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Arri 120 Blimp


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#1 Hal Smith

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 12:26 PM

How quiet is a properly maintained 2C in a Arri 120 Blimp? Any problem with dialogue recording?
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#2 Dan Goulder

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 01:08 PM

Noise isn't a problem. However, the blimp is designed to be used with a sync motor that interfaces with an external sync audio recorder, such as a Nagra. I'm not sure if it's possible to use a newer, crystal-controlled motor and base with this particular blimp. (Even if it physically fits, there may still be a problem of accessing the 2C inching knob.)
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#3 Hal Smith

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 11:13 PM

Noise isn't a problem............ I'm not sure if it's possible to use a newer, crystal-controlled motor and base with this particular blimp.

Good to know that noise isn't an issue with a 120. I've got a Tobin crystal motor - Clive says he thinks he remembers something about someone taking one of his motors and having just the motor and internal baseplate mounted inside the blimp with the electronics elsewhere. I've read that the CE crystal motor will fit inside a 120 blimp - but one of those is WAY out of my price range, nice motor though. I'm pretty handy mechanically, if the guts of a Tobin can be stuffed inside a 120, I'll make it happen. If the best I can do is an AC sync motor, that's not too bad since I don't anticipate using my Arri with the blimp except on sticks or dolly in a studio or on a location that would either have power or a crystal generator. I can always pull the camera out of the blimp and use my Tobin for MOS.
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#4 Mitch Gross

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Posted 11 February 2007 - 09:54 PM

It's very quiet. It's also like hoisting an anvil onto your tripod. The thing is an absolute beast, and the extension tubes for looking through the viewfinder is a pain to say the least. To inch the camera or even to check the gate, you'll need to swing out the lens cover and reach in. I hope you have long thin fingers or you'll never be able to reach the inching knob.
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#5 Hal Smith

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Posted 11 February 2007 - 11:26 PM

It's very quiet. It's also like hoisting an anvil onto your tripod.

Would an O'Connor 100 handle it?, or should I start scraping pennies together for a geared head?
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#6 Dan Goulder

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 12:02 AM

Would an O'Connor 100 handle it?, or should I start scraping pennies together for a geared head?

Generally, a gear head is used with an Arri blimp. However, the O'Connor might be able to handle it if the tension is adjusted to the max. It's been done before. If you do go with the O'connor, please share your results with us.
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#7 Hal Smith

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 12:16 AM

Generally, a gear head is used with an Arri blimp. However, the O'Connor might be able to handle it if the tension is adjusted to the max. It's been done before. If you do go with the O'connor, please share your results with us.

Hopefully not from a hospital bed as a result of the whole shebang toppling over on me!
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#8 Dan Goulder

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 12:21 AM

Hopefully not from a hospital bed as a result of the whole shebang toppling over on me!

In that case, getting full coverage means more than just wide shots and closeups.
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#9 Mitch Gross

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 12:06 PM

The O'Connor 100 works fine with it and this was the standard shooting setup with the blimp for many years.
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#10 Dan Goulder

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 01:14 PM

The O'Connor 100 works fine with it and this was the standard shooting setup with the blimp for many years.

The O?Connor 100 will support the weight of an Arri 120 blimp, and as I stated, can be used. However, for maximum stability, as well as the greatest flexibility both for panning and especially tilting, a gear head would still be recommended as first choice.
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#11 nathan snyder

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 08:00 PM

Actually a worrall geared head doesn't work with the 120s blimp unless you put the blimp on a riser. The blimp door will not open all the way on the Worrall platform.

Another head you might consider is the Houston Fearless Craddel head. I had previously assumed these were only good for boat anchors and had only been used for giant TV studio cameras. I got one last week with a Mitchell 16 blimp. After I cleaned the dust off of the thing and lubed it's bearings and cleaned it's brakes I have to say I am impressed with something that can be purchased for so little. And it balances nicely with a 120s blimp with the long lens extension. It is much safer to put the cameras tilt nodal point in the center of the camera mass than several inches below it.

Hey Mitch, the inching control on the outside of the blimp works fine if you use the Arri AC sync motor;) With modern inverters AC sync motors are more feasible than ever before. I have a motor that runs at 25fps. I purchased this motor from Swizterland where the motor would have run on 50Hz. So when I run it on a 60Hz in the US the camera runs at 30fps. However, by tunning an inverter to run at 48Hz the camera will run at 24fps. I don't have to change any gears.
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#12 Dan Goulder

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 09:03 PM

Actually a worrall geared head doesn't work with the 120s blimp unless you put the blimp on a riser. The blimp door will not open all the way on the Worrall platform.

An Arri geared head should work without the riser. A Moy (with a riser) would probably be the most cost effective.
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#13 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 12:29 PM

The O?Connor 100 will support the weight of an Arri 120 blimp, and as I stated, can be used. However, for maximum stability, as well as the greatest flexibility both for panning and especially tilting, a gear head would still be recommended as first choice.


Cinema Products had a fluid head for their XPR35 rehoused BNC.
I think it was built by O'Connor.
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#14 Hal Smith

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 08:45 AM

I won the "rough" 120 on eBay last night. Went for less than $500 so I've got some wiggle room for getting it functioning. It doesn't have the zoom/telephoto extension so I'll be limited there but my Cooke SII/III's should work nicely inside. It's motorless so I'll be working on getting my Tobin to work inside the blimp. If anyone's got any leftover 120 pieces that they're willing to sell, let me know, I'm sure there are bits and pieces I'll need.

http://cgi.ebay.com/...I...p;rd=1&rd=1

I've made an offer on a Mitchell gear head, the people I'm talking to have a pair of them and are willing to sell one of them. The biggest head I now have is an O'Connor 50, I will try it out just to see how manageable it is with a 120 on it - not expecting great success of course.
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#15 Dan Goulder

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 10:11 AM

I won the "rough" 120 on eBay last night.

The pictures of the interior looked kind of scary. I'd be curious to see how the thing looks once you've refurbished it. If you wouldn't mind sharing some before and after pictures... Good luck with it.
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#16 Hal Smith

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 11:01 AM

The pictures of the interior looked kind of scary. I'd be curious to see how the thing looks once you've refurbished it. If you wouldn't mind sharing some before and after pictures... Good luck with it.

Yes, I've definitely entered the world of trying to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse. I'll document the refurbish project - win, lose, or draw. :)
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#17 Hal Smith

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 08:48 PM

The pictures of the interior looked kind of scary. I'd be curious to see how the thing looks once you've refurbished it. If you wouldn't mind sharing some before and after pictures... Good luck with it.

It arrived today. Yep, it's pretty scary inside. The good news is the housing and castings are in excellent shape, the lead linings are pretty much intact, hinges and latches working okay now after a little WD40 and TLC, etc. The bad news is the follow focus is missing quite a few pieces (as expected). There is enough left for there to be a possibility of getting the ff working on the smart side of the camera. The Arri sound insulation is gone but buying some Baryfoil will solve that problem. The rubber sound weatherstriping on the magazine port is intact, the camera door's will need replacing.

On the good news/bad news side. Since the dumb side ff is pretty much shot, if I sacrifice it entirely I can get my Tobin motor inside with NO modifications to the motor. It will take an irreversible modification to that side of the housing but I'm leaning towards doing that right now. The next step is to get it up in the air on a lock-off head and start to strip it down. I'll need to make an adapter plate for the bottom of the Tobin, I can easily make that out of a flat aluminum plate, choosing the thickness to place the camera at the proper height. I'll need to invent an inching system. I've been working on designing an adapter for the Tobin to have it stop with the camera's shutter open, an inching system will be simple to add to that work.

The pictures on eBay are pretty descriptive of "before". I've saved them and will repost them here when the eBay links disappear.

Flash! the Tobin might go in with a notch cut in the right front corner of its case, saving the dumb side of the ff. I'll have to sacrifice the original inching assembly but that's no big deal. More will be revealed. :)
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#18 nathan snyder

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Posted 24 May 2007 - 03:35 PM

I know that I mentioned to a couple of folks on this board that I would upload the manual an electric schematic for the 120s blimp, well several weeks later here it finally is:

http://owyheesound.c...120s-blimp.html

There are two seperate files, make sure you download them both. The manual is 3megs and the schematic is about 500kb. They are both pdf files.

Enjoy and you can thank Axel Broda if you ever get a chance to talk to him.
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#19 John Sprung

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Posted 26 June 2007 - 01:25 PM

To inch the camera or even to check the gate, you'll need to swing out the lens cover and reach in. I hope you have long thin fingers or you'll never be able to reach the inching knob.

When I used one, there was no problem at all with inching. The linkage to that big "telephone dial" knob on the back of the blimp worked fine. IIRC, it connected to the motor rather than to the side knob on the body, and only engaged when you pushed it in. That would eliminate it as a potential noise leak. It would be well worh getting it to work with whatever newer motor you use.



-- J.S.
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