Steadicam vs. Glidecam for EX1/3 at DVinfo.net

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Old February 21st, 2009, 09:47 AM   #1
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Glidecam & Ex1

Hi there,

Recently went to the Broadcast show at Earls Court. Whilst there I visited the Glidecam stand and saw this....

Glidecam X-10.

Looked awsome!
Anyone had any experience using a steadycam with the Ex1? Just wondered how it coped motion wise with steadycam movement.

Many thanks
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Old February 21st, 2009, 10:28 AM   #2
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EX1 with the Pilot

Haven't used the Glidecam, but I use a Steadicam Pilot with the EX1 and I love it. It's a great combo.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 10:29 AM   #3
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I plan on buying one for an EX3 but not for a while.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 11:28 AM   #4
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Steadicam vs. Glidecam for EX1/3

I'd like to invest a little bit of money into a wearable rig, but to me, a "little bit" limits me a a few thousand (okay, about $4K). I am not interested in the $25K price point solution, as I'm far too poor. So, I've been doing a little research to campare the Steadicam to the Glidecam systems in as much as an "apples to apples" comparision as I can.

To begin with, the Steadicam Pilot (Pilot-AB) includes the Sled, Vest, Arm, Back Pack Transport, and an AB battery mount and comes to $4100. It also says that the backpack is $380, and the LCD is 5.8". As the Glidecam doesn't come with a backpack, I'm going to subtract the $380 from the cost, just for comparison purposes. So, the total adjusted package with the 5.8" LCD and AB battery mount comes to $3720.

The Glidecam X-10 requires the 4000 Pro in addition. So it comes to $2900. It does NOT include a monitor, and a 5.8-6.0 monitor is not offered. So, since the 4" sounds too small to be useable for HD, I'll select the 7" with the bracket - which runs $720. No AB battery mount is offered here, so I'll have to bear that in mind. The adjusted price of this configuration, which is short the AB mount and has a littler larger screen, is $3620.


Wow, didn't know that were going to be so neck and neck! Being that the two packages are nearly the same price (assuming you'd purchase a storage bag for the Glidecam), How do they compare in quality?

What are there strengths/weaknesses?

What do you prefer about yours (those of you that have one)?

What do you prefer about the competition's?

Thanks,
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Old February 21st, 2009, 12:41 PM   #5
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I own a Steadicam Pilot, and I've also used a rented Glidecam V-20 with a 16mm film camera on a student film.

Buy the Steadicam Pilot.

The Glidecam stuff is workable, but not nearly as good. There are many reasons why, but you won't really appreciate these differences until you actually start using the rig. You're not just paying for the Steadicam brand. The rigs really are much better. Steadicam does have some real competition at the higher end (PRO, MK-V, ActionCam), but they are all at least $15K. For the EX1/EX3, the Steadicam Pilot is the best, hands down.

The next question is: What version of the Pilot. The most popular options are the Pilot-AA and Pilot-VLB. I wold only get the AB version if you have already invested in AB batteries and chargers (not cheap). For the EX1/EX3 the Pilot VLB package will allow you to power the camera from the Pilot's battery. If you always use the Sony batteries (BP-U30 or BP-U60) on the camera, then a Pilot-AA will be fine and save you some money.

I believe all Pilot versions still include the backpack, but call to be sure. Also, you'll need a stand to balance the rig, some extra weights, and a few other things to complete the package. More info here:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/stabilize...started-q.html

There's also more info on battery issues here:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/stabilize...ttery-mod.html

Oh, and by the way, it takes months of practice to get good looking results with a Steadicam. You'll also probably need to take a 2-day workshop for $500. Think of it like learning to ski. There's a lot of balance involved, and it takes a while to get good, but learning is still fun.

Hope this helps
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Old February 21st, 2009, 12:55 PM   #6
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I owned the Glidecam 4000 Pro and used it handheld without the vest and arm.

The Glidecam 4000 Pro is VERY difficult to adjust and keep in trim. It has 8 thrumb-screws for adjustment - 4 for fore/aft movement, and 4 for left/right movement. Simply tightening one of the screws more than another can throw the sled out of balance. You cannot adjust the position of the gimbal on the center post to adjust the drop time, so all adjustments must be made by adding and removing weights, which is less than optimum. The handle which attaches to the gimbal can and will hit the gimbal when booming the rig due to the design of the handle and gimble assembly. This will knock the rig and destroy your shot.

People use the Glidecam 4000 Pro (and vest/arm combo) and get good results, but ultimately, the design has its flaws. The 8 adjustment screws and the amount of time it took to balance the rig were (excuse the pun) the tipping point for me.

I sold the sub-$400 Glidecam 4000 Pro sled and purchased a >$4,000 Steadicam Pilot VLB system, and don't regret the switch one bit.

Julian
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Old February 21st, 2009, 01:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by julian frost View Post
the 8 adjustment screws and the amount of time it took to balance the rig were (excuse the pun) the tipping point for me.
lol!..............
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Old February 21st, 2009, 03:33 PM   #8
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Ted, why not go for the Pilot VLB as it comes with 2 batterys and a charger.

If you go for the AB you need to buy the batts and charger as no where I have seen offers them included in a bundle.

Steadicam PILOT-VLB Pilot Lightweight Camera Stabilizer With Power, Steadicam

$4,594 for the full rig to get you going.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 05:19 PM   #9
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I use an x-10 all the time

Darren, I've had one since it came out...I actually upgraded from the smooth shooter to the x-10 arm. It works very well and I use it with the Sony.8 wa adapter. The entire rig is quite heavy though and of course using it in the wind can be tough as with any stabilizer.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 11:10 PM   #10
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I have an EX1 and a Glidecam 4000 pro KIT is ok
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 04:20 AM   #11
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How reliable is gomediamonkey as a vendor? It's a great price for a pilot setup.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 06:25 AM   #12
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got our Glidecam from there, no complaints at all. Web Of Trust also has nothing bad to say

gomediamonkey.com | WOT Security Scorecard | WOT Web of Trust
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 07:41 AM   #13
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The Pilot-VLB is available from BH for $4260. I've always had good luck ordering from BH.
Steadicam | Pilot-VLB Camera Stabilization System | PILOT-VLB
(Click on "Email me a better price")

If you're always going to use the camera's batteries to power the camera, then the Pilot-AA version is also a great option. A fully charged set of 10 rechargable AAs will last for 4 hours powering just the Pilot's monitor. I bought 2 spare AA battery holders on ebay, and enough rechargable AAs to make 3 packs, enough to last for 12 hours on location. A complete Pilot-AA system costs $3940. That includes 32 AA rechargables, two 8-slot AA fast (1-hour)chargers, and 2 spare AA battery holders. More info here:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/stabilize...ttery-mod.html
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 07:48 AM   #14
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Cheers guys!

Looks like I may invest at some point!

I say there is a bit of a ding dong going on on the thread regarding motion and the EX3!
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 12:33 PM   #15
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EX3 need at least Steadicam Flyer or Sachtler Artemis DV pro.
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