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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).

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Old July 2nd, 2007, 10:47 AM   #1
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XHA1 Lights, Glidecam, Tripod

Hi Guys,

I have been using my XHA1 for a few weeks now and I am using it with a UNOMAT 301 Z onboard mains powered light, a Glidecam 4000, and a BP941H larger battery.

I film a lot of weddings and am having major trouble finding a onboard light which is battery powered here in the UK. They all seem to be max 50w and I need to film a bride and a groom in low light conditions do you think 50w is bright enough?

Also the Glidecam 4000 with the XHA1 is not light and I have been trying to get it to balance for over a month now. Glidecam have told me to do a drop test with the light on but I cant do that incase the light falls out the hot shoe. Does anybody have any pictures of the Glidecam 4000 Balanced with the XHA1? If so if you could give me the settings it would save my life.

The next this is tripods I have a really cheap one and my camera shakes when I pan, can anybody reccomend a good one for the XHA1 that is around 140?

Thanks guys.
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Old July 2nd, 2007, 11:13 AM   #2
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I'm using the A1 with the glidecam 4000. At the top of the camera I'm carrying 2 g2 wireless tramiters for mic and the canon light with battery. The camera has an LCD shade and the heavy power battery at the bag also. I learned that takes a while, there is not any specific method to balance the glidecam. I'm using the smooth shooter together with the GC 4000 and that helps me a lot to finalize the balancing. Are using the set up w/out any mechanical arm ?cause that is heavy! I would say that in your case you should start using from 6 to 7 weights each side and as closest as possible to the center.
But try to balacing the top first almost perfect. the weights should be just for minimum minimum adjustment.
I guess this is not the right forum section for all this but I recommend you search in stabilizers and probably more patient .I been there before and I can tell you that once you find the trick then its easier .
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Old July 2nd, 2007, 12:52 PM   #3
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off the top of my head, frezzi and anton bauer's camera lights can take bulbs higher than 100w. i think frezzi also has an hmi version of their microfill light which consumes only 25w but outputs the equivalent of more than 100w. i'm not sure what you're using to power your 50w light now, but these lights will require some kind of brick battery power to operate.

i have an xha1 gc4000 rig that, like jose, use with the smooth shooter. i don't think a picture of the rig will help much since every camera seems to have different accessories mounted on it, and that makes all the difference in how the camera is balanced on the glidecam. if it's only a matter of your light sliding off while you balance the rig, maybe you can put a little piece of paper as a shim in between the hot shoe and the light's shoe clamp to tighten it up a little?

as far as lower-cost tripod recommendations go, the bogen 503 head seems popular, as is the libec line.
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Old July 3rd, 2007, 07:44 AM   #4
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Unboard Light

I went with the Unomat VL100 it comes with a satchel and 50w works for about an hour. Now I am just worried about spending all that money for a smooth shooter. I have heard people say you don't need it to get smooth shots just get a shoulder brace and put the camera on your shoulder. Can you get those smooth effects with shoulder braces?
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Old July 5th, 2007, 11:54 AM   #5
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the smooth shooter is not necessary, but it does help with extended shooting sessions as a fully-loaded glidecam 4000 gets heavy very, very fast. in any case, you should be able to get relatively smooth shots going handheld without the glidecam with a little bit of effort. practice walking with your knees always slightly bent, minimizing side-to-side and up-down movements. a lot of useful tips on gait can be found here in the stabilizers subforum. keeping the camera at full wide will definitely help. a shoulder support may help as well.

regarding balancing the glidecam, i like to ROUGHLY balance the glidecam on a table or desktop, adding and removing weights, just making sure it's a little bottom heavy so my camera doesn't go crashing to the floor. the smooth shooter came with a couple of posts, one heavy and one light, to mount the glidecam onto the smooth shooter arm. these posts fit perfectly on a c-stand or regular light stand, so i can prop the glidecam onto the stand and fine tune from there. it's nice because i get immediate feedback where the camera is unbalanced as opposed to constantly picking the sled up and putting it back down. i find i can balance the glidecam in 5-15 minutes tops this way. the posts only come with the smooth shooter, but maybe glidecam can ship them separately as a part. achivee makes a tool that serves a similar purpose to the post, but it's expensive at around $170... too expensive for what it is IMHO. anyway, the posts help me with balancing, but are by no means necessary.

fwiw, here are a couple of shots of my balanced xha1/glidecam 4000 rig. it's propped up on a light stand using a post fitted to the top of the stand. up top, i have the xha1, a bogen quick release plate/adapter, redrock rods base with 9" rods and quick release plate, geardear mattebox, sony eyecup, hoodman h300 w/ magnifier, tape, and uv filter. i'm using 9 weight plates on each side of the base, and drop time with this configuration is approximately 2 seconds. because the weights were already set up, this took me about 5 minutes to balance.

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Old July 5th, 2007, 01:59 PM   #6
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I am using the glidecam 2000 with no braces or anything, and find I can go quite some time holding it up. I know you have alot of extras on the camera, but if possible if you can`t afford a smooth shooter, consider getting it as light as possible for the needed shots.

As for balancing, try making a custom stand from a drum/cymbal stand, you may need to replace the top pole with one the glidecam handle slides on. A friend did that for his 4000 with an XL2 and it works wonders. Also buy a small bubble level and affix that to your glidecam base and viola, you`ll always know when its level. The theres the swing test....mmm no one said it was easy ;)
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Old July 5th, 2007, 02:15 PM   #7
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yep... if you're using the glidecam without the smooth shooter, you want to go as light as possible. on the smooth shooter arm, however, weight is actually your friend, as it helps with the overall inertia of the rig and the setup will feel more stable. i actually tried to pack the sled with as much weight as i could.
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Old July 9th, 2007, 11:37 AM   #8
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Varizoom DV Sportster

I just got a Varizoom DV Sportster for my Flowpod. A flowpod is similar to the Glidecam and the DV Sportster fits the Glidecam as well. It doesn't provide A professional Steadicam experience (read $4000 and up), but it does allow for steadicam devices (Glidecam, FlowPod, Steadicam Jr) to do the job for extended periods of time and it offers some stabilization assistance. No one can hold a steady device for more than 10minutes. It's 6-10lbs and your holding your arm out from your body. The Sportster puts the weight into your body and one of my guys used it effectively for 30 minutes. We use it at weddings for nemuerous shots and it just continues to impress us. Probably the single most value adding addition next to the 3 A1's. Get the sportster. It's a recommendation with merit I say!
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Old July 15th, 2007, 12:51 PM   #9
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onboard light


50 watt is fine for reasonably close work. The benefit of using low powered is that you do not flood your scene with lighht and distract the wedding guests. Tends to take away the atmosphere.

Did you know that you can get a AC power adapter for the Unomat which also has a dimmer function. Works well. Get it from Keene.co.uk.
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