Steadicam Pilot / Flyer VS. Glidecam V16/20 comparisons? at DVinfo.net

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Old July 27th, 2008, 08:55 AM   #1
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Steadicam Pilot / Flyer VS. Glidecam V16/20 comparisons?

I havent seen any shoutouts or discussions, but I'd love to be proved wrong (!) and offer my humble apologies!

Steadicam say all of Glidecams products are based on expired 20 year old patents? Thats a rather damning statement, but doesnt really clarify the major cost differences vs. benefits is there anyone that has lived with / explored / compared both these venerable systems?

Dom
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Old July 27th, 2008, 02:52 PM   #2
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I would suggest the Steadicam Pilot.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2shQ...watch_response
http://dvinfo.net/articles/camsuppor...icampilot1.php
http://www.macvideo.tv/camera-techno...ticleid=100761
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3PgqKF6ugY
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=115235

I haven't used the Glidecam stuff, but I've heard it's not as precise.

The Steadicam Flyer is nice, but for the extra price I'm not sure it's worth it. The main advantage is that you can fly an HVX200 or EX1 with a lens adapter, but to do that you'll need $4000 worth of wireless follow focus stuff, a really good wireless video system and monitor, plus a dedicated AC person to pull focus. By the time you get there, you might as well go with the Red1 which (with accessories) will put you over the Flyer limit.

So for me it seems to me that the Pilot is the best place to start, and then perhaps the next step is an ActionCam rig for the Red1.
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Old July 27th, 2008, 04:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dom Foulsham View Post
I havent seen any shoutouts or discussions, but I'd love to be proved wrong (!) and offer my humble apologies!

Steadicam say all of Glidecams products are based on expired 20 year old patents? Thats a rather damning statement, but doesnt really clarify the major cost differences vs. benefits is there anyone that has lived with / explored / compared both these venerable systems?

Dom
The statement is true. The relevant patent in question relates to the design of the arm, which was updated in the 90's with the Iso-Elastic concept that has been used by Steadicams since. The idea behind Iso-Elasticity is to give the arm an "invisible" feel and improved isolation where it requires a minimum of force to extend from one end of the range to the other. Every other manufacturer has either built their systems around the previous technology or attempted to find other ways to achieve the improved results. There is actually one manufacturer who did just that, and their arm is considered on a par with the best Steadicam arm available (or better, depending on who you talk to), but as yet this design has not been miniaturized for the smaller rig market.

Apart from the arm, the other essential components of the Steadicam can be legally duplicated and have been, with more or less success. There are specific newer patents that Steadicam holds such as the tilting head but these are non-essential for basic operation.

As far as Glidecam is concerned, while they have put some energy into evolving various of their products, the entry-level rigs have remained pretty firmly in arrested development--the 2000/4000 handheld sleds are not exactly elegant. A direct comparison can be made between the 2000/X10 and the Merlin with vest and arm, as they are roughly the same MSRP; the most critical difference is in the functioning of the arm and I believe that anyone who straps one on after the other would prefer the Merlin arm. It gets a bit more complicated to compare the 4000/X10 and the Pilot as the latter includes a monitor and battery system, and is priced higher as a result, but again the arm is clearly superior and is this instance the sled is far more elegant, easier to adjust and trim and in my mind will produce superior results. In addition, I believe the gimbals on the Steadicam products to be more accurate as I have heard of many Glidecam users having to shim their gimbals to achieve proper linearity.
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Old July 27th, 2008, 04:43 PM   #4
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What about INDICAM pilot compared to the glidecam 2000/4000 ?
I'm on the verge of buying the indicam pilot (sled only for now).
Any opinions would be much appreciated.

Thanks, Paul.
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Old July 27th, 2008, 09:18 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Paul Kellett View Post
What about INDICAM pilot compared to the glidecam 2000/4000 ?
I'm on the verge of buying the indicam pilot (sled only for now).
Any opinions would be much appreciated.

Thanks, Paul.
Are you looking for something to use hand held or do you plan to get an arm and vest, or, are you going to purchase in stages?

These things can make a difference in what you might want. It's easy to save money in the short run and lose money in a little longer run.

Exactly what camera with what accessories and what kind of shooting (including duration) are you planning to use the sled for?
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Old July 28th, 2008, 04:32 AM   #6
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Yes i plan to get an arm and vest at a later date.
Shoys would probably be short shots for now, weddings mainly, although i also did a music shoot recently, walking in and out of dancers, going all the way round the face/head, (giant sphere arm would've been good for that).

Using an EX1,with Sennhesiser reciever attached, nothing more.

Thanks.
Paul.
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Old July 28th, 2008, 08:57 AM   #7
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Indicam vs Glidecam

EX1 with sennheiser and BP-U60 on indicam sled is about 13-14 lb, handheld I can go for about 30 sec steady.
indicam is better quality and easier to adjust, but it'll be heavier til you get an arm and vest package. It's a bit better with smaller cameras like A1 or Z1, but EX1 handheld on indicam sled is heavy. You wanna try it? I'm in Toronto. :-)
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Old July 28th, 2008, 12:25 PM   #8
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Thanks Buba.
I was after a weight estimate for the sled and EX1.
A local camera operator has the Indicam sled, i'm going to see him tomorrow.
I'll post my opinions on here.

Paul.
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Old July 29th, 2008, 08:10 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
...There is actually one manufacturer who did just that, and their arm is considered on a par with the best Steadicam arm available (or better, depending on who you talk to), but as yet this design has not been miniaturized for the smaller rig market...

Ok, CP you got me curious...which company is this?
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Old July 29th, 2008, 08:27 AM   #10
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That's gotta be the Pro arm: http://www.pro-gpi.com/arm.htm - right?
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Old July 29th, 2008, 11:31 AM   #11
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That's gotta be the Pro arm: http://www.pro-gpi.com/arm.htm - right?
That what I thought but wanted to be sure...
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Old July 29th, 2008, 12:29 PM   #12
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Thanks all

Feedback is invaluable. I guess for me the problem is that the small weight jump from the pilot to the Flyer (still no clear if the former can handle an XL H1 with or without a Brevis Adapter and flip) creates a HUGE price jump (in fact a doubling in costs)

Makes the decision very hard as a 2000 ($4000) Glidecam V16 is still far better than not being able to afford a 4000 / $8000 steadicam.

Feelin' kinda stuck :-)

But feedback much appreciated

Thanks

D
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Old July 31st, 2008, 02:38 PM   #13
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Dom,

What camera and what accessories are you planning on flying?

Tery
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Old July 31st, 2008, 07:11 PM   #14
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A Flyer-LE will handle an XLH1 Brevis and Flip no problem, they rated to 19 pounds. One thing you may not yet have realised is the need for a Follow Focus system when using 35mm lenses, which will add more cost again, and there is audio to consider too. You don't really want cables dragging off your Steadicam if you can avoid it, so on camera only, or wireless audio to camera, or off camera audio recording. More cost :)
It would be next to impossible to run and gun with a 35mm adapter solo on a steadicam, your depth of field is too shallow. You could do choreographed shots solo with a wired follow focus that has programmable positions, so you just tap the button for the sequence. A wireless setup, with a dedicated operator is by far better. There are some cheaper units being designed for release soonish, but they are still around $1200US at least. Professional units available now run from $5000US upward.
As you can see, the cost bump going from a Pilot with a DV camera on it, to a Flyer with a 35mm setup will be a large cost jump! It might be worthwhile looking for a second hand original Flyer, rated at 15 pounds. There are always a few about, they are solidly built and have years of service left in them. You could probably get one for close to the new cost of a Pilot. It should be able to fit all the gear you want to use in the future.
You might find this article about the original Flyer useful.

http://www.steadi-onfilms.com.au/steadicam_flyer.html
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Old August 1st, 2008, 02:37 PM   #15
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Follow Focus

Youre absolutely right David and whilst I have a Senheiser Evolution Radio MIC the thought of making a follow focus preprogrammed is off my knowledge scale in terms of kit and costs, did you say there was a "cheap" wireless Follow Focus available? How about just "a very long focus whip" - say 2-3 feet? (or is that getting a bit silly!?!

When all is said a done there is clearly a big market opportunity to fill the massive cost gap between the SteadiCam Pilot and he Flyer LE

<sighs>
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