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Old September 22nd, 2003, 06:09 AM   #1
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Glidecam 2000

OK, I have a panasonic ag-dvx100(x2). I have one that I have been trying to use with my glidecam 2000. They say this is real easy to use but for the life of me I can't get this thing balance. I've went through the manuals over and over. I've called their tech support, I've gotten email back from glidecam and I still can't get it balanced. On their site they show people running I've seen video clips were people swear by this thing and I'm to the point were I want to trash this thing. I am open to any suggestions even throwing the thing in the garbage.
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Old September 22nd, 2003, 08:08 AM   #2
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Ozzie,

Can you describe the problems you are having with balance?

First thing I would check is that the rig has the right amount of bottom-heaviness. If you are top heavy, you'll never get it to behave. Turn it horizontally, holding on to the gimbal handle, and let it level itself. If the camera starts to drop before the bottom of the rig, you need to add weight to the bottom. When the bottom is dropping first, and the whole thing takes 2-3 seconds to fall back to vertical, you have at least one axis properly balanced.

Then you can examine the fore-aft and side-to-side positions and address them.

Keep in mind that if the rig is out of whack in one of these directions, it will affect how it falls. You have to keep checking each axis as you go, tweaking all the while.

It can be done! Don't give up!
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Old September 22nd, 2003, 08:34 AM   #3
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glidecam problems

Charles thanks for the feedback, it seems to be balanced at times but I'll have slight movements slight tilting when I start to move. If I hold the bottom as I am moving it seems fine. I should not have to hold the bottom. We are getting ready to shoot our first big project and I'm concerned about this ( check website).
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Old September 23rd, 2003, 01:59 AM   #4
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Ozzie:

Assuming you don't have it too bottom-heavy, which will make the pendulum action you are experiencing worse (how many second drop time are you set up for?), this is a normal phenomenon of gimbal-based stabilizer shooting. You learn to control the tendency for the rig to tilt by applying slight and momentary pressure to the opposing side of the center post. You should absolutely not have to hold the bottom of the rig, never never! All control can be made from just below the gimbal. It takes time and practice to get the feel of it. I honestly wish the manufacturers would stress this point more, but they are looking to sell as many units as possible and don't want to scare anyone off from a purchase.
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Old September 23rd, 2003, 01:14 PM   #5
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glidecam

Charles your way ahead of the game. I'm not sure what you mean by second drop time. I'm assuming you mean how long is my shot set for. I'm really just tryingto learn how to use the darn thing. On the glidecam you hold the handle it sounds like you want me to hold underthe base of it?. sorry to sound so ignorant on this one. but I don't have much experience with this thing.
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Old September 23rd, 2003, 01:33 PM   #6
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No problem Ozzie. By drop time I meant the exercise described in my first post, where you allow the rig to swing from horizontal to vertical, which should take 2-3 seconds (that's "drop time"). That is a part of balancing the system, nothing to do with making shots. Once you have the correct balance with the camera, you can proceed to shoot.

One hand holds the gimbal handle, the other operates on the post underneath the gimbal--that's how you pan and tilt the camera. That hand must have a very light, subtle touch; don't grip it tightly. The physics of the rig will cause it to "kick out" when you start or stop moving, especially on fast moves. You reign in those forces with the operating hand. Hope this helps.
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Old September 23rd, 2003, 08:35 PM   #7
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Charles, man you rock on this glidecam stuff.
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Old September 23rd, 2003, 08:37 PM   #8
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Is this with the camera on or off? Its hard to describe it seems like the camera is balanced untill I start to move. sorry for the stupid quesion.
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Old September 23rd, 2003, 09:12 PM   #9
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Thanks Ozzie. 18 years of wearing a Steadicam and counting...!

And again, there are no stupid questions. It's esoteric equipment.

If, again, you have the rig all balanced and happy with the right drop time, you've done all you can do on the balance issue. The rest is operating form. Try walking slowly with only your hand on the gimbal (no hand on the post). Is the rig behaving itself? If it still tilts up slightly, does it eventually come back to level as you keep walking or does it stay tilted up? The reason I'm having you keep your other hand off the rig is that I'm trying to isolate the problem--once you start working the operating hand, it's hard to tell who's influencing what.
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Old September 24th, 2003, 02:09 PM   #10
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Charles, man you should make instructional video for glidecam ( ha ha ) just don't charge me ( ha ha ). I'm sure people would buy it. Thanks again for all your help. I am going to try this thing again tonite. If it does not worl I am putting it back on ebay. Are there any other ones that are easier to use?
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Old September 24th, 2003, 03:11 PM   #11
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Ozzie, without seeing what is going on I really can't say where the problem lies with your Glidecam. Have you tried contacting their customer service division, maybe they can talk you through some procedures.

Failing that, if you have the means to shoot some video of yourself with the rig, demonstrating the problem, and then put it up on a website, I'd be happy to look at it.
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Old September 25th, 2003, 12:40 PM   #12
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Charles I can do that, I'll put something up and go from there.
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Old September 26th, 2003, 11:51 AM   #13
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Charles here it is, go to this lik and download this file.

http://www.imlproductions.com/video

again thanks for all your help eih this matter. We are getting closer to shooting and I need to be able to use this. I do have my cobra cran and all but I will need some shots with this.
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Old September 26th, 2003, 12:44 PM   #14
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Hi Ozzie, thanks for posting that.

Unfortunately, I still can't tell exactly what is going on, but it wouldn't appear to be a problem with the gear from what I saw.

When I recommended the one-handed test, I should have stressed that it is very important to start from a very still position, start walking VERY slowly and try to keep the rig as stable as possible (i.e. use your gimbal hand like a shock absorber, and keep it moving in a straight line without shifting it around as much as possible). If the rig is balanced, it shouldn't roll from side to side too much.

But again, operating one hand is not normal--it's just a troubleshooting technique I'm using to isolate operator error from possible equipment problems. You MUST use the second hand on the post just below the gimbal assembly to guide the camera and to reign in those forces as I mentioned earlier.

Have you done the drop test as I described? How many seconds did the rig take to drop from horizontal to vertical?

Assuming the proper drop time, all I can say is that the balance seems pretty good (possibly the side-to-side balance could be off by a smidgen. Make sure that it hangs level, it looks like it was leaning to the left a bit). After that, the pendulum action is something you can "dial out" with practice.

And that, sadly, is the crux of it Ozzie. It does take time to learn to operate these things. It's probably likely that I could pick up your unit and make decent shots with it, and you might pick it up after me and scratch your head and say "how did you do that?" but then again, I can't play guitar or shoot hoops worth a damn. I don't know how much time you have before your big shoot, but I'm sure that if you spent a few days working out with it, you'd be happier with what you were getting for results.
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Old September 26th, 2003, 08:12 PM   #15
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Thanks charles It did get a lillt better after awhile so I'll keep on trying and go bucks! ( had to throw that in there).
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