Balancing a glidecam !? - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

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Old March 22nd, 2009, 07:12 PM   #16
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Ok then guys.

Heres the result of about an hour or so, I thought the trees would be a good test because of all the vertical reference and because I'll be using this thing mainly for sequences like these in wildlife shorts.

These are the best takes and about 1/3 of the footage I shot in total. A couple are pretty good but you can see the sway in there. I can certainly appreciate how much easier it would be with the full rig!

Views and tips much appreciated !?

Glidecam 4000/HD110 - Woodland footage on Vimeo
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 12:48 AM   #17
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Mat:

You are off to a good start. Your footage looks like decent beginner footage--just keep working away at it and scrutinize your results and things will improve. Keep your grip as light as possible.

By the way, if by "full rig" you mean the Smooth Shooter setup--that will improve your stamina considerably but not the sway in the shot per se--that is all coming from your guide hand and wouldn't be affected by the vest and arm.
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 04:06 AM   #18
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Hi Mat,
the Smooth Shooter will allow you to boom up and down the sled and/or to keep it in a constant position with more precision. I have seen the video and as remarked by Charles is very important you keep your grip as light as possible. With a 2-3 sec drop time the sled will be more stable during accelerations/decelarations without the necessity to compensate, but, for example, when you make pans a very little "not neutral" force applied during spin with your grip hand will determinate a tilt of the post.
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Last edited by Amedeo Fabroni; March 23rd, 2009 at 05:02 AM.
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 08:21 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mat Thompson View Post
Heres the result of about an hour or so, I thought the trees would be a good test because of all the vertical reference and because I'll be using this thing mainly for sequences like these in wildlife shorts.
Hi Mat,

OK, so hopefully you have the rig set up for 2.5 to 3 second drop time. 2 seconds is probably too fast for a beginner. To make sure you are counting correctly, you can compare your verbal counting with an online stopwatch, like this:
Online Stopwatch

So now everyone is telling you to lighten your grip. This actually applies to both hands, but the sled post hand in particular. OK, so the next question is, ummm, how exactly do I do that? If you go with a really feather-light touch, does your framing go off? Right.

Here's the issue. You have your rig in balance, now you have to get your body in balance - at all times. In other words, you need to need to get to the point where you can constantly control the position of the sled completely with your hips, without even touching the rig. This way, the feather-light touches on your hands will not get trounced by the sled wanting to move around.

I found trying to learn how to balance my body while trying to frame subjects at the same time damn near impossible. Whenever I would concentrate on framing, my body balance would suffer, and that would move the sled around, which forced me to tighten my grip, which made the framing and stability worse.

So after getting a little depressed, I decided to forget about framing for a while, and just concentrate on getting my body in balance. In other words, if I could get my body balance to become second nature, then when my mental focus moved onto framing, the sled wouldn't be moving around so much, and I could actually hold frame with a feather light touch.

So I switched the camera off, and practiced hands-free (keeping my hands close but not touching) 2-3 hours a day, for a week solid. This worked. After a couple of days, I got to where I could control the sled position relative to my body without touching, while walking, starting, stopping, etc. After 5 days, I could change directions, change positions, etc., all without touching. After a week, it kind of became became second nature.

Then I started working on framing, and until you get to be like Charles, I don't think you ever stop working on this, but you can get usable results fairly quickly.

Every once in a while, when I find my body getting out of balance, I do 5-10 minutes hands-free practice as a refresher.

Hope this helps.
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 08:31 AM   #20
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Many thanks guys.

Dave- This is great, many thanks. I shall run through this and see if I can get things running smoother. I will try and do an hour a day and then do the same test in the woods again.

To be honest in a way walking across a woodland floor with branches, leaves and uneven ground was certainly a challenging first test...but hey it can only get better i guess :-) !
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 09:38 AM   #21
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Mat, body balance isnt so important as you are using it handheld. Many of daves balance suggestions are if you had the vest and arm.
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 10:11 AM   #22
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Ahhh ok....blimey, now I'm getting confused again :-/ so what should i be concentrating on to improve things at the mo ?
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 10:30 PM   #23
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Keeping that hand on the post as light as possible.
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Old March 24th, 2009, 07:32 AM   #24
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And assuming its balanced right as close to the gimble as you can. Basically, you want to be touching the centre of gravity so you can control it. If you ever see somone holding their glidecam halfway down the post just ignore them.
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Old March 25th, 2009, 01:44 AM   #25
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Mat,

You might try getting a forearm brace or a "tennis elbow" support which will help with endurance. It is hard to concentrate on framing a shot when your arm is "burning".

Some great suggestions from the group as usual. If I were to add anything it would be to "feather" or "flair" your shots which means you start the camera moving before you start your body moving-then when you stop, stop your body first and then the camera. This helps with abrupt movements.

I also like to spread my control hand fingers out on the post just below the gimbal. This way, when I feel the bottom start to swing or "pendulum" out, I can help to correct it As Charles mentioned, the tricky times are during acceleration, deceleration, and direction changes. These are the times when your rig will want to sway the most.

Remember the steadicam motto: Practice, practice, practice

Best to you,

Tery
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Old March 26th, 2009, 06:52 PM   #26
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Good evening,


what a great thread!!

Mat, how is it going with the practice???


with the job I have coming p I was considering buying one of these. the demos make such good video!!

It should not surprise me there is a lot more to it than strapping it on and going!!!


we start late may, so I should get one and get practicing.

A lot of usefoul information here!!!

thanks to all sharing their experience!!!
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Old November 5th, 2010, 11:16 PM   #27
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Beginning the steadicam path.

Thanks so much guys for these comments. I just changed the drop time to around 3 seconds and it's helping tremendously as I'm a rank amateur. I just got my rig today and my arms are burning. I am going to get an arm support first and then a full steadicam bodyrig.

I'm really enjoying this and the balancing wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be but I left the lens cap on and it's funny how that little bit of weight throws the whole thing off....


I do have one thing that's going to help me on this. I do kungfu and Tai chi and I think that moving from the core and the stuff that I've done with isometrics should help and I"m trying to incorporate my tai chi stepping into this which emphasizes the same height and not a bobbing step...


I'm just wondering, what training DVDs or online tutorials do you recommend? Classes? I'm all about practicing with this so I don't mind putting in the time and I believe wholeheartedly in learning from the experts...


Thanks again for your words of assistance.
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Old November 5th, 2010, 11:41 PM   #28
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We sell a very good training DVD entitled "Stabilizer Basics"that has been well received. If you are interested you can check out our website at indicam.com
Glad to hear you are getting better at steadicam operation.
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Old November 11th, 2010, 02:33 PM   #29
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Glidecam Video

Glidecam now has a video on their site which demonstrates the balancing pretty well. Not sure if that was already around when this thread originally started: http://www.glidecam.com/vid/mov/md/s...of_balance.mov

The voice over is pretty entertaining and dramatic.
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Old January 2nd, 2011, 11:54 PM   #30
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"Leave about 1-inch of Telescoping Post Showing below Telescoping Clamp"

I realize this thread is quite old but just in case someone is reading this so they can balance their Glidecam, there is a statement in Glidecam Pro 2000 instructions that should help.

To wit, quote from page 15 for picture 29A, second paragraph, of their instructions (which may have changed since the prior post of April 2008):

"Leave about 1-inch of Telescoping Post showing below the Telescoping Clamp", then read my #2 below.

The Telescoping Post is the part that goes inside the shaft with the gimbal. The Telescoping Post attaches to the "Base Platform" which is the plate that gets the weights attached.

Editorial comments:

For info #1: I just did a preliminary balance and adjustment with my camera rig in about 30 minutes, having never done this before - but reading the Glidecam Instructions - and came pretty close to what seems like a fairly good balance. Obviously, though, it's going to take a lot more work before I can shoot.

For info #2: once the system is reasonably balanced and one is getting kinda close to the drop time with the weights, I found that moving the Telescoping Post up or down only about 1/8-inch made a HUGE difference in the drop time.

Hope this helps anybody who reads this far.

The instructions can be downloaded from their web site in *.pdf
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