Anyone use the Steadipod with the DVX100? at DVinfo.net

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Old May 5th, 2003, 02:40 PM   #1
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Anyone use the Steadipod with the DVX100?

Has anyone used this stabilizing device with the DVX100 or any other comparably sized DV camera?:

http://www.qtechnologies.com/us/steadipod/index.htm

It looks very versatile, but I'm curious to find any opinions from actual owners/users of this
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Old May 5th, 2003, 02:51 PM   #2
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I have the glidecam 4000. I bought it when I had my GL-1 even though the GL-1 was a bit small for the 4000 (2000 would have been better suited) because I knew I had planned on purchasing the larger DVX100.
So far I've only had one occasion I used it with the DVX100, and it was sorta rushed so I didn't get the balance quite right. The DVX100 is a light camera but with the larger capacity battery and bolted to a weighted stabilization system it gets tiresome to maneuver quickly...and this is comming from someone that powerlifts on his off-time! The shots however are definitly an improvement- I'm able to do 360 degree pans around a subject smoothly with little practice. And gliding shots walking thru hallways and rooms of a house (MTV Cribs'ish styled shots) turn out incredibly smooth almost as if the camera WAS "gliding". The unfortunate thing is it's not a set-up you can shoot for long periods of time. Granted, Glidecam offers a forearm brace which should help but not totaly alleviate the excess weight on the one arm. I'm not too familiar with the stedicam- but I hope this little bit of info helped.
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Old May 5th, 2003, 03:22 PM   #3
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Taro, I have yet to hear of anyone using the Steadipod--it has an interesting design. My biggest concerns would be of the precision of manufacture, which would most noticeable at the joints (do they hold in place and/or are easily adjustable?) and the gimbal (is it smooth?) For a stabilizer, it is very important to have the gimbal be as frictionless as possible; many of the Steadicam "copies" fall short in this area.

Please let us know if your research turns up any feedback on this particular device.
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Old May 5th, 2003, 03:55 PM   #4
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I don't know which came between the steadicam and the glidecam so I don't know who copied who. However the gimble on the glidecam is absolutly incredible. It reminds me of the frictionless bearings in my rollerblade abec-7's! Plus the glidecam comes with counterweights so that you can balance each camera you use, with exacting precision. *darn I'm actually starting to sound like I WORK for them* lol
To me the steadicam looks bulky and cumbersome in design. Never used it so I don't know how it's funtionality is.
I can post footage I shot with it if your interested.
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Old May 5th, 2003, 04:06 PM   #5
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I've just spent the past several days with a Glidecam 2000 and can confirm Glen's remarks concerning its gimbal. It's very precise, so much so that you could actually pan the camera by blowing on the camera's side (if you were so inclined).

The general usability of these hand-held stabilizers is, however, somewhat problemmatic. I consider myself in pretty good shape but the rig's weight concentration on my wrist and forearm gets pretty intense after a few minutes. I will be trying Glidecam's forearm brace this week, hoping that that will help transfer most of the load to larger muscle groups in my bicep and shoulder.
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Old May 6th, 2003, 02:53 AM   #6
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Glen:

By "steadicam" you mean "steadipod" I assume...

The Steadicam being the precursor to all of these gimbal-based stabilizers, with the Glidecam following and all others after that.

Everything being relative, I find the Glidecam gimbal is quite good, certainly at that price point. You can tell I'm qualifying carefully here, as I hold an exceptionally high standard when it comes to gimbals! One of the benchmarks is if you can walk 360 degrees around the camera without a hand on the post, and it stays pointed straight ahead (doesn't start panning on its own accord).
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Old May 6th, 2003, 08:46 AM   #7
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Well that, I can vouch, can be hard with the glidecam. The gimble is so loose and floaty it tends to drift as you walk. Granted it doesn't pendulum if balanced right but it does tend to drift-pan. Then again the glidecam isn't designed to be used with one hand. One hand is to hold the weight of it, and the other to gently guide the post or tilt for dutch angles. All you need are two fingers gently to guide the post, if you were to grip it with your hand it would defeat the whole purpose of having the gimble, as shock and vibration from walking, etc, would transfer to the gripping hand on the post and distrupt the footage.

The glidecam can definitly take some impressive footage. However many may be dissapointed right out of the box. It's quite challenging to balance "correctly". I've balanced it maybe once "perfectly" since I've had it, and all the other times were balanced well enough to operate. The other aspect is the fact that operating it carries a very big learning curve. You can't just pick it up and get the smoothest footage ever. You actually have to "learn" how to shoot with it. Even after 5 or so practice sessions I still don't feel I'm as good as I can be with it. However if you take the time to balance it correctly, and practice shooting with it enough it can definitly be a very usefull tool. Though all the work that goes into it to yeild beautifull fluid footage comes at not only a price of time and effort, it is also a hefty finanical price for the peice. The 4000 goes for $400. I picked it up because I longed to have smooth gliding footage- and without it... there is litterally no way to reproduce the footage camera in hand and simply walking carefully.
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Old May 6th, 2003, 01:43 PM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by Glen Elliott : Well that, I can vouch, can be hard with the glidecam. The gimble is so loose and floaty it tends to drift as you walk. Granted it doesn't pendulum if balanced right but it does tend to drift-pan. Then again the glidecam isn't designed to be used with one hand. One hand is to hold the weight of it, and the other to gently guide the post or tilt for dutch angles.>>

Glen, absolutely correct that two hands should be used. However, the reason that the rig drifts while walking is not that the gimbal is loose/free, it is actually due to friction in the gimbal (to be technical, the name for this phenomenon is "stiction"). Giving a "perfectly" designed gimbal, with all axes converged at the center point and the most efficient bearing design, a properly balanced rig should not drift regardless of the activity performed to the gimbal. Of course, at $400 no-one expects this level of performance. The Steadicam JR with a healthy, clean gimbal is, in my experience, the closest to this ideal at that price point (but I have personally seen their performance deteriorate over time due to wear and dirt).

Yes, with the two fingers on the guide one can control out the deviations caused by the gimbal, but even these tiny "gremlins" can multiply and affect the operating. For most users and most shooting situations, this is not considered a problem. If one is attempting to emulate the level of shots seen in their favorite features or television shows (and realistically, this can be approached, even with a lower-end rig), overcoming the limitations of a given stabilizer's design is only the first step towards this.

Of course I realize that virtually all users of DV-size stabilizers are perfectly happy to just be able to walk down the hall without bumps, and the fact that such devices are available to them is actually a small miracle in itself (prior to the introduction of the JR in the early 90's, you would have to spend $40,000 to do this--now THERE's a "hefty financial price"!). I would suggest that there may be an intrepid few who are seeking to sharpen their skills beyond the basics and aim to perform some kick-ass moves with feature-level precision with this tools. Just like learning to play music on a student-level instrument, eventually one discovers that their skill has improved to where they recognize the limitations of that instrument and, to move to the next level, demand higher performance capability.

The bottom line (jeez, took me a while to get there!) is that if one intends to purchase a stabilizer with the intention of making the sweetest shots they can with it, the concerns that I raised earlier (integrity of design & gimbal performance) are critical.
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Old May 6th, 2003, 01:51 PM   #9
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Charles,
A follow-up question concerning "stiction" in a gimbal. I, too, have noticed that my camera will tend to turn a bit as my body turns and/or the position of the handle changes laterally. Is there anything practical that can be done to lubricate a gimbal to minimize this?

My guess: probably not, since a lubricant will tend to retain dust and dirt over time, making the problem even worse.
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Old May 6th, 2003, 02:30 PM   #10
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Ken:

Don't know exactly what Glidecam prescribes for their gimbals, but generally you should be OK if you apply a degreaser (spray contact cleaner works nicely) to the bearings first, then a drop or two of VERY light machine oil. If the gimbal feels stickier afterwards, repeat the procedure and reduce the amount of oil. If no oil feels better, go with that. The easiest test is to start the camera spinning very slowly and watch to see how long it takes to come to a stop (longer/more revolutions is better).

The pan bearing is actually more critical than the roll and tilt, it should be lubricated as minimally as possible.

I would check with Glidecam to see what they recommend.
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Old May 6th, 2003, 07:36 PM   #11
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"Taro, I have yet to hear of anyone using the Steadipod"....

The reason why you don't hear much about the steadipod is because very few people in the US have had the chance to use it. Customer service at Qtechnologies is a big joke! Many of us have actually "tried" to order the Steadipod from them....but no luck. First they tell you it's in stock.....then they tell you that they just sold the last one and they'll be getting one next week....6 weeks later they tell you that the manufacturer in korea cannot keep up with the demand and they're selling too fast.....lol.... there are 3 other people that I know who have tried to order the Steadipod and they have had the same bad experience.... Finally had to cancel the order!
Too bad no one else seems to carry it!
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Old May 6th, 2003, 11:32 PM   #12
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steady

i use a steady cam without monitor with the dvx and have used it for many other cameras as well..
the weight recommendation says its too heavy for the steady .. but with a a little extra weight in the tail it has the best balance of any other camera i've used with it.. it's like it was made for it..
my two cents.....
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Old May 7th, 2003, 02:07 AM   #13
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Here is clip that was shot with DVX100 on a steadytracker. This is with about five hours experience with the device.

http://www.vegasusers.com/vidshare/vids/plasmasmp-steadytracker.wmv
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Old May 7th, 2003, 02:18 AM   #14
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Marc,
I see nothing but 3Mb of blackness on the Mac version of Windows Media Player. (Well, I guess that's pretty steady <g>.)
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Old May 7th, 2003, 12:09 PM   #15
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<<<-- Originally posted by Maya Taylor :
Many of us have actually "tried" to order the Steadipod from them....but no luck. First they tell you it's in stock.....then they tell you that they just sold the last one and they'll be getting one next week....6 weeks later they tell you that the manufacturer in korea cannot keep up with the demand and they're selling too fast.....lol.... there are 3 other people that I know who have tried to order the Steadipod and they have had the same bad experience.... Finally had to cancel the order!
Too bad no one else seems to carry it! -->>>

Maya,
It's funny that you should say that because one of my associates contacted them to see if she could get hands-on time with the steadipod to check it out and they told her the same thing. First they told her that they only had one in stock and to call back next week for a demo. The next week when she called, they told her it was sold! I thought it was just an isolated incident, but I guess it's their standard M.O. Anyways, I guess I'll investigate some of the other options out there since it seems Q Technologies sales dept. is a little suspect. So is the cheap Glidecam2000 better than the cheap Steadicam model? What about the Hollywood Lite?
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