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Ronin in Helicopter - best practice
5365 9 2014-12-10
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sam
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United States
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Hi I'm new to this forum - maybe some kind people can help me out? I'd love to hear from anyone who's successfully used the Ronin in full sized Helicopters.

I've had my Ronin for about 3 months now and it's a great device, but I'm still trying to work out some of the wrinkles.

One of my reasons for buying the ronin was to film out of helicopters for architectural films. Usually we'd shoot with a mounted gimbal like the Cineflex, but for lower budget productions the Ronin seemed like a good solution. Obviously it's not designed to have the same performance as a 5 axis $300K gimbal (the price is a hint), but it should be a good option if shorter focal length lenses are used.

We've done 2 test flights now, one in an R44, and one in a largerBell 407 over NYC.

Our setup:
RED Scarlet 4K
Canon 24-105 stabilized lens
Terradek Bolt wireless tranmitter.
2nd operator with wireless monitor and Ronin controller.

The Ronin was inverted, so that the top handle rested across the operator's knees.
Ronin settings: Controller speed: 15 on all axes, so that movements of the controller created subtle movements for tracking building on the ground.
Everything balanced well, system calibrated etc.

Results:

The Ronin is a little tight especially in the smaller chopper. I'd love to get a slightly shorter top rod(?), as we don't need a full 180 degree movement. I could probably find something equivalent, especially as weight is less of an issue inverted.

The good news: The 2nd operator was able to control the gimbal pretty well. With a little practice they can frame up a point on the ground, and the Ronin will track pretty well. It's much better than handheld or the passive gyro systems (eg tyler mini gyro).

The not so good:

The unit tends to loose horizon, but I understand this is due to lack of gps (it uses acceromenters and gyros to figure out which way is 'up'), but this can be corrected by the operator.

I'm still seeing a lot of vibration in the image, especially at focal lengths more than 50mm. The vibration translates into rolling shutter (jello) on the Scarlet, which is almost impossible to fix in post. Interestingly the amount seems to vary depending on the position of the gimbal. It's worse when the chopper is flying fast. This may partly be due to slipstream, and partly higher vibration from the engine. But even at slower speeds its always there to some degree.

I really have high hopes for the Ronin (excuse the pun), but currently a lot of the footage is unusable.

Questions:

Is there anything that we can do to improve the vibration resistance of the unit. The gimbal is correctly balanced, but I'm wondering if suspending it using bungees might help dampen vibration?

Is the IS in the lens helping or hindering? - I thought it might help to dampen out the last few micro vibrations, but if anything it seems to be adding to the jello. Has anyone found any lenses with better IS that are more suited to video?

Is the unit less effective inverted? Would we see better results with it upright? If so, what would be a good configuration to allow the unit to 'rest' on an operator's knees or the seat?

Are there any recommendations for settings that would help the 2nd operator better control the gimbal. Despite having scanned the forum and manual, I'm still yet to find a clear explanation of how the acceleration and smoothing settings work. For example, if I set the pan speed very slow (eg 10), and the acceleration very high, will the unit allow a speed above 10 if it receives a big input? The answer seems to be yes.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'd be happy to share my experiences with anyone out there. I'll also post some footage on vimeo.

Sam




2014-12-10
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CoptertsEU
lvl.1

Bulgaria
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DJI Ronin is the best camera gimbal for helicopters!

Check this out - http://copters.eu/15-cameras-and-gimbals
2015-1-21
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sfaulk
lvl.2
Flight distance : 956535 ft
United States
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I'd turn off IS. IS can't keep up with vibration.
2015-2-2
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quin
lvl.1
United States
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Hi Sam,
I also am looking at using it in an R44, did you get any useful feedback on this thread? I have sat in the machine to test room and the bar is too long really. Did you have any success replacing it with a shorter one.
Thanks
Quin
2015-2-17
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samrwalker
lvl.1

United States
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Hey Sam,

I've been shooting out the R44 and suspending my Ronin with bungee cords. The footage has been fantastic.


2015-2-17
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ryanlightvideos
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United States
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I would have reservations about using the 24-105 since is not an internal zoom lens. That might have been the problem. It wouldn't take much of a shift in the lens weight to unbalance the gimbal. Did you try it with any primes lens?
2015-3-31
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martyn
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New Zealand
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samrwalker Posted at 2015-2-18 01:54
Hey Sam,

I've been shooting out the R44 and suspending my Ronin with bungee cords. The footage has ...

i assume you attached the bungee to the r44, do you have a pic of how you did that?
2015-4-21
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scooterlam
Second Officer
Flight distance : 4626 ft
United States
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samrwalker Posted at 2015-2-18 01:54
Hey Sam,

I've been shooting out the R44 and suspending my Ronin with bungee cords. The footage has ...

Great stuff Sam. Is this for Equinox Gyms? I love their shorts they do. Are you working with Mike Rosenthal on this one?

I've been wanting to take my Red and ronin up in a chopper but curious how I would support the load for 30+ mins. Some people have suggested resting it on my knees via the handles. Where are you suspending the bungees from?
2015-4-28
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gr8pics
First Officer
Flight distance : 4923904 ft
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Norway
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scooterlam Posted at 2015-4-29 00:49
Great stuff Sam. Is this for Equinox Gyms? I love their shorts they do. Are you working with Mike  ...

An interesting thread, i would like to know more about this too...
Did everyone just abandoned the thread with no further help or advice?
2015-8-1
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gr8pics
First Officer
Flight distance : 4923904 ft
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Norway
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CoptertsEU Posted at 2015-1-21 16:12
DJI Ronin is the best camera gimbal for helicopters!

Check this out - http://copters.eu/15-cameras ...

Most ignorant spam comment ive heard...
2015-8-1
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