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Old July 27th, 2013, 10:27 AM   #16
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Re: NEW!! FlowCam 5 Digital Stabilizer (not MOVI)

Hi Donald,

Im glad you did mention it. That was shot on our newly redesigned carbon fiber StealthPod that will be available in about a week for around $249.

Or maybe wait and see if you can get a copycat on Ebay or China, as some have suggested, for $6 on Ebay. ;)

Thanks for the post.

Tom


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Originally Posted by Donald McPherson View Post
Maybe I should't say this. But didn't the guy with the monopod do a good job. haha.
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Old July 27th, 2013, 10:32 AM   #17
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Re: NEW!! FlowCam 5 Digital Stabilizer (not MOVI)

Hi Thomas

ME, personally, as a small business owner ... Yes, I'm following a rule of thumb. What ever I buy has to generate more money and not cost more than the actual camcorder I own !

I'm a solo wedding shooter, so I don't think i'm in the target market for this. At that price point, definitely not.

But that doesn't mean the product is poor ... it's just not affordable. I would rather take a punt with the chinese replica when it's copied if it's sold at the right price.

Until then i'll stick to my sliders, manfrotto monopods and tripods.
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Old July 27th, 2013, 11:51 AM   #18
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Re: NEW!! FlowCam 5 Digital Stabilizer (not MOVI)

Thanks Jim,

It actually does require a bit of power. I have 6 cell 22 volt battery and it will last about 30 minutes of active operation. It is silent operation unlike the old mechanical gyros that would spin at a high rpm and make a lot of noise. Technology has come a long way the shock is absorb by operators arms and the pivot action of device in one axis.



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Originally Posted by Jim Michael View Post
That sample footage looks nice. I'm curious what is the principle of operation, is any power involved, does it use motors or gyros, how long to set up and/or balance, how many dB noise if motors/gyros, if gyros how long to spin up, shock tolerance, etc.
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Old July 27th, 2013, 01:18 PM   #19
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Re: NEW!! FlowCam 5 Digital Stabilizer (not MOVI)

Thomas,
I do believe that Varizoom makes great quality products albeit in my opinion overpriced in most cases.

And I don't think all of that is due to being made in the U.S. Although that part I applaud.

The particular product and any product made on the concept of tying up both of my hands has zero appeal to me. I don't see the benefit over hand held stabilizers costing the same , more, or less.

I'm sure it will fit the needs and whims of some no doubt.
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Old July 27th, 2013, 08:38 PM   #20
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Re: NEW!! FlowCam 5 Digital Stabilizer (not MOVI)

Anyone who has been in the business of serious shooting for more than 5 years will always be amused by the axiom "support gear shouldn't cost more than the camera". The quality to cost ratio has plummeted massively in the past few years (meaning that a high quality image can be had for a fraction of what it used to) and to expect that support gear will magically follow that ratio is unfeasible. Many companies making such gear have had to modify their prices, cutting margins and along with it corners to attempt to equalize the disparity, moving their manufacturing overseas etc. And the race to the bottom continues.

The gimbal stabilizer market has been an absolutely fascinating one to watch. The announcement of the Movi was less than four months ago (and it's not yet shipping, nor are most if not all of the competitor's...has anyone yet seen any typically inane "unboxing" or "first test" videos pop up online of actual production models shipped to users?). In that time, this technology has been actively devalued by users who have never laid hands on one, learned the pros and cons of the technology, inquired about potential advantages of one unit over the other (yes, I have myself flown a Movi--and by the way Murray, that's not the company name, it's Freefly Systems). In other words, many seem to think that all these units are the same, and that they should all be priced at whatever they feel like paying for it.

Thomas: if there are specific traits to your setup that set it apart from the crowd, I think it would be worth delineating those (with the known risk of those being immediately implemented into the knockoffs, yes understood). The most obvious that you have already stated is that Varizoom is a long-established company and most of the others have little to no history, so when one goes with the latter, you are at a quantifiable risk that the first time one you and fall with it (won't be long before we see those videos), you are screwed other than buying a new one. Speaking of features--is the Flowcam capable of tilting in one-man mode? Didn't see any evidence of that in the video. I do agree with some of the comments that the panning is robotic, but that is typical of all of these type of stabilizers as far as I have seen, although feathering can be dialed in at the cost of reaction time (presumably the Flowcam has this adjustment?)

There are actually a lot of variables in each of the designs I've seen, even though from a distance they all appear the same. Some have more thought put into ease of balancing, which is very important if you change lenses or cameras. Some have the critical parts and wires more protected than others, which is important in case of a few raindrops. Weight of the systems vary (VERY important--when handholding a device in front of you for lengths of time, the difference of 8 or 12 ounces will quickly become apparent). Reliability--these are electronic devices, with a lot of exposed parts that can very easily be damaged in everyday use. So many possible variables.

Even in the case of a wedding videographer, if you promised and sold your services based on the lovely moving shots in your video, is it really worth it to risk having that piece of gear go down on you and disappoint your client because it's a cheap piece of s**t? Better buy two, I guess...

Unfortunately almost all of this falls on deaf ears to those who have made up their own mind what a piece of gear should cost, and are happy to buy the cheapest knockoff on eBay. Hopefully it gets through to some, though.
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Old July 28th, 2013, 12:00 AM   #21
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Re: NEW!! FlowCam 5 Digital Stabilizer (not MOVI)

Good to know about this.

I had no idea who Varizoom is. However after watching the video now I know that these guys are not another assembler of handheld stabiliser from a garage. Even in the MoVI video shared by Vincent Laforet all I had seen was one guy crawling under a table where several boxes of parts are kept. Either they don't have direct manufacturing and source all their parts or the manufacturing was not shown.

In this game there are many companies who will fall. Buyer of a stabiliser is going to need parts and will have a hard time when the company decides to stop selling because the suppliers have increased the price.

Apart from that advantage, which is infact huge, the video guy was running and not allowing the camera to slowly move over the parts or equipment so that viewers can grasp what they are seeing. That would have helped in establishing more of the credibility of the manufacturer.

It should be noted that MoVI has also reduce the price for the lower spec model from 7500 to below 5k. So anyone else, who haven't generated that much hype should price the product a bit lower.

I am sure there would be more videos to showcase the product in the near future.

I know that at some point of time I will be a buyer of a handheld stabiliser. I am not a steadicam guy. May be a steadicam can do a better job than a novice with MoVI. However, for a novice that is the best thing possible as without the stabilser his footage would be unusable.
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Old July 28th, 2013, 01:23 AM   #22
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Re: NEW!! FlowCam 5 Digital Stabilizer (not MOVI)

Hi Charles and Patra,

Thanks for your comments. These rigs all look basically the same from 10 feet away but the devil is in the details and that's why everybody has one but not for sale.

The one man operation for tilt is an option too. Thats what is nice about a software based system is such options can be added and or tweaked.

The mechanical stabilizers still have a place and I still make those too as they have have no batteries and are generally bulletproof to damage.

The FlowCam digital is new and will get better but is certainly good enough now for operation. I did rush that shot just to get a video out as I had promised a customer and I will make another where I will walk it slow and shoot another outright commercial that will be much slicker without my involvement.

People get it and are anxious to use this new technology.

We are having fun with it.







I had no idea who Varizoom is. However after watching the video now I know that these guys are not another assembler of handheld stabiliser from a garage. Even in the MoVI video shared by Vincent Laforet all I had seen was one guy crawling under a table where several boxes of parts are kept. Either they don't have direct manufacturing and source all their parts or the manufacturing was not shown.

In this game there are many companies who will fall. Buyer of a stabiliser is going to need parts and will have a hard time when the company decides to stop selling because the suppliers have increased the price.

Apart from that advantage, which is infact huge, the video guy was running and not allowing the camera to slowly move over the parts or equipment so that viewers can grasp what they are seeing. That would have helped in establishing more of the credibility of the manufacturer.

It should be noted that MoVI has also reduce the price for the lower spec model from 7500 to below 5k. So anyone else, who haven't generated that much hype should price the product a bit lower.

I am sure there would be more videos to showcase the product in the near future.

I know that at some point of time I will be a buyer of a handheld stabiliser. I am not a steadicam guy. May be a steadicam can do a better job than a novice with MoVI. However, for a novice that is the best thing possible as without the stabilser his footage would be unusable.[/quote]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Anyone who has been in the business of serious shooting for more than 5 years will always be amused by the axiom "support gear shouldn't cost more than the camera". The quality to cost ratio has plummeted massively in the past few years (meaning that a high quality image can be had for a fraction of what it used to) and to expect that support gear will magically follow that ratio is unfeasible. Many companies making such gear have had to modify their prices, cutting margins and along with it corners to attempt to equalize the disparity, moving their manufacturing overseas etc. And the race to the bottom continues.

The gimbal stabilizer market has been an absolutely fascinating one to watch. The announcement of the Movi was less than four months ago (and it's not yet shipping, nor are most if not all of the competitor's...has anyone yet seen any typically inane "unboxing" or "first test" videos pop up online of actual production models shipped to users?). In that time, this technology has been actively devalued by users who have never laid hands on one, learned the pros and cons of the technology, inquired about potential advantages of one unit over the other (yes, I have myself flown a Movi--and by the way Murray, that's not the company name, it's Freefly Systems). In other words, many seem to think that all these units are the same, and that they should all be priced at whatever they feel like paying for it.

Thomas: if there are specific traits to your setup that set it apart from the crowd, I think it would be worth delineating those (with the known risk of those being immediately implemented into the knockoffs, yes understood). The most obvious that you have already stated is that Varizoom is a long-established company and most of the others have little to no history, so when one goes with the latter, you are at a quantifiable risk that the first time one you and fall with it (won't be long before we see those videos), you are screwed other than buying a new one. Speaking of features--is the Flowcam capable of tilting in one-man mode? Didn't see any evidence of that in the video. I do agree with some of the comments that the panning is robotic, but that is typical of all of these type of stabilizers as far as I have seen, although feathering can be dialed in at the cost of reaction time (presumably the Flowcam has this adjustment?)

There are actually a lot of variables in each of the designs I've seen, even though from a distance they all appear the same. Some have more thought put into ease of balancing, which is very important if you change lenses or cameras. Some have the critical parts and wires more protected than others, which is important in case of a few raindrops. Weight of the systems vary (VERY important--when handholding a device in front of you for lengths of time, the difference of 8 or 12 ounces will quickly become apparent). Reliability--these are electronic devices, with a lot of exposed parts that can very easily be damaged in everyday use. So many possible variables.

Even in the case of a wedding videographer, if you promised and sold your services based on the lovely moving shots in your video, is it really worth it to risk having that piece of gear go down on you and disappoint your client because it's a cheap piece of s**t? Better buy two, I guess...

Unfortunately almost all of this falls on deaf ears to those who have made up their own mind what a piece of gear should cost, and are happy to buy the cheapest knockoff on eBay. Hopefully it gets through to some, though.
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Old July 28th, 2013, 04:17 AM   #23
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Re: NEW!! FlowCam 5 Digital Stabilizer (not MOVI)

It was not clear to me if there was a second person involved to controll panning motion? And can you tilt it as well remotely? If you run it alone, do you have some pan and tilt capabilities or is it a 2 man set up anyway? edit, just read the answer above, will there be another video showing how exactly the tilt and pan motion is controlled, alone or with a second person? That would be interesting.

Not sure if we should complain about the price, it's expensive yes, but there are dslr rigs at easily half the flowcam 5 price and that's just some tubes and machined aluminium. Biggest advantage I see here is that you even could let your client do the shots, just have him walk around with the stabilizer and your shots will look very good, even on flip flops. :)

Last edited by Noa Put; July 28th, 2013 at 04:59 AM.
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Old July 28th, 2013, 11:02 AM   #24
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Re: NEW!! FlowCam 5 Digital Stabilizer (not MOVI)

Noa,

Yes more information and video coming. Imagine play in a steering wheel on your car you keep turning wheel until the wheels turn. That's one man mode as I shot in my hastily shot video.

I could have also set it in a fixed mode where it would maintain its position. in either of those modes i can have an assistant pan and tilt remotely if it is needed.

You can also use a small PDA device (your android) to control pan and tilt and change functions which can allow for a single operator to do it all.

We go in to greater detail with buyers and serious inquiries and may work some discounts for some good footage from the most active steady camera operators.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
It was not clear to me if there was a second person involved to controll panning motion? And can you tilt it as well remotely? If you run it alone, do you have some pan and tilt capabilities or is it a 2 man set up anyway? edit, just read the answer above, will there be another video showing how exactly the tilt and pan motion is controlled, alone or with a second person? That would be interesting.

Not sure if we should complain about the price, it's expensive yes, but there are dslr rigs at easily half the flowcam 5 price and that's just some tubes and machined aluminium. Biggest advantage I see here is that you even could let your client do the shots, just have him walk around with the stabilizer and your shots will look very good, even on flip flops. :)
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Old July 29th, 2013, 02:43 PM   #25
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Re: NEW!! FlowCam 5 Digital Stabilizer (not MOVI)

First, I have to hand it to Thomas for having the guts to throw up a quick and dirty REAL video of him using the product. He knows this is a tough crowd, he also knows how to spend money on real commercials. I assume he also knows some guys here would be detractors either way.

For me, there is value in buying products made here in my home country (any product). That part is about jobs and the economy, period. In return for buying American Made I usually pay more than it would cost for knock off junk. In return, I don’t get junk.

A few months ago I bought my first stabilizer. I am not in the $5,000.00 budget range for that accessory. But $500.00 to add a few cool motion shots to a video once in a while was a no brainer, I thought…….

After much internet research like many of us do I ended up choosing a Blackbird. Any stabilizer of any type must be a finely machined tool. Cheap knock offs were not even up for consideration. I am happy with the purchase but there is not one single inch of cool motion shots in my videos yet. I am not ignorant enough to have gone into it not expecting a learning curve but that curve is a damn sharp corner I have not had time to smooth out yet. Steady cam operation is a specialty because it takes time, talent, and training. I don’t think anyone with minimal experience is going to do a couple of laps around a factory (in flip flops) with a basic handheld $500.00 stabilizer and get what he got. But it’s not $500.00, it is closer to $5,000.00. His results under less than optimal conditions are where the other $4,500.00 comes in. Imagine what you can do with that thing when properly trained and experienced in its use.

Luckily for us end users, that earn our living shooting video there is a very wide range of products and price structures to meet our individual needs for just about any tool we use. I am not going to call a $5,000.00 stabilizer expensive just because I own a $500.00 one. They are not even close to both being apples.

I love this forum; I have been here since it was the Canon XL Watch Dog. One of the few things I don’t like about it is the time I waste sorting through useless complaints about a new equipment release. I am here for the good and the bad information. So what do I consider useless? The posts guys make about a new release of gear, tearing it apart because it does not suit their particular needs. I want to know the issues with any equipment I am considering purchasing. Sorting through three pages of “It is junk because it does not have this or do that for me” can be a waste of time. There is a difference between “I wish it did this to suit my needs” and “it is a crap product because it does not do this”. I also think some guys bash things because of brand loyalty or because they are pissed that they can’t afford the item so they buy junk. Cheap knock offs….Quality costs money, how good do you want it to be?

Keep fighting Thomas, the guy on the mono pod wants to keep his job.

Steve
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Old July 31st, 2013, 09:21 AM   #26
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Re: NEW!! FlowCam 5 Digital Stabilizer (not MOVI)

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Old August 21st, 2013, 06:02 PM   #27
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Re: NEW!! FlowCam 5 Digital Stabilizer (not MOVI)

It looks very promising and high quality. I would tweak the follow mode algorithm though to damp the motion a little more :)
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Old October 22nd, 2013, 09:33 AM   #28
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Re: NEW!! FlowCam 5 Digital Stabilizer (not MOVI)

MOVIng fast;
good Christmas present
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Old October 23rd, 2013, 07:48 AM   #29
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Re: NEW!! FlowCam 5 Digital Stabilizer (not MOVI)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Digges View Post
First, I have to hand it to Thomas for having the guts to throw up a quick and dirty REAL video of him using the product. He knows this is a tough crowd, he also knows how to spend money on real commercials. I assume he also knows some guys here would be detractors either way.

For me, there is value in buying products made here in my home country (any product). That part is about jobs and the economy, period. In return for buying American Made I usually pay more than it would cost for knock off junk. In return, I don’t get junk.

A few months ago I bought my first stabilizer. I am not in the $5,000.00 budget range for that accessory. But $500.00 to add a few cool motion shots to a video once in a while was a no brainer, I thought…….

After much internet research like many of us do I ended up choosing a Blackbird. Any stabilizer of any type must be a finely machined tool. Cheap knock offs were not even up for consideration. I am happy with the purchase but there is not one single inch of cool motion shots in my videos yet. I am not ignorant enough to have gone into it not expecting a learning curve but that curve is a damn sharp corner I have not had time to smooth out yet. Steady cam operation is a specialty because it takes time, talent, and training. I don’t think anyone with minimal experience is going to do a couple of laps around a factory (in flip flops) with a basic handheld $500.00 stabilizer and get what he got. But it’s not $500.00, it is closer to $5,000.00. His results under less than optimal conditions are where the other $4,500.00 comes in. Imagine what you can do with that thing when properly trained and experienced in its use.

Luckily for us end users, that earn our living shooting video there is a very wide range of products and price structures to meet our individual needs for just about any tool we use. I am not going to call a $5,000.00 stabilizer expensive just because I own a $500.00 one. They are not even close to both being apples.

I love this forum; I have been here since it was the Canon XL Watch Dog. One of the few things I don’t like about it is the time I waste sorting through useless complaints about a new equipment release. I am here for the good and the bad information. So what do I consider useless? The posts guys make about a new release of gear, tearing it apart because it does not suit their particular needs. I want to know the issues with any equipment I am considering purchasing. Sorting through three pages of “It is junk because it does not have this or do that for me” can be a waste of time. There is a difference between “I wish it did this to suit my needs” and “it is a crap product because it does not do this”. I also think some guys bash things because of brand loyalty or because they are pissed that they can’t afford the item so they buy junk. Cheap knock offs….Quality costs money, how good do you want it to be?

Keep fighting Thomas, the guy on the mono pod wants to keep his job.

Steve
Great comments! Being a gear head I look at stuff and think sometimes WOW that is way too much money, so I decided to take a beginners CNC class at Techshop in San Francisco to get a better idea of what it take just to mill something out of a solid piece of metal. Now I understand why something small like a cage for a GoPro costs $100, and why at that price I now view it as relatively inexpensive.

I'm sure Varizoom didn't just whip up the FlowCam in a CAD program and have it magically pop out the end of CNC mill without feeling like they were going through labor.

With more Asian vendors displaying goods at NAB, I've had a chance to see up close many products that look good from a distance. When you get to touch them and see them operate, I see there is quite a range of quality, but most importantly I understand that if I buy something from a company with out a solid USA operation, I don't, and they often don't, have the language skills for us to be able to hold an in depth conversation.

Although I can't afford one, I hope the Varizoom's Flowcam is a success and that I have a chance to check it out at NAB next year.
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Old October 25th, 2013, 02:57 PM   #30
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Re: NEW!! FlowCam 5 Digital Stabilizer (not MOVI)

At NAB I said these devices would be under $5000 by Christmas. You guys being early makes me look bad... :)
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