Stabilizer question at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Support Your Local Camera > Stabilizers (Steadicam etc.)


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old June 1st, 2003, 04:56 PM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Akron, Ohio
Posts: 496
Stabilizer question

I was wondering if anyone could give some advice about a good stabilizer for my GL2. I am going to use if for filming the people ariving at a wedding, or event. I need somthing to give an almost perfect shot while walking, moving up stairs, ext. I would spend up to $1500-2000, but any advice on this topic is appreciated.




John DeLuca
John DeLuca is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 1st, 2003, 05:23 PM   #2
High School Student
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Canton, Ohio, USA
Posts: 609
Your best bet would be a steadicam/glidecam, but them cost much more then $1500. Unless you want to take on the task of building one yourself, you will be best off with something like the Glidecam 2000 PRO, it goes for around $380, i'm pretty sure.

http://www.glidecam.com/2000pro.html
Alex Knappenberger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 1st, 2003, 06:03 PM   #3
Retired DV Info Net Almunus
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 6,943
Hi John,
I'll second Alex's recommendation for the Glidecam 2000 with your GL2. I have one and think it's a very good value, and performer, for a relatively modest cost.

A couple of added suggestions if you decide to go this way.
1. Skip the "Body Pod" option for the 2000. The Body Pod is really just a glorified parade flag holder with an 's' tube. While it does put the rig's load on your hips it also transmits a great deal of footfall vibration straight to the camera. The only way to effectively run the 2000 is handheld.

2. Skip the monitor option. The GL2's lcd panel will be fine, particularly if you outfit it with a lightweight hood, such as the ones available from Petrol or Hoodman.

3. Get the arm brace. It's an essential accessory. It makes the 2000 much more comfortable to use by transferring the load of the rig to larger muscle groups in your upper arm.

4. Don't underestimate the amount of practice required to get professional results. Practicing achieving proper balance will, in itself, require a significant amount of time. So don't think that you can get the 2000 on the Wednesday before a weekend wedding and get good results. Give yourself -weeks- of practice time. This does not reflect a weakness of the Glidecam, but rather the complexity and skill required to master any camera stabilizer.

Let us know what you select!
__________________
Lady X Films: A lady with a boring wardrobe...and a global mission.

Hey, you don't have enough stuff!
Buy with confidence from our sponsors. Hand-picked as the best in the business...Really!

See some of my work one frame at a time: www.KenTanaka.com
Ken Tanaka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 1st, 2003, 08:50 PM   #4
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Akron, Ohio
Posts: 496
Reply for stabilizer

Alex, and Ken thankyou so much. The Glidecam 2000 PRO is exaclly what I need. My only question is, will my arms get tired, and if so, how long can you hold it without problems. Would hand shake/tremors be gone, or is there a limit to how far you can go. My first wedding is in a few weeks! I would get paid if it is good footage, or its free if its bad. Live and learn. Thanks again



John DeLuca
John DeLuca is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 1st, 2003, 09:07 PM   #5
High School Student
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Canton, Ohio, USA
Posts: 609
I haven't used it before, but I do have a much cheaper home build version, well sort of. Sometimes I carry around a counter weight which I strap on to the bottom of my tripod, if I need to do any smooth shots -- or atleast as smooth as possible. It really takes practice, no matter if its a counterbalanced tripod, that glidecam 2000pro, or a real steadicam... Sure it will wear you out after a while, it depends how in shape you are...

You should be fine. I've seen some wedding videos where the people have been paid a lot, and it's nothing more then all stationary tripod shots, and edited terribly. As long as you get good audio and decent shots, and you can edit good, it will be a good video.
Alex Knappenberger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 1st, 2003, 10:22 PM   #6
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
The Glidecam (and all similar stabilizers) can remove out the typical effects of handheld camera; jitter, shake, footsteps in walking shots. With an inexperienced operator at the helm, it can also result in other kinds of unwanted motion such as rolling horizons and erratic framing. This is absolutely not to discourage anyone from buying or using a stabilizer but to echo Ken's wise words: practice is imperative, it's a whole new skill and requires time and patience to get the basics down. In the process, you will also increase your stamina so that your shooting time can improve.

My advice is to get the unit as soon as possible, and set time aside to practice with it and review your work. If you apply yourself, you can produce travelling shots that are virtually as good as what you see on TV or in the movies--there really isn't a limit on what is possible.

I'm affraid I can't support Alex's thoughts--poorly operated stabilizer footage can be worse than a standard locked off tripod shot. Especially when the heads are chopped off. It's more challenging to control a gimbal-based system like the Glidecam than a weighted tripod/monopod, but it will ultimately net better results.
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 2nd, 2003, 07:35 AM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Romania, Timisoara
Posts: 453
I second for the glidecam. Get it as soon as you can. Read Ken's tips again! After you do ALL the points, be obsessed with the 4th:
"Give yourself -weeks- of practice time" :-)
Cosmin Rotaru is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 2nd, 2003, 11:25 AM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Akron, Ohio
Posts: 496
Steadicam jr/jmr

Thanks for all the help, its been more than helpfull. The only question after my research, Ive come up with a couple choices. The Glide cam with a forearm brace, or a steadicam jr/jrm also with somekind of similar brace. Has anyone compaired the two? Every time I ask about it anywhere else, I get the feeling people are not being honest with me in order to make a sale. If anyone can help, it would mean alot to me.


Thanks again,
John DeLuca
John DeLuca is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 2nd, 2003, 11:46 AM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Romania, Timisoara
Posts: 453
The JR doesn't have a forearm brace. Maybe if you make it yourself. But is somehow easier on your arm, since the weight of the system is DIRECTLY over the fist, and not in front (pulling your forearm forward).
The JR has some more inertia on pan axis, which is good, and it can also fold to form a shoulder support! The glide can seat on straight on the table.
I don't know... I think I like the JR more. We had a discussion on this JR vs. glidecam, here:
http://pub173.ezboard.com/fhomebuilt...picID=50.topic
Cosmin Rotaru is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 2nd, 2003, 12:10 PM   #10
Retired DV Info Net Almunus
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 6,943
John,
Ditto Cosmin's remarks. I, too, was torn between the two. The physics of the JR is slightly different than the GC 2000, with the gimbal being directly over your hand. I don't know if this is better or worse, probably neither.

In my case, Tiffen had undergone some financial problems (a bankruptcy according to Charles) and their manufacturing had slowed, leaving the retail chains empty. So the JR wasn't available for many months. The 2000 was the only practical choice for me. Personally, now that I've used it, I'm glad I went with the 2000, mainly due to the arm brace option. The GL2 + counter-weights + rig gets darn heavy and that arm brace makes a big difference. Without a brace your wrist and forearm will be quivering in a short time. I don't know of any such aid for the JR.
__________________
Lady X Films: A lady with a boring wardrobe...and a global mission.

Hey, you don't have enough stuff!
Buy with confidence from our sponsors. Hand-picked as the best in the business...Really!

See some of my work one frame at a time: www.KenTanaka.com
Ken Tanaka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 2nd, 2003, 12:27 PM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Romania, Timisoara
Posts: 453
If you could only go to a store and try both of them... for a couple of weeks! :)
Cosmin Rotaru is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 2nd, 2003, 01:15 PM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: US & THEM
Posts: 827
there is also the DV Steadicam at twice the price of a JR, question is -- is it twice as good - it certainly looks cool
__________________
John Jay

Beware ***PLUGGER-BYTES***
John Jay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 2nd, 2003, 04:29 PM   #13
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Akron, Ohio
Posts: 496
Dv steady cam

That DV steady cam is slick looking. Do they make an arm brace for it? Would you even need one? Could you maybe make one, that would serve its purpose? Better start doing more hammer/reverse curls at the gym.....lol.


All the best,

John DeLuca
John DeLuca is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 2nd, 2003, 07:23 PM   #14
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Northridge Ca
Posts: 734
I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with both Charles and Ken. I think if you buy the Glidecam for the wedding, in about two or three trips up the stairs you will be finished. And even that footage may be junk.

I would ask someone who has what they consider to be good footage done with the Glidecam 2000 to post it for our inspection. Not the "running down the hall" stuff, or "walking down the street." But footage with other people in the shot, where composition counts, and the shot moves with them at their speed. If you could show me a dialogue scene, I would be really impressed.

Cosmin has the right idea: rent before you buy.

Here is a brief review I wrote awhile back. I have seen nothing so far to make me change my mind, but maybe someone out there....

I rented the Glidecam for a weekend and these are my personal observations. Your mileage may vary.

Using the Glidecam with only its little "stem" holder device is damn near impossible. Try this experiment: take a briefcase and load it with weight till it tops our at about 12 pounds. Now, hold the briefcase with your elbow bent so it is perpendicular to the ground. How does that feel? How long can you hold your wrist in that position? Now try walking with the briefcase so that you can control where its pointing. Having fun yet? That's the same fun you will have with the Glidecam. You will be able to do very brief, non-repeatable shots. Certainly, you would not want to try to shoot a dialogue scene this way. Maybe brief snatches for a music video.

Using their spring arm is somewhat better, but definitely not in the same league as a true Steadicam. Of course, it is much less expensive than the Steadicam, and you get what you pay for. It is a very difficult unit to balance properly and the support system for the arm is cheezy, IMHO.

After a couple hours, I put the whole thing back in the box. Now, this is not to say that if you purchase the unit with the arm, and are willing to commit to an extended learning period, that you would not be able to perform some movie quality shots. Maybe. The ideal situation would be to rent before you buy and see if you are willing to go through the learning curve. But if you must buy, please have a return policy locked in and pay with a credit card, such as Amex.
Good luck

Even if John could make the Glidecam work for the wedding, I don't know that would be the best use of it. There are many ways to shoot the arrivals, including tripod, hand held shoulder brace, and yes, even a jib, that would pay off in better coverage than the Glidecam. The Glidecam forces you to stay wide, but with a shoulder brace you can go in for tighter shots of smiling faces and such. Exotic devices like Glidecams should not be your primary source of coverage, but be used on a second camera for the "icing on the cake," so to speak, in a situation like this. IMHO.

Wayne Orr, SOC
__________________
Wayne

If it was easy, they'd get a relative to do it.
Wayne Orr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 2nd, 2003, 09:04 PM   #15
Retired DV Info Net Almunus
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 6,943
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.

Certainly, one has to judge whether or not the effort is worthwhile for the situation. Personally, I think motion stabilizers achieve best results in controlled scenes where movement is carefully blocked and the camera's motion is choreographed, and rehearsed, for a very specific objective. In the case of John's proposition, a wedding, I'm inclined to agree that he would probably achieve better results with more conventional camera handling techniques particularly if he is not adept with a stabilizer. Slightly shakey, but deliberate and well framed, shots are going to be preferable to the wobbly, sea-sickness results that inept stabilizer operation will produce. In a setting as chaotic as most weddings tend to be, even a skilled operator might well have a hard time getting the goods with a stabilizer.
__________________
Lady X Films: A lady with a boring wardrobe...and a global mission.

Hey, you don't have enough stuff!
Buy with confidence from our sponsors. Hand-picked as the best in the business...Really!

See some of my work one frame at a time: www.KenTanaka.com
Ken Tanaka is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Support Your Local Camera > Stabilizers (Steadicam etc.)

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:59 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network