Saturday, June 2, 2012

More Steadicam: the JR

The goodies I ordered came in so I spent the evening playing with my Steadicam JR.  The first order of business was a little clean up.  It had been stored in it’s camera bag for several years.  I removed the Ricoh R-808H Hi8 camcorder that was on my JR when I bought it used from a friend who used to work for what was at the time one of the best local mom & pop camera shops around.  Sadly, those are now a thing of the past.  Or so it would seem.  So is this camcorder.  It’s so old that the only thing I can find spending just a couple of minutes Googling the make and model are a ton of sites selling replacement batteries. 

After replacing the cork and cleaning up the connections in both battery compartments it was on to the tough part.

Mounting and balancing a camera on a Steadycam JR is not easy!

To work properly all Steadicam systems need to be properly balanced.  My rig came pre-balanced since I bought it used.  Mounting my fairly new to me Sony DCR-TRV310 NTSC camcorder was more of a challenge than I expected!  It took most of the evening to get everything to work together to the point where the camera actually floats the way it is supposed to.  But I finally got it.

Even this camera is old.  According to they first offered it on September 4, 1999.  Right about the time the Moon was supposed to have been blown out of Earth orbit according to the timeline from the even older TV show Space 1999.  Both the “new” camera I just mounted on it and the Steadicam JR itself are discontinued by their manufacturers.  I don’t really mind not having the absolutely newest gizmo on the block.  This camcorder works better than the one it’s replacing and the JR still works.  Even it’s monitor still works after sitting unused for so many years.

Digging around in the JR’s camera bag I came across an unopened regular 8 video tape that works in the Sony camera even though it really wants Hi8 or maybe Digital 8 tapes if such a thing even exists.  The camera came with two Hi-8 tapes from the yard sale I got it at.  It was actually free since they didn’t have a charger for the batteries.  I bought one through Amazon that does the trick quite nicely.  So with a charged battery and a fresh tape it was finally time to play.  Most of what I shot tonight consisted of fine-tuning and testing.  I did a little flying just to get back in the swing of it.  I didn’t actually shoot anything I’d be inclined to share.  But I did prove to myself that the “new” camera works mounted to my Steadicam JR.

To give you a better sense of what the JR is all about here’s an extended clip from the video that came with these rigs.  Enjoy!

I will post some video I shot myself with this rig eventually.  As soon as I have something worth sharing…

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