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Old June 2nd, 2003, 09:29 PM   #16
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The thing to know and realize about hand held stabilizers like the GC 2000 and the like: you are supporting the weight of your camera plus at least 4-9 pounds of weight WITH YOUR WRIST.

I built my own stabilizer (the same basic priciples of the GC2000 and the like) and learned this VERY quickly.

I had a shot I wanted to do pulling back from a room and down a long corridor where there was no way I could lay down track and not have it seen. The stabilizer worked like a CHAMP ! I was extremely pleased with the effect and the smoothness of the shot.

My DP cursed me for 3 days every time his wrist and forearm hurt from the experience but it was worth it.

Go somewhere and try it out... YES, try the forearm brace but you still have to realize that you're holding it with one arm to get the smoothness you desire. ( I'm looking into how to build a forarm support for mine )

I learned fast that a stabilizer (not one in the sense of a Stedicam ) is fantastic for a lot of different kinds of shots and works fantastic with my XL1S--- but I had to pick and chose what I can and can't do with it by virtue of physical capability.

Having said all of the above you can build one for less then US$100.00 and spend the extra on building a dolly and track set-up or some other tool. If I can build a usable stabilizer setup, anyone can.

If you feel that you are going to need and going use a lot of stedi shots, consider going for a homebuilt full rig.

I know there is a posting here from Cosmin who is selling his full rig he built. It's pretty dang cheap for what you get and his demo shoots have been fantastic. I wish I had the money right now but this dang habit of eating and feeding my family gets in the way.........
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Old June 2nd, 2003, 10:00 PM   #17
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Originally posted by Ken Tanaka : "Sorry to hear of your frustration with the Glidecam 2000, Wayne. It's certainly understandable, as it's a very different way to shoot. After practicing with it for a while I'm inclined to liken it to a whole-body movement control excercise such as T'ai Chi. Achieving very good, consistent and repeatable results with the GC 2000 and lightweight cameras (GL2, PD150, VX2000, et.al.) is very possible but only through total concentration and deliberate control of nearly every muscle in your body. That arm brace really does alleviate a significant amount of the discomfort to which you referred in your post."

You don't have to be sorry for me, Ken. I have operated a professional Steadicam, so I know what my capabilities are, and I didn't lose any money buying the Glidecam. But I am concerned for the young people who are anxious to imitate professional camera movement, and are being told in the Glidecam ads that this is indeed possible. Despite the grinning girls with the big hooters, I don't think this gear can turn out professional level work, and all the company wants is the customer's money. Then when someone complains about the gear, they are told they have not "properly set-up the equipment," or they "haven't devoted the necessary time" to learn to operate the gear effeciently. You can balance a small format camera on a Steadicam in a few minutes, and be operating it with a surprising amount of dexterity in a few more minutes. It will take much longer to become really skilled in its use, but you won't constantly be fighting to contol the unit.

Skip the Zen, Ken, how about those clips?
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Old June 2nd, 2003, 10:04 PM   #18
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I figure the place I buy it from has a week to send it back for any reason, so why not get all three and weed them out( shoulder brace, GC2000 w spring arm, and dv steadicam). After getting a feel for them and seeing what they can do in real world no nosence shots, Ill send the other two back or maybe all, and save up for a real steadicam. Practice makes perfect. Thanks for all the badly needed help and direction.


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Old June 2nd, 2003, 10:18 PM   #19
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I should probably state for the record that my preferred device for handheld stabilizing is the Steadicam JR (own one of the earliest ones, paid it off in two jobs). The DV model, while sexy looking, reputedly suffered from serious design flaws and was discontinued a while back.

I'm being a bit generous about the Glidecam, as I find the fit and finish a bit lacking compared to the JR, but I have seen some very decent footage made with those machines so I can't discredit it, particulaly at the price point.

And now it's my turn to disagree with you, Wayne, on the following:

<<You can balance a small format camera on a Steadicam in a few minutes, and be operating it with a surprising amount of dexterity in a few more minutes.>>

It didn't take me all that long when I got mine, but then again the principles are the same as the big rigs I was already familiar with. For the Steadicam novice, I have heard complaints of HOURS spent trying to get the thing to balance for the first time. Although the documentation sold with the JR was excellent (and that video was pure gold, the interaction between Garrett Brown and the late Ted Churchill was classic), it's still a brain tickler for most.

Same applies for the operating--I'm pretty confident that it takes the average person plenty longer than a few minutes to turn in "dextrous" work.

We're probably saying the same thing, though Wayne. It's all subjective.

By the way, I see you worked on the live "Fail Safe" broadcast a while back? Do you recall my pal Dave Chameides who did Steadicam on that show?

Sorry, back on track here...John, I think you'll like the JR, even without the arm brace, but I'm curious to hear your thoughts.
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Old June 2nd, 2003, 11:24 PM   #20
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new Q's

I checked out the steadicam jr and have some quetions. Whats the diff between the light, and the regular? would I need the monotor? Would I need a brace of some kind, or could I make one to serve its purpose? Could I use extra audio add ons like a beach tek and senn mic, or would that add to much wieght to the rig. Seems like alot to consider when spending wisely. Better right the first time, then not being happy with the results. This is good stuff, I appreciate the time, and effort everyone has put in there posts, Im begining to think this is going to take some major practice no matter what I choose.


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Old June 2nd, 2003, 11:28 PM   #21
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Whoa, Charles. Mea culpa. I was referring to the Steadicam Mini, not the JR. I'm afraid I am no fan of the JR either, because it was not designed for cameras of a weight of the PD150/VX2K, and certainly, never for the Canon XL series. That was my bad about the confusion there. Again, apologizes to anyone who misread my remarks. And yes, the Steadicam Mini is very expensive to purchase, but a weekend rental will go for about $250.00, which isn't too bad. I took my PD150 over to Abel Cine awhile back, and their tech, Ian, had it mounted on the Mini in a bit over five minutes. I moved around their building for about fifteen minutes, and tried to imagine a total novice giving it a go, and I think if they have a video tutorial for it, a "virgin" would do some pretty good work with a little practice.

Yeah, David is a good guy, and excellent operator. I think he gets a rush doing the "live" productions (Along with the Emmy we won). He also did the live "ER" earlier. Its very exciting knowing you have one chance at it; no retakes. I had a shot set up near the end of a 70x lens where I was focused on one character, and Brian Dennehy steps into an extreme close-up profile shot and I rack to him. But at that focal length, if he misses his mark by a couple inches, or I miss mine, it's egg on the face time. Fortunately we both nailed it.

Speaking of Steadicams, I just ran into one of my buds, Ted Ashton, this past weekend on the "World Stunt Awards." Ted recently took delivery on his custom vest with the back connection, and is very happy. He said Larry McConky is saying the new vest will add ten years to his career. Is that good news or bad news? You going to get one?
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Old June 3rd, 2003, 03:27 AM   #22
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"this dang habit of eating and feeding my family gets in the way"
That's OK Kevin, I understand.... :)
I've finish building a JR type steadicam. I used a big bearing ball for the gimbal. Not to good. The real steadicam JR has bearings, like a normal gimbal. I'll send some pics in a few days on homebuiltstabilizers.
In the JR type steadicam, because the handle is under the weight, you have an advantage as well as a problem. The advantage is that is easier to hold it over a longer period of time. The problem is that you'll transmit every step you take up to the camcorder. In the glidecam rig, because the weight is on a side, that will force your wrist to twist when you take a step, absorbing the shock. Something like that. Both setups needs allot of practice to obtain good results. They are harder to control than a big rig. My full rig almost draws me on its path! Is hard to carry around (about 25Kg ALL) but its definitely easier to control. Is like kipping a stick in equilibrium on a finger. With the JR/glidecam is like kipping a pencil in equilibrium.... Try it!
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Old June 3rd, 2003, 12:21 PM   #23
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Steadicam mini

Wayne, thank you for siting the steadicam mini, although expensive, it is what I was looking for and I figure its better to do it right the first time, then be unhappy with the quality. Can you give some suggestions about use, or set up? What audio add ons do you use? and any other inside tips would help me out very much. It looks like its worth the money.


Thanks again,
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Old June 3rd, 2003, 12:52 PM   #24
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John, the best way to get audio into the camera on a Steadicam is obviously with a wireless system. You can velcro a receiver to your camera, and eliminate any cables, which is always to be desired.

As far as set-up, I have the Steadicam "user's tutorial" and I will be happy to make you a copy and post it to you, if you are really going to get into this. The tape is for a full sized Steadicam, but the principles are the same, so it should be very helpful. I don't know if there is a tape for the Mini, but you could ask about it where you get the gear.

Charles is the real Steadicam expert here, so hopefully we can get him in with some suggestions. He is on location now and may not have the time.
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Old June 3rd, 2003, 05:02 PM   #25
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<<<-- Originally posted by Wayne Orr :

As far as set-up, I have the Steadicam "user's tutorial" and I will be happy to make you a copy and post it to you, if you are really going to get into this. The tape is for a full sized Steadicam, but the principles are the same, so it should be very helpful. I don't know if there is a tape for the Mini, but you could ask about it where you get the gear.
. -->>>

Oh! Oh! Me! I'm getting a V16 soon, *bats eyelashes*
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Old June 3rd, 2003, 07:19 PM   #26
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Sometimes a girl can be too coy, Andrew. Is that a request, or are you just flirting?
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Old June 3rd, 2003, 11:03 PM   #27
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Wayne:

After a year of waffling, I finally ordered the back-mounted vest you mentioned, the DSD--it's arriving in a couple of days. The health aspect of it is the entirely enticing aspect, otherwise I'm trying to avoid spending any more money on the Steadicam setup! For those interested, this is a support vest for the full-sized rigs that distributes the weight very differently than has been done before--instead of pulling from the front of the operator, it pushes from the back.

John, if you can afford the Mini, you will be very happy with it. It's a solid unit and will allow you to use significantly heavier cameras with greatly reduced fatigue than any of the handheld stabilizers, including the JR.
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Old June 4th, 2003, 08:32 AM   #28
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Wayne

I don't play those casting couch games! :P So it'll be a video request (Would flirting help? lol)
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Old June 4th, 2003, 08:45 AM   #29
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charles, would u like to donate your old vest to me :)


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Old June 4th, 2003, 09:42 AM   #30
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Charles

do you know what exactly what were the design flaws with the DV Steadicam??

the reason I ask is because I was contemplating getting a used one
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