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Everything posted by PharmerPhil

  1. I'm not sure there is a "best overall" lens. One of the nice things about the Raynox 3035 is that it is about the widest lenses you can get and still be able to zoom through most of its range. IMHO, this is very important for tandems, but not so much for big-ways. Unfortunately, it still isn't that wide when mounted on a CX110/150. But when you said "long," that doesn't sound right. I can't imagine ever needing to zoom in with this lens for big ways. I just wish I could zoom out even more.
  2. I would go with 1/8 in. (3mm), which is stock. It is plenty strong enough for a little overhang like that, otherwise SkySystems wouldn't ship it that way. Personally I wouldn't go smaller. There is no real benefit weight-wise. For some individual camera plates and parts I use 4mm stock. But that is primarily to give more room to countersink the 1/4-20 machine bolts for attaching cameras.
  3. Okay, I bit my tongue reading this thread for a while. Time to rant... The video is about the student (who paid for the video). Videographer's body parts in the video look amateurish. And that whole "grab my foot" thing isn't about the student (who paid for the video), it is about the selfish, in-denial videographer (who didn't pay for the video). The videographer doesn't belong in the video except as a narrator/reporter. The whole, "turn the camera to yourself so you can talk to it" is also about the videographer, not the student (who paid for the video). The video is about the student (who paid for the video). The student is the star and the TI is the supporting actor/actress. The videographer's role is behind the lens capturing the action, not drawing attention to him/herself by doing dances with drogues, interacting with the TI, putting feet/arms/hands in the frame, getting on the wrong side of the lens, etc. The video is about the student (who paid for the video). And extreme fisheyes look silly (it's like adding too much reverb to every song you play). If you think you need "forgiving," what you really need is to learn how to fly and shoot well before you shoot tandems for hire. The video is about the student (who paid for the video). Did I mention that? Rant over!
  4. I agree. I have seen several people try to kludge something together to make a narrow helmet wide. It always ends up being an inferior product, or downrught dangerous. I higly recommend getting the right tool for the job, and agree on the Skysystems Vapor being that tool.
  5. BTW, according to B&H's specs, the Canon is ever so slightly lighter, shorter, and smaller in diameter.
  6. I originally put together my SkySystems' Vapor Wes Pro helmet system two years ago. Info on the original build can be found here. This winter I re-did a few things for the new season. This was primarily to add the CX150 as we are going to all file based, NLE this year (the CX150 replaces an HC-5). The original helmet was designed with future expansion in mind without having to re-do the basic helmet, so primarily this just involved building new quick-release plates. But I used the opportunity to add some additional electronics too. Shortly after my original post, I also added a nylon back-up strap over the entire top assembly that can be seen in these pics. This is insurance against lost gear, and keeps the LCD screen closed on the video cameras. CX150 Building a plate specifically for the CX150 allowed me to move the DSLR inboard a full 3/4-inch (19mm). Now the two cameras are almost completely within the top-plate. I was torn between the CX150 and the CX100 only because of the bottom-mounted card slot. However, when I made my purchase, I anticipated doing my own editing, and planned on just using the USB connector to get files off of the camera. I did machine an opening in the bottom of the plate for card access though, so while I have to take the camera off of the helmet to access the card slot, I don't have to unscrew the camera from the QR plate (see "Brackets" photo). Likewise, the DSLR plate has an opening so I can replace the battery without unscrewing it from its QR plate. Using the CX also required the addition of a Hypeye D Pro, so this gave me an excuse to do a little re-wiring. Wiring I added the Hypeye D Pro and the Hypeye D Pro Expansion kit, so I could add a remote, flush-mounted button in just the right location for me (right front). I added an identical push-button on the other side (left front) and wired it in parallel with my blow switch for triggering my SLR. The way I hold my helmet for landing shots is with my left hand grabbing the face/eye opening of the helmet, and my right hand holding the video camera so I can ride the zoom lever. I found I couldn't grip the helmet firmly doing this and have a hand near the DSLR shutter, so this extra button is just the trick. I kept the Hypeye mini installed in case I need to put my HC-5 back into service as a second cam if I get fortunate enough to do some serious competition video again. Lights The smaller CX camera allowed me to build a new, more elegant flash bracket. This bracket also keeps the flash, and the weight of the batteries a little lower on the helmet. All I have to do is connect the extension cable to the hot shoe on the DSLR, and two thumbscrews to attach the flash and bracket. Honestly, one common need for a flash for me is when we are cramming to get all the tandems up before, and sometimes just a little after sunset. In these cases, I am typically turning every load, and don't have time to mess with anything complicated, so this quick attachment is important. Although the flash is also nice for high noon, solid overcast, and/or for dark-skinned tandem students. Additionally, I made a simple bracket for an LED light for possible video use. When I originally put the helmet together, I had an extra inch of top-plate in front that I could have cut off. But I looked at that and thought someday I might want to hang something off of it, so I drilled a series of holes in the top-plate and it only takes two thumbscrews to quickly attach the light. It will probably be under-powered for anything except very close up shots, but it is very light weight, and I'll be psyched to try it out. Impressions The original helmet set-up has served me extremely well for the past two seasons. It is compact, the weight is very well balanced, and it is easy to take cameras on and off when I need to. (Up until this year, we shot film for tandems, but I would swap out the film SLR for my DSLR for special students, or anything non-tandem.) I haven't jumped this new set-up yet, but I am obviously happy with the reduced weight of the basic two-camera set-up, and the fact that everything moved a little inboard. The flash bracket is lighter as well, and while the whole full-tilt boogie set-up is a little on the weighty side, it is as light and compact as I can imagine using all of these toys. I am a little disappointed in how narrow the stock lens on the CX150 is. The field of view on my HC-5 with a Raynox HD-5050Pro lens was wider than the CX150 with a Raynox HD-3035Pro lens. And I don't want to give up at least partial zoom capabilities. Plus I am going to have to get used to doing without a viewfinder. Not only are they easier to see in sunlight, but pushing the helmet against my head added stability to the hand-held shots when I was zoomed in.
  7. It depends on your rig. But for many rigs, clipping them to the hip rings can lead to rapid, dangerous wear on the webbing on your hip rings, and a less than easy quick disconnect if needed. I had to get all new lower leg straps after not too many jumps with the RSL ring connected to the hip ring. I would recommend using dedicated rings, or having them sewn on to your rig. I know Javelin will do this as a standard feature, but a qualified rigger can make this mod as well.
  8. Not really, and certainly not quickly. The quickest way would be to use an older TRV that has analog inputs, play the CX into those (signal degradation). But that would still be a real time capture, and would presumably happen before you even started editing. Sounds like a real kludged, slow process to me. I know the size and weight of a CX is an attraction, but they really don't lend themselves to the old analog editing set-ups. Either keep flying a DV camera, or move up to NLE.
  9. I agree on the old laptop or desktop option. If you don't need to be working out of a backpack (and even if you do with a notebook), I would just re-purpose an old computer for stuff like this. An outdated computer with no other real use will do this job with ease. And it's a good "recycling" use for an old computer. I might feel different if I was trekking in the Andes and wanted a back-up option that was small and light. But for regular use at a DZ? And you're driving there? Just sounds like gadgetry to me.
  10. I'd love to be at the tech bench when they get the job though: "He did what?" "He strapped it to a helmet on his head?" "Then he jumped out of a plane?" "Free-fell and then deployed a parachute?" "Then he just splashed down somewhere in the Caribbean?" "In salt water?" "And then he and the camera,... what, just went swimming for 20 or so minutes?" If there is any warranty left, I would just clean it up and send it in saying "I dunno, it just stopped working..." Worked for me once on a 20D that fell from 4K. It came back fixed with a slip that said, "replaced light box." I promptly sold it on e-bay. caveat emptor...
  11. Here's mine. It's a couple of years old, and I've since mounted a CX-150 and moved the DSLR a little further inboard. Will try to take/post pics when I get a free minute.
  12. Only if you want to keep your youth/strength/health. (Personally, I think your ill-advised to even add a camera at this point in your skydiving career.) One bad opening with an overweight camera helmet can give you an injury that you will have the rest of your life. Believe me (I know). And especially if you are planning on doing tandems some day, and hence, lots 'o jumps, I would be concerned. A lot of DZs won't accept GoPro quality for paying customers, but there is a big range between that and a full-sized DSLR. I know it is tempting to use the best stuff, but every bit of weight does matter, and I would be cautious of adding weight that doesn't add measurably to your product and does add to your risk.
  13. One major difference is much better auto-focus on the 7D. Plus I believe it is better protected from the weather. And I am not sure if the 600D has manual audio levels for video recording. 7D has higher flash sync too. Although I think the 600D adds remote triggering for external flashes, which is a cool feature (even if I haven't used it yet). FWIW, I have the 60D, and I love the articulated screen. Great for video, and it is nice to leave it closed (i.e., reversed) when the camera is being transported, or just hanging around my neck. It helps protect it from damage and scuffs. Of course, none of these things may matter for skydiving, and the higher weight of the 7D is a negative for jumping.
  14. Nice shot, but weird crop and aspect ratio. What are we supposed to be missing?
  15. I vaguely remember having that issue many years ago. But as I recall, there is some combination of connections that works on all Canon cameras. Basically, one lead when grounded focuses and/or adjusts exposure, the other lead fires the shutter. If you keep the first lead shunted to ground, it will constantly focus and/or set exposure. Fine, but it wears the battery down. But I thought if you tied these first two leads together constantly, and then connected them to the third momentarily when the switch is closed, it should work on all cams.
  16. Hey Ben. Unfortunately, good 2.5mm stereo plugs are hard to come by. Even Mouser doesn't offer much in the way of a quality plug. I typically use the Radio Shack plug (I think almost all RS stuff is available online), but it is a PITA to solder on to (don't drink coffee beforehand), and the plastic housing is huge and negates the size advantage of this small plug in the first place. In the past I have used it and soldered it carefully and covered it with heat-shrink tubing rather than the overly bulky housing it comes with. (P.S. Does RS ship to Guatemala?)
  17. You are right. Putting both on top "balances" the weight over the center of your spine. It is much better on your neck (my profile pic not withstanding)! Sometimes this happens, it depends on your cameras, lenses, and image stabilization (it might not show up on a static test on the ground). If you do see the SLR or its lens on video, you screwed up (it looks very amateurish).
  18. It is a very impressive machine. Too bad upgrading isn't possible with other computers. But don't tell that to my 3-year old Mac. Of course, it only has 8 cores of Xeon processor (it is 3 years old after all). But what started as one 320G HD has now morphed to 3 internals (500G, & 2 1TB drives with room for one more, plus tons of externals). What was once 2G RAM is now 10G (with 2 out of 8 slots still empty, and upgradable to 32G). What was originally a single PCI card feeding two monitors has morphed into two dual-head video cards (3 monitors on my desk, plus one feed to my 40-inch LCD in the living room). The other PCI slots have been populated by a HDMI card (blackmagic), and an external SATA card. One DVD burner has been upped to 2 burners. Of course out of the box there are multiple Firewire 400, Firewire 800 and USB 2.0 slots front and back; SP-DIF plus analog audio I/O; two Gigabit Ethernet ports; and it has always been a 64-bit machine. And if I wanted to, I could "upgrade" to a Windows OS... but who would want to? But seriously, I love hardware, and your machine look very cool. And if I ever desire to own a PC, I am sure it would be something like that! BTW, I totally agree with and follow the advice about multiple back-ups, and I love the eject-able hard drive option for archiving and off-site back-ups (I use one of these).
  19. I don't know iMovie either, but I do have an A1U (pro version of the HC-1) and FCP. Yes you can convert HD footage to SD over the firewire. I believe it is called "i.LINK CONV" (Sony calls Firewire "i.LINK") or "Down Convert.". The display should be something like "HDV->DV." And at least on FCP, if you are set to import footage as HD and you are feeding it SD, it will read the time code but not the footage I believe. So worth trying to make sure your import settings match what is coming out of the camera and change one or the other to match. The display of the camera should say when it is playing back either "HDV" or "DV"
  20. Amen. Tomorrow morning I am going to the Museum of WWII to video their semi-regular lecture series. All of the lectures (so far) are first person accounts of WWII (tomorrow's lecturer is Joseph Poshefko, USAF who served with the Flying Tigers starting in June of '41). Mostly U.S. vets, but occasional people from Germany, England and Belgium or occasional people from various civilian services. This is a pro-bono gig and I am always humbled and in awe in their presence. The scary thing is, we are having a harder and harder time finding suitable lecturers. It won't be long before these archives, books, etc, are all that are left of that era.
  21. A CX-110 or CX-150... while you still can (I just did)!
  22. I had heard of this but didn't really know what it did and was wary of messing with my camera's firmware. Now I'm tempted. It would be great to have zebra striping, and while my 60D does have manual audio levels, there is no on-screen audio meters while recording (as far as I know). Thanks for the link!