Jump to content



Photo

Pilot Advice


  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 Alan Chapman

Alan Chapman

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts

Posted 24 March 2009 - 10:52 AM

Hi all I am new to this forum and the world of Steadicam, although I have read numerous Pilot reviews and watched endless youtube videos.

Anyway let me introduce myself. I run my own small video production business in the UK, I do stuff like corporate video, charity promotion video and more recently Documentaries. I got lucky and met a guy who has been in TV for 22 years, he gave me some valuable lessons on Documentary filming and also hired me to film a few shorts for him.

I am really small time, I have been using an XM2 and various other low budget gear but I am now about to splash out on a whole new set up. I take delivery of a Sony Z5 on Friday and then the following week I hope to get my Steadicam Pilot. Now for me this is a major investment but after reading some of the posts here I can see my new gear is still very small time :)

So I have a few questions that I would like some expert feedback.

1. I realise that practice makes perfect and that using a pilot takes a lot of practice, I won't insult you by asking how much as thats pretty much down to the user. I would like to know 'generally' how long an experienced user could switch from a Steadycam pilot to tripod and then back to the Steadycam pilot again. this is something that during an average shoot I may have to do.

2. Has anyone any experience using a Sony Z1 or Z5 and how easy is this camera to balance?

3. I am trying to find a training course to attend for the pilot but so far I have not found any in the UK (I just missed one) So are there any good DvD's that would help me in both operation and also about dynamic balance?

4. The Pilot I am buying is the V-mount with 2 ES-7 batteries and 5.8 LCD. Would I need any other cables to use this with the Sony z5? I plan to use the Z5 battery for the camera.

Any other advice would be much appreciated, I went for the pilot because I hear Steadicam are the best, I hope it's worth the extra £ I am paying.
  • 0

#2 James Elias

James Elias

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 73 posts

Posted 24 March 2009 - 11:17 AM

Hi Alan:

We have pilot courses coming up at the end of next month in London and also have a more advanced 3-day course held at BBC Wood Norton in Evesham at the start of May.

To try and answer some of your questions, your only real concern when moving the camera to and from the pilot is how quickly you can use a screw driver! The settings on the Pilot wouldn't change during this procedure, so you should have minimal trim adjustments when you place the camera back onto the sled.

Dynamic balance is best documented in an article on Jerry Holways website at jerryholway.com - also see Jerrys book.
I also recommend the old Steadicam efp training video available from Tiffen-Europe.com

Your only concern with the cables is getting an image from the camera to the monitor on the sled. If the camera has the sony-type composite connector, then be prepared to carefully wrap the provided Sony cable to minimise the effect on balance or have a shorter cable made up.

Regards
- James
  • 0

#3 Sam Morgan Moore

Sam Morgan Moore

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 238 posts

Posted 24 March 2009 - 01:39 PM

Manfrotto make a plate (prokit £38)

I just bought three of them so they are probably out of stock :)

One for the pilot and one for my sticks and one for an undecided future handhed/shoulder rig

I cant see you wanting do be diddling with a screwdriver 'on set'

S

Edited by Sam Morgan Moore, 24 March 2009 - 01:40 PM.

  • 0

#4 Amedeo Fabroni

Amedeo Fabroni

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 43 posts
  • Italy

Posted 24 March 2009 - 02:21 PM

Hi Alan,
congratulations for your purchase of the Pilot. It’s a awesome rig and you will not have doubts about as you have invested your money.
Amedeo
  • 0

#5 Alan Chapman

Alan Chapman

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts

Posted 24 March 2009 - 02:57 PM

Thanks for the quick replys guys

London is quite a long way from where I live, I am almost in Scotland :) Hopefully there will be some workshops further north in the future, I will check out that video though.

As for the quick release for the sticks, I have ordered the Vinten Pro6 tripod, any idea if they do a similar quick release or will the Manfrotto work with the Vinten?

With regard to the cable that comes with the Sony Z5, I really don't know until the camera arrives later this week. I can however ask the supplier to ship a better cable that would suit the sled if you would let me know exactly what I need....forgive my ignorance on this subject but I feel like I am taking a step in the dark with this new equipment :) Which is why I am here.
  • 0

#6 Sam Morgan Moore

Sam Morgan Moore

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 238 posts

Posted 24 March 2009 - 05:09 PM

As for the quick release for the sticks, I have ordered the Vinten Pro6 tripod, any idea if they do a similar quick release or will the Manfrotto work with the Vinten?


I take the plate from my miller head that would attach to the camera and attach it to the manfrotto 'bottom' and then attach the manfrotto 'top' to the camera - dont know vinten but imagine similar

S
  • 0

#7 Dave Gish

Dave Gish

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 181 posts
  • NYC Area

Posted 24 March 2009 - 05:38 PM

As for the quick release for the sticks, I have ordered the Vinten Pro6 tripod, any idea if they do a similar quick release or will the Manfrotto work with the Vinten?


I take the plate from my miller head that would attach to the camera and attach it to the manfrotto 'bottom' and then attach the manfrotto 'top' to the camera - dont know vinten but imagine similar

I don't mean to plug any brand, but if Vinten doesn't make a tripod adapter that is compatible with their plate, then I would consider the Manfrotto sticks instead. Using the Pilot without a tripod adapter makes things very difficult to move to/from sticks.

Alternatively, you could buy 2 Manfrotto tripod adapters, one for your Pilot and one for your Vinten sticks.

By the way, there's a whole bunch of Pilot info over on dvinfo.net:
http://www.dvinfo.ne...-steadicam-etc/

Edited by Dave Gish, 24 March 2009 - 05:43 PM.

  • 0

#8 Dave Gish

Dave Gish

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 181 posts
  • NYC Area

Posted 24 March 2009 - 05:42 PM

With regard to the cable that comes with the Sony Z5, I really don't know until the camera arrives later this week. I can however ask the supplier to ship a better cable that would suit the sled if you would let me know exactly what I need....forgive my ignorance on this subject but I feel like I am taking a step in the dark with this new equipment :) Which is why I am here.

I haven't used the Z5U, but I have used the EX1 and the V1U, and they both bring out analog composite video on their proprietary milti-pin D-connector. I had to make a little adapter cable, like this:
Posted Image
You can also use the 6-foot cable in the box and coil it up, but that usually ends up flopping around.

Edited by Dave Gish, 24 March 2009 - 05:45 PM.

  • 0

#9 Sam Morgan Moore

Sam Morgan Moore

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 238 posts

Posted 25 March 2009 - 04:24 AM

That lead - did you do it properly or just chop out the middle and wind the wires back together - Im reluctant to try but dont have great tooling available

S
  • 0

#10 Alan Chapman

Alan Chapman

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts

Posted 25 March 2009 - 04:29 AM

Thank you for all the help, it's been really useful.
  • 0

#11 Dave Gish

Dave Gish

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 181 posts
  • NYC Area

Posted 25 March 2009 - 08:36 AM

That lead - did you do it properly or just chop out the middle and wind the wires back together - I'm reluctant to try but don't have great tooling available

It's not trivial.

I bought a spare cable here:
http://www.buy.com/p...1/90117338.html

Note that there are many connectors on the other end of the cable (svideo, audio, etc.). Before I chopped the cable down to size, I used a meter with an audible continuity beeper to test which pin on the Sony D-Connector went to the yellow composite video connector, and wrote that down. Then when I chopped the cable down and stripped down the outer jacket, there were many smaller leads inside, each with it's own plastic jacket, shield, and inner wire. I again used the meter to figure out which internal lead corresponded to composite video from my paper notes. For all the other internal leads (not composite video), I stripped the jacket and shield down so as not to short the output signal to ground, and then taped each of these individually. For the composite video inner lead, I used solder to make the connections. After I taped it up, I again used the meter/beeper to make sure there were no shorts.

I'm very good at making custom cables and have many tools for this.

Steadicam/Tiffen should really make this adapter cable. Many popular Sony cameras only bring out composite video on this proprietary D-connector. Not all people can make custom cables, and I haven't seen anyplace where you can buy a short custom cable like this.
  • 0

#12 Sam Morgan Moore

Sam Morgan Moore

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 238 posts

Posted 25 March 2009 - 01:25 PM

It's not trivial.


Ill skip that then until Im hanging with a electonics nerd - thanks - £30 saved

I hope this is not off topic - any hints on setting up the pilot for keeping horizons - Im trying to get my head round long post short post lost of weight etc - I seem to have cycled through all combos - EX1 is nice - latest version is 6 weights bottom, none top, pretty short post - previously I was on 4 top and 4 bottom, post extended the length of the yellow allen key (thats about half out)

maybe for really perfect horizons (real estate tours :( $$$) Ill need antlers

S
  • 0

#13 Dave Gish

Dave Gish

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 181 posts
  • NYC Area

Posted 25 March 2009 - 01:51 PM

I hope this is not off topic - any hints on setting up the pilot for keeping horizons - Im trying to get my head round long post short post lost of weight etc - I seem to have cycled through all combos - EX1 is nice - latest version is 6 weights bottom, none top, pretty short post - previously I was on 4 top and 4 bottom, post extended the length of the yellow allen key (thats about half out)

For the EX1, with the Manfrotto adapter & plate, use 4 of the larger middle weights at the top (2 on each side of the stage. and 4 of the larger middle weights at the botom (2 on each side of the lower crossbar). You'll need to buy more weights for this:
http://www.bhphotovi...nce_Weight.html

Keep the sled post pretty short. Set the drop time to 2.5 seconds.

You want the gimbal to be fairly close to the stage (top), within 2-3 inches, but you also want some weights at the bottom for better inertia.

To understand this better, grab a pencil. Hold the pencil between the thumb and finger of one hand, and move the pencil with the other hand. Hold it in the middle. When you move the pencil, the eraser moves a lot. Now hold the pencil much closer to the eraser. When you move the pencil with your other hand, the eraser moves much less.

So in order to decrease the effect of sled movement on the lens, you want to get the gimbal closer to the lens. In order to keep a reasonable drop time (2-3 seconds), you will need more weight at the stage (top) in order to move the gimbal closer to the stage.
  • 0




BOXX

IDX

SkyDreams

Teradek

Ritter Battery

rebotnix Technologies

Varizoom Follow Focus

Paralinx LLC

PLC - Bartech

Boland Communications

PLC Electronics Solutions

GPI Pro Systems

Betz Tools for Stabilizers

Wireless Video Systems

Omnishot Systems

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Engineered Cinema Solutions