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Dominik Bauch

Steadicam Zephyr Advice

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Was hoping for some advice from some seasoned ops out there:.

I’m looking at the Zephyr to fly an Alexa Mini.
A couple of questions:
1. How is the supplied monitor? Has it been updated since the Zephyr was introduced as in some images it looks pretty old and clunky...
2. As far as a Steadicam goes, are there any compromises with the Zephyr - other than weight limitations? i.e. is it more difficult to get super smooth shots vs more expensive models?
3. As the Zephyr seems to have been out for a while is it likely to be updated soon?
More generally, if I use an Angenieux Optimo Style zoom 30 - 76, will I need to adjust the balance when zooming in or out? i.e. does the weight shift in the lens enough to unbalance a rig?
Obviously longer focal lengths are trickier but what is the sweet spot for a steadicam? I tend to prefer longer focal lengths aesthetically so would a 35mm or 50mm still be workable to a novice operator with practice?
Many thanks in advance for any advice.

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Hi Dominik,

 

1. Not sure if the stock monitor has changed, but I swapped it for a 7 in Marshall when I was using a Zephyr. Easy to change. Also a good idea to get a yoke mount for whichever monitor you end up with so it tilts on its own center of gravity.

 

2. A more expensive rig does not equal fantastic shots; it's all in how much you practice.

 

3. The Aero 15 and Aero 30 are the newer models of the Zephyr. That said, there a many used Zephyrs floating around which could save you some money up front. Again, it's not about the rig, it's about what you do with it.

 

I haven't flown with an Optimo 30-76, so I'm not sure if the weight shifts fore-and-aft. If it does, just trim your balance to correct; you'll still be in dynamic balance so long as you don't adjust the monitor or battery on the bottom.

 

Practice with as many different focal lengths as you can, as you will be asked to fly a wide range. There's no magic number that is easier than another. Very wide lenses are less forgiving on imperfect horizons, and very telephoto lenses can make holding a moving subject in frame tricky. Practice both! If you haven't already, look into taking a workshop.

 

Happy flying!

 

Lisa

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Dominik,

 

If the Zephyr has the Marshall V-LCD70XP-3GSDI, that's a good monitor, in my opinion. I have a Zephyr with that monitor and, although I don't really use it anymore, I've flown Alexa Studios, Minis, even a 29-lb Red One build with no problems. That Optimo should not be a problem, but it depends on what else you're hanging on your camera build.

 

Zooming will affect your trim, but you'll have the same problem in any rig you fly, regardless of cost. Lisa's right - it's your technique that will keep the shot level if balance changes a little, not the rig you are flying. Also, like she said, you really should get the CG monitor yolk for the Zephyr. I have one, and it makes tilting the monitor a breeze - no re-balancing.

 

One thing you want to do with the Zephyr, though - get the add-on battery hanger plate. It allows you to add more weight to the bottom of the sled and avoid extending the post - as well as providing more power for bigger cameras. The Zephyr will vibrate if you fly a heavy build and try to balance it by extending the post a lot.

 

I added a 2-into-1 battery adapter plate (aka, hot swap plate) to my add-on battery hanger, and flew the Zephyr with 2 batteries on the expansion, as well as the one battery on the stock battery plate. That weight makes a big difference when flying heavy builds. Avoid extending the post much, if at all possible.

 

BTW...I'm willing to sell my Zephyr if you're interested. The power wiring has been upgraded by Terry West to handle the bigger cameras without killing your sled batteries. It also has multiple HD video lines added.

 

Good Luck,

 

Scott

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Hi folks, I’d like to see some pictures of the monitor yolk for the Zephyr, I’ve never seen that and I’ll try to building here in Brasil for mine...

 

About the conversation, I’ve flying a lot of Alexa Mini and Amira on my rig, and using anamorphic and spheric lenses, some heavy like Cookes anamorphic lens or Master Prime spherical lens and It’s ok for that, the weight is around 9/10kg and I power the camera from the sled and I did a homemade second battery plate that works great because it is lighter then the original Tiffen and I can put the other battery to shorter the post, so that I believe the lens like the Optimo short zoom like 15-40mm, 30-76mm and 45-120mm won’t be problem to fly on...

 

Lisa or Scott I have the same Marshall monitor, send me a pic from the monitor yolk please...

Many thanks for that...

 

Good luck for all...

 

Junior Loiola from Brazil

 

 

Enviado do meu iPhone usando Tapatalk

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Thanks for the advice, I'm thinking that if I have to add significant wight to the sled to make a heavier build work then I will for sure be pushing the envelope weight wise...

If the Aero 30 is the Zephyr replacement then how come Steadicam are still selling the Zephyr? Kind of confusing...

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Thanks for the advice, I'm thinking that if I have to add significant wight to the sled to make a heavier build work then I will for sure be pushing the envelope weight wise...

If the Aero 30 is the Zephyr replacement then how come Steadicam are still selling the Zephyr? Kind of confusing...

 

Hi Dominik, as Dan Ikeda had explain me the Aero 30 is a lighter Zephyr because this both use the same arm, the A30 carryover around 13kg and the Zephyr 10,4kg of payload.

In my opinion A30 is a bigger Pilot and I think they don’t sell them very well, so that they keeping selling the Zephyr that for me is the better intermediary rig they ever made...

 

Take care of your choice... Good Luck!!

 

Junior Loiola

 

 

Enviado do meu iPhone usando Tapatalk

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Here is a photo of the CG monitor yolk on the rig. Mine was made by Frederick Sturm. here's his post talking about it. You can contact him. http://www.steadicamforum.com/index.php?showtopic=20074

Very nice Scott, I like it...

I will try to buy this from his, but he doesn’t mentioned he can shipping to Brazil, If not I’ll try to do a similarly here...

 

Thanks for the picture and the link...

 

Best

 

 

Enviado do meu iPhone usando Tapatalk

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Dominik,

 

I've literally flown a 29-lb camera package on my Zephyr, with enough counter-weight on the bottom of the sled to only extend the post 1 inch, and the Zephyr arm did not bottom out (but it was close).

 

I know the Tiffen people all say not to do that, but it works. On my Zephyr arm, anyway. Would I do it as a common practice? No.

When I stepped up to flying bigger camera builds more often, I went to the Ultra 2.

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What I know about that, you need to take care your gimbal, it’s usually the main center pin break when you overload the sled, so that you should have one more to replace if shit happen in the field... see the pic to ask the replace part...27537f97bfada355133f3dde19e89f60.jpg

 

 

Enviado do meu iPhone usando Tapatalk

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I keep spares of all stage hardware, and check the stage frequently - especially when flying heavier builds on the Zephyr. Never had a problem (yet). Although, I don't really fly the Zephyr much anymore unless it's small camera jobs.

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What I know about that, you need to take care your gimbal, it’s usually the main center pin break when you overload the sled, so that you should have one more to replace if shit happen in the field... see the pic to ask the replace part...27537f97bfada355133f3dde19e89f60.jpg

 

 

Enviado do meu iPhone usando Tapatalk

If you don't mind me asking, where could I find the PDF file of the Zephyr assembly with part numbers? I've always wanted to open and clean my gimbal as well as service my top stage.

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If you don't mind me asking, where could I find the PDF file of the Zephyr assembly with part numbers? I've always wanted to open and clean my gimbal as well as service my top stage.

 

Hi Francisco

This pic who gave me was Dan Ikeda when he worded on Tiffen.

 

I think you would email Joe at jwilbur@tiffen.com and ask him about this pdf, he should help you better...

 

So the gimbal is super simple to unbuilt and build again the top is more complicated and I’ve never opened that...

 

Ask him about it and share with us...

 

Thanks, good luck...

 

 

Enviado do meu iPhone usando Tapatalk

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Hello everyone!

 

I hope I'm writing in the right section of this forum

I am aware there is a topic regarding monitors. Although I recently bought a Stedicam Zephyr so I felt that would have been the best place to start with.

 

The zephyr came without monitor as the seller was selling it without one.

I am currently using a 7'.7" odyssey but I am looking into buy one as the odyssey has been given to me mainly for practice also is not mine.

 

Any advice regarding monitors would be super appreciated!! :)

 

thank you!

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