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Old January 10th, 2009, 10:13 PM   #16
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I own a Glidecam Smooth Shooter because I can afford one, however after using it for about a year now I want a Steadicam Pilot. The Glidecam is a good start but it has limitations, for one forget about super smooth motion on rough terrain with only one arm. You need a monitor at the bottom of your rig to be really effective, walking around with your eyes on the camera is not so great for seeing where you are going and performing turns sometimes require guess work as the camera's monitor goes from view, not to mention walking backwards become a nightmare. One of the biggest draw backs on the Smooth Shooter is the position of the handle that holds the arm and the Glidecam 4000 together, shooting at a straight angle is fine, as soon as you tilt your camera towards a higher or lower angle the handle hits the metal plate that holds your camera thus effectively limiting your up/down shooting angle, it's very annoying - the Steadicam Pilot design solves this.

If you can't afford a Steadicam the Glidecam is a notable stand in until you save up enough for a Steadicam. The value added to my production with the Smooth Shooter gives my videos that professional look however I don't have as much control as I would like - this becomes annoying as you follow a subject and the plates hits the handle ruining my shot.
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Old January 11th, 2009, 04:59 AM   #17
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I'll add my admiration for the Steadicam over the others. All none Steadicam makes I have tried have been total pains to set up and use.

One factor that hasn't been mentioned is the vest. Steadicam vests are simply by far the best designed and most comfortable. They are easy to set up for people of all sizes, and the way that you ratchet in the strap and then clamp it shut makes things so easy. Compare that with the 'car seatbelts' that are used in other makes such as the Glidecam. I can never get those things adjusted properly and they always come loose.

I put my back out when I tried the ABC Handyman a couple of months ago. I just couldn't get that vest to properly transmit the weight of the rig at all. Not to mention that all other adjustments on the rig were difficult and unduly finnicky. Also I couldn't get over the fact that even though it was the same size as a Steadicam Archer it couldn't even support anywhere near as much weight as a Steadicam Flyer!
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Old January 11th, 2009, 04:19 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Steve:

Not sure if this is something that you are aware of, but some of the bigger Steadicams do offer this feature. The motorized stage on the U2 for instance allows the operator to adjust fore-and-aft from buttons on the gimbal handle, on the fly (and even designate two presets to ensure exact balance on either end).

There is a design "dream" in place to apply this to all of the models of Steadicam as an option, all the way down to the Merlin, believe it or not! Whether or not this actual comes to market is unknown.

In the meantime, for shots that require severe tilts as well as level sections, simply reduce the bottom-heaviness of the rig a bit which will allow for less force to be required to enact the tilts. This does make the rig somewhat more "touchy" however.
Charles, thanks for the info! I'm aware of the motorized stages, but something like that seems way over-engineered for the Merlin, to me. I was thinking more along the lines of something like the Varizoom ZeroGravity tilt head, though I couldn't for the life of me describe how the design might be implemented. :)
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Old January 11th, 2009, 05:21 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Brady View Post
Charles, thanks for the info! I'm aware of the motorized stages, but something like that seems way over-engineered for the Merlin, to me. I was thinking more along the lines of something like the Varizoom ZeroGravity tilt head, though I couldn't for the life of me describe how the design might be implemented. :)
It's actually much simpler than the Zerogravity. It's effectively a motorised sliding plate, very mechanically simple. Back and forth to two position. The electronics are not difficult either. A reduced version for the lower end Steadicams would work very well.
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Old January 12th, 2009, 01:11 AM   #20
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Cool! Would it realistically require the vest, or would it work as well handheld?
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