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Aaton XTRprod


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#1 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 02:09 AM

I am about to do a shoot with the Aaton XTRprod. Am I going to need a low mode bracket or can I get away with just mounting from the handle? Does anyone have some pictures of a low mode bracket for this camera? I might try to get a friend to help build something if it is going to be necessary. Any problem flying this camera upside down? I know some cameras aren't too happy with doing that.

Do you prefer flying the camera from sled power or do you use the onboard battery for a bit of extra weight? What about keeping the heavy accessories the like matt box?

Anything else to look out for with this particular camera?

~Jess
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#2 Charles Papert

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 03:56 AM

You can mount the plate directly to the handle. If I remember correctly, there is a fore 3/8-16" tapped hole in the front of the handle, then you put a bolt through the plate and down through the groove in the rear of the handle and fasten with a washer and nut for your second tie-down. Easy hardware-store bits and pieces, no low-mode bracket available.

I used to blow off the onboard battery, the camera accepts a 4-pin XLR for power like a video camera or 12v Arri.

The camera has built-in screwmount mini rods which we used for the mattebox and accessories. If you plan to use these for motor mounting, you would be well advised to get a bracket that can straddle and clamp down on the two rods, as they have a tendency to rotate otherwise which makes it hard to work your motors properly (a little bit of torque will simply unwind the rod and push the motor away).

It's a nice comfy camera to fly, low center of gravity with some length for a light body. Did 2 years on Scrubs with it and while a tad squirrely compared to 35mm cameras, it worked fine. Perhaps Rich Davis (who is in his 5th year on Scrubs, bless him) can chime in with more thoughts.
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#3 Louis Puli SOC

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 07:27 AM

I am about to do a shoot with the Aaton XTRprod. Am I going to need a low mode bracket or can I get away with just mounting from the handle? Does anyone have some pictures of a low mode bracket for this camera? I might try to get a friend to help build something if it is going to be necessary. Any problem flying this camera upside down? I know some cameras aren't too happy with doing that.

Do you prefer flying the camera from sled power or do you use the onboard battery for a bit of extra weight? What about keeping the heavy accessories the like matt box?

Anything else to look out for with this particular camera?

~Jess

Hi Jess
I have used the Aaton many times and found to a good camera to fly I would agree with everything Charles has said about mounting on the handle as the way to go.
If you go to steadishot.org and look up "Nine lives" Dan Kneece talks about his setup which was shot on a Aaton Xlr in low mode(not all in low mode) mounted on the handle with an 800 ft mag
If you have not seen the film it a must buy dvd . The camera also has a great video split as well .
Good luck
Louis Puli from down under
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#4 Richard W. Davis

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 01:21 PM

Thanks Chas. I totally agree with your low mode recommendations...same thing I have been doing... very simple. As far as high mode I have gone to flying the sliding dovetail and baseplate as if it was put on a conventional head. I just found that the lightweight and long length(with a 7-63 zoom ) of the Aaton made it fly better with the additional weight of the baseplate and dovetail. Obviously if you are running etc. you might want to go without but for the normal walk and talks, especially rounding corners, I found it flys better with the additional mass. I do not carry an on board battery since I don't like the short length of time they last. With that said a hytron 50 on my PRO II sled lasts a very long time powering the camera. Video tap is good on XTR prods...The brand new Xterra is nice with a progressive scan but is HIGHLY susceptable to interference from walkie talkies etc. That is annoying.

All the best,

Rich Davis

PS Just re-read the question and yes I always fly a matte box usually with an eyebrow and siders. Oh and I believe a 1/4 20 size screw approximately an inch long and nut with a slightly oversized washer is the best size for fitting in the groove on the handle for securing your steadicam dovetail plate (along with the normal 3/8 16 shoulder bolt to the handle.
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#5 Daniel Stilling DFF

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 01:40 PM

Hey there,

Just a small add-on info that I learned the hard way when I was doing 2nd unit on Scrubs and filling in for Rich:
When you attach a modulus and power it from the camera, never use the power switch on the Modulus, allways leave it on. If you switch the Modulus on with the power cable attached to the camera, the fuse inside the camera will blow, and it's a pain in the but to replace it.
It might not happen with all the cameras, but it's a good thing to be aware of.

Dan
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#6 Charles Papert

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 10:39 AM

Having just gone through a long and painful (not in $$, but in time and effort) repair process with my Modulus which I will detail elsewhere, I gotta say that I'm done powering my unit from anything other than the Steadicam.

Rich, at this point you must also be flying a cupholder and DirectTV receiver on your rig...?
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#7 Joshua Harrison

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 11:36 AM

Having just gone through a long and painful (not in $$, but in time and effort) repair process with my Modulus which I will detail elsewhere, I gotta say that I'm done powering my unit from anything other than the Steadicam.

Rich, at this point you must also be flying a cupholder and DirectTV receiver on your rig...?


I think he has two satellite dishes up top, they act as antlers or "ears" if you will. Hell on windy days though. But it's worth it because the tivo he just had installed on the bottom stage can record two channels.

Josh
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#8 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 11:47 AM

I agree with using the handle and I also use the sliding base plate instead of going straight to the bottom of the camera. Not only does the extra weight help but it also allows (providing you had the assistant get an extra sliding base plate) your AC to take the camera on and off the rig with out any 'help'. Obviously on a show the AC knows how to work the rig but on a commercial it's nice to just let them have at it.

mm.
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#9 Richard W. Davis

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 01:08 PM

The Tivo is nice on the rig but its the lazy-boy chair that was installed on the dolly that makes it all worthwhile. What the shows over in a few months...Back to reality.

Re: Sliding dovetails just ,make sure the AC's get at least one extra so you can slide off the sled and onto the head with very little down time. On SCRUBS we carry four plates for two cameras. Then there is always a spare to go rig a crane remote head shot and nobody ever touches the one on the steadicam.

Rich Davis
LA
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#10 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 02:26 PM

Thanks for all of the great advice. Now where can I get one of these steadicam DirecTV mounts? ;-)

~Jess
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#11 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 27 October 2007 - 09:21 PM

So I have been playing with this camera in order to get ready for a shoot that starts tomorrow. Was going great until I put on a battery hot off the charger and the video tap stopped working. Switched back to an old battery and it started working again. Anyone run into this problem before? I am hoping that if I leave the batteries off the charger for a bit that the voltage will go down enough. This wouldn't be nearly as big of an issue but it looks like we aren't going to have onboard batteries since the place we are renting the camera from couldn't find the NP1 adapter.

Worst case scenario I wear a battery belt :-/

~Jess
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#12 RobVanGelder

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Posted 27 October 2007 - 10:02 PM

Yes, be very careful with Aaton and too hot/high (in voltage) batteries.

They can have up to 16 volts I think but that's it! anymore can blow fuses or more!
In your case probably an automatic fuse kicked in, but that might not always be the case.
Which, for me, is a good reason to use the original battery. you might find you need the added weight on the body anyway.

Also remember: there is almost NO Aaton out there that is exactly the same, they are all one-off camera's with constant improvements, additions and changed configurations (the switch unit (on/off/test) is a famous one) but I am sure electronically they are not identical in many cases.
Now maybe with the latest run of camera's (2-4 years old) they might have more in common, but older types have to be watched carefully!


Rob
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#13 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 01:30 AM

The camera itself has a label saying something like 10-14v. The belt batteries supplied with it were reading something around 15.5 with no load which worked fine but my trimpacks were reading a hair over 16 hot off the charger. The camera worked fine with this but the video tap would not.

Luckily as of midnight tonight we should have the on board batteries.

~Jess
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#14 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 02:05 PM

Just wanted to say thanks one more time. The shoot went very well thanks to your advice and the ability for me to get the camera to play with the day before. the 1in 1/4-20 machine screw was exactly what I needed for low mode. Unfortunately we didn't have time to do low mode on the shoot but it worked out well when I tested it before hand and it was helpful to be ready to do a quick switch.

The camera was setup with onboard battery, Canon 8-64 zoom lens and a clip on matt box. The zoom and on board battery definitely added a bit of weight to the package which made smooth flying much easier than with the video cameras I have been using lately. I don't know what the exact weight was but it definitely seemed to be in the sweet spot for me at the moment. Light enough to fly without having to take much in the way of breaks but heavy enough to fly smoothly.

~Jess
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#15 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 06:43 PM

Unfortunately we didn't have time to do low mode
~Jess

That's the first time I've ever heard an operator say that!
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