Jonah does a run-through of setup and calibration for the Steadicam Zephyr.
Rent the Steadicam Zephyr here: magnanimousrentals.com/rental/steadicam-zephyr/179
Zephyr is Steadicam’s offering for camera systems between 9-24 lbs. It offers a host of features not found on its latter counterparts that allow for easier and more precise calibration, with smoother overall operation. A Steadicam gives you the ability to execute unrestricted smooth camera movements, making it ideal for long takes and intricate moves. The Zephyr sled has an adjustable center post and mounting points for weights, allowing you to customize the camera’s height. The dovetail mounting system and independent adjustments for the monitor and battery make this system easy to balance, and make corrections on the fly, especially when compared to the Steadicam Pilot or Scout, much easier.
The Zephyr’s payload makes it ideal for kitted cinema cameras and broadcast cameras. While lighter systems can accommodate stripped-down cameras, the Zephyr can accommodate larger camera systems with cine glass. The Zephyr will accommodate cameras such as the C300, EPIC, or SCARLET with reasonable accessories, such as matte boxes and lens control. The Zephyr can accommodate cameras such as the Arri Alexa, but you’ll want to accessorize conservatively. The Zephyr is a great step up from the Pilot or Scout; people who are used to the Pilot or Scout are going to settle into the advantages of the Zephyr immediately. It’s gonna leave you a ton of room to expand to larger and heavier camera systems. People that are not experienced with Steadicam, we certainly suggest that you check out a Pilot or Scout first, and get used to a Steadicam with a lighter system before you move to something heavy. Remember that any Steadicam takes a lot of practice to master. If you want great results on the first go-around, talk to us about hiring a professional Steadicam operator, and you won’t be disappointed.
Operating a Steadicam can be compared to choreography: you going to want to practice your moves, and leave plenty of time to master them before you shoot them. For best results, we suggest that you use a wireless lens control system and have an AC pull focus for you. You’re not going to be able to touch this lens or use a manual follow focus while you’re operating, as it’s going to interrupt the smooth motion of the Steadicam. If you don’t have a wireless lens control system, we suggest that you employ a wide-angle lens with deep depth-of-field so you can try to make sure that everything’s going to be in focus while you’re moving. I’ve found that it’s useful to have camera tape, a grease pencil, and a marker handy. The camera tape is going to be useful in taping down wires as well as marking the sled, especially if you plan on transitioning between low mode and standard mode. Using camera tape is going to ensure that no adhesive is left on the sled or on the camera, and your grease pencil is going to be useful in marking your center of gravity on the camera, and should easily wipe away.
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