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 MiLapse head weight capacity/leveling 
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Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 6
Post MiLapse head weight capacity/leveling
Hello everyone......I'm new here but just had a quick question. I recently acquired the Milapse type Meade head and was wanting to mount my Panasonic HVX 200 video cam to it. The HVX weighs around 6 pounds and was wondering if this might put too much stress on the gears of the Milpase Meade Head vs. mounting a lighter DSLR. It is the second generation head by the way. Anybody mount a heavier vid cam yet to this setup? Also.......how do you level the tripod without a bubble level or ball head on the mount? Trying to keep my horizons from skewing as it pans. Thanks for your help.


Thu Jun 26, 2008 11:13 am
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Post Re: MiLapse head weight capacity/leveling
I've heard that guys are using it for the HVX... this dude made a really nice mount for his HVX and said it worked fine for his use...

I mount a bubble level on my flash shoe. Then I rotate from my start to stop point and adjust based on the feedback from the bubble.


Fri Jun 27, 2008 5:08 am

Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 11:00 am
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Post Re: MiLapse head weight capacity/leveling
Thanks for the link MiLapse. That is one nice bracket he made! I ended up buying a bent 90 degree metal bracket for roofing at Home Depot for 5 bucks, drilling some holes in it, and it seems to work nicely even though it is ugly. By the way.........where to you find bubble levels that you can center on all axis that mount on a flash shoe? I have never seen them before. Thanks again for your help.


Fri Jun 27, 2008 5:20 am
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Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:27 pm
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Location: On walkabout in SE Asia based in KL
Post Re: MiLapse head weight capacity/leveling
Greetings royalpurple,

Here is a 3 axis level for less than $15US http://www.yamiya.com.my/store/product. ... 280&page=1


Thu Jul 24, 2008 1:41 pm
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Post Re: MiLapse head weight capacity/leveling
Beware, I bought one of these cheap levels and the fluid leaked out. My camera bag and everything in it still smells like gasoline.

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Sun Aug 03, 2008 1:17 pm
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Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:51 pm
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Post Re: MiLapse head weight capacity/leveling
I'm interested in the miLapse rig for both my DSLR work in timelapse, and perhaps some actual MoCo with my HVX... What's the top rotation speed you can get with the HVX??? I'm prepared to pay for 2 separate rigs, the miLapse for my DSLR and something more heavy duty for the HVX, but if this rig can give a decent speed for the HVX, I may not have to...


Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:55 pm
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Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 11:00 am
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Post Re: MiLapse head weight capacity/leveling
Seems to handle the weight of my HVX just fine. Found no need now for DSLR for what I shoot.


Mon Aug 11, 2008 1:27 pm
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Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:51 pm
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Post Re: MiLapse head weight capacity/leveling
Hmmm... See, I'm more inclined to use my DSLR and a miLapse rig strictly for time lapses... I'm interested in the applications of a miLapse rig for an HVX for actual motion control, not time lapses... To repeat the same movement along two axes of rotation over and over so I can composite moving images. From what I read, one must hold down a button on the Autostar in order to make it rotate. If that's the case, it doesn't suit my needs with my HVX (but works fine with a DSLR, from all the great work I've seen so far!)


Tue Aug 12, 2008 6:47 pm
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Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 11:00 am
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Post Re: MiLapse head weight capacity/leveling
This is true, you must hold down the directional button which would probably render getting exact repeatable motion contorl movements close but not perfect. When you ramp the numbers up on the controller, it pans or tilts pretty quick though. It does however have numerous degree readings on the head so you could get pretty darn close on repeatable movements. Just curious as to what do you do with your repeatable motion control movements? How do you composite them together? Do you have any examples of your work? I have never heard of this method before. Thanks.


Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:44 pm
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Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 11:54 pm
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Location: Aars, Denmark
Post Re: MiLapse head weight capacity/leveling
zesharc wrote:
What's the top rotation speed you can get with the HVX???

The max slewing speed depends on the battery level. I am not sure if it is load dependent (as long as you're not killing the mount with overload :-)). Without load I get ~5 degrees pr. second at max speed. Beware that it is very noisy though, so that's a problem if you want to include sound.

zesharc wrote:
From what I read, one must hold down a button on the Autostar in order to make it rotate.

That is if you have the 494 controller. With a 495/497 controller you can send commands to it from a computer, allowing you to run it via scripts so you can get exact repeated motion (and much more).

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Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:12 am
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Post Re: MiLapse head weight capacity/leveling
royalpurple wrote:
This is true, you must hold down the directional button which would probably render getting exact repeatable motion contorl movements close but not perfect. When you ramp the numbers up on the controller, it pans or tilts pretty quick though. It does however have numerous degree readings on the head so you could get pretty darn close on repeatable movements. Just curious as to what do you do with your repeatable motion control movements? How do you composite them together? Do you have any examples of your work? I have never heard of this method before. Thanks.


Motion Control compositing is a fantastic method of stitching together images from a moving camera to better sell an illusion - as a budding camera operator, director of photography, and videographer, having access to a cost-effective method of doing this would set me slightly ahead of the curve. You composite them together in editing software, say Final Cut Pro, with a little help from Adobe After Effects. You can make life easier by doing some green/blue screen work with one element, but this isn't always the best workflow, depending on what you are looking for.

I haven't been able to do this yet, which is why I am interested in the system for more than just timelapses (which is another great tool to have in my arsenal in my line of work). But to give you an idea of what you would use this for - remember that scene in Pirates of The Carribbean 2 or 3 (I can't remember), where Johnny Depp hallucinates and sees about a gazillion Johnny Depps manning the ship's different positions? Basically, you program the head to repeat the same motion over and over... Then they had Depp do takes in different positions... Since the background moves in exactly the same way, it's the point of reference that allows the composition to sell the illusion that it's all taking place in one shot, much more effectively than a simple lock-off with the camera standing still.

Or an even simpler example - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWwBkA0GqaY&fmt=18

This involves a heavy amount of preproduction and planning to program the path of the camera and where each band member is going to be for what pass, as well as powerful and robust post-production software to stitch it together seamlessly (and a crapload of time to render), but you could not have done this video without a sophisticated motion control rig (we're talking repeated motion of 3 axes on the head, tilt/swivel on an arm, back/forth on the dolly supporting the arm, and very likely in/out telescoping function of the arm).


Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:26 am
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Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:51 pm
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Post Re: MiLapse head weight capacity/leveling
flyvholm wrote:
The max slewing speed depends on the battery level. I am not sure if it is load dependent (as long as you're not killing the mount with overload :-)). Without load I get ~5 degrees pr. second at max speed. Beware that it is very noisy though, so that's a problem if you want to include sound.


Not much of a problem, most motion control heads are noisy anyways - most FX shots usually involve one source of noise or another making it damn near impossible to get sync-sound straight from the shoot (think a loud pulley rig, or an explosion, etc. - Hooray for ADR and foley artists!) It IS load dependent, but 5 degrees per second sounds promising...

flyvholm wrote:
That is if you have the 494 controller. With a 495/497 controller you can send commands to it from a computer, allowing you to run it via scripts so you can get exact repeated motion (and much more).


What's the availability of these scripts, and would they run on a Mac? I've got a bit of a head for programming in general, but if there's some software out there that make it a matter of punching in numbers and hitting "enter", sign me up... I'm assuming this is USB or Serial?


Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:30 am
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Post Re: MiLapse head weight capacity/leveling
zesharc - I know exactly what your talking about. It 'can' be accieved with this head but the software is vaporware ;) I've worked with a friend to get a rough program that will do ramped or feathered starts and stops but getting it back to the original position has proven to be a challenge. It should be possible since the head is designed to 'goto' specific points in the sky... The problem is that when you start introducing 'micro movements' via scripted commands the 497 sort of 'looses track' of where it is. I'm quite sure there is a solution somewhere in there but I lack the real programming know how and time to get it working smoothly! :evil:


Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:57 am
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Post Re: MiLapse head weight capacity/leveling
zesharc wrote:
It IS load dependent

I did a quick test, putting a load of 9.5 lbs on the mount (not particularly well balanced) to see if the max slew speed was affected. Result: Slews ~4h15m ( =64 degrees) horizontally in ~10 seconds regardless of load. This was on 8 NiMH batteries (D size).
zesharc wrote:
What's the availability of these scripts, and would they run on a Mac? I've got a bit of a head for programming in general, but if there's some software out there that make it a matter of punching in numbers and hitting "enter", sign me up... I'm assuming this is USB or Serial?

It's a small Windows executable, but it pretty much does boil it down to punching in numbers and hitting enter. :-) It can be found in the files section of the Meade Autostar Yahoo group along with sample scripts to demonstrate how it can be used. You'd need to sign up for the group to access it from there, but I can email you the files if you'd like. I've used it via serial; in principle it should work via a USB->Serial adapter as well, but that appears to depend on the adapter - didn't work with the one I have. :|

Other solutions are possible... e.g. for Linux (and hence Mac from what I understand) there is a driver called INDI which has command line tools allowing you to write your own scripts. Python users can use DCD which provides an interface for writing such scripts in Python. It is also possible to do things from scratch. Most of the command protocol to control the mount is available here, and using this you could write scripts to control the mount via a serial port on any system/OS. I think it should even be pretty simple, though I haven't devoted the time to do it yet. I've been hoping to find a sample script to illustrate the basics, but no luck so far. Guess I'll just have to sit down and play around with it one of the days.

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Tue Aug 19, 2008 12:05 pm
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Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 2:39 pm
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Post Re: MiLapse head weight capacity/leveling
What's the availability of these scripts, and would they run on a Mac? I've got a bit of a head for programming in general, but if there's some software out there that make it a matter of punching in numbers and hitting "enter", sign me up... I'm assuming this is USB or Serial?[/quote]


With new Intel Macs, perhaps someone has run this script via Fusion/Parallels and Windows ?

Please post if you have had success in doing this.

cheers


Sat Mar 06, 2010 6:41 pm
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Joined: Sat May 01, 2010 2:11 am
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Post Re: MiLapse head weight capacity/leveling
Hi to all
I've buy just a few days ago the milapse head with autostar 497. At the moment I haven't the L bracket, a my friend made me it in the next week.

I've the same question of royalpurple, at the moment I will use a Canon EOS 500D (Rebel T1i) with battery grip and 18-55 (also a 70-300 but I don't use at the moment for timelapse) Lens, for your opinion with this configuration may be too much effort in weight for the head?

I've order also a videocamera Sony HDR CX550V (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/6 ... dycam.html), I think that for this there isn't problem with the weight on the milapse head


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Sat May 01, 2010 3:20 am
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