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Dave Gish

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About Dave Gish

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  1. Dave Gish

    First day on professional set as Steadicam operator

    The body alone weighs 5 pounds. http://www.red.com/products/scarlet#tech-specs http://www.red.com/products/epic#tech-specs With a lens, Red battery and other basic accessories, you can easily exceed the Pilot's weight limit. If your Pilot uses AB or V-Lock batteries, you may be able to power the camera from the sled using the right power adapter cables. I would check this out immediately. Better to turn down the gig than to show up and not get it to work.
  2. Dave Gish

    Sony PMW-F5 + Steadicam Pilot

    Last year I flew a Sony F3 with my Pilot. Sony primes. Pretty much naked, except for my little wireless video transmitter. I also flew a Sony EX3 a couple of years back, with a Sennheiser lav receiver on the shoe. Had to power it with 12v from the sled and remove the eyepiece/cover to get the arm level. But the heaviest thing I flew was actually a Cannon 5D. CP.2 primes, rails, matte box, and 2 filters. That stuff adds up. The arm was actually sagging a little.
  3. Dave Gish

    First day on professional set as Steadicam operator

    Make sure you ask some questions over the phone as soon as possible, before the shoot date. The first question is "what camera are you using?". A Steadicam operator is a camera operator, so make sure you know the camera inside out. For shoots where I haven't used that particular camera before, I always download the manual and spend time going through it. There are 3 areas in particular you need to pay attention to: 1) Weight. If the camera + battery weighs more than 8 pounds, the Steadicam Pilot probably won't work. Remember, the 10 pound weight limit doesn't include the battery or inertial weights at the bottom. Also, any other camera accessories add to the weight (rails, matte box, filters, etc.). Conversely, if the camera is too light, you'll have problems with balancing and/or stability. For this reason, I bought 8 extra balancing weights: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/552728-REG/Steadicam_801_7920_05_801_7920_05_Middle_Balance_Weight.html 2) Video output. Make sure you know how to get video from the camera to the Pilot's monitor. You may need to buy a special adapter cable to do this, or possibly a small battery operated converter box. I have 3 or 4 adapter cables for various cameras. If the camera comes with the adapter cable, don't assume they will have it on set. 3) Focus. The Pilot's weight limit usually doesn't allow a wireless follow focus system, so if you're flying a DSLR, you need to be aware of focus issues, and how to resolve them. In other words, you basically need to let the DP know that they can't use longer lenses and that they need a good deal of light to get more depth of field. For ENG cameras, this isn't as much of an issue. You also need to ask about sound. For productions in the Pilot range, they're often used to just running the boom mic cable directly into the camera. For a light rig like the Pilot, operating with a wire is a challenge. The slightest tug on the wire will affect the stability of the shot. Also, its easy to trip over a wire, especially when you're completely dialed into maintaining framing and stability. For this reason, I've actually purchased a sound recorder to run 2-system sound. I hate wires. When you get on set, if you haven't used that camera before, ask the DP to familiarize you with it. Better to look a little stupid than to risk ruining a shot. Most DPs I've worked with appreciate you taking a minute or so to double-check the camera setup. As for on-set etiquette, just use your best judgment. As a Steadicam operator, you're allowed to say what you think might look better or worse based on your experience, but some directors/DPs are more open to suggestion than others. Hope this helps, Dave
  4. Dave Gish

    Help with Pilot vest

    Hi Herman, If you can't take a workshop for a while, get the "Steadicam EPF Training Video DVD". A quick Google will find it. Yeah, the EFP is an old crusty rig, but Steadicam basics are the same, and its important to remove bad habits as quickly as possible. Its harder to "unlearn" things if you've been doing them for a while. As for the vest, yes, it should be tight, but you should also be "under the rig". In other words, if you remove both hands for a second or two, the rig shouldn't move. If it does, you're using your hands too much, and your hips too little. Your hips should be positioned so that you barely have to touch the rig with your hands. Hope this helps, Dave
  5. Dave Gish

    Film student wanting good but inexpensive steadicam

    Hi Connor, Welcome to the forum. For your first rig, it probably doesn't matter that much. If you're serious, you'll end up replacing it. I compare Steadicam to skiing. You can learn the basics in a couple of months, but if you want to compete at a professional level, it will take years. It isn't the equipment. It's your experience that makes the difference. Having said all that, I would recommend the Steadicam Pilot for starting out. It's the least expensive Steadicam, with a sled, vest, and monitor. And like others have said, take the workshop. Best money I ever spent. Hope this helps, Dave
  6. Dave Gish

    Is this Everything I need to buy for a Pilot?

    I've used low-mode a handful of times. No problems balancing with AAs. I did have to move the screw-on weights around.
  7. Dave Gish

    Is this Everything I need to buy for a Pilot?

    I do power my video transmitter with the Pilot's AAs, and together with the Pilot's monitor, that usually lasts around 3 hours. I usually give an AC or PA a spare AA pack just in case. To be clear, I wouldn't suggest doing anything serious without 3 AA packs pre-stuffed and ready to go. As for using the Pilot to power the camera, I'm skeptical. Most cameras in this range are not 12v, and some cameras are fussy about voltage, so I'm not sure how a voltage converter would work. Also, as I said before, my typical problem is not having enough weight on top, so using the camera battery is preferable for that. I usually like to fly with the gimbal closer to the stage, so I always aim for around 8 pounds of top weight (camera + accessories + screw-on weights). Together with the AA battery pack and 4 additional screw-on weights at the bottom, that brings the Pilot right up to the 10 pound limit.
  8. Dave Gish

    Is this Everything I need to buy for a Pilot?

    I've had no problems balancing the Pilot with AA batteries. I've flown a GH2 through an EX3, and a dozen other cameras in between. The main issue I have is with the smaller cameras is not having enough top weight, so I bought 8 more of the screw-on weights: http://www.bhphotovi...nce_Weight.html I do use gold-mount batteries, but not on the Pilot. I use them on my two 7" wireless video monitors. Using AAs for the monitors was a pain, because they only lasted a couple of hours, and I'm usually thinking about Steadicam, not wireless monitors. With the Gold mount batteries on the monitors, they last 6-8 hours, and they're still easy to hold in one hand.
  9. Dave Gish

    Steadicam Pilot versus the Flyer

    First, I would use 8 pounds as max working weight for the Pilot. You'll want to add a pound of screw-on weights on the bottom for stability, and the Pilot's battery pack isn't included in the 10 pound limit. Beyond that, I would agree with Brian - you should weigh everything. For $40, you can get a good scale from the post office: https://shop.usps.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10001&storeId=10052&productId=10001609&langId=-1&parent_category_rn=10000002&top_category=10000002&categoryId=10000022&top=&currentPage=0&sort=&viewAll=N&rn=CategoriesDisplay&WT.ac=10001609 And be sure to include everything. For example, you don't mention rails or filters in your list. Also, make sure you don't add things that are unnecessary. For example, why do you need to fly a separate marshal 7" monitor on steadicam? The Pilot and Flyer both have their own separate monitor on the bottom. In addition, you may want to investigate ways to lighten the load. For example, lightweight rods can be expensive, but they're much less than the difference between the Pilot and Flyer.
  10. Dave Gish

    Which Pilot System to Buy?

    See here for Pilot battery options thread: http://www.steadicamforum.com/index.php?sh...&hl=AA+pack
  11. Dave Gish

    which system for beginner

    OK, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the Pilot and Flyer are the best in their respective weight class, hands down. At the very low end, for handheld stabilizers, the CMR Blackbird is giving Steadiam some real competition. And then at the high end, for feature films, PRO GPI, MK-V, and others are giving Steadicam real competition. But from 5-19 pounds, there's really no competition. Yes, there are cheaper rigs out there, but nothiong compares in quality. You're not just paying for the name. Hope this helps.
  12. Dave Gish

    Economical Wireless Audio Transmitter

    There are 4 ways to get sound with the Pilot: 1) Use a shotgun microphone that rides on the camera. 2) Use a wireless link to get sound to the camera. 3) Use wireless to get sound to the camera, plus a separate wired recorder as backup. 4) Forget about wireless, record sound on a separate wired recorder, use a clapper/slate in production, and then manually line up everything in post. The first method is the easiest, but has the worst sound. The second method can be used with either a boom pole shotgun, or a wireless lavaliere mic. Note that most wireless lavaliere mic systems also accept a line input on the wireless transmitter, so if you have something that will act as a microphone preamp (e.g. small mixer or field sound recorder), then you can use a wireless lavaliere mic system with a shotgun mic on a boom pole. Also note that wireless systems can produce noise and/or dropouts in adverse conditions, which leads to the third method above. You may want to have sound also recorded on a wired flash memory field sound recorder as backup. If the wireless audio to the camera has problem spots, you can still use the good spots of wireless audio to manually line up audio from the flash memory field sound recorder. Method #4 has the best sound, but takes the most time in post. I've used all 4 methods above, and they each have their place. Right. I have the Sennheiser G2-100 system, but I did fly a Lectrosonics receiver for a job I did once. I also have a Fostex FR2-LE field recorder, which I've used for 2-system sound with a slate, and also as backup with a line out into the G2-100 transmitter.
  13. Dave Gish


    Doing a lot of practice before the workshop can be counter-productive, in that you can build up bad habits that are harder to break. Having said that, there are 2 likely causes for your back pain: 1) holding the sled too far away from your body. 2) not being in balance, which mostly has to do with the position of your hips. For most people, the arm comes out on the right side of your vest, you hold the sled post with your left hand, and the gimbal with your right. This being the case, you want to keep the sled close the the left side of your body, with the monitor close to your left leg. If you are in balance, you should be able to let go of the rig with both hands and it should not move. Proper hip placement is critical for this. There are a ga-zillion other things that make up proper operating technique, so taking the class is absolutely necessary. But if you hold the rig close to your body, and you are in balance, back pain should be minimum. I actually feel it more in my thighs and heels after a long day.
  14. Dave Gish

    Need to step it up

    Thanks Charles, This helps. I like Storm cases as well, currently have 4. On the East coast, I end up ordering them through this paramilitary site: https://www.dscases.com/store/home.php?cat=1 Between that and the supercircuits site you recommended, the FBI probably has a file on me... :ph34r: LOL! I actually did wiring and soldering as a living for a while, worked my way through school, MIL certified and all that, so custom cables are no problem for me. I'm thinking about aiming for digital video to start (RED, F900, etc), and just doing accessories for that. But I feel uncomfortable buying a weight limited rig, so I'll probably be looking at used full sized rigs. This way I can add the other stuff when I'm ready. Thanks again!
  15. Dave Gish

    Need to step it up

    Hi Charles, Thanks again for some great info here. Let me just make sure I've got this right. So if someone wants to limit themselves to digital video, like RED or F900, then it seems like the Steadicam Archer2 (up to 30 pounds) could be a good choice - yes? OK, that scares me a little. Not the $60K part, I sort of expected to be buying things as I went along, but $20K for a minimum accessory kit - ouch! Could you add some details to this? The Ultra2 includes a nice battery/charger package and hard cases. I was assuming a follow focus would be around $5K - $7K. For wireless video, I would probably go cheap SD to start, and then upgrade to HD later. I already have a couple of 7" wireless handheld video monitors, it's nice not to have the director or DP hovering close to you. Cart $1500. RedByte Decimator is $500. I build my own custom cables (I'm actually pretty good at that). Light rails, dovetail, etc, $2K. I know I'm probably missing something here... Anyway, all this advice is really helpful for me.