Forums: Skydiving Disciplines: Photography and Video:
Flat Top w/ Still, Flash and Video. Layout???

 


Ahuey  (D 32634)

Apr 30, 2011, 6:21 PM
Post #1 of 19 (2072 views)
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Flat Top w/ Still, Flash and Video. Layout??? Can't Post

While I am waiting for my carbon fiber to be delivered I have been thinking about how I plan to place my equipment on top of my new Vapor Pro. I have looked at all of the pictures on the post your helmet thread and the flash setup threads too. They have been really helpful.

My equipment is as follows. Canon T1i with 10-22, cx100 with a low profile lens ( got to get something besides the Opteka) and a 580 exII in the near future.

I plan to fabricate all new custom carbon fiber mounting system similar to what PharmerPhil has in his current setup. The concept is to make it very adjustable so different combinations can be used with little effort in changing.

I have not seen any setups with the all 3 pieces side by side by side and directly on the plate. I was playing around with a borrowed Nikon flash and I think this will work. Take a look at the picture which illustrates what I am thinking. I like this better than anything I have seen mainly because I don't like the flash sticking up on top of the video or having it mounted at the shoe and . Reasons being:
1. Keeps the center of gravity as low as possible to help save the neck.
2. I will be jumping out of a 182 and I need the setup to be as low profile as possible.
3. I think this will be the most durable option.

Help me see the down sides to this layout. Right now I only see one and that is an extra 1/2" of carbon hanging out beyond the stock plate. Which could be shared on either side and minimized to 1/4" of overhang. I my mind that is ok.

On the Vapor Pro the stock plate has an extra couple inches sticking past the front. I was thinking it would be nice to save that in case I decide to mount a light panel in the future but for now I prefer to get it out of the way. So I was wonder if it was a good idea to turn the plate around and have the excess at the rear of the helmet? Would that cause a problem?

Thanks for your help!!
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sinjin  (A 210530)

Apr 30, 2011, 6:56 PM
Post #2 of 19 (2056 views)
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Re: [Ahuey] Flat Top w/ Still, Flash and Video. Layout??? [In reply to] Can't Post

make sure you account for your connections with a set up like that before you drill holes. how do u plan to secure the flash like that ? how often are you jumping the flash ? i have found when i am shooting specialty jumps with flash, i just ditch the video anyway. the flash spread with the vertical orientation and the horizontal camera might not be optimal. love the 580 ex II. you will love it.


Ahuey  (D 32634)

Apr 30, 2011, 9:46 PM
Post #3 of 19 (2033 views)
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Re: [sinjin] Flat Top w/ Still, Flash and Video. Layout??? [In reply to] Can't Post

Good point I didn't take the connections into account. The flash will be connected with some straps and maybe a bolt. The plan is to jump with flash during high sun and possible sun set jumps.
In reply to:


goobersnuftda  (D License)

May 1, 2011, 12:01 AM
Post #4 of 19 (2018 views)
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Re: [Ahuey] Flat Top w/ Still, Flash and Video. Layout??? [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow what a timely posting. Ive been acquire (and upgrading) my camera system all winter and it is just this weekend I am slowly putting it all together. I too jump from a DZ where we have a 182 and 206.

Vapor Pro..... man what an awesome helmet. It has to be by far the most comfortable camera helmet ever (much the same as I love my Oxygn). Beats the heck out of anything with a ratchet chin cup. First up, be careful with this stupid carbon fibre plate, it is evil. Never ever work on it inside your work shop. That very fine black power dust will get everywhere. It is more fine than graphite and it doesnt just blow away, it will coat everything inside your workshop and be more abrasive than a sand storm. Use fine grit sandpaper to finish off every cut/hole you do to it. Blow it off, wet towel clean it and seal it off with clear nail polish because even the smallest piece of grit will get into your camera and mess it up.

My old camera helmet had my 580EX flash vertical. Though it did mount nicely, there were times you could most definitely see that the flash band was opposite to the orientation to how my DSLR was mounted (see extraneous pictures taken from a football demo jump).

I have moved up from a 30D to a 7D. Yes it is heaver but man is it a monster camera. Fastest DSLR on the planet ( 8 shots/sec @ 18mp). Why do you need that you say? When I first started out my XT was 2.5/sec and when that tandem rolls out, in that 2 seconds I only got 5 shots. Many times even on my 30D (5/sec) there were times I wish I had the students face money shot just a frame before or the frame after. With the 7D, I monster out 16 shots :) If you are going to shoot, be a tourist on steroids :)

I cut the goofy looking brim off the front of the helmet so that it is flush with the front of the helmet. In both how the 7D and the CX150 are mounted, neither of the cameras are visible in the recorded image/video of the camera beside it. That little bit of room at the back left of the plate is where I will be mounting the 580EX flash, horizontally. I had an idea but it didnt quite work out as I planned. Have some new parts coming in and hopefully it solves the problem.

Everything is nice an compact and though it will have some weight to it, I moved the weight back over the top of my spine instead of hanging it all as far forward as possible. Its amazing how far back you can mount either of the cameras before the helmet comes into view. I cut the two slots for the cables from my tongue switch and Hypeye controller so that the left slot is right over the little sealed cavity on the sides of the helmet. No need in tucking/taping all that extra cable when you can easily just stow it away.

I start my major work for the year next week so it might be a while before I finish the helmet off completely when I start jumping again in June.


PS. In the picture you posted, watch out so that the right side of your DSLR does NOT extend past the side of the plate. One riser slap and you will have some serious problems when the risers try to rip off your DSLR.
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goobersnuftda  (D License)

May 1, 2011, 8:44 AM
Post #5 of 19 (1976 views)
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Re: [goobersnuftda] Flat Top w/ Still, Flash and Video. Layout??? [In reply to] Can't Post

As an add on, I love/hate my flash.

I love it that it has the ability to reach into and attack the darkest corners but it is just another something to add to the weight :)

Here is an example at about mid afternoon taken flying into the sun. These are the original pictures and have not been run though Lightroom yet. In the last picture, you can actually see the shadow of the jumper on the wing behind her head.


(This post was edited by goobersnuftda on May 1, 2011, 8:46 AM)
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Ahuey  (D 32634)

May 1, 2011, 9:32 AM
Post #6 of 19 (1969 views)
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Re: [goobersnuftda] Flat Top w/ Still, Flash and Video. Layout??? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I cut the two slots for the cables from my tongue switch and Hypeye controller so that the left slot is right over the little sealed cavity on the sides of the helmet. No need in tucking/taping all that extra cable when you can easily just stow it away.

Have you considered mounting the body of the hypeye inside the helmet and exposing only the button? IMO that is the cleanest install possible. The only downside is you lose access to the debrief port. I have never used that so I don't care.


Quote:
In the picture you posted, watch out so that the right side of your DSLR does NOT extend past the side of the plate. One riser slap and you will have some serious problems when the risers try to rip off your DSLR.

I planned to address that issue with the mounting bracket. The new bracket would be an extension of the top plate. But maybe that is foolish to make the helmet wider.


goobersnuftda  (D License)

May 1, 2011, 10:31 AM
Post #7 of 19 (1958 views)
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Re: [Ahuey] Flat Top w/ Still, Flash and Video. Layout??? [In reply to] Can't Post

I did give a thought to mounting the Hypeye inside the helmet in much the same fashion my FF2 helmet was. The reason why I went with it is that the CamEye II on my FF2 had that little red button that was very, very easy to hit. Actually too easy and I accidentally turned it on lots by simply grabbing the helmet at the wrong place.

This Hypeye needs a significant push on that center button. With the whole button mounted externally on top of the plate you can always push the button down and not ever push the thing back through the hole you drilled. Also there is a nylon threaded bolt that screws in to the back of the Hypeye so it is very easy to mount externally. It also now sits in a place on the Vapor helmet where you are not grabbing it all the time (like the side of the helmet where the FF2 decided to mount theres).

I would stay within the confines of the plate dimensions. I think you are asking for possible trouble if you start hanging things off the side.


goobersnuftda  (D License)

May 1, 2011, 11:18 AM
Post #8 of 19 (1950 views)
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Re: [goobersnuftda] Flat Top w/ Still, Flash and Video. Layout??? [In reply to] Can't Post

Well since it is family day and the weather is bad, that gives me more time on my computer to post more useless stuff :)

Here is my failed attempt at a mounting bracket for my 580EX flash. I saw the Sky Systems EL Bracket and thought that it might work. It initially interested me because it is the perfect dimentions for the flash, it has a redundant securing system nylon strap with clip and elastic bungee chord (chord must be knotted once it goes through the bracket not how it is displayed in the picture I took). The cold shoe or hot shoe mount for the bottom of the flash would be screwed to the bottom of the plate with the appropriate bolt (drill a hole through the bottom of the plate). That little bit of height is what was needed for the flash to reach over the top of the bracket. It also gives a hard point to secure the flash to instead of mounting the flash directly to the bracket which would not be a good idea.

In the end this did not work for me because I lacked the proper amount of flat top real estate. Seems that the 7D is a bit wider than the other Canon cameras (you can tell by the size of the right hand grip of the camera). I was only off by an inch or two but did not want any of that hanging over the side of the helmet plate.

Oh well, from failure comes success. I have some different parts coming in that I think will work better plus instead of having the bracket screwed down to the helmet, I would like to be able to quickly remove the flash if it is not required to save some weight.

PS, I got a good deal on a never used Sky Systems EL Bracket :)


(This post was edited by goobersnuftda on May 1, 2011, 11:24 AM)
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Ahuey  (D 32634)

May 2, 2011, 5:24 PM
Post #9 of 19 (1810 views)
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Re: [Ahuey] Flat Top w/ Still, Flash and Video. Layout??? [In reply to] Can't Post

Anyone else?


davelepka  (D 21448)

May 2, 2011, 5:37 PM
Post #10 of 19 (1807 views)
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Re: [Ahuey] Flat Top w/ Still, Flash and Video. Layout??? [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Yeah, I think when the question of harware came up with regards to your mock up, they might have been talking about electrical connections.

If you're going to use a video camera controller, like a Hype Eye, that plug is going to stick out the right side of the CX100, right where your flash is up against the camera.

I'm not sure where your still camera trigger connects, but it's probably on the left side of the still, again, right where your flash is.

On a personal note, it seems like a lot of stuff to be hauling around. That 10-22, unless I'm wrong, is heavy as shit and the flash is just overkill on anything but a 'special occasion' type jump. You could realisticly just drop the video camera for the jump to make room for the falsh. Jumping it all just seems 'excessive'.

What are you doing that you need all that stuff? My theory is to jump the least amount of stuff you can get away with. Most guys getting paid for video are either doing tandem/student stuff, or team stuff, and neither one requires that much weight (or cost, to be honest) on every jump.

Take it from a guy who started when there were no small video cameras, and no lightweight still cameras, when it comes to camera helmets 'light is right'.


PharmerPhil  (D 23899)

May 2, 2011, 6:29 PM
Post #11 of 19 (1795 views)
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Re: [davelepka] Flat Top w/ Still, Flash and Video. Layout??? [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree on the connectors and the need for all that stuff on every jump. But as far as the 10-22mm lens goes, it really isn't that heavy. It is less than two ounces heavier than the Canon 15mm, and only 0.6 ounces heavier than the Sigma 15mm. Plus it doesn't have the annoying fish-eye effect. It is about an inch longer than either, but if I could afford one...
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Ahuey  (D 32634)

May 2, 2011, 7:19 PM
Post #12 of 19 (1787 views)
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Re: [davelepka] Flat Top w/ Still, Flash and Video. Layout??? [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think anyone would jump with extra weight or additional snag point unless there is a need for it. With that said, customers spending serious money deserve the best product possible. No I will not jump with the flash all of the time.

It's easy to figure out how to mount a still camera and a video camera on a Vapor Wes Pro...

The goal is to map out were everything will go when the helmet is at capacity and go backwards from there.

I agreed that the electrical connections were not taken into account. I will be using a hypeye and a mouth switch. I am going to re-evaluate the layout with electrical connections.


sinjin  (A 210530)

May 2, 2011, 10:57 PM
Post #13 of 19 (1752 views)
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Re: [Ahuey] Flat Top w/ Still, Flash and Video. Layout??? [In reply to] Can't Post

the really funny thing is they are really not spending serious money in the big picture. if you asked a professional photographer to risk his life for the shots and give the customer 100+ high res jpgs, i am damn sure it would be more than 30-40 bucks take home. I do feel the need to give DSLR quality photos, but im not going to roll with a 1D either. being a videot paid for gear, got a ton of jumps, and i had a blast. but know especially when doing 12 jumps a day, 500 to 1000 jumps per year, your neck will feel that extra weight. and so does your pocketbook when buying that high end gear. (when u forget to rachet that chin strap just one time :( )

one setup i had when i wanted to jump all three, was to put the flash on top of the video box. i used industrial velcro and a velcro strap around the box to secure it. it wasnt much higher than the still. and the flash was horiz mounted with access to the buttons. good luck with the setup.


piisfish

May 3, 2011, 1:14 AM
Post #14 of 19 (1741 views)
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Re: [Ahuey] Flat Top w/ Still, Flash and Video. Layout??? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I don't think anyone would jump with extra weight or additional snag point unless there is a need for it.
you haven't been doing video for long, have you ?


Ahuey  (D 32634)

May 4, 2011, 5:13 PM
Post #15 of 19 (1609 views)
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Re: [piisfish] Flat Top w/ Still, Flash and Video. Layout??? [In reply to] Can't Post

No, I have not been shooting video for very long. Look at my profile. One day I will have it all figured out like you and I won't ask questions.

Do you have something productive to add? Thanks in advanced for your help.


davelepka  (D 21448)

May 4, 2011, 7:32 PM
Post #16 of 19 (1593 views)
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Re: [Ahuey] Flat Top w/ Still, Flash and Video. Layout??? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
No, I have not been shooting video for very long. Look at my profile. One day I will have it all figured out like you and I won't ask questions

Wow, that one sailed right over your head.

Your comment was that you didn't think people would jump un-neccesarrily heavy or snaggy things on video jumps, and the response was that 'you must not have been jumping video for very long'.

The response is not a commentary on your experience, but a commentary on the regualr practice of jumpers loading up camera helmets with 'stuff' for what seems like no good reason.

Camera flying is one of the few areas in skydiving where you can jump the same top-quality gear as the pros do, very early in your camera flying career.

A newbie jumper can't jump the same rig as a pro, the canopies are too small, and it would show in their performance (or lack of it). Newbies can't just jump a wing suit, or strap on a tandem rig. The one thing they can do is jump the same gear as Mike McGowan, and insist it's for the same reason that Mike does, the quality of the final product.

In truth, 90% of the camera flyers out there cannot out-fly a basic Sony PC camera, and a digital Rebel with a kit lens. You could give them the best of the best, and the other 10% of camera flyers will still bring back better footage of the same jump with the 'basic' set-up.

Who in their right mind would buy an $800 still camera lens to make $40 a jump shooting tandems, when the free lens they give you with the camera will do 90% of the same job? The answer is nobody in their right mind, just confused young video flyers thinking the gear will get the shot.

True story, and I'll leave the names out. Two camera guys, one with 1000 jumps, the other with 4000 jumps (not me). Mr 1000 jumps is a certified gear-nut. He has every new camera/lens/flash/light the day it comes out. Mr 4000 jumps has a more 'remedial' set-up, like a Sony PC camera, and a digital Rebel with a kit lens.

They are each filming a 10 way on back-to-back Caravan loads. Mr 1000 jumps goes first, and is reviewing his footage and pics when Mr 4000 jumps comes in with his stuff. The first words out of Mr1000 jumps mouth are 'The light in your pics is so much better than mine, what lens are you jumping again?'

It's not about the stuff, it's about the skills. The #1 piece of gear that Mike McGowan or Norm Kent jumps with is Mike McGowan or Norn Kents brain. Those brains are what can outfly more 'pedestrian' camera equipment, and why they need the best stuff to make the most of their skills.


pcalandra  (D 9759)

Aug 20, 2011, 11:38 AM
Post #17 of 19 (1284 views)
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Re: [davelepka] Flat Top w/ Still, Flash and Video. Layout??? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hope these help.

FlatTop Pro w/oversize plate.
Canon XT, w/10-22 mm lens, 560ex flash, Sony CX100 camcorder.

Gold member quick releases for cameras.
Home made L bracket for flash & camcorder LCD screen protection.

I really want to add a quick release for the flash.

The height from the plate to the top of the flash is just under 6", total weight is 8 lbs.

Ideally I would like this all flat on top of plate, it's tight in a 182/206. I'm considering a wider plate but another inch or so on each side seems like it would be pushing it.

Looks like I'll have to add the pictures separately as it looks like you can't attach them from an iPad Mad

Pat


(This post was edited by pcalandra on Aug 20, 2011, 1:39 PM)
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velvetjo  (D License)

Aug 21, 2011, 6:18 AM
Post #18 of 19 (1241 views)
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Re: [pcalandra] Flat Top w/ Still, Flash and Video. Layout??? [In reply to] Can't Post

I like the way your flash bracket mounts, that's a nice design for stability. The red cutaway cable is just for opening the hinge?

I jump a Canon 10-22 as well, and I'd recommend that you add some blocking between the lens and the helmet. It's got a fairly fragile connection point within the lens that can break with pressure from the top (like standing up too soon under the door). Your flash bracket makes it less likely, but it was an expensive lesson for me.

Lance


pcalandra  (D 9759)

Aug 21, 2011, 9:41 AM
Post #19 of 19 (1226 views)
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Re: [velvetjo] Flat Top w/ Still, Flash and Video. Layout??? [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes Lance that red cable used to be from a bonehead box, it's just used to keep the hinge closed.

I've also lost a wide angle lens adapter or two in my career, both knocked off on exit, also lost a ring site to a foot on a AFF exit. Expensive lessons to learn about being too close on exit!

I've considered the blocking for the 10 - 22 mm lens and the wide angle lens adapter but just haven't got around too it. Thanks for the advice.



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