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Motorized Stage


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Hi All,

 

If any of you have a stage that can be updated to accept motors, I urge you to do it. Garrett and Jerry told me repeatedly how useful it was to trim on the fly, but I thought it wasn't my style. I would just balance the rig, pick it up and fly—no fancy stuff necessary. I was a purist—well, what bollocks.

 

After only 6 months with a motorized stage I find my fingers constantly on the buttons, trimming for headroom, managing tilts, dutching, adjusting for the film moving in the magazine. I'm continually updating the presets to move into that final frame, to anticipate the film position at the beginning, middle, and end of the roll. You know what? It's expletively and sublimely wonderful; intuitive, and supremely useful. If any of you are hovering on making the decision, please do yourselves a favor and motorize your stage now. I get a 5% cut by the way (don't be silly, of course I don't).

 

Fly trimmed,

 

Chris

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While I love my manual tilt stage and can't imagine not having it, I can't help but think about the THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS of incredible and complex Steadicam shots that have been done in the past and over the years without a tilt stage much less a motorized tilt stage.

 

I'm not poo-pooing the motorized option at all but for me it falls into the "maybe nice to have" option instead of a "must have".

 

We as operators are fortunate today to have a ton of options and gear at our disposal, the more I listen to stories of the past and all the legendary shots people did with tiny monitors, temperamental / exploding gear etc., I realize we're lucky to have off-the-shelf rigs that pretty much come out of the box ready to work.

 

Robert "Analog Knobs" Starling

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Good point, Robert,

 

But remember that some of the guys that pulled off those legendary shots then went into their machine shops and invented the motorized stage ;)

 

Chris

 

I personally have had enough with the unverified existence of this so called "motorized stage". The joke has gone far enough! Time for you clowns to admit the technology for such a device only exists in our dreams...and maybe in an upcoming Jim Cameron film.

 

If one was to invent something like this, it might help with all the cameras with coaxial mags we fly on a regular basis. But for now I'm happy with Lisagav to ease my pain

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While I love my manual tilt stage and can't imagine not having it, I can't help but think about the THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS of incredible and complex Steadicam shots that have been done in the past and over the years without a tilt stage much less a motorized tilt stage.

 

I'm not poo-pooing the motorized option at all but for me it falls into the "maybe nice to have" option instead of a "must have".

 

We as operators are fortunate today to have a ton of options and gear at our disposal, the more I listen to stories of the past and all the legendary shots people did with tiny monitors, temperamental / exploding gear etc., I realize we're lucky to have off-the-shelf rigs that pretty much come out of the box ready to work.

 

Robert "Analog Knobs" Starling

 

I can't live without a Tilt Stage after 1 week of shooting with an Ultra2 demo. For the type of stuff I'm doing, it solves so much of the horizon roll on slow, delicate arcs. When I can take all of my concentration off of that one aspect of the shot, I can start paying more attention to the finer details..

 

For Live TV, the motorized stage is still a "may be nice to have"

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While I love my manual tilt stage and can't imagine not having it, I can't help but think about the THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS of incredible and complex Steadicam shots that have been done in the past and over the years without a tilt stage much less a motorized tilt stage.

 

I'm not poo-pooing the motorized option at all but for me it falls into the "maybe nice to have" option instead of a "must have".

 

We as operators are fortunate today to have a ton of options and gear at our disposal, the more I listen to stories of the past and all the legendary shots people did with tiny monitors, temperamental / exploding gear etc., I realize we're lucky to have off-the-shelf rigs that pretty much come out of the box ready to work.

 

Robert "Analog Knobs" Starling

 

I can't live without a Tilt Stage after 1 week of shooting with an Ultra2 demo. For the type of stuff I'm doing, it solves so much of the horizon roll on slow, delicate arcs. When I can take all of my concentration off of that one aspect of the shot, I can start paying more attention to the finer details..

 

For Live TV, the motorized stage is still a "may be nice to have"

 

So rather than work on your technique and get that correct you'd rather lean on an electronic device to cover your deficiency? What happens when (and it will happen) that Motorized stage fail's. What's going to be your excuse then? Using the motorized stage to null out a roll puts the rig out of trim REQUIRING you to work harder in order to null out what in the end is PIO (Pilot induced oscillation). That is NOT what the motorized top stage is used for, it's to change trim for head room and null out the lateral displacement of film in mag (BL or SR)

 

No one needs a tilt stage, it's just aother tool, not the solution for bad technique

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If there's one thing I've learned about this Steadicam stuff, it's that the only way to really know if a particular piece of gear is right for you is to try it extensively, and not just throwing it on at a trade show or when visiting a workshop. I used to turn up my nose at many "trinkets" but discovered that in the case of some of them, I feel differently once I spend some time in them. We tend to get used to what we have and anything radical or different might seem pointless, but there also may be nuggets to glean. It's been interesting seeing those who have stuck with the PRO 1 all these years be forced into other gear thanks to the power demands of HD and what that has meant for them (you might think Ron Baldwin is a super-chill "I'm not about my gear" guy but he's been attacking the dynamic balance of the PRO2 like a man possessed, trying out every form of battery known to man in configurations that are beyond radical and approaching illegal).

 

Along the lines of not relying on gizmos to cover up operating issues, I've also come to realize that many of us are "guilty" of relying on a certain amount of weight to make our shots look good. I've heard more than a few ops talk about their sweet spot of payload (myself included, back in the day) and how they don't like operating with lighter cameras, to the point where they will add lead to bring it back to that 32 lb-ish ideal. As I've been working with these little Canons a lot and using my little rig, naturally it requires a far lighter touch and I've come to realize how much I was relying on inertia to carry me through. It's probably made me a better operator in some ways to have to get the same results with a rig that weighs less than half as much.

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