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Had a proper go on the Pilot todayand I need a few tips


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#1 Alan Chapman

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 05:49 PM

I booked the local church for 4 hours today as it's been raining ever since I got my pilot a few days ago and so I have been pretty much unable to use it :( Anyway 2 of us took turns with the rig and had some great practice, we had the rig very close to dynamic balance.

One thing thats really got me puzzled is the balance issues on wearing the rig. Are you supposed to be able to let go of the rig and it should remain still next to you? We both were able to get the rig remain still next to us but if we moved it would fly away from us. I know when operating it you have one hand on the gimbal and the other below it (very light touch) but thats about it.

Also another thing we both were puzzled over was framing and headroom. We found that even when we boomed down the cam was a bit high, is this normal? I think we may have been too far away from the talent when we were practicing our 360's as there was way too much headroom. It was our first proper go in an open space with the rig so overall we were delighted with the results.

Anyway here is a short version of our days practice.

http://www.vimeo.com/4419359
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#2 RobVanGelder

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 01:02 AM

Alan, it's all about posture and keeping that while walking.
If you can keep the rig near you when standing (comfortably) , it should be possible to keep that position when walking, by angling your hips in a certain direction. But it should never be forced or you will adapt a wrong posture.
Lot's of practice.....
:)
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#3 James Elias

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 08:17 AM

Hi Alan:

I just did a Pilot seminar at Calumet London this week, shame you couldn't be there. As a note - the image at 3:48 shows your hand far too low on the post! Keep it where that CG is!

As Rob says, being able to let go of the rig and walk hands free requires a lot of practice and learning how to stay in balance with the rig. It's important to remember that the Steadicam will move with your hips, if you lean forwards it moves forwards - if you lean backwards, it moves back.

Not that easy at first!

Regards
- James
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#4 Alan Chapman

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 01:08 PM

Thanks Rob, James....I think practicing with my hip movements may be a good excercise for me, trying to balance my body with the rig.

James that shot at 3:48 I was tilting the sled to get the pianists fingers in shot, I moved it down just to make it easier to lift as I assumed this would be the way, thanks for the pointer, it won't happen again :)

Also I am hoping Calumet do another course in Manchester or somewhere up North, I will certainly be attending.
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#5 Charles Papert

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 01:17 PM

Overall I think you guys did very well for your first times in the rig and not having formal training.

As James rightfully pointed out, grabbing the post way down at the bottom is a strict no-no. You can perform every function with your hand just under the gimbal. If it is very hard to tilt, do you have too short of a drop time? Aim at somewhere between 2 and 3 seconds. And burn that still of you holding the bottom of the post!

Headroom is a function of both boom and tilt. Booming is great for small corrections in headroom, but often you need to tilt down a little also. It's what you would do if the camera was on your shoulder (well, in your hands), you just have to become conscious of the process as it applies to Steadicam.

Your practice should include lots of admittedly boring and repetitious drilling, i.e. the various line dances (get yourself a copy of the Steadicam Operator's Handbook, read and do!) rather than just wafting around chasing people. It's the best way to get the basics down. All will start to make sense in short order.

On a side note--I'm continually fascinated that these days seemingly everyone is making this fantastically produced "test shot" videos complete with soundtracks, transitions, effects etc. of their earliest efforts with a piece of gear.
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#6 Alan Chapman

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 02:58 PM

Overall I think you guys did very well for your first times in the rig and not having formal training.

As James rightfully pointed out, grabbing the post way down at the bottom is a strict no-no. You can perform every function with your hand just under the gimbal. If it is very hard to tilt, do you have too short of a drop time? Aim at somewhere between 2 and 3 seconds. And burn that still of you holding the bottom of the post!

Headroom is a function of both boom and tilt. Booming is great for small corrections in headroom, but often you need to tilt down a little also. It's what you would do if the camera was on your shoulder (well, in your hands), you just have to become conscious of the process as it applies to Steadicam.

Your practice should include lots of admittedly boring and repetitious drilling, i.e. the various line dances (get yourself a copy of the Steadicam Operator's Handbook, read and do!) rather than just wafting around chasing people. It's the best way to get the basics down. All will start to make sense in short order.

On a side note--I'm continually fascinated that these days seemingly everyone is making this fantastically produced "test shot" videos complete with soundtracks, transitions, effects etc. of their earliest efforts with a piece of gear.


Hi Charles

Thanks for the advice, it all makes perfect sense.

The drop time was 2 seconds on the video but I intend to change this to 3 seconds next time just to feel the difference. I think I understand what you are saying about the headroom, we were both tempted to add some tilt but we thought doing this while moving was a no, no. I am looking forward to getting some proper training next time a workshop is near my location. I do have the Operators Handbook which I am currently reading, it's a great book. We did all the early excercises in the book such as walking the line, what a great excercise.

The video is really about us getting all the fun stuff out of our system before the real work starts. ;) I have wanted a Steadicam for years and to finally get one I guess I had to let off some steadicam steam. We were out today and all we did was start and stop, start and stop and a few balance excercises. Next week I have been hired to do a walkthrough of some new Eco-offices that have been built, it also includes a complete 360 walkaround the building, so I am getting a bit practice in this weekend, on the job training, it's all good fun.
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#7 Charles Papert

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 05:11 PM

we were both tempted to add some tilt but we thought doing this while moving was a no, no.


Tilting while moving is well within the boundaries of the law! Any and all axes are subject to adjustment at any time...

We preach that booming for headroom is the preferred method as it is often more subtle and easier to achieve than tilting, but there is only so far you can go with that technique.
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