SteadicamJR setups for TRV900

Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 10:08:31 -0700
From: Carroll Lam 
I have used a SteadicamJR with my PC10 (and a PC7 before that) for several years and love the versatility it provides: "flying" shots; shoulder shots; and "under the arm" shots. Now that I've received my new DSR-PD100a, one of the first things I've done is set it up for operation on the JR. I thought I would share my setup with other TRV900/PD100 users to try if they have, or are considering acquiring a JR.


For both my tripod and SteadicamJR I use a Universal Tripod Quick Clamp ($54.40) and associated Video Camcorder Plate ($12.95) available from Perfected Photo Products (818/885-1315 - CA). These are extremely well-crafted pieces that not only provide quick release for moving the camcorder between the tripod and JR, but more importantly they allow fore and aft adjustment of the camcorder on the JR for better center-of-gravity (cg) control for various configurations of lenses and microphone. (Perfected Photo sells some other unique belt pouches and stuff - call and ask for a product brochure.)


I have achieved stability on the JR for four different PD100a configurations so far, all using the NPF550 battery. These are: the camcorder alone except for UV filter and a rubber lens hood, the camcorder and lens hood and a Sony ECM-MS908c shoe-mounted stereo mike; the camcorder with the supplied Sony wide-angle adapter with the Sony lens hood; and the camcorder with both the wide-angle adapter and stereo mike.


The JR has four major adjustments: the position at which the camcorder is mounted on the JR's platform; a stop block on the bottom jib for which there are three versions - "light", "medium", and "heavy"; several metal weights of different size that can be mounted in various configurations in the JR's battery case; and an adjustment screw on the gimbal mounting for fine adjustment of cg.

There are also adjustment screws controlling the longitudinal and lateral position of the camcorder, which are used "on-line" to fine tune the balance.

The use of the Perfected Photo mounting provides an additional variable (and actually required) amount of aft positioning of the camcorder.


The Perfected Photo tripod quick clamp is mounted at the rearmost center mounting hole on the JR's platform and the associated quick release plate mounted on the bottem of the camcorder using the tripod hole.

The position of the camcorder's plate relative to the JR-mounted quick release clamp is a variable used for changing the fore and aft balance of the JR for the different camcorder configurations. The convention used is as follows:

"1/3 back" means that the camcorder plate is rearward relative to the clamp such that 1/3 of the plate is being clamped.

"1/2 back" means that the camcorder plate is rearward relative to the clamp such that 1/2 of the plate is being clamped.


For all of the configurations the "heavy" stop block was installed. This lowers the bottom jib of the JR to its maximum leverage position.

The gimbal mounting screw was in the full "in" position for all configurations tested.

The JR comes with 1 small, 2 medium, and 2 large metal weights. The small fits crosswise at the inside top of the battery pack while there are two vertical slots between the batteries that can hold any combination of two weights.

For all the configurations except the "all up" combination of wide-angle adapter and external mike, the weights used could fit in the slots. For this combo I had to tape a couple of the weights to the outside bottom of the battery case.

As mentioned preceding, the NPF550 battery was used for all combinations.

				Mounting Plate		Weights

Camcorder only  		1/3 back		 None

Camcorder plus mike 	  	1/2 back		1 lg+1 med

Camcorder plus w/a	  	1/3 back		2 lg+1 med+1 sm*

Camcorder plus mike & w/a 	1/3 back		2 lg+2 med+1 sm**

	*  The medium weight was taped to outside of battery case.
	** The two large weights were taped to outside of battery case.
The "full up" combination of both mike and wide-angle adapter was marginally stable using only the JR's supplied weights. It could have probably used slightly more weight than those supplied.

While these combinations all work with the JR, they aren't for those with limp wrists and arms. Working in the "flying" mode will give your arm a good workout! I haven't tried John Cooksey's Steadicam tip of using one of the metal-reinforced wrist wraps used by bowlers to help keep the wrist straight, but I may now.

Carroll Lam

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