Flowcine Gravity One arrives at SteadiOp
Ours arrived some time ago but we have been working hard to ensure that we have the necessary kit to support its best use. We have the excellent Gorelink Turret System from Walter Klassen which coupled with a Steadicam operator’s vest and arm, allow for a camera to be configured in a handheld mode (Achieve the look and feel of a handheld shot while keeping the camera off the shoulder, have an up/down booming effect using your steadicam arm and shoot from floor to eye level in one move). The stability offered by the arm and the isolation of extreme operator movement means the Gorelink is very effective at allowing the handheld flexibility but with the support of the arm for jibbing from the ground to as high as you can reach (try this with a regular handheld shot!). Mixing the two systems with the Gorelink turret supporting the Flowcine Gravity One and we now have all axis stabilised but still retain the flexibility of handheld.
We have been testing this configuration to support a particularly complex ‘one’r involving vehicle/crane/run and climb combinations during the shot and it has a remarkable ability to offer a stable shot. At this stage, we may package a couple of gyros for attachment to the base to ensure that it is rock solid in this configuration.
When tested with one of our Epic’s (BTW: we are now in double figures with our available Epic Xs and just approaching the same number of Alexas) and a 55mm Hawk Lite/Clip on full cover matte box, the whole rig weighted in at around 20lbs including the gyro. Not too shabby! Pictures will follow when we have approval from the press team on the feature film we are currently working on with this but in the meantime, here is a little more about the Flowcine Gravity One.
Balancing the Gravity One (G-1)
The kit comes with a dovetail top plate that mounts to the top of your camera so slight reconfiguring is required to accommodate this (handle off on the Arri Alexa etc.). With regard to camera configuration, build it with accessories and monitor etc., as compact as possible, to aid with the balancing. It’s better to get everything compact and tightened/locked down to reduce the need to continually adjust balance as items move around.
Monitor mounting is key with most cameras but due to the especially compact nature of the Epic body, its critical! Don’t use a noga arm with any camera, try a bracket or fixed plate. We use a flat plate with a modified steadicam monitor spud to attach the monitor as this keeps it locked down per the notes above.
Our fastest/most sensible balancing workflow here is based on a side to side balance first then a fore/aft balance. Its tricky since its a precise art! Once you have done it a few times, it becomes much easier and with the time taken from arrival to camera up, it can be done in around 10-15 minutes.
At this stage, you could then attach the Gravity One to an EasyRig or as in our case, we attach it to the Gorelink Turret. Fine adjustments to the balance can be made with the steadicam style fine tuning controls that are built into the head (the little orange thumb wheels in the picture above). You know when its balanced as the camera hangs perfectly handsfree!
The Gravity One coupled with an EasyRig allows for precise control with ease (and it really is easy). Add in the Gorelink and a Steadicam Arm and its a fantastic combination. Shooting characters in combat situations getting up, lying down etc. and then running around becomes relatively easy as you can smoothly jib down at speed, pull up, fun/follow/circle and climb stairs. Without the Steadicam centre post, we have a lot more flexibility for lens positioning. We have tested with an X and Y gyro configuration with Kenyon Gyros attached to the base and it becomes rock solid (if anything, a little too solid as the rig starts to respond a little like a 3 axis gimbal with a slight lag in fast pans – this isn;t a feature of the Gravity One, this is more to do with the combination of kit we’re using here).
Its versatile, its different and it seems to work very effectively with the Gorelink and Steadicam Arm combination. Can it replace a Steadicam/EasyRig/Crane etc? No, of course not, its just another tool and its useful for for dynamic shots where you want continuity in the shot with the ability to have a handheld look ,and a stabilised look as the shot develops. It can do some moves difficult to achieve with other configurations but ultimately, its down to your operator. Mix the whole setup described above with our SteadiSeg or a SteadiCar and you have tremendous flexibility for our work.
Interested in hiring our Gravity One or our Gorelink/Steadicam Arm? Get in touch here.