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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old November 1st, 2001, 10:32 PM   #1
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Glidecam?

anyone ever use glidecam or similar for the xl1? what would you recommend? how much do they run? and what accessories would you suggest? thanks.
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Old November 2nd, 2001, 02:08 PM   #2
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Hello

I bought a glidecam 3000 pro two years ago and it has worked great for me. I get very fluid, steady shots with a little practice. They have the 4000 pro out now, check www.bhphoto.com for a decent price on a new one.

-Adam
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Old November 3rd, 2001, 12:12 AM   #3
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hey adam,
thanks for the reply. just curious, did you also buy an lcd monitor? if so which would u recommend. I've read that some of the monitors are useless on daytime shoots. do you also use the body and forearm brace?
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Old November 5th, 2001, 06:44 PM   #4
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I've used a Glidecam too

I used a Glidecam with an XL-1 about a year ago.

Fantastic tool. I was able to dance around with a steady camera within mere minutes of strapping it on for the first time. I was able to move smoothly from ground level shots to slightly over the head, pull the camera to my body and push it away.

Here is the shot I pulled off:

Open with the camera near the ground in a convention center, walking throught the crowd, pull the camera up slowly while weaving in and out of the crowd. One take. Easy as pie.

The model I used was a V-8 I think, the one with a vest. At the time I used it I had a very recent back injury. It hurt a bit, but it was easy to use anyway.

My back is still healing, but when it gets 100% I am thinking about adding that thing to my kit. Of course, I may have to get a heavier duty unit for cameras much heavier than the XL...but I have time to decide.
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Old November 5th, 2001, 11:58 PM   #5
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thanks for the info aibrahim,
is the model your talking about a higher end one than the glidecam?
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Old November 5th, 2001, 11:59 PM   #6
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I mean Alexander:)
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Old November 6th, 2001, 01:32 AM   #7
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More on Glidecam

The Glidecam V-8 is their 3rd most expensive support at $2900

From their site I saw no specific model named just Glidecam.

Adam mentioned the Glidecam 4000 which is MSRP $495. I find that to be not much better than just folding and collapsing the legs in my tripod or adding weights to a Monopod. Your arm can get tired very quickly with an XL-1 and a few add ons flying out there, it can get to 15lbs. all told pretty quick. Glidecam even makes a special forearm support.

While the cheaper units are great for relatively short shots I would not want to use them for the vast majority of shots I can envision. It really depends on how you intend to use the support.

In some situations I expect to shoot all day with the unit. You can do that with a V-8 or better support.

To get an idea of what I am talking about...take a 15lb. dumbell and hold it out in front of you for a while...wave it around a bit kind of like you are carrying a camera around. However long you can do that is how long you'll be able to shoot with the Glidecam 4000 or similiar supports.

Until I blew out my knees I was trying to be a pro hockey player, I am fairly strong, though certainly no bodybuilder. I can't manage supports like the Glidecam 4000 for more than twenty minutes on a good day. Think ten minutes most of the time. (Anyone who calls me a sissy better say it to my face.)

The V-8 and nicer supports are no free ride either. They are HEAVY. The weight is on your shoulders, back and hips. Like a backwards backpack with awkward balance. You still have to operate the camera with your hands, including some maneuvering with the armature.

Notice where the weight is ? Those are places that your body is designed to carry weight. You may need to practice, or even hit the gym, but you can operate a vest mounted moving camera support all day if you need to.

Still, there is a huge difference in price. You can do a lot with the Glidecam 4000 and similiar units, but you can't really do the stuff you see in the movies with them.

I feel that if you are strong and in practice you can use the vest units, not just for the steadicam stuff you see in Hollywood movies, but also for a lot of routine truck dolly and low crane moves...you can shoot a whole movie on this thing and move the camera all the time or keep it very still.

Oh, forgot to mention that. The smaller Glidecam 4000 type things work great *in motion*. Holding still you can't do any better than handheld. A lot of shots I want to get start with the camera still on a subject and then follows them when they move.

Star Trek is an example of this that many will be familiar with. The Steadicam operator there is so damn good you can't tell it is a Steadicam shot until he starts after the cast. Think of all those "walk and talks" you see on Trek and the running down the hallway stuff...Steadicam, but with a 35mm Panavision camera with those huge heavy lenses...imagine that. So damn smooth it can be hard to tell from a dolly on tracks, and is often intercut with dolly work.
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Old November 6th, 2001, 05:42 PM   #8
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Cool Glidecam alternative

Take a look at marztech.com for a $500 vest supported system. Looks like a viable alternative to the $2500 outfits for us weaklings who can't hold 10 lbs at arm's length- worth a look. No steadycam but looks like it works. I plan on getting one unless I find $3 G's in my mailbox.
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Old November 6th, 2001, 06:46 PM   #9
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Marztech products

I almost completely forgot about this, thanks for bringing it up.

I haven't used these things much, but I saw a shooter for Discovery channel using one at an event I covered. He was supporting an HD rig with it and I can definitely say that he was better off than I was at the end of the day. (I was shooting a combination of handheld and tripod mounted.)

I did try his rig on for about a minute, and it was VERY comfortable, even with a much heavier camera than the XL-1. (I think his camera was around 27lbs. in ready to run condition.)

The limitation is that the motion range is determinied entirely by your body motion. Unless you are exceptionally fleet of foot it will limit you. The arm supported units give you more freedom, but for a LOT of shooting you don't really need it.

I do think it is a better solution than those handheld handycam things, like the Glidecam 4000.

I think well of these, but I do recommend you try it for a good bit before you buy. These are a great value and your back will thank you. I know that is great praise from somebody who used it for so little but I was very impressed with it, especially for ENG or event work.
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