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Running Rigs


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#1 Philip J. Martinez SOC

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 10:13 PM

Who is using a running rig these days and what type of shots are you doing with them?

What is your running rig? Would a Steadicam Flyer be a good running rig? If so, what cameras are people using with them?

Digital/video cameras seem to come in one size. For instance, if your show uses a Sony F35, you would not switch to the EX3 without a noticeable difference in picture quality. Unlike film cameras where you could use a Arri 535 but switch to a 235 for running shots the viewer in the theater would have no idea that the camera has changed.

Which is the better idea? A full size rig and a running rig?
A full size rig and back up Sled and Arm?

I found this on the forum:
http://www.steadicam...p?showtopic=187
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#2 Steve Fracol SOC

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 02:25 AM

Philip,

I have my "everyday" rig and I have had several versions of a "light weight/running rig" over the years.

Your right that if your shooting on a show with an HD camera (Genesis/CineAlta/F-35/23, etc.) your days of using a "running rig" are pretty much over. Some DP's might consider allowing a smaller camera for a shot like that but I have not been so lucky. That said I always keep a 2nd rig around and it was made specifically to be lighter than my everyday rig.

Now days for running shots its a way of figuring out how to make the typical (HD) running shot work with a rickshaw or some other device to be attached to so that safety and speed can be achieved and still getting that great looking "running" shot. Most of the time I find it better using a rickshaw...but then again some shots need that organic feel of just flat out running only using one hand on the gimbal and the frame feeling the energy, etc.

One of the important things I have learned over the years building several versions of lighter rigs is that it also should serve as a true "back up" rig in case your main rig needs service. I have learned the hard way that a back up of something is not a true back up unless it looks and feels exactly the same as the rig you use everyday.

An example: at one point I had a stock EFP as my backup. It was a great rig, very light weight but very different than my everyday rig. Then I converted it to a 2" gimbal and re-designed the bottom to move batts and monitor fore and aft. It turned out to be the coolest thing I have ever created...but every time I used it for something I noticed I was not as comfortable and my work was just not as good as with my everyday rig. So that led me to my latest version which (still under construction) is almost a carbon copy system of my everyday rig. Same size gimbal, same monitor, same cables, same battery system, etc. The only difference is that it is about 1/2 the weight and it does not have all the bells and whistles my everyday rig has.

This philosophy about backup/light weight rigs took years to figure out and a lot of trial and many errors (and expenses) to come to the current system that I am working on. This current sled should be wired up soon and then it will be completed.

I guess my advice is simply make whatever you make as your light weight rig feel as close to your everyday rig as possible.

I am curious if other ops feel the same way as I do about this. It might not bother some people.

Good luck and feel free to contact me with more questions if you have them.

Best,

Steve
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#3 Charles Papert

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 04:26 AM

Steve, I agree that the standard HD cameras now in widespread use do not lend themselves handily to stripping back all that much. However I think this will change soon. It's possible, for instance, to run a RED in it's lightest mode (body, lens, clip-on and one motor while using CF cards) and probably drop a good 10 lbs over a more standard configuration. The proposed Scarlet/Epic bodies may even end up lighter, or even allow for the "ultimate" configuration I've been thinking about for a long time, where you have just the front end (lens, motor etc) and a minimal sensor block at the top of the rig and the recording module at the bottom.

That said, I'm finally finishing my very lovely running rig that has been a multi-year project and I hope to get it working on something soon--although my next two gigs are D21 and F35 respectively...!
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#4 Steve Fracol SOC

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 03:33 PM

Charles,

Your right about the RED and a few others like the SI (I think-could be wrong about the name) they used on some of Slumdog Millionaire. It is basically a super high end optical block that cables to a record device of some sort. It is much more than that I am sure but that is a simple explanation for our purposes of flying. Very light weight indeed and also very high quality.

I agree that those are great solutions assuming the DP and or production will allow it.

I have only been able to shoot with the RED a few times so I have very limited experience with that camera thus far. I see it has great potential but seems a bit fragile to me. I flew it with the RED batts and every time I docked the sled the camera shut off. Later I found out that the RED battery connection is a weak link so powering from the sled is best in this case. I have not made RED pwr cables yet. My fault.

Eager to see your sled. I will post pix of mine once finished as well.

Does it bother you to have a different size gimbal with your LW/running rig? Are your monitors different from rig to rig? I guess I look at it more as a back up that is lighter rather than specifically a super light weight running rig.

Anyone else have thoughts about this? I am curious.

Steve
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#5 Amando Crespo

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 05:58 PM

RUN....RUN... STEADY.....YOU´VE RUN MORE KICK........Director said:" And now when the actors are coming, you´ve follow it, pan left side, they have an speak... and they go away running... you must follows it..and advance in the race... turn...and......" UF, UF, UF.... it can be the hardest of your nightmares...(or can be one of your best shot).. But normaly, directors don´t know how to use steadicam/operator. They think that we have a start/stop bootom....and GO AWAY...Running with your sled, need to configurate it. For the stability of the shot and for the operator´s safe.
...YES, I know, it´s very difficult for the timming or others reasons ..... But...
I can´t said more about... When I´ve to light my gear, I put an small monitor(Transvideo), and only a batt.... But it depends of the wheight of the camera....
A small trick for me is use my gear in Hight-low mode...It´s more confortable to run...But like you know...Every op. do his shot at his way....
Best regards mates.... :unsure:
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#6 Brant S. Fagan SOC

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 06:38 PM

Gents--

I agree with both of you. The future holds much in the way of new smaller and simplified technologies which one day will make our jobs much easier in terms of loads carried.

I built a LW rig recently and feel that not having one, both as a back-up and as a specialty piece, could leave you in the lurch.

Check out my latest item as seen below.

Same monitor and gimbal size as my regular gear and plenty of rigidity to boot.

Better to have and not need than to want and not have.

Best,

Brant

Attached File  BFX_LW_Sled.jpg   113.99KB   91 downloads
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#7 Charles Papert

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 06:59 PM

Does it bother you to have a different size gimbal with your LW/running rig? Are your monitors different from rig to rig? I guess I look at it more as a back up that is lighter rather than specifically a super light weight running rig.


I'm about two years into a 2" post but the 20+ years with a 1.5" post haven't left me so I'm fine using that for the lightweight setup, it doesn't faze me. It was more important for me to go light (and cheap!) than keep everything the same, although I did want all accessories and cables to be interchangeable with my main rig. This resulted in (amongst other things) a pretty wild conversion of a Flyer arm with full-size armpost and socket block...see pix.

Attached Files


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#8 Philip J. Martinez SOC

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 10:58 PM

Thanks for all the great reply's.

I cant open the photos Brant and Charles have posted. I would really like to see them. Any idea why I cant? I'm logged in.
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#9 Amando Crespo

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 11:27 PM

Thanks for all the great reply's.

I cant open the photos Brant and Charles have posted. I would really like to see them. Any idea why I cant? I'm logged in.

....mmmm,,, I think that Brant and Charles... Are not friends´ your....mmmm. :P :P :P
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#10 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 10:33 AM

I can't view them either. Its the same old problem that still hasn't been fixed.

~Jess
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#11 Alfeo Dixon SOC

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 09:35 AM

I can't view them either. Its the same old problem that still hasn't been fixed.

~Jess

that is due to your membership status... just like Amex, membership has its "Privileges"
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#12 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 12:16 PM

Guys if you can't see attachments it's because you are not sustaining members
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#13 Richard James Lewis

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 01:00 PM

But...but, I can see them just fine in other topics...

Guys if you can't see attachments it's because you are not sustaining members


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#14 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 01:37 PM

The problem does only happen when a sustaining member posts a picture but it seems strange that it doesn't always happen and that sustaining members pictures would only be viewable by sustaining members while regular members pictures would be viewable by everyone.

~Jess
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