simple moves that don't compromise focus means no assistant necessary.


Would agree, but having been 'blooded', there are caveats we need to throw to the Steadicam-Unaware corporate producers. The following is, I know, painfully obvious, but with the release of the Pilot and the evolution of the Merlin, will be an annoying chorus behind the voice of dedicated Steadicam Operators.

Corporate Video Producers MUST KNOW:

- There needs to be a green room, secure, level floor, for the stand, bags and room to do the drop test
- No shot using >50% of the zoom range is going to work
- A Flyer is not a two legged tripod, a cheap dolly or a crane
- A flown Z1 is NOT a handheld Z1
- From tripod to Flyer = about 30 mins. You need two cameras.
- Shotgun mics and radio RX units are sails for the wind. Strip and use separate audio recorder if needed

Z1 Owners may like to know

- Century Optics converters add a comfortable heft to the rig, and the plate doesn't require much of a reset
- A Matte box is still a good idea, but remove the flag outside if windy
- Shotgun mic doesn't help much. No point. Use a Sony A1 as a deck and have someone boom for you
- The lower screen is of great comfort, but keep your Z1 screen open to check settings, colour, zebras, etc.
- Going Goofy may make the Z1 feel comfortable, but it stops you performing a great trick: switching to Don Juan in an instant by flipping the Z1 LCD to frontal mode and putting the viewfinder in AllScan (so you don't include your shoulder).
- The Flyer's got a great boom range, but shooting high and (especially) low is not an insignificant thing.
- You really want to shoot level most times. That can be a limitation.
- Holding steady is a skill of its own.
- You may want to get good with a Merlin first. :)
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#11 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 04:55 PM

- From tripod to Flyer = about 30 mins. You need two cameras.



How so? back a long long time ago when I was still doing industrials and one man banding it it never took me 30 mins to go from tripod to the rig. 10 maybe 15 mins but never 30.
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#12 kip ross

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 05:33 PM

- From tripod to Flyer = about 30 mins. You need two cameras.



How so? back a long long time ago when I was still doing industrials and one man banding it it never took me 30 mins to go from tripod to the rig. 10 maybe 15 mins but never 30.



Speaking of one man banding (let alone one man bonding):It never even took me 10 to 15 minutes. Maybe 5 to 7 minutes. It's all in the spinach........
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#13 MattDavis

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 05:51 PM

Maybe 5 to 7 minutes. It's all in the spinach........


I'm being pessimistic - worst case scenario in terms of being a newbie - I've found rebalancing when I change the Z1's configuration still takes about 10 mins, especially in untwiddling the Sachtler plate, twiddling up the Flyer plate, perhaps removing the on-board shot-gun mic, adding the radio mic RX and doing a few drop tests.

Most times, the switch from tripod mounted to 'run and gun' is a few seconds. I'd rather spend those seconds donning an arm and a prebalanced Z1. If it means renting a second Z1, then so be it. All part of the service. :)

OTOH, my wife's doing some killer spinach at the moment. Bit of onion, a few lentils, zapped in the steamer, etc. Practice, practice, practice.
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#14 RobinThwaites

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 03:54 AM

Matt

If you are doing a lot of this sticks to Steadicam stuff lash out on a Sachtler touch and go plate and put it on top of the Steadicam dovetail plate, you can swap in seconds and be close to correct balance every time.

Robin
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#15 Charles Papert

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 05:49 AM

Or, I was going to suggest the Bogen quick release base and plate for the same idea

Shotguns can be a bit precarious, especially if they are in a shockmount where they can throw some funky physics into the mix during accelerations, so probably worth losing--overall though, I would think the Z1 is at the lower end of the Flyer's weight range, so things like radio receivers should be somewhat welcome for the added inertia...?
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