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Kris Torch Wilson

Run and gun dslr rig solutions

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Some of you are aware that my son Jake is shooting for a cruise line. Basically mini documentaries of the passengers' experiences that are offered for sale. The bulk of his shooting has been hand held and off stix, however he wished not only to add some production value to his work, but preserve and improve his budding Steadicam skills. He works alone, in tight quarters, on and off the ship, boats, buses, hiking etc. A full size rig laden with accessories simply wouldn't be practical. He has a dslr available to mount so I purchased a used Pilot. It came with its original sd monitor, which brings me to the point of this post. How to get an hdmi signal out of the camera into the monitor, as efficiently and inexpensively as possible. I mentioned it to a buddy who provides monitors and technical support on many of the television shows and specials. He has used Aja and deciminator boxes, but with a very respected engineer tested a $25 box. They were a bit shocked that it met their needs and that it might meet ours. The problem was how to power it, it has a usb input and the pilot has a dc barrel plug. Enter the good folks at Media Blackout who made me a dc barrel to usb jumper. Added some cables from Amazon and for less than $100 we have a signal out of the camera, through the post and into the monitor. Will report in a few weeks how everything holds up to the riggers of life at sea.

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On my rig combined with a GH4, these adapters are powered from the camera battery via HDMI. I tried 3 different brands, did not have to power any of them via USB. Have you tried without power cable?

Best, Frank

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Kris;

 

The pilot is a good choice but here is what I think will be the issues.

 

1) no way to go "handheld" quickly with the rest of the gear just laying somewhere I unattended. Obviously no docking stand handy to get access to because he has no help.

2) vest is going to get really hot really fast, maybe even take out most of the pads and even make it like a drum base vest that can be lifted off the shoulders when needed

3) no way to deal with lens changes because hands are already busy or a small backpack of gear is just too much over the steadicam vest

4) personally some very simple mono pod into to camera and grabbing post at the CG offers both smoother shots and it can extend to become a makeshift tripod on demand. Backpack of small parts and batteries and other parts can then be worn.

5) focus easier because lots of bright sun

6) make sure someone conforms the steadicam monitor to the camera output or exposure off the pilot will make for doubt and constant checking and a big distraction when shooting.

 

I'm sure I'm missing some details to get him some more practice and make better shots; no help in a constant shooting environment makes this very hard. Can some shipboard helper attend and then he can easy switch between equipment and not be an island without help? Maybe in exchange he can teach the helper steadicam?

Janice

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Frank, good suggestion. I will pass it along next time he can be reached.

 

Janet, all good points and I am mostly in agreement with you. He has been out to sea for the better part of a year so I'll leave it up to him to determine what he's capable of dealing with. He certainly knows by now, or will learn very quickly the limitations. He's experienced with my Ultra2 so it's not as if I simply shipped him a box of stuff that he's never seen. I suspect there will be certain activities that he will say, this is a Steadicam shoot and abandon the notion of lens changes etc. You may very well be right however, and the thing becomes a door stop! In any event, I'd like to be a fly on the wall and peak in on him!

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Kris;

 

As I thought of my list, what it could be very useful for and a lot of cool shots is aboard ship.

 

Shoot like mad; then pop it off to a chaise lounge, no stand, remove the camera with a quick release shoot a bunch and come back when needed.

 

The pilot is perfect, especially with the changes you've made.

 

Good luck.

Janice

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