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    camera riser questions
    #1
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    Greetings forum users,

    I'm shooting a scene that requires "dolly" creeps straight into an object on a table. We'll be using a dana dolly slider but will need a riser to avoid having the track in shot.

    The example in this proaim video looks like it'd buy enough space - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2W9ujecveo



    Is there anything else to think about when choosing riser height? I'm assuming when using a slider, once a riser gets to a certain height, camera sway would be more of a concern and the slider is perhaps the wrong tool?

    Re 6" products, dana dolly's riser is cheaper than proaim's, so I'm hoping I can go the DD path:
    - https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...ser_plate.html
    - https://www.proaim.com/products/proa...l-camera-riser

    Also, is capacity the only reason you wouldn't use the height adjustable 13-22" riser? Otherwise, why would you use the 16" (and probably 12")?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by rob norton; 03-01-2021 at 03:47 PM.


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    Senior Member Grug's Avatar
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    After looking for EXACTLY this (but for 100mm bowls) for probably the last 8 years, I finally found one - CVP sell a 50cm riser unit made by "Hague", and it works a treat for this kind of thing.

    A Dana Dolly with Mitchell Risers is definitely a more stable and versatile option though (over a slider + bowl-based riser). I'd definitely get the height-adjustable version personally (assuming you're not going to be putting a 10x zoom on top of it).


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    #3
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    Thanks Mark, I'll have a look. Do you think 6" is even worth it? Just wondering if I can cheap out this time and buy the taller riser at a later date..


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    Senior Member Grug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob norton View Post
    Thanks Mark, I'll have a look. Do you think 6" is even worth it? Just wondering if I can cheap out this time and buy the taller riser at a later date..
    6” definitely isn’t worth it (for this purpose at least - hiding slider rails). I’ve found that having 50cm is very useful though - on 4’ rails, it’s high enough to use a 14mm lens on FF and not see the rails on the ground.

    The telescoping riser is what I’d ideally like to have. But I’ve been unable to source one of the Mitchell adapter plates Cinevate used to make for their Atlas sliders - I may just get one custom-built.


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    I bought the 6" Dana Dolly riser and used it for the first time on a job last month.

    Whether it's enough for your purposes will depend on focal length and how long your track is, of course. For me, I'm often using 4-6 feet on the Dana, and it let me go to a 25mm lens instead of a 35mm lens for a particular shot. For me, that significantly increases the utility of the dana dolly and therefore was worth it.

    That said, you definitely get more camera sway-- it's a very sturdy riser, but the center of gravity is higher. So whether or not you use a riser on the Dana dolly will also be affected by things like whether you're also actively panning/tilting, how balanced the load on top is, etc. (And you'll probably want to be sure to add weight to the dolly platform as well.)

    I have not used proaim's risers. While the extra height is very appealing, I'd be concerned that the stability would be worse. My current thinking is that, if I need to raise the camera position much more than 6" above the platform, a Dana dolly is probably not the ideal tool. That said: if you don't need any camera movement in addition to the dolly slide, and if you have a better grip/operator than me (which you almost definitely will!), than you probably can get a usable shot in a lot of circumstances.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Grug View Post
    6” definitely isn’t worth it (for this purpose at least - hiding slider rails). I’ve found that having 50cm is very useful though - on 4’ rails, it’s high enough to use a 14mm lens on FF and not see the rails on the ground.

    The telescoping riser is what I’d ideally like to have. But I’ve been unable to source one of the Mitchell adapter plates Cinevate used to make for their Atlas sliders - I may just get one custom-built.
    Thanks again, I think I still need to do some tests. The shot is now an object on the ground rather than table. I'm toying with the idea of a ronin rs 2 hard mounted to boxes strapped to the slider platform.

    Quote Originally Posted by M Harvey View Post
    I bought the 6" Dana Dolly riser and used it for the first time on a job last month.

    Whether it's enough for your purposes will depend on focal length and how long your track is, of course. For me, I'm often using 4-6 feet on the Dana, and it let me go to a 25mm lens instead of a 35mm lens for a particular shot. For me, that significantly increases the utility of the dana dolly and therefore was worth it.

    That said, you definitely get more camera sway-- it's a very sturdy riser, but the center of gravity is higher. So whether or not you use a riser on the Dana dolly will also be affected by things like whether you're also actively panning/tilting, how balanced the load on top is, etc. (And you'll probably want to be sure to add weight to the dolly platform as well.)

    I have not used proaim's risers. While the extra height is very appealing, I'd be concerned that the stability would be worse. My current thinking is that, if I need to raise the camera position much more than 6" above the platform, a Dana dolly is probably not the ideal tool. That said: if you don't need any camera movement in addition to the dolly slide, and if you have a better grip/operator than me (which you almost definitely will!), than you probably can get a usable shot in a lot of circumstances.
    thanks M. Yeah, I think it'd be about hitting a ceiling with what the dana dolly is capable of. Perhaps the taller riser can offer slow, straight on push-ins with no panning/tilting. For anything more complex would mean looking into a different way to achieve the shot.

    This is one of those tricky items where it's difficult to rent and a bit more of a gamble to purchase.


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    #7
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    As the camera rises the centre of mass rises causing instability.
    This can be battled by laying a couple of sand bags on the carriage or if you are more tricky mounting them on the carriage underside below the rails


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    Senior Member paulears's Avatar
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    There’s a difference between movement and instability. A very tall riser isnt unstable, it just moves. Thinner ones introduce twist, but 3 or 4 chord types are usually very rigid. The problem is simply the changes in perpendicular angle caused by the three or four contacts with the floor or track moving up or down. The height to the top multiplies the movement on the lever principle. The distance from the wheel to the support centre compared to the height of the centre above the wheel. 5mm floor rise could generate a left movement at the camera height of maybe 30mm, which can be very noticeable. I hate it when we use studio pads high. Often floor imperfections from layers of paint become problems, as do of course wheel flats. Chest height or below makes my camerawork look much better.


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    #9
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    I think I came up with a workaround - no risers purchased! Everyone will have to wait a couple of weeks until I can share the results.


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    I had a somewhat related dual-problem on my hands a while back ago.

    The only tripod head I had was an Oconnor 1030B with sticks that were a foot too short for what I needed. The camera package was also only about 5 pounds, which is hard to get counterbalanced on that head. So, knowing that height effected how much the tripod "feels" the camera, I built a 12 inch riser out of two of these: https://store.zacuto.com/zwiss-cage-plate/ (plus four 12 inch rods). Putting that between the tripod and the camera made it counterbalance easier and it gave me the height I needed. (And it is reusable for a ton of other things, and it broke down very small.)

    If two of those plates aren't sturdy enough, you could probably use 3 or 4, plus higher quality rods (like Bright Tangerine's Drumstix.) It might not work at all for your application, but I just thought I'd bring it up.


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