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PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2010 8:22 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2007 11:52 pm
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Location: Sydney, Australia
I have a 5DII and mostly try to shoot HD movies using a tripod with a fluid head. I had no success using a Manfrotto stabilizer so I bought the Steadicam Merlin. This is a beautifully made unit but needs practice to get it to work smoothly. With the 5DII the rig has to be set up each time the lens is changed (or focal length changed for a zoom), or even if the focus is changed. The 5DII also needs an external mic - I use the Rode Stereo mic, not the cheaper mono mic (which is a poor unit, in my view). With the 5DII and the external mic, the HD movies are outstanding.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2010 8:42 pm 
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Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Sounds like an interetsing setup Strabo - do you have a photo of the camera and mic on the merlin for us to see?

Sounds like a pain having to re-balance it every time you make an adjustment though, but I guess that applies to all steadicam-type products. Are the results so good that you accept this inconvenience, or do you often just shoot handheld or on a tripod when you can't be bothered?!


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 8:01 am 
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It is a very tedious process setting up the 5DII (or any camera) with a Steadicam. Once it is done for a particular lens then it would be quicker. I normally have a neck strap on the camera, so that should come off, as it can affect the balance if it moves around. I have not used the camera with the Steadicam and a mic together, as this would require further balancing, so mostly I try and use a tripod or set the camera against something firm. An example of the outstanding results with the 5DII and external mic (but not the Steadicam, as I was overseas and had to minimize weight) can be found with my first HD movie at www.vimeo.com/8771163. Here is a link to pics of the 5DII with the Steadicam and also with the mic: http://www.peterelliston.com/Webpage_Ca ... /index.htm


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 8:03 pm 
Strabo wrote:
An example of the outstanding results with the 5DII and external mic (but not the Steadicam, as I was overseas and had to minimize weight) can be found with my first HD movie at www.vimeo.com/8771163.


Sorry, but it is hard to hear what sound you have recorded since you have put a louder soundtrack on the top of it. Btw, it is a very nice video – also the sound – but it is mostly a music soundtrack :) Anyway if high sound quality is desired, then I guess that one has to use sound doubling. From what I have found out one should go for a TASCAM DR-07 or a ZOOM H4n. The sound quality will be superb, yet synchronisation can be a real pain (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UlVK-jxJdE). So personally I will wait until these devises are “safer” to use. Or maybe Canon will release a new firmware that will make the build in sound system super good – then I will just get a good microphone, hehe :D

Strabo wrote:
It is a very tedious process setting up the 5DII (or any camera) with a Steadicam. Once it is done for a particular lens then it would be quicker. I normally have a neck strap on the camera, so that should come off, as it can affect the balance if it moves around. I have not used the camera with the Steadicam and a mic together, as this would require further balancing, so mostly I try and use a tripod or set the camera against something firm. An example of the outstanding results with the 5DII and external mic (but not the Steadicam, as I was overseas and had to minimize weight) can be found with my first HD movie at www.vimeo.com/8771163. Here is a link to pics of the 5DII with the Steadicam and also with the mic: http://www.peterelliston.com/Webpage_Ca ... /index.htm


That is really a fancy looking steadycam. Yet if you have to readjust it every time you change the lens, then it seems that the stability is not too good. Physically the camera is mainly stabilised by mechanical advantage between the camera and the weight, with the hand as the place of “relative” fixation (it causes a smaller displacement when you accelerate – yet none when considering the angles). So either the weight is too small or the difference: (hand to weight) / (hand to camera) is too small. From this: (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a6/Steadicam_and_operator_in_front_of_crowd.jpg) I get that the hand to weight relation is 80% and the hand to camera relation is 20% in respect to the length of the rod. Hence the dampening of ones hand shaking is some 4x better as well as the displacement decreases to 1/4 at a given acceleration. On your photo your hand is placed directly in the middle between the camera and the weight - so that is next to no mechanical advantage or displacement decrease. Maybe you can place your weight lower, still IMAO the construction looks a little short and it is … crooked :?
Now, I know that this is an around 900$ rig and that it looks cool. Yet the laws of nature do not care about money or looks. The placement of fixation (your hand) is not on the rod, so it is actually instable (essentially it is a pendulum) and the rod is crooked outwards, which also makes the device instable. It is worth to note that on a new market many poor products have not been tested and eliminated. I hate to say this to you Strabo, yet honestly it seems to me that your have stumbled on one of these products :(

As I see things, the rig marked is new and that means costly as well as products that not necessarily are of a very good quality. So, IMAO the best and cheapest thing to do is to try to make your own rigs. And that is why I will try to make some system concepts myself - if I can make something useful, then I will make a post on it. Yet I will probably have to wait for a week or two and that is just until my components arrive :(


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 7:44 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2010 4:52 pm
Posts: 244
Location: NB, Canada
I popped steadycam on youtube (figured most youtube videos would spell it wrong), and came up with some rather interesting links:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1aPbwcqquk&feature=related

and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW6AWmqa8ZM&feature=related

There are plenty more steadicam and dolly system ideas on youtube that range from 0$ to 30$.

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Cameras: Canon EOS 6D, Canon EOS Rebel T3i, Canon EOS Rebel T2i, Canon S90
Lenses: Tamron: SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD, SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD, Rokinon: 8mm Fisheye cine, Canon: EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens, 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 III, and EF 50mm f/1.8 II
Retired camera: Fujifilm Finepix s700


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:08 am 
The problem about micro-modifying a tripod is that it is quite clumsy to handle and the video results will mostly just work with camcorders. Basically a handheld DSLR setup is instable due to the shape and mass distribution. So EVEN when using a normal steadycam the results are not always super good. So the only smart thing to do is to make totally new systems. I have myself made a quite easy to use asymmetrical system capable of doing very steady video up to about 600mm (full frame equivalent). I had most parts already so it did not cost me more than some 25$. So for other people it could be more costly to make it. Yet the most costly parts are usable for other things and are easy to dismount. I made the system shortly after my previous post but I did not have any real world time to make any instruction video for how to build it yet, so I have nearly forgotten about this topic. Anyway it will still take some time before I am ready to make an instruction video about this. But here are an example of which kind of video it can do:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_tbY6Vv02E

note that it is one of my very early tests so it meant to show a wost case/poor handling scenario (especially the focus is poor - only seen in HD).


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:28 pm 
If you want a cheap rig Jag35 make some cheap setups ; http://jag35.com/new/products/the-field-runner/

If you bought that rig all you would need is a follow focus and a z-finder.
My advice is to get a cheap rig, the all do the same thing with little difference in build quality, the redrock rigs are top notch, but you pay for it, and also ive heard their customer service is poor so wouldnt advise them.

My experience is shooting a wedding with a proaim shoulder rig with follow focus, i used a 550d, 50mm f1.8 and a canon 10-22mm. The 10-22mm was invaluable for the video work, it allowed me to get into crowds and still frame how i want without standing back a few steps. And the 50mm was great too, simply for the shallow DOF. I used a Rode videomic for audio, I regret not getting an external recorder though, the 550ds sound is poor. I could have done with a z-finder as well, the lcd is very hard to see in sunlight and you dont know if youre exposure is right or if you have lost detail in highlights.


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