a-minima on an ultra?
Posted 05 July 2004 - 10:37 PM
I've tried to think over why it wouldn't be possible and am coming up blank. obviously, weight is an issue, but nothing a few diving weights couldn't handle.
am i missing something?
the only thing i can think of is if the steadicam rental house doesn't have the proper cables to power the camera, but even if we used accessory batteries that would be fine, right? wouldn't that help add much needed ballast to the rig?
which leads me to another question, if i may. can the ultra power 12v and 24v gear at the same time? 12v camera; 24v preston?
thanks as always!
Posted 05 July 2004 - 11:47 PM
If you have a more recent Ultra it has two identical 3 pin Lemos in the back either of which can deliver the "12" or "24" volts depending upon which pins are used in the connector. If you don't already have one of each check with Tiffen or Fred Davis or anyone else you use for cables. If you have an older model you may only have one 3 pin back there, so you will need to get a custom junction box or 'Y' cable made up that can split out the 12 and the 24. There is also the same "12" and "24" volts available on the small 3 pin lemo in the front which was designed for radio systems, so the inside cabling and the connector itself can't handle as much amps (maybe 2-3??). I think some Ultras where delivered with an additional power connector installed on the right side of the sled near the bottom, but this is the worst possible place to have a power cable sticking out - right where your leg is.
Posted 06 July 2004 - 12:17 AM
however, are there any other issues that people have run into with flying an a-minima?
Posted 06 July 2004 - 07:34 AM
I have never used the Minima, but the other considerations are how to mount focus/iris/zoom motors as needed. The usual solution would be a low mode plate with rods for the motors. A less ideal but still serviceable way is to use the adaptor Tiffen sells that screws onto the front of their camera mount plates which then clamps onto 15mm rods. Another workaround would be a cage which offers easy opportunity to add weights as well.
Video assist should be workable at the needed ASA setting and without too much noise when the camera is running. Remote run cable is nice to have. But the main issue would be adding enough weight for the lowest setting on the Ultra arm. I am not familiar with the camera, as I said, but any accessories like a matte box system including sliding base plate would help with weight and offer more lens motor mounting options as well. Hopefully someone with experience with the Minima will contribute...
Posted 06 July 2004 - 08:26 AM
thanks for your input. i'll test the cables at the rental house tomorrow, but even if there's an issue, we can still use separate batteries.
as far as the lens motors, the rental house engineered their own mounting plate with a screw on adaptor for 15mm rods (most likely a taiwanese "borrowing" of the tiffen adaptor).
i've got my own steel practice cage which i'll probably strip down and use to add a little ballast. another option i'm considering is using the ultra with an msb arm (taiwan only has those two kinds of steadicams).
the real kicker, though, is the production company themselves. for whatever reason in the past, they weren't able to use their camera on a steadicam (could've been the msb, but still should've been ok, right?) and now they're so certain that it can't be done. so certain, in fact, that they're not willing to let me take it to the rental house to test out unless i call the rental house and get to the bottom of whatever problem they faced who knows how many years ago.
so, if anyone can think of any possible issues, please let me know. i'd be happy to shoot this thing handheld or get them to rent an SR, but it's a real drag spending my all of my free time trying to convince this director that whatever problems they had in the past can't be worked out this time around.
Posted 06 July 2004 - 08:53 AM
One great thing about the A minima is the incredible height - high or low - that you can get with it and the Ultra; (I played with one of the first ones in NYC long ago...)
Add just enough weight to the sled to get the arm to work.
Add the weight to the base (diving weights work fine; Antlers OK, too) if you want the lens very high or low. Add a weight with the camera if you want a more normal range of lens heights.
I would also consider extending the monitor and battery a couple of inches further than normal to give you your "normal" feel in pan, as the A minima will give you almost no pan inertia and the rig may feel too whippy.