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Michael Holmes

Please advise on Steadicam Scout purchase

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Sorry for the newbie questions. I’ve tried for days to reach somebody at Steadicam for advice, and then fortunately I found this forum.

I am buying a Steadicam Scout for my son. I am aware that professional operators prefer the higher-end Steadicam models, but we just don’t have room in the budget for a Zephyr . At least we came up with enough to avoid Glidecam or other cheaper options.

 

The camera will be a RED Scarlet-W that will weigh in at around 14lbs with: body, 5” touch screen, Brick battery, I/O expander, 2 Mini-Mags, handle, Canon lens, RTMotion Lattitude follow focus transmitter, Wooden Camera Scarlet kit, SmallHD 702 Bright 7” monitor.

 

I am looking at buying a Scout HD Kit that includes: Stabilizer, camera mounting chassis, centerpost w/gimbal handle, 2-stage arm, HD monitor, standard vest, V-mount plate, docking bracket, dovetail plate, 12V power cable, 3’ BNC video cable, soft case, BNC-to-RCA adapter, RCA-to-BNC adapter.

 

Questions:

  1. Steadicam says the Scout will work with cameras from 5-18lbs. As a practical matter is this correct, will the Scout really handle the 14lb. Scarlet-W and be reasonable to operate? (If the answer is “No”, I’m not sure what we’ll do……….as I said, Zephyr is too costly).
  2. I see lots of “Optional accessories” listed in the Scout Manual. Are there other items I need to buy in addition to the Kit?
  3. What batteries should I buy? How many? Is the V-mount plate the correct plate?
  4. What is the best training course for my son to take? Are good video instructional courses available?

Thank you for the help.

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1. You should be fine with flying that camera with Canon glass. If you need to save some weight you can power the camera through the sled and lose the 702.

 

2. Accessory wise: Stand and a low mode bracket

 

3. There are many battery options with two mounting styles in either V Mount or Anton Bauer gold mount. I would get the same mount as your RED. What brand of battery you go with depends on how much you want to spend. Personally I have been running Anton Bauer Dionic HC batteries but I just bought a bunch of G90s which is the newer equivalent.

 

4. Steadicam workshops http://www.steadicam-ops.com/workshop.shtml Steadicam Handbook http://www.amazon.com/Steadicam®-Operators-Handbook-Jerry-Holway/dp/024082380X

 

 

I see used Zephyrs for close to the cost of a new Scout online. Check the this forum, craigslist in film markets like LA and the FB group.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/SteadicamGearBuySellRentSwap/permalink/1758270447737449/

http://www.steadicamforum.com/index.php?showtopic=24028

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+1 on the comments above. I had a zephyr for 3 years before upgrading. Using anything smaller for something like a Red will give you troubles. You will be pushing the scout to its limits and frustration will come. The great thing with Steadicam is that they last forever, a used one works just as well as a new one. A used zephyr goes around $6500 - $8000 depending on wear and accessories. It will avoid you having to buy twice.

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Michael, if the camera + accessories are under 18 lbs, the Scout will perform correctly.

In my opinion the Scout is a nice starter, it will work great with small cameras like the Canon C-series and REDs. There are limitations of course to how many accessories you can attach, but as you said, price is a limiting factor too.
Buy a Scout used if possible; resell and upgrade when your son outgrows it.
For batteries, call John Ritter Batteries (see ad on this forum). You can get re-celled batteries at a discount, and he can help you with the basics of selection.

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Michael,

 

I have a Scout and use it almost every day and I love it!

 

It is an incredible piece of kit for the price, I don't fly on the higher end of the range of weight so I can't answer to the heavy question.

I in fact had the opposite problem of not enough weight.

 

As for batteries. I purchased V-Lock with IDX Batteries myself.

 

My setup is pretty fun,

I have a full Polycom video conferencing system mounted to my rig with wireless relay for live full remote demos with two way audio and video. This is so that the presenter can interact with the audience in real time via a full video conference. (I Attached a picture.)

post-4507-0-15637700-1460778795_thumb.jpg

It required a custom power setup which I used an inexpensive DC voltage regulator (for the Polycom VC), and I also ran the front mount TV, and the HDMI to SDI converter of it it as well.

 

I also agree with John -> Get the Steadicam Handbook, and moreover I really recommend a Steadicam course!

I took the SOA course with the crew and was one of the best experiences of my life. Yes it was that good.

 

Cheers

 

-Kevin

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