glidecam x-10 upgrade: trim settings at DVinfo.net

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Old January 12th, 2008, 10:17 AM   #1
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glidecam x-10 upgrade: trim settings

i received the glidecam x-10 upgrade kit yesterday. replacing the smooth shooter parts with the new x-10 parts took me about 15 minutes, and about a half hour to get everything properly balanced. my initial impressions are very positive after a couple of walkarounds. i'm hardly the expert operator, and the rig is far more forgiving of my incompetences. shots are unquestionably smoother, and the vertical bounce that was prevalent in a lot of my ss/gc4000 shots are dramatically reduced.

the kit includes an updated arm-to-vest connector that has four trim knobs. the knobs apparently fine-tune the vest-to-arm connection, finely tuning the arm forward/backward/up/down. the docs were a little vague on the trimming process in general. without going into the specifics of the x-10, how can i tell what trim adjustments would help? i feel the weight of the rig on my lower back after a little while, and i'm hoping adjusting the trim settings will help with that. also, is trimming typically done on the fly, with the full rig assembled on the operator?

many thanks.
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Old January 12th, 2008, 11:48 AM   #2
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Henry:

The idea with the two way leveling trim control is that you can dial in the specific attitude of your body, which determines where the rig will hang when you are standing normally. The best way to test this is while wearing the rig, walk in place for a few steps and then stop. If the rig has a tendency to fly away from you, dial back the fore-aft trim to compensate. If it wants to fly to one side, adjust the side to side trim. Once you have it just right you shouldn't have to exert any force from your control hand to keep the rig in place, it should just hang in the correct position from you. Don't worry about getting these adjustments perfect, the minute movement of your hips will have their effect too but you want to get it close so that you can stand normally and have the rig perch right where you want it with no effort.
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Old January 12th, 2008, 12:10 PM   #3
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The Arm-Vest connector is actually used to adjust the trim of your body!

Ok, not quite, but here's now it works:

You should be standing straight.
And the Arm should be lifting straight up.

If the arm isn't lifting straight up, the sled will want to "fly" in the direction it is lifting with. So an arm that lifting away from you, will cause the sled to want to fly away from you.
If you aren't standing straight, you'll hurt yourself!

Because people are all sorts of shapes & sizes, the vest sits slightly differently on each person. The adjustment in the connection to the arm allows the arm to then also lift straight, regardless of what angle the vest is at when you are standing straight.


So.. stand up perfectly normally (this is MUCH harder than it sounds, when you are paying attention), you might want a friend with you for this part. A mirror helps a little too. Then notice how the sled reacts. If it wants to fly away from you, adjust the arm to pull back a little more; if it flies left, adjust to the right, etc..

Once you think you have it, have your friend hold onto the sled for you (you don't need to touch it for this) while you walk / jog normally in place for a moment, then your friend tells you to STOP; and you stop dead. then they let go of the sled (and be ready to catch it again!) and see which way it goes. Again, adjust as necessary.

Rinse & repeat.



Once you have it trimmed correctly, you'll stand normally, and the sled won't be fighting you by flying off wherever it wants to.

Be sure to read Chris Fawcett's article on correct Steadicam posture here: http://steadivision.com/steadipos.htm



EDIT: Charles beat me to the same thing.

- Mikko

Last edited by Mikko Wilson; January 12th, 2008 at 01:04 PM.
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Old January 12th, 2008, 12:59 PM   #4
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ok, that was, as usual, awesome info guys. i never realized how screwed up my posture has been while the rig was on me. i adjusted my posture and tweaked the trim controls, and, voila, the sled now hovers in front of me when i let the post go. i never thought i'd see the day :). thank you both for the "a-ha" moment.
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Old January 12th, 2008, 05:06 PM   #5
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Glad to hear Henry. It makes a big difference in one's stamina and operating if you aren't having to "reign in" the rig all the time. This may improve some of the stress in your lower back, however that is a pretty normal place to feel the weight of the rig, with a front-mounted vest in any case. The more you operate, the more you will get used to it and build up more musculature there.

I'm glad that Glidecam has come to understand the importance of the two-way arm trim. A few years ago it wasn't available on any of this class of stabilizer and I was often bemoaning this fact.
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Old January 13th, 2008, 12:25 AM   #6
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Henry Cho would you mind posting a video of some of the footage you have or will take with it?
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Old January 30th, 2008, 07:38 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Glad to hear Henry. It makes a big difference in one's stamina and operating if you aren't having to "reign in" the rig all the time. This may improve some of the stress in your lower back, however that is a pretty normal place to feel the weight of the rig, with a front-mounted vest in any case. The more you operate, the more you will get used to it and build up more musculature there.

I'm glad that Glidecam has come to understand the importance of the two-way arm trim. A few years ago it wasn't available on any of this class of stabilizer and I was often bemoaning this fact.
Charles, Mikko, Frosty the Snowman,

I've been working with my pilot, and things are getting better. Question; The pilot has the ability to slide the 'belly' arm connector up and down. I'm 5 10, and was wondering, if the arm should be closer to my waste, in the middle of my 'belly' or up higher. At the moment, I have it high, but am thinking that it needs to be lower, because in 20 minutes, my lower back is tweaking hard.
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Old January 31st, 2008, 08:15 AM   #8
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Charles, Mikko, Frosty the Snowman,

I've been working with my pilot, and things are getting better. Question; The pilot has the ability to slide the 'belly' arm connector up and down. I'm 5 10, and was wondering, if the arm should be closer to my waste, in the middle of my 'belly' or up higher. At the moment, I have it high, but am thinking that it needs to be lower, because in 20 minutes, my lower back is tweaking hard.
Bump for Mikko and Charles...
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Old February 1st, 2008, 03:05 AM   #9
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Middle of belly should do it, but I would experiment with different positions.

The position shouldn't have all that much to do with the lower back tweaking you are experiencing--that's where one usually feels the Steadicam until you build up the muscle back there. Try to keep the rig close to your body at all times, that should help. And keep practicing. Post some pictures/video of your stance in the rig if the pain persists, that will help figure out if there is anything to be suggested there.
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Old February 3rd, 2008, 04:55 PM   #10
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Sorry for the slow response, I've been away on vacation for a week.

As Charles said, the position of the arm on the vest wont' be effecting how the vest feels on you. And if it hurts (beyond normal fatigue of previously unused muscles) then lets get it sorted.

But, regarding that arm-vest connector position:
1) It makes NO DIFFERENCE to you as an operator, and the forces on you through the vest, where the arm connects to the vest. In fact, the only things that matter is your center of gravity, and the center of gravity of the Steadicam. How those 2 points are connected, makes no difference. (Why a Pilot and Merlin work the same, despite being different shapes, for example.)
The arm could make 3 laps around your body and connect at the shoulder if the connection was solid enough, and it would still feel the same. [but be horribly impractical :-) ]

2) The arm has a fixed boom range (about 28") which of course defines how far you can move the camera [vertically] during a shot. You can of course adjust the relative position of the camera to the end of the arm, by changing how the sled is balanced.
Likewise you can adjust the position of the arm relative to you, by moving it up-and down the vest. (By moving the socket block up and down the vest's front spar.)
If you need to get the camera low, and it's already in low mode, move the block lower on the vest. If you need to get it really high, and you are already boomed up all the way, and it's balanced so the camera is high above the gimbal, you can get a few more inches by moving the socket block up on the vest.
So the position of the socket block is mainly used for those "extra reach" situations.
Generally you want it in the most comfortable position for you. Adjust it so that the nominal reach of the Steadicam's arm is as close as possible to the nominal reach of your own arm's.

- Mikko
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Old February 3rd, 2008, 05:40 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Mikko Wilson View Post
Sorry for the slow response, I've been away on vacation for a week.

As Charles said, the position of the arm on the vest wont' be effecting how the vest feels on you. And if it hurts (beyond normal fatigue of previously unused muscles) then lets get it sorted.

But, regarding that arm-vest connector position:
1) It makes NO DIFFERENCE to you as an operator, and the forces on you through the vest, where the arm connects to the vest. In fact, the only things that matter is your center of gravity, and the center of gravity of the Steadicam. How those 2 points are connected, makes no difference. (Why a Pilot and Merlin work the same, despite being different shapes, for example.)
The arm could make 3 laps around your body and connect at the shoulder if the connection was solid enough, and it would still feel the same. [but be horribly impractical :-) ]

2) The arm has a fixed boom range (about 28") which of course defines how far you can move the camera [vertically] during a shot. You can of course adjust the relative position of the camera to the end of the arm, by changing how the sled is balanced.
Likewise you can adjust the position of the arm relative to you, by moving it up-and down the vest. (By moving the socket block up and down the vest's front spar.)
If you need to get the camera low, and it's already in low mode, move the block lower on the vest. If you need to get it really high, and you are already boomed up all the way, and it's balanced so the camera is high above the gimbal, you can get a few more inches by moving the socket block up on the vest.
So the position of the socket block is mainly used for those "extra reach" situations.
Generally you want it in the most comfortable position for you. Adjust it so that the nominal reach of the Steadicam's arm is as close as possible to the nominal reach of your own arm's.

- Mikko
Thanks Mikko, and welcome back off of vacation. I'm not sure what vacation is, maybe this year I can find out.

I've been working more with the pilot. I think part of my issue was not having it balanced exactly right, which meant it would jump back and fort, thus more tension on my lower back.

I made a mount, which is taller than I would like, http://droptodesign.com/test/mount.jpg , but all I have to do is change the center and I'm good to go. This mount allows me to change out the camera without fiddling for a screwdriver. I might have my machinist shave it down a little more, although, it works fine.

My over all impressions are, I like the pilot purchase. It has a decent learning curve, much steeper due to the lack of training material, or missing material in my case.
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