Safety tips on the Toad in the Hole system

Discussion in 'MōVI M15' started by Kurt Wallrath, Mar 1, 2016.

  1. Kurt Wallrath

    Kurt Wallrath Member

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    So I've had several near disasters with the Toad in the Hole system. I'd like to share the safety tips I've learned in hopes you don't actually drop the gimbal while thinking it's secure.

    1. When fastening the handle bars into the gimbal portion of the MoVI via the toad in the hole, hold the gimbal with one hand and while holding the handle bars with your other hand, push the handle bars down into the MoVI. Don't try to lift the gimbal into the handle bars. If the gimbal is too heavy for you to hold, have some hold it while you lower the handle bars into the gimbal.*

    2. Make sure you here a loud click or double click. This means both the "pins" (I'm not sure if this is the correct terminology) have engaged and are supporting the weight of the MoVI. It's possible for only one pin to engage, which will support the gimbals weight but will fail to support the gimbal during heavy side-side movement or rattling.

    3. Confirm the Toad in the Hole has engaged. With one hand under the pan arm (to catch the gimbal in case it drops) and before closing the safety latch on the Toad in the Hole, violently jiggle the MoVI up and down AND side to side. The side to side jiggling is where I've seen the gimbal fall. I believe when only 1 pin engages, it allows the Toad (male piece) to slowly push back the 1 registered pin until the system fails and the gimbal drops.

    *when working with a jib or other similar set up, unfortunately, you won't be able to lower the Toad into the Hole so you just need to try and put the Toad as vertically as possible into the Hole. However, step 3 should confirm whether the Toad has securely engaged into the Hole.

    4. This step is probably overkill, but once I've confirmed the Toad has securely clicked into the Hole and I've closed the safety latch, I use a thin piece of gaff tape to tape the latch shut. This is my safety so no one accidentally releases the safety.

    If I were to help develop a Toad in the Hole 2.0, it would be more like an upside down hot/cold shoe. This way if something fails, you have the metal clips on both sides supporting the weight and the gimbal doesn't fall.
     
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  2. Brett Harrison

    Brett Harrison Active Member

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    Good tips Kurt but I think about the TIH a bit differently. I think the safety is the two internal latches, and the clip is the primary fastener. If you're clipped in, you're in and having the latch undone won't mean the gimbal falls. Conversely you can have the safety disengaged with the TIH fastened and it will stay together due to friction (though it can work free perhaps).

    I do agree however that it's possible to not clip it correctly if one isn't paying close attention which is why I think it's important to test it, like you say, before fastening the TIH.
     
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  3. Brett Harrison

    Brett Harrison Active Member

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    For really intensive usage I run a tether as a backup, though I've never seen a TIH fail if it's latched correctly; they're incredibly robust.
     
  4. Adam Brennan

    Adam Brennan Member

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    I've dropped my camera and busted my lens in the past. I made small marks where I can visually see the two dots touching so I know it's connected.
     
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  5. jim mundell

    jim mundell Member

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    I thought I was the only one. It has fallen out twice on me. I think I might have touched the release buttons a bit while pushing things together the one time. The other time no idea. Has worked well since. Luckily it hasn't come out during shooting just during setup and that i caught it before hitting ground.
    Also think the latch is to keep it from rotating mostly. If it does lock it in then no idea why it fell out twice since the latch was in the lock position.
    I do wish there was a way to safety the movi to the handles without affecting the balance. I mean the cables to monitor act that way but we do a lot of Movi on Jib and Movi on moving car and use a wireless video system and no cables to act as safety. And sometimes need 360 rotation.
     
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  6. Jason Comparetto

    Jason Comparetto Active Member

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    I have seen this issue come up in the forums quite a few times since the beginning of the Toad invention. The Toad is generally very robust and quite convenient, but I'm glad someone put together some safety tips on how to use it reliably.

    Adam's suggestion is a good idea for them to integrate in a Version 2. Like visual markers to indicate its 100% secured.
     
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  7. Brett Harrison

    Brett Harrison Active Member

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    Visual indication of lock is a great idea. You can get a click out of it that's not a full click which is inconvenient to say the least - that's why you should test the lock before fastening.

    As an experiment, try not locking it but fastening the latch: the fastener immobilises and retains connection under a normal load. This is part of the trap and where most of the accidents happen under the assumption of a lock.
     
  8. Brett Harrison

    Brett Harrison Active Member

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    It's possible to have a tether that lets you do a bit more than 360, made of very light cord, check with your grip for such items.

    I've heard a situation where an M15 collided at height and the tether was attached to the CF dual posts so it didn't work to save the camera. Best to attach the tether to the camera directly.
     
  9. Kurt Wallrath

    Kurt Wallrath Member

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    I was thinking of something similar, Brett. Like maybe some deep sea fishing line that can support 20-30 lbs and not hinder the movement of MoVI. I've tried some grip safety chains before and even the smaller ones can fight the pan motor on the MoVI. I looped it through one of the MR mounting points near the pan motor though.
     
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  10. Brett Harrison

    Brett Harrison Active Member

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    Fishing line is a great idea!

    The material I use is paracord about the thickness of a lightweight SDI cable, and just about as flexible. You can then loom it to the video cable. With enough coiling around the area of the pan motor you can do a few rotations before getting into trouble.
     
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