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SteadyTracker


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    How do I hold it up in position for a long shoot?
    Good shooting techniques suggest giving viewers a variety of shots. Moving camera shots should be used as the spice for your production. Do the moving shots when needed, then stay still and let the action happen within the frame when needed. Static shots can be done by setting it on the ground or a chair or table. Handheld static shots can be done by resting the base on your leg or your belt buckle. This position even allows zooming in to the subject. These were the techniques used to shoot an uncut wedding ceremony (30 mins) at a park setting. Typical film style shooting allows plenty of time to rest between takes. One of the tapes that is included with purchase is an uncut 16 minute flying shot. This is more than enough time for what stabilizers are typically used for.
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    How do these things work and how easy are they to set up and use?
    All moving camera stabilizers of this type use basically the same principle to stabilize unwanted motion. Lowered center of gravity counterbalance, and balance on all three planes. The device is balanced front to back, side to side, and top to bottom. How easy they are set up, balanced, and rechecked for proper balance depends on the individual stabilizers design. How easy they are to use depends on the type of handle utilized.
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    Does it use a gimbal?
    All stabilizers use some sort of gimbal handle to let the device hang level. Other stabilizers are still using the old technology, while the SteadyTrackers are using human wrist as a gimbal. This setup is better in six areas.

    1. Balancing (including rebalancing when adding accessories).
    2. Ease of use (including lowest learning curve and least wrist torque).
    3. Dependability and durability.
    4. Creative freedom.
    5. Multifunctional features.
    6. Performance.
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    Balancing
    The old technology requires a critical pinpoint balance to be achieved which can take hours of setup time moving the camera from hole to hole, then adding weights until the rig doesn't topple over from being too top heavy, or swing like a pendulum from being too bottom heavy. Keep in mind the inconvenience of having to repeat this procedure when adding or removing any accessories. The SteadyTrackers use an expanded 3 point balancing gimbal handle which is not anywhere near as critical as the other single pinpoint balancing gimbal handles. The SteadyTrackers do not require weights to be added or removed (and lost) but utilize a sliding handle to make the unit balance top to bottom. The Camera slides in slots for front to back and side to side balance. These sliding balancing adjustments are much easier, faster, and more convenient than adding & removing different weights. Key feature: SteadyTrackers can be balanced within 1 minute.
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    Ease of use
    The old technology removes most of the control from their handle yet requires a second hand to control and steer the rig from just slightly above the handle. The SteadyTrackers handle design gives the operator 100% control and allows true one handed operation. This feels more natural, and is easier to learn and control. The free hand can be used to push necessary controls on the camera, (record, white balance, and adjust focus, iris, gain, etc) without the camera bouncing out of control. Their handle multiplies the force of wrist torque on the operator's wrist and forearm. It can be likened to holding a sledgehammer up and at an angle. This can get awfully painful rather quickly. Wrist torque does not occur with the SteadyTrackers handle, which is centered, not offset, under the weight of the device.
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    Dependability, durability
    The SteadyTrackers are made from durable lightweight aircraft grade aluminum and can put up with years of day to day use. Once set, the balance never needs to be reset or retrimmed. The delicate bearings in the other handles tend to become wobbly and need a lot of retrimming.
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    Creative freedom
    All moving stabilizers can fly, pan, boom, and tilt but how well you can control the device during these moves is what sets the SteadyTracker apart from the others. Try acceleration and deceleration when panning, quickly starting, stopping, and reversing directions while flying, smooth tilting at the start or end of a boom, or dutching off axis during a flying move. Or try just holding the camera still. Balance means nothing without control. Level shots quickly become boring when that’s the only option you've got. Check out the moves on the demo tapes and you be the judge. The SteadyTrackers have several examples of smooth rotation dutch angle shots, which are some of the most beautiful shots imaginable.
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    Multifunctional features
    SteadyTrackers have been designed for handheld use, body supported use, and self supported use.
    Handheld. They can smoothly circle around your subject, dutching, booming, and tilting on the fly, changing angles and framing just like in music videos. You can do chase scenes, go up and down stairs, jump off walls, go over picnic tables, follow people in cars, shoot weddings, receptions, love stories, sports, documentaries, choirs, plays, etc. Body mounted. Resting it on your leg lets you zoom and focus with a heads up position with both eyes free to monitor or look for new scenes. Pull it up to your body with your eye against the viewfinder for traditional zooming style shots. Lift it up on your shoulder and shoot over people's heads while looking in the color monitor for perfect framing. Self supported. You can tilt and pan "monopod style" from the floor or the edge of a table. Or you can set it up like a tripod and get in the shot yourself. This lets you completely rest as you think of your next shot. An optional low mode cage is available that gets low ground level shots for a squirrel's eye view. This cage is also tiltable in low and upright positions.
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    Performance
    Watch the demo tapes and you be a judge on each stabilizers performance. Watch for horizon rocking, how much slow motion is used on the actual shots, and the range of cameramen used (if only feature film masters are shown, it may not be suitable for beginners).
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    Why don't all stabilizers use a harness and a mechanical arm?
    The vest and arm adds to the overall weight, cost, complexity and spontaneity. It is hard to master, very expensive, and not needed with today's high quality lightweight cameras. With lightweight cameras, the human arm does it easier and at less cost. The camera weight doesn’t go away, it all gets concentrated to your lower back. And when you add the weight of the vest and arm, it really can get quite tiring. We have a continuous motion shot on tape that runs 9.5 minutes, which proves with today's high quality lightweight cameras, you don't need the added problems of a mechanical arm.
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    What is the total weight of the device?
    SteadyTrackers figures are quoted at the total weight with monitor, batteries and ready to roll (minus the camera). Under 3.5 pounds total for the SteadyTracker ULTRALITE, and about 6 pounds total for the SteadyTracker Xtreme.
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    What are the advantages of a stabilizer?
    Staying with the action, getting the mic (on the camera) close to the source, creating on scene excitement, or getting the money shot. In a nutshell it makes better productions by engaging the viewers, because they now feel like part of the action. With time you will be able to add the most beautiful movements to shots, if you're into the artistic side of shooting.
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    Does it have a built in monitor?
    The Lightweight SteadyTracker is designed to work with the cameras with built in flip out screens, hence it is shipped without a monitor. You can buy it set up ready to roll with a monitor, or use your own monitor.
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    I've heard these devices don't work in the wind.
    The SteadyTracker is the one that does work in the wind.
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    How easy is it to mount and remove a camera?
    Some stabilizers use a small screw that goes into one of many holes, that require a screwdriver every time you want to take the camera off. The SteadyTrackers use a "universal quick mounting plate" which stays on the camera, similar to a "quick mount tripod plate". This makes it fast and convenient when removing the camera. Requiring no tools, just the turn of a knob and it slides on or off.
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    Can I use an external battery belt with it?
    Yes, the dangling cable will not adversely affect the balance unless the cable is stepped on or caught on something which physically yanks the camera.
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    How long does it take to learn?
    With the SteadyTracker, most camera operators can get usable shots instantly. We've seen hundreds of people at trade shows achieve stable moving shots as soon as the rig is handed to them.
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    What have the Magazines said?
    Every Magazine review has rated it good or excellent. When compared to the other stabilizers on the market, the panel of reviewers at Video Pro Magazine rated ours the #1 Stabilizer. They actually said it blew away the competition.
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    What are some of the camera's that work on the SteadyTrackers?
    SteadyTracker UltraLite support cameras up to about 4lbs. Ideal for use with high performance DSLS, lightweight broadcast and ENG camcorders, cell phones, Black Magic Pocket cameras and of course GoPros and Action cams.
    SteadyTracker Extreme supports professional handheld ENG cameras, heavy DSLRs, and full size camcorders up to about 8 lbs.


CobraCrane


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    Does the camera stay level as it booms up and down?
    Yes. It uses a cable and pulley parallelogram system which will keep it level as it booms up and down.
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    How does it tilt the camera?
    The Cobra Crane mounts on your tripods head, (there is no need to remove the head) and when you tilt the head, the unique pulley and cable system can tilt the camera up to 180 degrees, by simply tilting the tripods head using the tripod handle. Standing behind the tripod you would put your right hand on the back of the unit, for booming & panning, and your left hand on the tripod handle for tilting. This lets you swoop the camera from a low shot to a high shot smoothly and efficiently. You can also keep your eye on a monitor placed on the tripod. You can tilt the camera while the boom arm is either still, or in motion. This is a unique feature of the Cobra Crane, other low cost cranes on the market will not tilt from the rear like this.
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    Does it pan?
    The stock systems Swing, not exactly Pan, however we do offer an excellent solution for panning, including our cable operated panning kit or even our motorized Pan Tilt Unit (PTU). If you want to pan out on the end, choose one our units that have the cable operated panning system built in.
    Regarding swinging though, this sweeping arc through the air makes a much more dramatic pan, than just turning right or left like when on a tripod. The Cobra Crane can do all three moves simultaneously if need be- boom, tilt, and boom pan. It can also be set up to do dutch angles without buying any optional dutch angle accessories. Or you can put a tripod head out there and do it the old fashioned way. (its limited to how high you can reach, or how low you can bend. Plus it's hard keeping your eye on a monitor).
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    How do I see what the camera is shooting with the eyepiece so far away?
    Professional work requires proper monitoring of the image. This is accomplished by running a video wire from the video out jack on the camera, down the Crane arm to a small portable monitor on or near the tripod.
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    How high will it go?
    CobraCrane 8 feet on 5 foot tripod
    CobraCrane X 11 feet on 5 foot tripod
    CobraCrane p /HD 13 feet on 5 foot tripod
    CobraCrane 1U 14 feet on 5 foot tripod
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    What if I have a heavier camera?
    The CobraCrane 2 has a maximum capacity of 25 pounds.
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    How long does it take to set up?
    Since it mounts directly to your tripods head, it is very fast. Here is the complete set up and balancing process. (sidenote: no tools are required for setup) 1) Put your tripod's quick mount plate on the Cobra Crane, and mount it to the tripod. It attaches exactly the same way any camera would. 2) Mount your camera to the front end of the Cobra with the provided camera mounting thumbscrew. 3) Run a video wire down the Cobra arm to a monitor. 4) Add common barbell weights until the camera lifts off the table.
    The first time you do this might take 15 to 20 minutes. From then on it can be done in 2 to 5 minutes.
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    What kind of tripod should I use?
    Any sturdy video tripod will work. (metal, not plastic). The bigger and more stable the base, the better all your shots will be.
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    How heavy is the Cobra Crane and What cameras capacities
    Weight Capacity
    BackPacker UL 5 lbs 3 lbs
    BackPacker 13lbs 6.5 lbs
    CobraCrane 1 13 lbs 6.5 lbs
    CobraCrane 1x 16 lbs 6.5 lbs
    CobraCrane 1p 20 lbs 6.5 lbs
    CobraCrane 1hd 22 lbs 6.5 lbs
    CobraCrane UltraLite 8 lbs 6.5 lbs
    UltraLite X 6 lbs 3 lbs
    BackPacker X 14lbs 6.5 lbs
    CobraCrane 2 20 lbs 25 lbs
    CobraCrane 2x 23 lbs 25 lbs
    CobraCrane 2p 33 lbs 25 lbs
    CobraCrane 2hd 36 lbs 30 lbs
    CobraCrane UltraLite 18 lbs 13 lbs.
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    What kind of weights does it use?
    Common barbell discs found at any sporting goods store. You need approximately 3 to 5 the weight of your camera in weight discs. We sell them if you need them.
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    Can I put a tripod head out on the end of the Cobra?
    Yes, you can front operate it with a tripod head under the camera. You can also had a motorized Pan Tilt head and control it remotely from the crane operator position.
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    How long does it take to learn to use it?
    15 minutes of working it is all the practice you need. Once again, the optional set up tape shows you which shots are most effective, and tips showing you how to get one of a kind shots that are so smooth, it's impossible to get shots any smoother.
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    How do I focus and zoom the camera?
    Its best to refocus the shot before shooting. If you trust your auto focus it can be used when necessary. If your camera came with a wireless remote, most of these have a zoom/pause feature that works pretty well. We have an optional remote control that plugs into the LANC jack on your Sony or Canon camcorders. It will zoom, pause, manually focus, and power on and off the camera from up to 16 feet away (wire is 16 feet long). It also has a LCD numerical readout that indicates record time, low battery, end of tape, and many other features. Please call for price and availability. Feature filmmakers rarely zoom the camera. They prefocus the shot, leave it at a very wide setting, and dolly the crane toward the subject. This is a simple, effective, and relatively goof proof method.