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Lightweight but sturdy super clamp?


kye

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On 1/24/2021 at 7:52 PM, kye said:

Balconies are designed so that drunk people partying will be stopped by the fence/railing when they trip or get shoved towards the railing.

This scenario closely approximates the stresses of the rig that @herein2020 and I propose -- a tripod lightly leaning against the rail (or not at all), but with the added safety of earth and/or a tag line.

 

In contrast, most of the clamping rigs presented in this thread are analogous to standing the drunk people on top of the rail -- precarious and generating stresses for which the rail was not designed.

 

Also, anyone who shoves someone (drunk or not) toward a balcony railing is way too reckless to be rigging anything higher than one meter above the ground.

 

 

On 1/24/2021 at 7:52 PM, kye said:

People who fall from balconies do so because they fall over the railing, not that the railing fails!

Yes, but (using your scenario) if you clamp someone standing to the top of the rail, the rail could fail and/or the person could fall.

 

 

On 1/24/2021 at 7:52 PM, kye said:

I'll take the structural integrity of something designed to hold up 100kg+ falling people over the structural integrity of an aluminium tripod with a rating of 10lb/5kg 🙂

I'd rather set a tripod on top of a balcony that is rated to hold 1000+ Kg, rather than clamp to a piece of glass that was designed to block people from moving laterally off of the balcony.

 

 

On 1/24/2021 at 7:52 PM, kye said:

Obviously it's important not to over-tighten the clamps, and also to ensure that the teeth or clamping surfaces aren't sharp in any way, which can easily be done by just putting a towel or t-shirt inside the clamp,

Oh boy...   I implore you never to rig anything above anyone's head.

 

 

On 1/24/2021 at 7:52 PM, kye said:

 I can also arrange to put a tether around it to catch the setup if the clamp fails, but the orientation I would set it up in would put the centre of mass on the balcony side of the railing so it would tip into the balcony rather than over it anyway.

A tag line is not intended to "catch" the rig if it falls -- it is intended to keep it from moving laterally so it doesn't fall.

 

Don't clamp anything to the rail that would create torsion or flex stress -- even if the CG is above the balcony (and especially if the rail is supported by a glass panel).

 

 

On 1/24/2021 at 7:57 PM, kye said:

This hook, which is designed to sit on top of a door, works because all the force is applied to one side of the door, and because the force from gravity is down, which keeps the hook securely on top of the door:

product_d_e_designstuff_yamazaki_hanger_

A balcony rail is not a door.

 

This "hook" is essentially 1/2 of a grip "trombone" or a Tota-mount.  Even though those two grip items are exceedingly more secure than your "hook," I wouldn't use either of them on a balcony rail -- especially if it were supported by a glass panel.

 

Furthermore, never use a single "hook" (such as the one pictured) with the CG above the "hook.

 

 

On 1/24/2021 at 7:57 PM, kye said:

Obviously the clamps we're talking about can easily rotate if kept loose, but I'm just saying that they don't need to be super tight because they're not fighting gravity, they're working with it.

Yeah... don't set up a rig that generates that kind of stress on a balcony rail above people.

 

 

On 1/25/2021 at 5:16 AM, kye said:

This picture clearly shows a guardrail that is oval in shape and waaaay larger than 2" in diameter:

image.png.4a50ebdc1cdc7de15369f85ba37018a1.png

A light-weight Space Clamp with a small ball head would work on the rail shown in the above Bevo football photo, and the same rig would also work on balcony rails, but clamping to balcony rails is really not the best option.

 

 

 

On 1/23/2021 at 2:27 AM, kye said:

half the battle is knowing the right terminology.

If you don't even know the names of the grip items, perhaps it would be best not to attempt a hazardous rig and just use a small, light tripod and a length of tag line.

 

I have an inexpensive tripod that weighs 0.75 Kg with it's ball head, and it extends to a height of 1.43 meters.  Another advantage of employing a tripod is that you can use it to get other steady shots during your travels.

 

 

 

On 1/24/2021 at 1:22 PM, herein2020 said:

I go out of my way not to attach anything to anything I don't own if at all possible

This is basically the creed of most professional grips and most professional set electricians.  It prevents damage and injury and avoids  liability.    Non-professionals would do well to heed this fundamental guideline.

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This is a pretty cool small solution - a clamp with the platform adapter and a ball head. https://digital-photography-school.com/manfrotto-super-clamp/

I feel your pain, I travel a lot and wind up carrying more support gear than needed, and something like a gorillapod just isn't very solid. I recently sold my 1kg Siuri CF travel tripod for larger, more sturdy setup that I can add a flat base video head to - and at times I really wish I would have kept the smaller one as well. So now I'm looking for another LOL!

Chris

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2 hours ago, Trek of Joy said:

This is a pretty cool small solution - a clamp with the platform adapter and a ball head. https://digital-photography-school.com/manfrotto-super-clamp/

I feel your pain, I travel a lot and wind up carrying more support gear than needed, and something like a gorillapod just isn't very solid. I recently sold my 1kg Siuri CF travel tripod for larger, more sturdy setup that I can add a flat base video head to - and at times I really wish I would have kept the smaller one as well. So now I'm looking for another LOL!

Chris

This is exactly how I mount for most of my remote camera work. Add a safety lanyard to the camera strap holder, super clamp etc just in case that super clamp get loose for whatever reason. The critical part is when mounting and dismounting as if something fall it can injure. Normally I prepare all in the ground, fix the lanyard first and then mount so that nothing can accidentally fall.
You should also check the insurance, here in stadium if you don't have a professional insurance you cannot mount anything anywhere (rightly so).

Again in all top league hockey in the world we mount the camera in the goal with a single super clamp, it never happen to me that it did come completely loose.... and yes goaltender hits it, puck hits it, the whole goal is moved out some time..

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8 hours ago, Trek of Joy said:

This is a pretty cool small solution - a clamp with the platform adapter and a ball head. https://digital-photography-school.com/manfrotto-super-clamp/

I feel your pain, I travel a lot and wind up carrying more support gear than needed, and something like a gorillapod just isn't very solid. I recently sold my 1kg Siuri CF travel tripod for larger, more sturdy setup that I can add a flat base video head to - and at times I really wish I would have kept the smaller one as well. So now I'm looking for another LOL!

Chris

Thanks Chris - yes, I think I will just have to accept defeat and go with a small consumer solution like that.  There were a few others previously mentioned that had slightly better geometry for me, but I think that's the general idea.  

I'll be running the risk I can't mount it to whatever they have if it's slightly larger in diameter, but I guess having a clamp that's slightly bigger teleports me to a different universe where people think I'll be destroying the universe if I mount an action camera on a sheet of drunk-person-proof and gale-force-wind-proof toughened glass!

I also saw some magnetic mounts that looked interesting too, so they might be worth a second look.

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On 2/5/2021 at 8:50 AM, Trek of Joy said:

This is a pretty cool small solution - a clamp with the platform adapter and a ball head. https://digital-photography-school.com/manfrotto-super-clamp/

Thanks for the link, but the article demonstrates everything that one shouldn't do when rigging on a balcony.

 

Nothing is safety'd, so that fact alone makes the rigs hazardous.

 

Also, the reviewed clamp happens to be a strong cam-action clamp -- they can generate enormous clamping power that can crunch through soft/brittle materials and tubing.  Only use Super/Mafer style clamps on solid metal, pipes with a minimum schedule 40 wall thickness or solid wood (be aware that these clamps can leave jaw indentations in wood).

 

Also, the article shows this:

joey-j-super_clamp_action_02.jpg

There is so much wrong with what is happening in this photo that it is difficult to know where to begin.  There is no safety line. The rig's CG is off-axis which suspends most of it's weight precariously beyond the "rail's" edge, and which puts flex stress on a small, local area of the glass.

 

However, the big doosie is that a cam-action clamp that generates huge clamping pressure is tightened onto a sheet of tempered glass.  NEVER DO THAT!

 

Glass (and particularly tempered glass) isn't very stable/reliable when subjected to stresses, especially if more than one stress is applied to it simultaneously and/or if one of the stresses is focused on a small local area.  If the above clamp is reefed down to set up powerful, unseen stress on the glass and if there is any imperfection in the glass, the pane(s) could shatter if someone merely hits the pane with their wedding ring.

 

Here's what a little tap can do to unstressed tempered glass.

 

Here's what mere flex stress can do to tempered glass.

 

Here's a short primer on what can cause glass to inexplicably shatter (which happens occasionally).

 

Never rig to glass at a location, especially if it is on a balcony!

 

 

On 2/5/2021 at 5:17 PM, kye said:

I'll be running the risk I can't mount it to whatever they have if it's slightly larger in diameter, but I guess having a clamp that's slightly bigger teleports me to a different universe where people think I'll be destroying the universe if I mount an action camera on a sheet of drunk-person-proof and gale-force-wind-proof toughened glass!

No.  It's not the size of the clamp.  In fact, if I was forced to mount a camera on a balcony rail of unknown width, I would likely bring a large (relatively light weight) Space Clamp and plan on at least one tag line, with a bailing wire run between the different rig items.

 

The main point is to avoid altogether rigging to a balcony rail.  Again, If one doesn't know enough about rigging to even know the names of the grip items, it is probably a really good idea for one not to attempt any rig on a balcony that could pose a hazard and/or possibly cause property damage.

 

Rigging items small or large to a glass balustrade on a balcony hugely complicates the risk.  You could have the lightest action cam mounted with a Super Clamp, and that Super Clamp could still crunch right through that tempered glass, or the clamp set up stresses that cause the glass to shatter at an imperfection when someone lightly bumps the pane with a chair.

 

Mount your camera on balcony rail at your own peril, or, more accurately, at the peril of those who venture below your rig.

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16 hours ago, tupp said:

There is so much wrong with what is happening in this photo that it is difficult to know where to begin.  There is no safety line. The rig's CG is off-axis which suspends most of it's weight precariously beyond the "rail's" edge, and which puts flex stress on a small, local area of the glass.

A few thoughts:

  • I try to always be respectful of items (regardless of if they're mine or not) and clamping force would be something I'd be very aware of, both for the possibility of breaking something and also leaving teeth-marks on things
    (as an aside, when I was young I bought a second-hand car that had the options pack which included a leather steering-wheel, and I took it somewhere once and I think they had clamped a clipboard to the steering wheel because it had little chew-marks in the leather at top dead-centre of the wheel..  I saw it every time I drove the car and it made me so mad that they'd damage my car like that!)
  • My inclination would be to apply as little clamping force as possible - sufficient to make sure it wouldn't fall, and I'd always try to use sufficient padding to ensure there wasn't a grain of sand or something concentrating the force (thus my comment earlier that you were very critical of)
  • I would also try to put the centre of gravity on the inside of the railing so that should anything fall it would be towards safety instead of towards other people's heads, but I can understand the concept of centering it to eliminate torsion
  • In terms of a safety line, any tips on something that's easy and practical?  fishing line tied to a chair perhaps, or a bottle filled with water? or something else?
  • be careful being critical about people knowing or not knowing the terminology of something - I may not know the terminology of clamps, but I have postgraduate level physics and math, and it seems to me that this is a physics problem, not a "I can name all the clamps" problem
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On 2/9/2021 at 7:02 PM, kye said:

I try to always be respectful of items (regardless of if they're mine or not) and clamping force would be something I'd be very aware of, both for the possibility of breaking something and also leaving teeth-marks on things

[snip]

My inclination would be to apply as little clamping force as possible - sufficient to make sure it wouldn't fall,

A Super/Mafer clamp is like a mini hydraulic press.  As I mentioned above, it can crunch through many items/materials that other clamps cannot.  Due the heightened leverage involved, clueless folks tightening that type of cam-action clamp have damaged and ruined location pieces and caused material failure resulting in accidents.

 

If one has no experience with such clamps, one should avoid them.

 

Clamps should almost always be tightened to be firm -- not just "sufficient to make sure they won't fall."

 

 

On 2/9/2021 at 7:02 PM, kye said:

I would also try to put the centre of gravity on the inside of the railing so that should anything fall it would be towards safety instead of towards other people's heads

That might seem like a good idea, but the torsion stress makes such an offset rig precarious and sets it up for failure, which is undesirable and unsafe -- even if the CG is inside the balcony.

 

In addition, with such positioning, the grip items might creep into the bottom of the frame.

 

 

On 2/9/2021 at 7:02 PM, kye said:

In terms of a safety line, any tips on something that's easy and practical?  fishing line tied to a chair perhaps, or a bottle filled with water? or something else?

Do not use fishing line.  Use something with a high enough test strength that holds knots well.  If you can tie a bowline and a clove hitch, you are good.  Extra points if you can tie a trucker's hitch, which is very useful for tag lines.

 

In regards to pick points, the more solid they are, the better.   A chair is probably not good for the balcony scenario, unless it is very heavy... likewise with a water bottle.  I would first look for pick points that are part of the building structure.  They need to be significantly inside from the edge of the balcony, and the higher up, the better.  Sometimes two pick points are necessary if there is not one far enough inside.

 

On a balcony the primary safety should be a tag/guy line that prevents a rig from going over the rail -- not a safety cable that "catches" the rig if it falls (as you suggested).  Of course, using a safety cable in addition to a tag line is good practice.

 

 

On 2/9/2021 at 7:02 PM, kye said:

be careful being critical about people knowing or not knowing the terminology of something - I may not know the terminology of clamps, but I have postgraduate level physics and math, and it seems to me that this is a physics problem, not a "I can name all the clamps" problem

Actually, the clueless and uninitiated need to "be careful," especially when they contemplate rigging anything at altitude (which they should generally avoid).

 

It is misguided and dangerous to think that rigging a camera on a balcony rail is a "physics problem" or that doing so somehow involves "math."  If one has to calculate the stress tolerances of location items, such an endeavor should be abandoned.  As Murphy's Law suggests, failure is often more probable than one anticipates -- especially for a cocksure newbie.  Additionally, the odds of failure are compounded by all of the unknown variables one encounters at a location.

 

What one really needs when rigging at altitude on location is a strong sense of safety, along with a good deal of experience in anticipating and preventing/avoiding the various failures possible.  Such qualities are often found in grips and set electricians who have been around the block a few times.

 

If one doesn't have the proper sense of safety nor rigging experience, it is best to avoid rigging a camera to a balcony rail.

 

However, speaking of physics, I would like to reiterate that the physical properties of tempered glass are complex and that clamping to glass should never be attempted.

 

Here is a lecture on breaking glass cued to the start of the section on tempered glass. Note that the lecturer states that if one tries to modify tempered glass in the slightest, "fun things will happen!"

 

Tempered glass is primed to explode into little pieces.  As shown in my above links above, strong flex stress or a tiny tap in the right spot can shatter tempered glass.   Here is another video showing that tempered glass can take strong, broad impacts, but a local tap can cause it to shatter.  In addition, the risk of shattering is exacerbated by any tiny damage or imperfection in the glass or by any stress added by a rig/clamp.

 

Here is a closeup of the stress on a block of glass generated by a C-clamp, in a photo taken with a polarimeter setup:

pol_4603A-sm.jpg

As more force is applied, the stresses increase.

 

Here is a similar image showing stress lines on a clear block of plastic that deforms more easily than glass:

Figure_28_08_14a.jpg

 

These stresses are not visible when one tightens a Super/Mafer clamp onto a glass balustrade.

 

So, although a drunk person falling on a glass balustrade might not be a problem, a tiny impact and/or clamping force on a local spot of the glass might cause that balustrade to shatter.  That could ruin one's day.

 

I have the benefit of years of experience as a member of an IA studio mechanics local working a set electrician and as a grip.  If a new guy joined the crew and announced that they had postgraduate level physics and math, they would start out huffing cable, sandbags and carts just like every other newbie.  The sense of safety, rigging techniques and set protocols has to be developed.

 

In the meantime, don't put towels or t-shirts inside overhead clamps, always use a substantial tag line (with solid pick points) on a balcony rig, and avoid attaching anything to location structures...  oh, and never clamp to glass!

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@tupp I give up.

You obviously think that working for years and learning the names of all the clamps is required for anyone to exercise any judgement or awareness of safety and that I'm an idiot because I think I might know things when I can't because I've never worked as a grip or learned the names of the clamps.

I wonder how much you could possibly know (beyond knowing the names of the clamps) if you fail to understand that the universe is literally maths and physics, and I'm also wondering why you haven't come up with literally thousands of photos of those little camera clamps sitting in the middle of piles of shattered glass - there are no shortage of images of people using them that way.

I could debate this forever, but your method of assessing judgement or practical ability seems to be one-dimensional and I don't fit that narrow definition, and am never going to because I don't aspire to the same career path as yours, so how about this:

  • you have fulfilled your legal and ethical duty to tell me (and anyone else reading this thread henceforth) to never even look at tempered glass until I am the god of all grips (and can name all the clamps), and
  • I will go ahead and use the judgement I have and when it all inevitably comes crashing down just like you have predicted I will not hold you responsible.
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54 minutes ago, kye said:

 I give up.

If you are giving up on reckless, dangerous rigging, that's wonderful!

 

 

57 minutes ago, kye said:

You obviously think that working for years and learning the names of all the clamps is required for anyone to exercise any judgement or awareness of safety and that I'm an idiot because I think I might know things when I can't because I've never worked as a grip or learned the names of the clamps.

No, years of experience is not required.  One can learn  from others who have experience -- that is a smart way to begin.

 

I don't think you are an idiot, but some of your notions hint at minimal rigging experience.  Additionally, not knowing the names of common grip items also indicates limited familiarity with such gear.

 

Of course, your OP asked which clamp should be used for your purpose, so, by default, you seem to lack the knowledge/experience on the proper grip items to use.

 

I have some grip experience and a fairly solid sense of safety.  I along with another poster have suggested a safe, easy and lightweight way to get your balcony time-lapse shot, plus you could utilize the same gear to stabilize shots in other parts of your travels, to boot!

 

 

1 hour ago, kye said:

I wonder how much you could possibly know (beyond knowing the names of the clamps) if you fail to understand that the universe is literally maths and physics,

If you really think that one uses math and "physics" to rig a camera on a balcony, implore you not to clamp anything to the rail.

 

 

1 hour ago, kye said:

I'm also wondering why you haven't come up with literally thousands of photos of those little camera clamps sitting in the middle of piles of shattered glass - there are no shortage of images of people using them that way.

I do not know of any instances in which a camera rig clamped to a glass balustrade has failed, but I know that clamping to tempered glass can shatter it, and that would be especially dangerous on a balcony.

 

Furthermore, I have seen plate glass installed at a location accidentally shattered, with a crew member going consequently going to an emergency room.  In addition, an acquaintance was involved in a balcony rig that fell an killed someone at an event.  Trust me -- accidents like those can ruin your day.

 

In regards to the number of folks mounting a camera to glass balustrades with a clamp, I will have to take your word that there is "no shortage of images of people using them that way.  However, if there is no shortage of such pictures, it begs the question:  "why would post a query here if you were aware of all of those solutions?"

 

 

2 hours ago, kye said:

I could debate this forever, but your method of assessing judgement or practical ability seems to be one-dimensional and I don't fit that narrow definition, and am never going to because I don't aspire to the same career path as yours, so how about this:

  • you have fulfilled your legal and ethical duty to tell me (and anyone else reading this thread henceforth) to never even look at tempered glass until I am the god of all grips (and can name all the clamps), and
  • I will go ahead and use the judgement I have and when it all inevitably comes crashing down just like you have predicted I will not hold you responsible.

You asked for a solution.  I and another poster have pointed out safety issues and given you an easy, versatile, inexpensive and safe solution.  The rest is up to you.

 

 

1 hour ago, mercer said:

I hope the waitress had a ground guy with a tag line as she placed the tray on that glass...

I feel bad for the ants on the ground with the amount of localized pressure on that glass.

Well, hopefully the hollow plastic ice cream cone won't land on one of the ants.

 

My recollection of actual car hop trays hooked over the door (they didn't hang off of the window glass):

 

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