MiniDV Stabilizer - Setup and Operational Tutorial - A low cost alternative to STEADYCAM/STEADICAM®

Uploaded by BalvanzEnterprises on 03.02.2010

The MiniDV Stabilizer is a lightweight, easy to use, and ultra portable stabilizer designed for today's small camcorders weighing up to 2 1/4 pounds.
Its compact design makes it one of the smallest and lightest Stabilizer on the market,
while allowing for exceptionally smooth shots in virtually any setting.
This tutorial is designed to help you get started setting up and using your Stabilizer quickly,
with desirable results.
To start, remove the camera mounting plate by unscrewing the two wing-nut fasteners.
Underneath you will find the camera mounting bolt.
Be sure not to misplace it.
Next remove the counterweight washers from the base by unscrewing the wing-nut fasteners.
Configure your camera as it will be while in use.
You should have the battery installed, tape or other media in,
and view finder in shooting position.
If you plan to shoot with any add-on accessories,
install them at this time.
Using your finger, carefully locate the approximate center of gravity of your camera.
Using the provided camera mounting bolt,
attach the camera to the mounting plate with the appropriate side-to-side positioning
which will place the camera's center of gravity in line with the center shaft of the
MiniDV Stabilizer. This will likely require some further adjustment later,
so approximate positioning is okay for now.
Attach the mounting plate to the MiniDV Stabilizer with appropriate fore to aft positioning
to place the camera's center of gravity in line with the center shaft of the MiniDV Stabilizer.
This will also likely require some further adjustment later,
so approximation is sufficient for now.
Ideal setup of the MiniDV Stabilizer assumes that the camera's center of gravity is positioned exactly over the center shaft.
Some shooting configurations,
such as those where accessories are being installed on the camera,
may make it impossible to achieve such positioning. In those circumstances,
uneven counterweighting will need to be used to compensate. For the purposes of this tutorial,
we will assume that the camera's center of gravity is located exactly over the center shaft.
As such, counterweight will be distributed evenly front to back.
The point at which the gimbal connects to the center shaft is known as the reaction point.
Add counterweight washers to the base of the MiniDV Stabilizer
until even balance is achieved at the reaction point when the assembly is oriented horizontally.
Be sure to evenly distribute the counterweight washers.
The MiniDV Stabilizer should be counterweighted such that a fine amount of bottom heaviness exists.
Too much bottom heaviness will result in a pendulum like behavior,
which will not yield desirable filming results.
From the current state of even balance, a very small amount of weight is all you need.
One way to test the assembly is to observe its drop time. From a horizontal orientation,
allow the unit to drop to a vertical orientation.
It should take approximately 1 1/2 to 2 seconds to make this drop if counterweighted appropriately.
Now that the assembly is properly counterweighted,
you can accurately position the camera's center of gravity.
Ensure that the counterweight washers are centered as well as possible.
From a level surface, lift the MiniDV Stabilizer assembly and make note of any tilting that exists,
either side to side, or fore to aft. For macro adjustment of significant tilting,
adjust the camera's physical position to compensate. For micro adjustment of slight tilting,
adjust the positioning of the counterweight washers to compensate.
The assembly is in proper balance when no tilting occurs when lifted from a level surface.
Now that your MiniDV Stabilizer is appropriately balanced, in the next section we'll go over some basic operating principles.
The results you achieve with your MiniDV Stabilizer will vary based on a number of factors involved with your shots.
However, starting with a few basic fundamentals will allow you to plan each shot appropriately
for your desired result. As with anything, consistent practice will improve your operational skills over time.
Use your dominant hand to hold the assembly by the pistol grip handle.
This hand should be used to make all major movements with your MiniDV Stabilizer.
Your other hand should be used to control panning, tilting, and angling.
These adjustments should be made as close as possible to the gimbal,
and with as little effort as is required to accomplish the adjustments,
due to the possibility of introducing unwanted movement into your footage.
With careful planning, these basic fundamentals can be used
as the foundation of virtually any shot with impressive results.
You're now ready to shoot. Good luck, and enjoy your MiniDV Stabilizer.