Portable steadicam solution?

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John Bartman

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Portable steadicam solution?

PostMon Jan 28, 2013 5:02 pm

Does anyone have a suggestion for a portable (cheap) steadicam solution for the BMCC?
thanks
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Peter J. DeCrescenzo

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Re: Portable steadicam solution?

PostMon Jan 28, 2013 11:44 pm

bartman wrote:Does anyone have a suggestion for a portable (cheap) steadicam solution for the BMCC? thanks


Depends on your price range, and what you mean by "steadicam solution".

For example, the CMR Blackbird stabilizer is very reasonably priced and capable of excellent results:
http://www.camotionllc.com/index.php

Andrew Julian's awesome BMCC & Blackbird footage:

Last edited by Peter J. DeCrescenzo on Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Jim DeLuca

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Re: Portable steadicam solution?

PostTue Jan 29, 2013 3:27 am

I own a Blackbird, I've used it alot with DSLRs and I really like it. I think it's weight capacity is closer to 10lbs (although that would be quite the strain on your body) so it shouldn't have a problem flying a more basic setup of the Blackmagic
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Remo Pini

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Re: Portable steadicam solution?

PostTue Jan 29, 2013 9:01 am

This guy seems to have some useful input around cost efficient entry level steadicam rigs...

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Christopher Barry

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Re: Portable steadicam solution?

PostTue Jan 29, 2013 9:40 am

A few shots in 'Meet me in Big Sur' footage utilised the Blackbird.

Edit: Just realised Peter linked Andrew Julian's footage.
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John Bartman

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Re: Portable steadicam solution?

PostTue Jan 29, 2013 11:09 am

Thanks everyone for the suggestions

The blackbird looks perfect for the BMCC (light weight, can take 4,5 kg, well thought out design)
however it seems hard to find in europe and costs double USA prices (550 eur) :(
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Jim DeLuca

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Re: Portable steadicam solution?

PostTue Jan 29, 2013 4:12 pm

bartman wrote:Thanks everyone for the suggestions

The blackbird looks perfect for the BMCC (light weight, can take 4,5 kg, well thought out design)
however it seems hard to find in europe and costs double USA prices (550 eur) :(


You can try asking Blackbird directly. I've sent various emails and I got a response quickly, and often times right from the CEO
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John Bartman

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Re: Portable steadicam solution?

PostTue Jan 29, 2013 5:51 pm

Thanks! will do and let you know
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rick.lang

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Re: Portable steadicam solution?

PostTue Jan 29, 2013 6:08 pm

Jim DeLuca wrote:I own a Blackbird, I've used it alot with DSLRs and I really like it. I think it's weight capacity is closer to 10lbs (although that would be quite the strain on your body) so it shouldn't have a problem flying a more basic setup of the Blackmagic


Jim, if this was balancing the BMCC nearly naked with prime lens and screw filter, what would be the total weight of the gear? Let's say the camera is 6 lbs tops, what would the Blackbird weigh including its counterweights but excluding the camera? I am trying to see how long I can carry a bag of that weight on my extended forearm before it breaks! At a glance it seems to me to be a healthy young man's sport especially with no body vest and arm to help support the weight.

Have you ever felt wrist or elbow or shoulder or back pain carrying this for long? How long would you use it? The examples I see are always under a couple of minutes. Never see anyone covering a continuous event for a couple of hours. Guess a crane would be better for that! Thanks.

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Jim DeLuca

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Re: Portable steadicam solution?

PostTue Jan 29, 2013 6:13 pm

rick.lang wrote:
Jim DeLuca wrote:I own a Blackbird, I've used it alot with DSLRs and I really like it. I think it's weight capacity is closer to 10lbs (although that would be quite the strain on your body) so it shouldn't have a problem flying a more basic setup of the Blackmagic


Jim, if this was balancing the BMCC nearly naked with prime lens and screw filter, what would be the total weight of the gear? Let's say the camera is 6 lbs tops, what would the Blackbird weigh including its counterweights but excluding the camera? I am trying to see how long I can carry a bag of that weight on my extended forearm before it breaks! At a glance it seems to me to be a healthy young man's sport especially with no body vest and arm to help support the weight.

Have you ever felt wrist or elbow or shoulder or back pain carrying this for long? How long would you use it? The examples I see are always under a couple of minutes. Never see anyone covering a continuous event for a couple of hours. Guess a crane would be better for that! Thanks.

Rick Lang
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I don't own a BMCC yet, so I can't tell you what it's like flying 6lbs. I've used the t2i and sometimes the 5D. I usually weight down the T2i, even still it's not much weight, and I could fly that easily all day with some breaks. If I were to extrapolate, with no vest and arm, that you could probably only hope to do a few minutes at a time, it wouldn't be great all day with constant use.

Keep in mind the Blackbird fits on the Merlin Vest & Arm with an adaptor sold by blackbird, so that's a solution. I've also been hearing about a very inexpensive Vest & Arm being sold on ebay from Hong Kong I believe, http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... NxxZswR5L4 Not sure how it would fit with the Blackbird though.
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Re: Portable steadicam solution?

PostTue Jan 29, 2013 7:56 pm

Jim DeLuca wrote:I've also been hearing about a very inexpensive Vest & Arm being sold on ebay from Hong Kong I believe, http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... NxxZswR5L4 Not sure how it would fit with the Blackbird though.


CheesyCam had an article on using one of those inexpensive Chinese vest & arm stabilizers, including a test video using it with the BMCC.

http://cheesycam.com/wieldy-dual-iso-arm-vest-video-stabilizer/
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Re: Portable steadicam solution?

PostWed Jan 30, 2013 1:44 am

I have one of those, arrived two days ago - practicing with my Canon, but waiting for my BMD for it

Image

Solid, smooth and remarkably well built. Even for a complete novice such as myself I was able to (with the assistance of my tutor, Mr Youtube) balance the sled, fit the vest and get decent shots at a jog, up and down stairs, circling and shooting laterally.

I will, however, not claim it's as good as a branded Steadicam as I haven't had that pleasure, but for around £500 it's a fantastic piece of kit.
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Christian Schmeer

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Re: Portable steadicam solution?

PostWed Jan 30, 2013 2:06 am

Drakuul wrote:I have one of those, arrived two days ago - practicing with my Canon, but waiting for my BMD for it

Image

Solid, smooth and remarkably well built. Even for a complete novice such as myself I was able to (with the assistance of my tutor, Mr Youtube) balance the sled, fit the vest and get decent shots at a jog, up and down stairs, circling and shooting laterally.

I will, however, not claim it's as good as a branded Steadicam as I haven't had that pleasure, but for around £500 it's a fantastic piece of kit.


I remember they were listed for about $800 on eBay. Did you have to import one and pay import tax?
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Re: Portable steadicam solution?

PostWed Jan 30, 2013 4:12 pm

I did import it to the UK, however on the listing the sellers say that they will put the "bid value" of the winning bid as $100 on the customs form.

I, of course, would NEVER suggest evading tax of any sort *cough*... but I didn't have to pay any import tax or VAT as it was below UK HMRC thresholds.
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Jules Bushell

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Re: Portable steadicam solution?

PostThu Jan 31, 2013 5:38 am

Great looking piece of kit Drakuul. Some questions for anyone who can answer:

What weight can this steadicam take? What happen if it's overloaded by a 1kg or so, does it break?

Also what is the recommended way/gear required for focus pulling?


Cheers,
Jules

P.S. I'm thinking of putting some motion control gear on the BMCC. Probably weigh an extra 3 lbs.
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Jim DeLuca

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Re: Portable steadicam solution?

PostThu Jan 31, 2013 6:58 am

Jules Bushell wrote:Great looking piece of kit Drakuul. Some questions for anyone who can answer:

What weight can this steadicam take? What happen if it's overloaded by a 1kg or so, does it break?

Also what is the recommended way/gear required for focus pulling?


Cheers,
Jules

P.S. I'm thinking of putting some motion control gear on the BMCC. Probably weigh an extra 3 lbs.


I'm not exactly sure with the overloading of the weight with the sled itself, it could be the case where the sled isn't built for the weight itself and will not maintain a dynamic balance, but I'm not really sure.

What you do want to look at is min. and max. weight of the arm. If you overload the arm, the springs won't be able to support the weight and keep the sled at the right operating height or absorb vibrations properly. Again I'm not an expert, I tend to not use a vest and arm.

As for focus pulling you're going to need a wireless follow focus system, and that isn't cheap. Here's an example of one, and it's probably one of the cheaper ones you'd find, but I've never used it, I've only used the really expensive pro Bartech wireless follow focus units.
http://jag35.com/weffv2.html
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Re: Portable steadicam solution?

PostThu Jan 31, 2013 2:30 pm

The one I have is rated 1kg to 7kg (more than enough for the BMCC and kit)

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1-7kg-Carbon- ... 19d88957c4

Personally I don't know (as Jim has said) what overloading would do, but you shouldn't have to as the BMC and even a big L lens shouldn't tip the scales at more than 3kg, giving you plenty of wiggle room for monitors and batteries.

As for follow focus, just keep it wide and smaller than f5.6 and you shouldn't need follow focus whilst moving.
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Jules Bushell

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Re: Portable steadicam solution?

PostThu Jan 31, 2013 5:37 pm

Thanks Jim and Drakuul,

Comforting to know that the BMCC is so light compared to other cinema cameras!

Interesting that there are two points of view on follow focus. I guess it would depend on the kind of shoot and budget? I would assume keeping a deep depth of field might not give the "cinema look" any more? More a TV doc feel?

But I'm definitely about to press the buttons to get the same steadicam Drakuul, you just received. Be cool to get an update once you've tried it out more.

Jules
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Re: Portable steadicam solution?

PostFri Feb 01, 2013 12:46 pm

I don't know, the majority of films seem to have moved away from narrow depth of field to the wider "see everything" style - probably because of the mainstream use of 3D in the blockbusters which then filtered down into the lower budget films.

The only time I tend to see the narrow depth of field and focal whips is on the usual gritty US police dramas and nature documentaries these days.
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Re: Portable steadicam solution?

PostMon Feb 04, 2013 10:22 am

I tried the BMCC on a friends Glidecam HD4000 yesterday - if you're like me (weak and not an experienced steadicam op) you will want a vest. It's a heavy setup.. i was even using the wrist support thing.
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Re: Portable steadicam solution?

PostWed Feb 13, 2013 7:59 pm

Christian Schmeer wrote:
Drakuul wrote:I have one of those, arrived two days ago - practicing with my Canon, but waiting for my BMD for it

Image

I succumbed too to the land of Eastern Promises, or more like the land of no micro jitters, and ordered one that arrived today.

Cheers Jim, Drakuul and co for pointing me to this.

Jules
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Re: Portable steadicam solution?

PostThu May 09, 2013 10:19 pm

Drakuul wrote:I have one of those, arrived two days ago - practicing with my Canon, but waiting for my BMD for it

Image

Solid, smooth and remarkably well built. Even for a complete novice such as myself I was able to (with the assistance of my tutor, Mr Youtube) balance the sled, fit the vest and get decent shots at a jog, up and down stairs, circling and shooting laterally.

I will, however, not claim it's as good as a branded Steadicam as I haven't had that pleasure, but for around £500 it's a fantastic piece of kit.


This one looks more like the OwlDolly kit http://www.owldolly.com/collections/all?page=1

I'm trying to decide between the OwlDolly, the Wieldy, and the Laing M-02.

Anyone know which is best with a Blackmagic setup? Also, can rods be added to the Wieldy and Laing?
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Re: Portable steadicam solution?

PostThu May 09, 2013 11:25 pm

Have a look at the Glidecam HD-2000 oder HD-4000

It works pretty well with the BMCC:
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sean mclennan

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Re: Portable steadicam solution?

PostFri May 10, 2013 4:38 pm

gliderpilotdw wrote:Have a look at the Glidecam HD-2000 oder HD-4000

It works pretty well with the BMCC:


no offense, but in 3/4s of those shots, there is an obvious rocking back and forth in the image. IMO, the 2000 is too small to take the weight of the BMCC. Camera/SSD/Lens is over 5 lbs...add a quick release plate and you're right at the weight limit. How much weight did you have to use to counterbalance that?

I have the HD4000 (which I love) and it's pretty stressed with the BMCC...not to mention my arm! :P
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Re: Portable steadicam solution?

PostSat May 11, 2013 7:04 pm

The black bird stabalizer even with its simplest shooting set up will give you serious wrist torque. It is possible to fly it but only for limited and separated takes. You cant fly it like a 5/7D. Typical wide lenses also have some bulk.
I tried it this weekend and the balance was not perfect...but 6 big counter weights and 2 small ones almost had it cruising. Needs some fine tuning though. However, for the ease of travel, it is the perfect solution. However, watch your wrist...it will apply alot of pressure with the BMCC
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Dennis Westhoff

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Re: Portable steadicam solution?

PostSun May 12, 2013 11:47 am

sean mclennan wrote:
gliderpilotdw wrote:Have a look at the Glidecam HD-2000 oder HD-4000

It works pretty well with the BMCC:


no offense, but in 3/4s of those shots, there is an obvious rocking back and forth in the image. IMO, the 2000 is too small to take the weight of the BMCC. Camera/SSD/Lens is over 5 lbs...add a quick release plate and you're right at the weight limit. How much weight did you have to use to counterbalance that?

I have the HD4000 (which I love) and it's pretty stressed with the BMCC...not to mention my arm! :P


Hi, what do you mean with "rocking back and forth"
I know that the last shot isn't the best because the Glidecam was held upside down and I could't look at the screen. But I'm quite happy with the other shots.
BTW: I used 5 of the 6 weights
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sean mclennan

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Re: Portable steadicam solution?

PostSun May 12, 2013 6:54 pm

Look at the horizon in the shots...it goes up and down slowly throughout the shot like you're standing on a boat....8, 10, 30 and 40 second mark shots and the very first shot has a twisting horizon plane as you turn.
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Robert Bentley

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Re: Portable steadicam solution?

PostTue Jun 18, 2013 3:10 am

I was thinking about getting one of those Wieldy steadicams. Would be nice to see more sample footage with steadicam type shots.

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