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Old October 29th, 2004, 10:04 AM   #1
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Glidecam for XL2/mini35?

Would the Glidecam V-8 be a good choice for the XL2/mini35 setup? (There's a special on their website, www.glidecam.com, good until today if anyone's interested) Specs say that its good for cameras weighing up to 10 pds, and I believe that even with lenses (NIkons) and Mattebox it would come under that...

Would there be a better choice as far as price/functionality? the V-8 costs $2,500 with an LCD screen.

Thanks, guys.

Alex
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Old October 29th, 2004, 10:15 AM   #2
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I'm not sure. The XL-2 with the Mini-35 system tends to be VERY from heavy and there'd have to be a way to equalize it out, without having to throw on pounds of weight down below.

I've tried to figure out the best way to do this and I'm not really sure yet. Short of hiring a steadicam operator for $700 a day, anyone else been successful with the Mini-35 and a stabilization rig?
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Old October 29th, 2004, 11:56 AM   #3
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I weighed the DVX100 with the Mini35 and a light Zeiss prime, plus mattebox and follow focus and it came out to around 15 lbs. The XL2 is a couple of pounds heavier than the DVX. The Zeiss probably would be equivalent to a Nikon in weight.

As far as the follow focus, it was a test weight that would in reality be replaced with a wireless focus setup. This is probably the most critical aspect of using a Mini35 with a stabilizer; remember that your depth of field is shallow (that's why you have sprung for the Mini35) and unless you have very boring stabilized shots in mind, where you simple follow someone at the same distance for the entire shot, you will need remote focusing capability. The cheapest ones I know of (unless you find an older used system) start at around $3000, and can head on up to $15K...this is one of the things that a working Steadicam operator will bring to the table as part of their kit (as well as being able to make good shots for you!). And your Nikons will have to be modified with standard-pitch gearing for use with a follow-focus system.

You could use very wide lenses (20mm and less) which will give you enough depth of field to carry a single focus setting that may work for most shots. But of course then you are locked into a deep-focus look, which is probably not what you were going for with the Mini35 in the first place.

One possibility is to pull the Mini35 for your stabilizer shots and shoot with standard XL2 lens. As much as this seems like heresy, this will give you plenty of depth to carry your stabilized shots, plus the camera will be light enough that you can use that V-8. We did exactly this on a recent short (read about it here). I helped fellow DVI'er and owner of Indie Rentals' (good place to rent Mini35's and other gear, folks) Eric MacIver with his film; he has a Hollywood Lite that has a similar weight capacity as the V8. I left my big rig at home that day as I wanted to check out what it would be like to use a DV-sized stabilizer on an actual shoot, I've only played around with them at trade shows. We quickly realized that losing the Mini35 was a necessity for weight reasons, and did all the shots with the XL2 and standard lens. They cut perfectly well with the other material shot with the Mini35, as you can see if you watch the film.

As far as front-heavy, remember that the attachment point for the system is under the Mini35 and the camera itself extends out the back, so it is not dreadfully front-heavy overall. It depends on what you end up "wearing" at the front end of the system. A bare lens will make it back heavy, a full-on mattebox and focus gear will still make it front-heavy but all stabilizers allow for offsetting the weight via their mounting plate.
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Old October 29th, 2004, 12:58 PM   #4
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Wow, guys, Charles, thank you for such a thought-out answer.

I'm specially happy about that mini35 and non-mini35 shots can cut together, for those specially complicated sequences on a shoe-string budget, or when I can't get enough light.

What kind of rig would hold that weight? Is it too expensive? If the Glidecam V-8 lists a 10 pound limit, can you push that a little? (say put 15 pds on it!) Or does it become useless at that point? I'm very strapped for money, I don't think I can invest on anything much more expensive...

Thank you again!
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Old October 29th, 2004, 01:30 PM   #5
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Hey Charles,

Thanks for all the info man. Very detailed and informative.
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Old November 17th, 2004, 08:54 PM   #6
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If you start pushing the weight, you run into problems. The Hollywood Lite we rent out (sold at www.varizoom.com) does very well, and is rated for 15 or 16lbs.
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