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#1 jayvitela

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Posted 15 January 2004 - 05:23 PM

Ok All I'm new to this whole steadicam thing, I've been in the video biz about 12 years, have shot many concerts (camera op on stage mostly). I now have a custom manufactured rig I built, its much like a ProVid unit. My question is how do you focus in a concert situation, do you set your focus to infinity and go with it or are you able to focus yourself on the run :blink: ?
Thanks
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#2 JobScholtze

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Posted 15 January 2004 - 06:23 PM

I am using a focus puller. Normally he is sitting between the public and have a monitor. We also have communication, so i can ask him to zoom in or out during the steadicamshots. It is possible to do it yourself using a zoom focus on your gimbal, but i prefer a puller. :blink:
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#3 JimBartell

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Posted 15 January 2004 - 07:44 PM

The Gimbal Mount Remote control was designed for exactly this situation. It plugs into your Bartech Focus Device receiver and mounts to your gimbal, giving you focus control at your fingertips. A bargain at $75.

Posted Image

Please note this is an old photo. New units have much thinner cable.

Jim "thinking ahead" Bartell
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#4 PeterAbraham

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Posted 15 January 2004 - 08:36 PM

OhmylordGod. With all due respect, Job, are these shoots filmed or video? If they are video, I'd just beg you to get ahold of a J-7 and appropriate cables.

Being able to massage the frame yourself is as integral to good live Steadicam as being able to walk from side to side or front to back unimpeded. My thumb never leaves my J-7 on video jobs, I am frequently slowly massaging the framelines to reveal or hide elements I find appealing/unappealing.

In the time it'd take for me to ask an assistant to zoom, the moment would be passed and the zoom would likely be awkward.

Try a J-7, you won't be disappointed. When I built my Mini, this was an absolute MUST item to own. I used it every single weekend for 9 weeks, doing "This Week With George Stephanapoulous " for ABC News in Washington, D.C. Virtually all of my shots on that show involved imperceptable zooming.

Peter Abraham, E.M.T.
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#5 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 15 January 2004 - 09:28 PM

Try a J-7, you won't be disappointed. Virtually all of my shots on that show involved imperceptable zooming.

Peter,

No offense, but smooth... J-7? Can't say I've ever tried a $7 bottle of scotch, but I'd imagine it about as smooth as a J-7. I've found this controller all but useless. Bought a used one one a few years back, used it a few times, and have not touched it since. Maybe it is mine or the lenses it was attached to, but it was sloppy, way too fast, and jerky. To add insult to injury, it was wired backwards (presumably easy enough to fix, but never bothered) so your zoom in was in fact a zoom out. Yuk, yuk, yuk.
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#6 jayvitela

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Posted 16 January 2004 - 08:11 AM

Thanks for the great input, keep um coming! Hey can someone help me with "my controls" I posted my photo but it doesn't show up in my posted messages. I see it when I check my profile so I know its in the system.
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#7 PeterAbraham

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Posted 16 January 2004 - 09:13 AM

Alec-

You got a bad pot. Either the potentiometer within the J-7 was damaged/ out of whack, or the lens was set fast ( more about that in a second ). A little tender loving care would have brought it around. The J-7 isn't jerky, sloppy or fast. Here is what I suspect:

The lens's own speed control had been cranked. Using any remote Zoom Control slaves the remote to the parameters set by the Lens Zoom Speed. So, if you want to feather in reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally gently, then you not only need a gentle touch ( one I know you posess :D ), but a lens control that's been set back to maybe 1, or 2 on the speed pot located on the hand grip screwed into the zoom lens. Just above where your thumb squeezes the remote button to roll tape.

Therefore, if you have the lens zoom speed dialed WAY up, no matter how much you try to feather in a zoom the lens is going to jump because it's pre-set to engage and move very rapidly. Conversely, if you wished to do a quick zoom using your J-7 and the lens zoom speed was moved way down to 1 or 2, you can only zoom but so fast. It becomes second nature to reach out between shots if I think I will need to zoom fast, and roll that len's zoom speed knob up. Otherwise, my default setting for the zoom speed is one notch above slowest. I find that the slowest setting on the lens is like the slowest setting on a rocker for a Ped Camera- it takes a few seconds to move the rocker far enough for voltage to dribble through and affect ANY kind of a zoom, and in those 1-3 seconds, your tally light probably has gone and your shot is over. One notch up from slowest seems to be the best way to go for most Steadicam applications, although I'd be eager to hear from other Ops ( Muhlstock? you reading? ) who use a J-7 daily.

I'm sorry you had a bad experience with your unit- next time you are in need, or have a video job and even want to try one out on downtime, please email or call me. You can borrow mine. It's clean and fairly new and is very smooth.

Nothing worse than thinking you're using a great solution, only to find out it makes your work look bad. I'd ask you to give it another try, off-air.

Best to ya

Peter
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#8 PeterAbraham

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Posted 16 January 2004 - 09:15 AM

Another possibility, Alec. You may have been shooting on an older lens that had no zoom speed pot on the handgrip. Typically, Canon lenses were later in switching, Fuji offered that for quite a while.

Lacking a zoom pot on the lens, the use of a J-7 DOES require a lot of practice to fiddle with the engage moment, so there is no jerk at all in your shot when first zooming. When you plug it in and try it again ( and I know you will cause you're that kind of a fellah ), make sure it's a lens that is new enough that it even has the zoom speed pot on the handgrip, ok?

:)
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#9 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 16 January 2004 - 11:10 AM

Peter,

Yes, there was no zoom speed control on the lens - I always look. I think a lot of it has to do with the backwards direction of the control. I should rework it so it is normal - again, when mounted on a gimbal pushing the rocker away zooms you out and towards you zooms you back in. Impossible to deal with. I suspect the previous owner was goofy foot and wired it to be this way to make it correct for him. Now I remember the last time I played with it, I mounted it backwards which helped a lot, but makes it hard to reach the zoom control as it it physically farther from your thumb. I use an ergo handle so the curve of the J-7 does not match the gimbal anyway. One thing this does cure though is continually rolling the camera by mistake. When mounted normally, it would engage the roll button every-time I'd rest the rig on my shoulder. This could be cured with a small Delrin donut around the switch so it can not get pushed so easily. Basically, I have to reinvent this one to make it work. Do you have the schematics? Oh, what is the rocker switch on the side supposed to do? As far as I can tell, mine does nothing at all. I remember getting my hopes up that it would reverse the travel but no such luck.

Thanks, Peter. We need to get together for lunch one day anyway. Perhaps its time I drive out to your place and see some snow covered woods anyway.

Best,

Alec
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#10 Bryan Trieb SOC

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Posted 16 January 2004 - 11:47 AM

I must agree with Peter. Most of my work is tv/video stuff...and I have found the J-7 to be an indispensable addition to the rig. Having the ablility to squeeze the frame while operating seems to be the most natural feeling of control....especially in a live event when unpredictable occurances forces the operator to make very quick yet subtle adjustments. I've worked with a puller in this senerio as well...but only for focus. I couldn't imagine operating with a puller controlling my zoom, but that's just me and we all have our preferences. Could you imagine operating Hand-Held on stage in a big concert and having someone else operate your zoom?.... :blink:
You may want to look at the unit made by Stanton....as you can control both zoom and focus ....but I find that unit breeds less control of the rig because you have to keep your hand on the supplied "handle"...I'm not a big fan of this assembly at all.
You can't go wrong with a properly tuned J-7 unit and a nice wide angle lens (I always request a Canon 5.2)....and just practice setting your focus before each scripted shot....it becomes second nature and you'll be surprised how quickly you can "tweak" the rig/lens between shots. Oh...you can also rig the VTR roll switch on the J-7 to activate return video in your monitor....most video engineers can do this for you on site.
Hope this helps....and best of luck!
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#11 jayvitela

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Posted 16 January 2004 - 02:14 PM

Great stuff, where can I get info on a J-7 unit?
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#12 Brad Hruboska

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Posted 16 January 2004 - 09:29 PM

Usually I pitch the idea of an assistant, saying that in the mosh pit I need a spotter anyway, why not hire a guy or gal, to take care of focus, help with battery changes..... The Preston is great in this respect in that with ENG style zooms, yoou can control the zoom with the microforce on the preston unit, or rather my creative assistant can. we have small hand signals to coordinate......or we try to work to the directors need. Remember to open your hand unit and flip the switch from P to V ( positional, to velocity ) or just remember P(reston motor) V(ideo) cameras Zoom motor.....
the start stop canan or Fuginon cable will also give you zoom, neat huh?
Brado.
B)
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#13 PeterAbraham

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Posted 16 January 2004 - 10:07 PM

Bryan, you should know that aside from seeing return video, you can ALSO have the truck set the base station so that when you hit your Record button on the side of the J-7, your mike keys. How COOL is that? No more taking your hands off the rig to talk to the Director, etc. People in the truck remember what they see, and if every time they hear your voice, they know your shot rolled crooked cause you hit the key on the back of the body, it sticks in their head.

To answer the other question from Alec. The black button and the black rocker are directly analagous to the camera run switches on a BFD ( and probably other systems as well). Some cameras want a momentary switch to run, some want a double throw switch. For video cameras that want a momentary bump switch to roll, you hit that black pin button that cause you agita..... for cameras that demand a double throw, you hit the rocker back and forth once to roll, back and forth again to cut tape.

As is the case with film cameras, those two types of roll switch cover all possible video cameras.

The J-7 doesn't fit the Master Series yoke either- that's what gaffer tape is for. :D I used to just tape it down for gigs. I know people who have had their yoke rubber cut down to accomodate it, but I chose not to do so.

Peter

p.s. Yes, come for lunch !
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#14 Bryan Trieb SOC

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Posted 17 January 2004 - 12:01 PM

Jay....look up Frank Rush's contact info ....he should be able to get the J-7 for you.
Peter....Thanks for the advice on what people remember in the truck! That's one of those details that one can forget when caught up in figuring out the shot with the director/talent/LD/yadayada.... I actually used the J-7's switch to key the mic...untill I couldn't live without return in my monitor on bigger shows. Now I'm always running wireless intercom and can't live without that as well! Ok, so I won't count the things I can't live without...

Totally dig the new forum...and continuously appreciating the knowledge shared by all!
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#15 AdamKeith

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Posted 18 January 2004 - 04:22 PM

J-7's are pre-wired for a Canon or Fuji Lens. Not both. There is a "JUMPER CABLE" to make it compatible with the other. The "JUMPER CABLE" changes the pin out. Much like the electronics to a Jib. If your J-7 is not smooth you should check out to see if you have the correct cable.

Adam Keith
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