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Vertical displacement (footage uploaded) help please !!!!

nelson o reis

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So today I took my friends son to capture some footage to upload so I can show you guys how I operate and maybe you guys can help with the answer to my biggest downfall in operating or so I think ...


I know the footage lacks some horizons and framing is a bit off cause I was mostly paying attention to the vertical displacement a.k.a footsteps.


I've searched in here for the answer for this problem and I've tried a bunch of things like loosen the springs etc but its always there . Especially when the lense is in between 2 static places .


I did the tip toe test and I guess it failed as I lift the sled also lifts . I know what the problem is but don't know how to correct it .


At this point I'm not sure if I have a failure in the arm or is just practice practice practice...


my question is if the arm fails the tip toe test what can I do ?


Technical info on the shot .



Steadicam zephr

Bmpc4k setup ( 10lb )

Arm Springs with low tension

Drop time 3 secs

Fairly balanced on static and dynamic


Also the shot was improvised the first digger was real the second one was on purpose .😉


I know some of you will tell me to take a workshop but unfortunately in my area ( Boston MA) it's very difficult to come by .


I would appreciate any feedback that you have and please be harsh ... it's the point of me going out today to capture this footage..


Thank you in advance :)



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There are some things to improve, like headroom and level and more acute operating when he passes by the camera, but otherwise not so bad. If you feel that you see to much up-down movement, that often comes from a too tight grip on the rig, maybe in combination with a slightly forward falling rig which forces you to hold on and correct with every step. Try to loosen your grip on the gimbal, use the other hand to gently lift or push down. And walk as if you have a coin between your buttocks... keep it tight and stable in that area, is my experience.

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Try adding a weight plate up top. The Zephyr arm is going to fly a lot better if you've got it loaded up.


Doesn't have to be maxed or anything, but up in the top 1/3 of its capacity seems to work for me.


If you haven't yet picked up the Operator's Manual, it's a great instructive read:



Good luck!

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  • 3 weeks later...
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So the first thing I noticed more than anything is it looks like the rig isn't in static balance, as you seem to be continually fighting the rig to attempt to level the horizon and it never once settles into a level position and continually seems to go off level in the same direction.


The next thing is you are definitely gripping the rig too tight with your operating hand, way too tight, this will introduce a pendulum effect as you walk because you grip is too tight to correct for inertia related forces that throw the rig off level on the tilt axis.


Some great suggestions here from everyone else, but yourself the operators handbook, add a little bit of extra weight and length to the build of possible to give it a bit more inertia a heavy on-board battery and a matte box can work wonders.


But more importantly I would suggest going back to basics and reviewing your technique against what's suggested in the handbook, make sure the rig is balanced correctly so that when you are standing with good posture you should be able to remove both hands and float the rig in its default operating position, you shouldn't have to force it into position with your hands, a faster drop time often helps when learning operating technique initially with lighter rigs, something around 1.5-2 seconds.

Make sure your grip is correct etc etc....

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