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Zephyr and Red Scarlet issues


Jim Coulter
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That is a really odd judder but there is a obvious consistency to it that leads me to believe it is not anything loose on the rig.

 

I would check your video app's sequence settings and try encoding to another video service like vimeo to see if you get the same result. I've seen this kind of thing before with 24 frame footage going to online video.

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I know the conversion to YouTube is bad- but it's definitely there. I have looked at the full high res footage on my computer and I see it plain as day.

The Red techs have the original R3D files from the camera- 4K res and they can actually view it at 4K- and they see the issue.

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If you say you don't see it when you test on tripod, and that everything is tight on the rig, it may be possible that something is moving inside the camera when you fly it. Factory defects are not unheard of. I'd like to see a shot from sticks with some panning movements just to be safe.

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If you've done plenty of testing and can only reproduce it on Steadicam I'm inclined to agree with Joe and Eric that something must be vibrating on the rig or camera. The results with the epic will be useful if it doesn't happen, then you'll know it's the Scarlet itself (weird, but then again... RED). Make sure you set up the epic exactly the same. If it doesn't happen, immediately swap to the scarlet to see what happens.

 

Also check things at the bottom of the sled to see if they are locked down and stable.

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The results with the epic will be useful if it doesn't happen, then you'll know it's the Scarlet itself (weird, but then again... RED). Make sure you set up the epic exactly the same. If it doesn't happen, immediately swap to the scarlet to see what happens.

 

Rolling shutter manifests itself in different ways, that jitter in the image definitely has some of that going on. Steadicam and jib shots are great ways to test for the effect when it is nearly nonexistent on a tripod. It wouldn't surprise me if the $40,000 some-odd Epic doesn't produce as much of that effect as the less expensive camera does.

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Interesting findings this morning. We tested the Epic on the Zephyr and did not see any problems. The only thing different was my Scarlet had a 3rd party Switchtronix V-mount batter adapter- plugged in but no battery. So we moved the plate to the Epic- plugged it in- with no battery. Low and behold it started having the same issue!

 

So now I've narrowed the problem down to the third party plate. Somehow even though not being used to supply power- just being plugged into the camera- it's somehow creating an 'antenna' or loop through. Our thought is as I fly past different areas- the 'antenna' picks up the radio frequencies and causes the camera to stutter. The problems seem to happen in exactly the same area and go away as you pass it.

 

I will be flying another friends Scarlet on Monday for a definitive test but it's already looking very positive that I've found my problem. the great thing is- it's an easy fix! i'll just return the Switchtronix plate and buy the more expensive Red version.

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This thread is exemplary. The best of what The Forum offers to all Operators world-wide. Thoughtful discussion offering solutions in a positive framework.

 

Glad you seem to have found the core issue. The comments regarding tending all things that MIGHT vibrate loose on a Steadicam are quite useful and always worth regarding. In the heat of battle we lose sight of the small bits and sometimes the smallest bits can bite hard.

 

Fly well and enjoy your Zephyr !

 

Best,

Peter

 

 

Peter Abraham

Director of Technical Services, Steadicam®

GM, Steadicam Workshops Program

The Tiffen Company

90 Oser Avenue, Hauppauge NY 11788

 

(917) 453-1219 Office / (845) 595-2270 Fax

pabraham@tiffen.com

http://www.thesteadicamworkshops.com

Skype: peterabrahamsteadicam

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Jim,

 

I've watched this thread for awhile to see if you guys found a solution. I have had a similar thing happen to me with my Zephyr. My typical practice setup is a weight cage from Janice and an old Canon GL1 (weight cage just to bring the minimum weight up). All screws tight on stage. Now what will typically happen is if zoomed all the way with the optical image stabilize off, you can see a little vibration when you make a footstep. This seems to get more noticeable as the center post is extended for counter balance/to get a little more lens height. I can actually see the rig vibrating in that case. I took Janice's rods off the cage and put 1/2 inch spacers between the two plates and the vibration got a little better as the cg was brought lower. The weight plates extend over the stage fore and aft and it seems that this elongated weight causes a sort of equal/opposite torquing in relationship to the battery/monitor and thus the vibration when walking or fast panning at long post lengths. I recently flew an F3 with accessories and a long post config and started getting vibration again so it looks like keeping the rig short and adding more Merlin weights on the bottom might be the solution.

 

Would love to hear your thoughts. :)

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Hi John,

 

No issue seems more daunting or difficult to resolve than the issue you're describing. The situation I was in was about as bad as it can get. I had just bought a brand new Red Scarlet camera and a brand new 'just out of the case' Steadicam Zephyr and now after spending all that money- I have this incredibly bewildering problem of 'jutter'. It was not just in my head either- The techs at Red saw the R3D files with the issue and acknowledged it as well. I knew it wasn't the typical 24 fps stutter you see when making fast camera movements as I also did tests at 59.94 fps. In fact I exhausted ALL possibilities because I did controlled tests in the same location flying the same path but with different Red cameras and with and without power from the sled. The third party V-mount backplate did cause some of the issue but not all of it. It just seemed worse with the backplate on. The ONLY test I had not done was with a DIFFERENT Zephyr. Steadicam was willing to lend me a new Zephyr to do the test but they would not pay for the shipping- which would have been about $300 round trip from NY to Houston. I asked Red to help out since I had spent so much time and effort trouble-shooting for them- they turned me down. Ultimately I ended up calling B & H Photo where I had purchased the Zephyr and asked for an exchange. I was really very happy with B & H and how they handled the return and re-shipment of a completely new Zephyr. They did not argue or hassle me at all. They were very helpful and easy to deal with- I have bought a LOT of gear from them and now they have won my business for good! As soon as I received the new Zephyr- I popped it on and balance my Scarlet for its maiden voyage and the last final test to see if the problem was with the Red Scarlet OR the other Zephyr. Drum roll... The answer was clearly evident- it was the other Zephyr! I was overjoyed! NO STUDDER! Not anywhere in my flight! This made sense to me since I had flown 3 different Red cameras including an Epic in the tests and they all had the issue in the same locations. I knew there was no way they could be making major motion pictures on the Red cameras and NOBODY had ever had this issue- especially all the different rigs and contraptions they were putting those Red cameras on- including Steadicam! This made everything so much easier for me! I got rid of the problem Zephyr, I didn't have to pay the $300 in shipping and now I felt better about having spent so much money on the Scarlet and Zephyr. I am ready to move on and make some money off my new setup! As for the old Zephyr- I sent Steadicam the serial number to see if maybe they wanted to do some tests on it to find the issue. It wasn't- as far as I can tell a bolt loose or a plate etc. I think it was electrical but no way to know for sure. What amazes me is that of ALL the people out there buying new Zephyrs- I got the lemon! But the great thing is- I knew I had a lemon and I didn't stop till I got it resolved in my favor! The moral of the story for me is- always thoroughly check out your purchase and if you do have a problem- send it back before it's too late! And buy from a reliable source- like B & H Photo! John- I wish you luck in finding a solution. I wish I could offer you some kind of clarity in finding the answer. The only thing I can say is some issues may never be solved- a strange combination of man made / engineering error as was my case.

Edited by Jim Coulter
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Interesting! Well I'm going to do some testing of my rig the next couple of days. I'm also going to have a camera shooting my operating so we can get to the issue of what's causing the vibration... Will keep posted on what I find out.

 

Hi John,

 

No issue seems more daunting or difficult to resolve than the issue you're describing. The situation I was in was about as bad as it can get. I had just bought a brand new Red Scarlet camera and a brand new 'just out of the case' Steadicam Zephyr and now after spending all that money- I have this incredibly bewildering problem of 'jutter'. It was not just in my head either- The techs at Red saw the R3D files with the issue and acknowledged it as well. I knew it wasn't the typical 24 fps stutter you see when making fast camera movements as I also did tests at 59.94 fps. In fact I exhausted ALL possibilities because I did controlled tests in the same location flying the same path but with different Red cameras and with and without power from the sled. The third party V-mount backplate did cause some of the issue but not all of it. It just seemed worse with the backplate on. The ONLY test I had not done was with a DIFFERENT Zephyr. Steadicam was willing to lend me a new Zephyr to do the test but they would not pay for the shipping- which would have been about $300 round trip from NY to Houston. I asked Red to help out since I had spent so much time and effort trouble-shooting for them- they turned me down. Ultimately I ended up calling B & H Photo where I had purchased the Zephyr and asked for an exchange. I was really very happy with B & H and how they handled the return and re-shipment of a completely new Zephyr. They did not argue or hassle me at all. They were very helpful and easy to deal with- I have bought a LOT of gear from them and now they have won my business for good! As soon as I received the new Zephyr- I popped it on and balance my Scarlet for its maiden voyage and the last final test to see if the problem was with the Red Scarlet OR the other Zephyr. Drum roll... The answer was clearly evident- it was the other Zephyr! I was overjoyed! NO STUDDER! Not anywhere in my flight! This made sense to me since I had flown 3 different Red cameras including an Epic in the tests and they all had the issue in the same locations. I knew there was no way they could be making major motion pictures on the Red cameras and NOBODY had ever had this issue- especially all the different rigs and contraptions they were putting those Red cameras on- including Steadicam! This made everything so much easier for me! I got rid of the problem Zephyr, I didn't have to pay the $300 in shipping and now I felt better about having spent so much money on the Scarlet and Zephyr. I am ready to move on and make some money off my new setup! As for the old Zephyr- I sent Steadicam the serial number to see if maybe they wanted to do some tests on it to find the issue. It wasn't- as far as I can tell a bolt loose or a plate etc. I think it was electrical but no way to know for sure. What amazes me is that of ALL the people out there buying new Zephyrs- I got the lemon! But the great thing is- I knew I had a lemon and I didn't stop till I got it resolved in my favor! The moral of the story for me is- always thoroughly check out your purchase and if you do have a problem- send it back before it's too late! And buy from a reliable source- like B & H Photo! John- I wish you luck in finding a solution. I wish I could offer you some kind of clarity in finding the answer. The only thing I can say is some issues may never be solved- a strange combination of man made / engineering error as was my case.

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I think it was electrical but no way to know for sure.

 

Jim,

 

Did you step through the footage frame-by-frame? This would probably give some valuable data on the source -or at least the nature- of the problem. Were there dropped, duplicated or corrupted frames? Or actual shift/shake of the frame? Identifying or ruling out mechanical effects should have been fairly straightforward in a frame-by-frame evaluation.

 

Glad you got a working rig in your hands, though!

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