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Shock-Absorbing Tripod?


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#1 Tom Lowe

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 08:13 PM

I want to shoot out of a fast-moving boat on Lake Powell. The subject will be a second boat speeding alongside the camera boat. Right now I plan to use the Mako Head to keep the horizon level, but the biggest problem in this type of shooting for me is that the boat bounces and crashes off the waves of the lake at high speed, especially when the water is choppy, sending terrible shock and vibrations straight through the tripod's legs to the camera. The Mako can level the horizon, but I have been told that it does nothing to absorb shock and vibration.

Posted Image

This is the type of "deckboat" the camera and crew will be on. It doesn't look like much, but it does 30mph in the water.

Is there any type of tripod that has shock absorption capabilities? I'm literally picturing a tripod with motorcycle front-fork-style shocks on all three legs. Is there anything like that? Is there another type of system I might use to keep the camera stable and level? My budget is very limited, so nothing too expensive.
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#2 Jess Haas

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 11:31 PM

Chapmen rents something that does what your looking for. Check out: http://www.chapman-l.....ATOR MINI.htm
and http://www.chapman-l..... ISOLATOR.htm

Steadicam might be another option, or you could get a bigger boat so that it can cut through the chop a bit better.

~Jess
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#3 Tom Lowe

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Posted 11 December 2007 - 01:11 PM

Awesome. Those are just what I am looking for. Any idea about weekly/monthly rates?

Thanks for the tip.

Edited by Tom Lowe, 11 December 2007 - 01:11 PM.

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#4 Jess Haas

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Posted 11 December 2007 - 10:44 PM

No clue on rate but I wouldn't expect it to be too bad since they are meant as an accessory. I have only used one when it was mounted on much more expensive toys. I would expect that your proximity to chapman could have a huge influence on the end cost. Where are you located?

Used one on a shoot with their gyro stabilized remote head mounted to the lenny arm mounted on the deck of one of their camera cars. At one point we decided to test out just how well the setup worked and decided to drive the camera car of road. Was rock solid until we finally hit a ditch that the vertical stabilizer couldn't handle. When you hit that point it looks really bad so keep that in mind. Up until that point it worked amazingly well, but we also had the crane arm and the vehicles air ride suspension working for us.

~Jess
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#5 Tony Brown

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Posted 16 December 2007 - 12:11 PM

The isolation rigs work great with a gyro remote head but are next to useless if you're thinking of operating direct
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#6 Jess Haas

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 03:55 PM

I was thinking that would probably be an issue. Should work fine for locked off shots, but operating would be difficult.

~Jess
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#7 Darryl Richard Humber

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 01:28 PM

I worked for years with a DP who used what he called a "cowpie." It was two pieces of 3/4" plywood cut down so the tripod would just fit on top with about 8' of foam rubber sandwiched between them. A bolt near each leg allowed you to adjust the springiness by tightening or loosening the pressure on the foam rubber. We used it on insert cars for years and it worked great. (Sometimes with a vibration isolator from Chapman).
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#8 Jess Haas

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 04:27 PM

So this was one large piece that the tripod sat on top of?
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#9 Darryl Richard Humber

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 07:41 PM

So this was one large piece that the tripod sat on top of?

Yes. The tripod was on top of one piece, under it was about 8" of foam rubber, under that was another piece of plywood, like a sandwich. The plywood was cut into a shape roughly like a three pointed star, only the points were rounded, with a tripod leg in each point. Then a bolt at each point to tighten or loosen to adjust tension. That's the best I can describe it without a picture.
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#10 timHealy

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 08:12 PM

Excuse me if you have already asked this question but have you thought about a larger presumeably steadier boat in conjunction with a steadier mount?

best

Tim
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#11 Jess Haas

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Posted 19 December 2007 - 02:32 AM

I mentioned that before but I don't think I put enough emphasis on it. The bigger the boat the steadier the camera will be. Personally I think I would rather shoot handheld on a much bigger steadier boat then use a stabilizer to shoot off of a smaller boat.

~Jess
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#12 Ian Bloom

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Posted 24 December 2007 - 04:38 PM

Yes. The tripod was on top of one piece, under it was about 8" of foam rubber, under that was another piece of plywood, like a sandwich. The plywood was cut into a shape roughly like a three pointed star, only the points were rounded, with a tripod leg in each point. Then a bolt at each point to tighten or loosen to adjust tension. That's the best I can describe it without a picture.


Does the operator stand on the "cowpie" or just the tripod?

Do you think a similar rig would work for a hostess tray or hood mount?
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#13 Darryl Richard Humber

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Posted 24 December 2007 - 08:01 PM

No, you don't stand on the Cowpie. It's roughly 4'x4' in area. We used it on process trailer shots and some shots from a western dolly. I don't think you would want it for a car mount where the idea is to make everything as rigid as possible so that the vibrations match the vibrations of the "hero" car. By putting the foam into the mix, you would just be introducing vibration where it's not wanted.
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#14 RANDY RADZAVICH

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 01:37 PM

I want to shoot out of a fast-moving boat on Lake Powell. The subject will be a second boat speeding alongside the camera boat. Right now I plan to use the Mako Head to keep the horizon level, but the biggest problem in this type of shooting for me is that the boat bounces and crashes off the waves of the lake at high speed, especially when the water is choppy, sending terrible shock and vibrations straight through the tripod's legs to the camera. The Mako can level the horizon, but I have been told that it does nothing to absorb shock and vibration.

Posted Image

This is the type of "deckboat" the camera and crew will be on. It doesn't look like much, but it does 30mph in the water.

Is there any type of tripod that has shock absorption capabilities? I'm literally picturing a tripod with motorcycle front-fork-style shocks on all three legs. Is there anything like that? Is there another type of system I might use to keep the camera stable and level? My budget is very limited, so nothing too expensive.


Try a Kenyon Labratories gyro....They were first made for the military to spot bouey markers on rough seas! The also rent them (for the budget concious).

Edited by RANDY RADZAVICH, 22 April 2008 - 01:39 PM.

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#15 Mark Williams

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 02:48 PM

I want to shoot out of a fast-moving boat on Lake Powell. The subject will be a second boat speeding alongside the camera boat.

Tom Couldnt you use a stationery camera with a very long lens just to get that shot?
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#16 Serge Teulon

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 07:40 AM

There is a ahock absorbing tripod for lower budget projects. I just can't remember the name!!
I think it worked in the same principle as a mono stand....I believe i saw its literature at the bsc show.
If anyone else was there and saw it, the picture on leaflet was a guy sitting in a helicopter with a camera on one of these contraptions.........

I'm gutted I didn't keep the leaflet as I had a project that could've done with this......anyway, I'm going on a mission to find out via the internet and if I find it I'll get back to you.

S
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#17 Serge Teulon

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 09:21 AM

Found it!!

They are a canadian company http://www.flight-lo...Portamount.html

Good luck!

S
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#18 Matt Irwin

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 10:26 AM

I too can vouch for the "cowpie." Incredibly simple, and very effective for insert cars and walk-and-talks with a western, among other things.

(Derryl-- I think we've both worked under that same DP? The "cowpie" now seems to be called the "GVRD" for Grip Vibration Reduction Device!)
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#19 Rupe Whiteman

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 09:16 AM

... I've used the aforementioned portamount in both helicopters and on a (fast) boat - it worked well. On a boat you get a good steady, vibration-free, shot once you're up to a steady speed (as it's a monopod there's a bit of inertia lag as you pull away... It just takes a bit of operating as the handles aren't the most friendly but a good smooth tracking shot at speed is possible... And it's cheap to hire!
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Glidecam

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