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Old August 10th, 2008, 10:53 AM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Bristol UK
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Left or Right side operation

I,ve just got myself a glidecam pro 4000 with the smooth shooter vest and arm.
The arm can be connected on the left or the right.
What are the pros and cons of flying from both sides ?

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Paul Kellett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 10th, 2008, 01:50 PM   #2
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Flying from the left or right side is an entirely personal decision. The reason why a lot of people seem to fly with the sled on their left side (Regular operating) is that that's the way Garrett Brown, the man who invented the Steadicam, operated.

In Regular operating, one uses their right hand to control the big movements of the rig - the booming of the arm and the spatial movements of the rig. Then, they use their left hand to control the smaller, more finessed movements of the sled. This operating procedure is pretty standard, especially for right-handed people.

In Goofy operating (with the sled on the operator's right), the operator's left hand controls the big movements, and their right hand controls the fine movements of the sled. Some people like this, since it puts the camera's "operator side" towards the operator, so they can fiddle with iris, gain, etc, or even look into the viewfinder/LCD. Some left-handed operators prefer this, some right handed operators prefer it too.

I'd try both, and see which one feels more natural to you. One generally will "click" more than the other, and that's the side you should operte on.
Tom Wills is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 10th, 2008, 06:31 PM   #3
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You should try to become at least comfortable with both really. When working in tight areas you might have to change side to get the angles you need for the shot.
David C. Williams is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 12th, 2008, 09:50 AM   #4
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FWIW the Glidecam 4000/smoothshooter combo is not meant to be used at the 'sides' of the body, but rather directly in front of the operator. The points regarding left or right hand operation still apply but the camera should be in front of the operator. This is different from most Steadicam rigs from my understanding.

In particular you will notice that if you have a larger load on the 4000 sled and are NOT using the X-10 dual arm with the Smooth Shooter there will be some twisting of the non-sprung arm, which becomes more pronounced if the camera is operated from the sides. As well unless you have the X-10 which includes a vest/arm adjustment you will notice that the sled does not like to stay out at the sides with the operator in a proper upright position. It tends to either fly away from or twoards the body and puts a lot more stress on the operator.

I'm pretty sure if I remember correctly that it outlines the general operating position in the documentation, but it's been a while since I've read it.
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James Hooey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 13th, 2008, 01:31 AM   #5
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Here's what we have found...

If you learn to operate on the left side (normal setup) you will be able to use another standard system much easier than if you learn in the "goofy" position. Likewise, another steadicam operator will be able to use your rig (if needed) without relearning how to operate. If you decide to learn goofy (right side sled) and you don't plan on using someone else's system and it's works better for you then go for it.

We set up our system for standard even though we can configure for goofy because of the fact that it is "standard". We haven't had problems getting the shots we wanted with it set up that way.

We were asked to configure one system we sold for goofy and when we did it and tried it out it was like we were starting all over again. It was hard to get the feel of the thing and we also found ourselves having fatigue with "that other muscle" since the load was different. For any of you guys who can operate either way, our hat goes off to you.

As James mentioned, the sled doesn't go that far to the left or right with the lighter systems. Our system is "centered" (the weight going through the body and not outside of it) just to the left of center of the body in normal operation.

Sorry I'm rambling but it's late.

Smooth Shooting,

He's only mostly sDEADy.

sort of from "The Princess Bride"

Terry Thompson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 13th, 2008, 12:24 PM   #6
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Bristol UK
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Thanks guys, everything which you have all said rings true.
I've just got the sled and smooth shooter, it was at a good price.
I'm loving it, it feels so natural to have the camera out in front of me weighing nothing.
The vest connects to the arm about slightly off centre via a bracket which can be swapped round to the other side although i understand that doing this won't make it properly left side, it's not a big enough difference, it'll move the bracket socket across by about 8 inches.
I've got the balance set up properly i think, i can punch out and in and left to right and the pole stays upright with no tilt or twist or anything, when i stop it stops, almost dead.
The drop time is 1.5 > 2 secs.

Just for reference, the EX1 with big battery, sennheiser reciever and 6 large weights on each end weighs about 14 lb. I can work this ok without the vest/arm.

When loaded on the arm i have the sprung section of the arm level/horizontal as per the manual, this needs the 2 springs to be almost at the weakest setting, wound up so that the washer on the end of the spring is on number 2.

Anyway thanks for the advice, i'll be on this thread a lot more now as well i expect.

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