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Old June 18th, 2003, 10:31 PM   #1
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which would be the right one for this situation..

Im hoping to get some advice here looking for a stablizer, and leaning toward a glidecam 4000. However there may be better options...

Im am primarily loking at it for moments in eng/documentry style shooting..Im not trying to make movies with this just smooth out longer broll/walking conversation shots.

The cameras Im using are a XL1 with 16x manual lens (and in darker situations a anton bauer w frezzi kit loaded on it) and a vx2000 figured i needed something that could accomadate the load. ( and trying to stay in the $500 and under range)

any suggestions, not looking to make movies but add more smoothness/value to the shots for what im looking to do, THANKS in advance for any advice...

m
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Old July 6th, 2003, 07:08 PM   #2
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I'd advise the Steadicam JR for the VX-2000 - It's a tad over the 4lb limit but you should be fine aslong as you rig some extra weights on.
It's over your $500 price tag... but you may be able to get one for $500 from ebay.

Details on using the VX-2000 with a JR can be found at my good friends site...
http://www.geocities.com/steadicamjr

James
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Old July 6th, 2003, 07:10 PM   #3
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I skipped the XL1 bit... naturally the XL1 wont work on a JR but I don't think you'll find a Glidecam 4000 and XL1 very comfy to use!!

James
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Old July 6th, 2003, 07:43 PM   #4
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You'll have to strip down the XL1S completely to make it balance out properly on the GlideCam system. That means the viewfinder as well. Plan on spending a lot of time tweaking just to pull off a few shots. It's tedious, time-consuming and very tweaky.

I only wish that the SteadiCam JR could handle a larger and heavier camera such as an XL1S, it's one of the best designs out there and easily one of the most easiest to use out of the box.

I usually just use a monopod for those shots that need extra stabilization, most of the time I just do it handheld with the XL1S. If you feel that you absolutely must use a stabilizer when shooting your documentary, then I would recommend a stabilizer design such as the VariZoom FlowPod
http://www.varizoom.com/pages/flowpod.php. It does not require any where near the tweaking time as the GlideCam and you do not have to strip down the camera. You may still feel the need to use an LCD screen though with your XL1, unless you have a Canon B&W viewfinder/ Tiffen Tele-2X combo like I do.

Just my $.02!

- don
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Old July 6th, 2003, 09:18 PM   #5
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Michael,

I seem to keep hearing on this forum that most folks find that an XL1 on a handheld stabilizer is just too heavy to comfortably carry for any length of time (and with the AB batteries and onboard light, unquestionably so). A system that uses a vest and arm will be infinitely more comfortable, allowing you to shoot for longer periods with better results. One thing is true of all stabilizers; when fatigue sets in, it becomes very hard to focus on the subtleties of operating.

There is a big jump between the handheld and the body-mounted stabilizers in price, no doubt; but purchasing a non-upgradeable system that ultimately ends up sitting on the shelf because it is too awkward to use is not a great investment.
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Old July 6th, 2003, 10:11 PM   #6
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thanks

Gentlemen, thanks for the advice its given me quite a bit more to think about.....and has made me realize need to do some hands on with all these suggestions before I spend money and have the item end up on shelf..

thanks again
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Old July 7th, 2003, 12:01 PM   #7
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Hey Don, I must ask. Have you ever tried the flowpod or are you just noting it's design advantage here. I can't yet find many who have tried the flowpod.
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Old July 7th, 2003, 01:43 PM   #8
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Hello Rob,

Good question!

I have tried the FlowPod at length, several times at various trade shows around the country. My initial impression was that, like most of the low-cost stabilizers available, it would be best suited for use with smaller handycam camcorders which typically weigh less than the Xl1 and have a better center of balance. I was pleasantly surprised that it handled the extra weight of the XL1S very nicely. It is also easy enough to accomodate for the "off-center" B&W viewfinder/ Tiffen TELE-2X and extra weight of the BP930 battery. What I liked most about the FlowPod is that you don't have to strip down the XL1S to use it, unlike many of the other "GlideCam-like" designs. Also, since it is also a monopod, it is easy to make a transition from a "steadicam" shot to a static "tripod-like", shake-free shot. The monopod-like design allows you to give your hands and shoulders a rest while keeping the camera upright and static and still be able to roll footage and maintain useable shots. One thing you may want to consider using with a handheld stabilizer system is some form of lower arm/ wrist brace support for extended use. That will help you to prevent "blowing out" your lower arm muscles...

Now I want to be clear that I am speaking from experience and not just chatting about an item which I have no experience with. I am very familiar with most all of the designs out there in the DV market. I have tried and tested many of them, but not all (some are not very appealling). I do not in any way claim to have vast experience with the vest/ shoulder/ arm designs such as the original SteadiCam design or the GlideCam V8/ V16 or other similiar designs. That is not my main specialty. There is a reason why some shooters specialize only as a SteadiCam/ GlideCam Operator. Those higher-end systems require a lot of training and practice to master. I have, however, gone through training at the GlideCam training facility in Plymouth, MA with both the V8 and the V16 and 4000 Pro with arm brace and 2000 Pro. Tom Howie at GlideCam is one seriously skilled and talented shooter/ operator http://glidecam.com/images/glidecam_v16.jpg. GlideCam does make some sweet stuff too for those who are doing high-end stabilzer setups. It's just that many new users do not take into account that these systems take a long time to tweak so that they stay horizontal/ vertical when being moved. These systems, especially the vest/ shoulder systems do not operate perfectly straight out of the box. It takes days (for some people with certain systems and cameras it takes weeks/ months/ years) to get into the right zone and bond with these systems so that they work the way you want them to. And keep in mind that once you change the form factor of the camera being used, you have to re-tweak the weights and counter-weights all over again to maintain the proper center balance and counter balance. I'm not knocking the GlideCam system for this, that's just the way it is with these systems. You just need to plan on incorporating enough time to get it to work the way you want to and develop a feel. One system that GlideCam recently introduced that looks like a sweet system for high-end XL1S applications is the new GlideCam Gyro4000 Pro http://glidecam.com/gyro4000pro.html.

One of the reasons I am fond of the SteadiCam JR design is that it does not require so much of a learning curve or tweaking to get it to perform the way you want out of the box. While it still needs some tweaking of course, it just does not require as much. I also like the way the LCD monitor is placed on the SteadiCam JR. I just wish they had a beefier version to accomodate the heavier XL1S.

If you are using mostly a *handy*cam and your budget is limited -and- you possess some *handy*man skills, check out this alternative MIY (Make-It-Yourself) solution: (special thanks to Wayne Orr for the following URL) http://www.student.virginia.edu/%7Efms-uva/steadycam.

Now, perhaps you can see why I like the VariZoom FlowPod. http://www.varizoom.com/pages/flowpod.php
The VZ-FP works well with the XL1S, minimal tweaking required, added value of being able to switch to "static shot/ monopod mode" instantly with the monopod form-factor, the ability to use a quick-release plate to instantly place the camera on a tripod and the price is right. This is highly affordable when you consider what it allows you to do. These are very tangible things to me as a shooter and that is why I mentioned it. Since Michel originally stated that he wanted to have a system for ENG/ Documentary use, it clearly stands out as one system to definitely consider.

If you are doing mostly commercial work with a shooting schedule that affords you a good amount of setup time for each individual shot, then by all means consider the other stabilizer form factors which require more time to tweak and a longer learning curve. You may even want to consider saving yourself some time and energy and hire a shooter who specializes in shooting with GlideCams/ SteadiCams.
http://www.glidecam-ops.net
http://www.mandy.com/1/services.cfm?...=SouthWest&p=1

Rob, does this clarify things for you? Please do let me know and I can elaborate further. I just need to divert my attention right now to prepare for my trip to Manhattan for the DV EXPO EAST this week.

Anyone planning on attending the DV EXPO EAST? Please do chime in.

- don
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Old July 7th, 2003, 03:51 PM   #9
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Thanks Don. As usual, a very generous post. I've gotten some from you on other forums...Moo.
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Old September 30th, 2003, 09:30 AM   #10
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Flowpod giving smooth video

Hi Don,
understand you have tried the flowpod and just wondering was it able to give smooth video on brisk walking?

yowsiang
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