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Old September 18th, 2003, 09:32 PM   #1
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Glidecam V8 - Newbie

Hey guys.

Well it's about that time where my budget has allowed me to make another purchase and this time I'm very interested in the Glidecam V-8 - especially since they are on sale right now.

Right now all the Glidecam speak is Greek to me. I've been reading up on the threads and have been reading Charles' and others advice but I have to be honest and say I have no idea what you all are talking about. :)

I know it takes a long time to learn so I'm a little nervous because I just have this feeling that the Glidecam will arrive in a box with a small sheet of instructions, and I'm going to have no idea how to put this thing together, much less learn to use it! Does it tell you how to get started with this thing, or does it assume you know how to operate? I know I need to practice, but I'm worried that I won't be practicing the right way. ie, not sure what technique I should be using.

Are there any detailed reference manuals or training videos that will teach the basics? Also, would you all recommend getting the car attachment? Worth it? I already have a 5 inch Nebtek monitor. Would I be able to attach that to the Glidecam?

Anyone have any general tips and techniques to get a total newbie started on this rig? Thanks a lot everyone.
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Old September 18th, 2003, 09:40 PM   #2
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Brad:

As far as a training video...as I've hinted here before, stay tuned. Maybe 6 months, my schedule allowing.

In the meantime, read those threads again--I've yakked at length about some basic moves to get started, unfortunately they are sort of spread out in different places.

I don't think you'll need the vehicle mount right away. Unless you are planning some running shots or speciality shots that might call for it, you can always order it down the road unless they offer you a package deal. Same thing with low mode.

Good luck!
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Old September 19th, 2003, 07:47 AM   #3
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I got a chance to use a V8 for a while and I can tell ya' from the limited time I had with it that you won't be just strapping it on and getting good results. You will have to develop a technique and learn how to become "one" with it.

Just last week I finally saw the edited results of our Glidecamming and it hit me like a brick that it takes even more practice then I originally thought.

Even so, I still want one... 'cause I could tell that in the right hands it could be truly awesome.
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Old September 19th, 2003, 12:24 PM   #4
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thanks Charles and Matt for the advice. I'm sure when I get it I'll have a better idea of specific questions I may have, and the threads will make more sense to me.

One thing I'm wondering though. Do you have to be a beefcake to use this? Let's just say I didn't win the world's strongest man competition last year. I know it doesn't take as much strength as a handheld, but was just wondering what specific muscles it wears down and if I should do some training? I think I'm going to order one from B&H today without the car attachment and low mode.

I'll let you guys know how it all goes soon! Thanks again.
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Old September 19th, 2003, 12:42 PM   #5
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Brad:

I don't know which camera you are using, but considering the weight limitations of the V8, I think you'll be fine!

All body-mounted camera stabilizers tend to work muscles in the lower back. Most people have weak lower back muscles. Thus it's not uncommon to feel it there first. It uses your legs too, but generally the back will start singing first.

Situps or similar abdominal exercises are great, as they will strengthen the lower back also. If you go to a gym, a Roman chair or back extension machine will target those back muscles also.

Simply using the Glidecam will also strengthen the required muscles. The nice thing about this is that you can simultaneously practice your operating while getting stronger!

In general, keep the rig as close to your body (just alongside your leg) as possible. The further out you hold the rig, the more stress on your back.

Don't be discouraged when, as Matt said, it doesn't "work" out of the box. Depending on how high your standards are, it will take weeks to years to achieve that level of proficiency. It's something like learning to play an instrument.

(by the way, did you have a chance to check out the Magiqcam?)
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Old September 21st, 2003, 03:31 PM   #6
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Hi Brad,

I was in your shoes at the start of this year, the only advantage I had was that I was already familiar with the handheld glidecam so knew about balancing etc, it'll take you a while to get to grips with it but I'm sure you'll get it. In terms of needing to be arnie to use it, well, If you're using the V8 with a VX2000 or XL1 although it'll still cause you some pain when operating you should be OK. I had the V8 with a VX2000 and could use it for quite some time before I started getting too tired, then I bought a Sony DSR-390 camera, upgraded to a glidecam V16 and could go for about 5 minutes before I started to walk like an old man holding my back. Well I've been using the V16 and 390 now for about 3 or 4 weeks and already I can use it noticably longer than I was, I used it for the first time at a wedding last week and I managed to get on the dancefloor for around 20 minutes non stop with it and was still feeling OK, not great but OK :-)

and Charles, I hope you've got my name down for you're first batch of training vids, I can't wait to get my hands on it :-)

John.
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Old September 21st, 2003, 10:27 PM   #7
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John,
I just had a few questions regarding your use of the rig at that
reception. How did it go over with the B/G and guests? I would imagine you get comments and looks.
I would guess that you're not gonna be using it at the ceremony itself?
In the future, what type of wedding shots are you hoping to get with the rig that wouldn't have been possible without the rig? Thanks.
Dave
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Old September 22nd, 2003, 08:58 AM   #8
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Hi Dave,

Of all the people that spoke to me at the reception they just thought "WOW what a cool piece of kit, what does it do". So it went down well and I told the bride and groom before hand that I'd be using it and they were fine with that. I don't use it during the ceremony, old fashioned tripods there :-) I used it during the photo shoot, rather than standing behind the photographer filming it all, you can get some nice smooth dollylike shots(or rather as dollylike as an amateur like me can get :) ), circling shots of all thats going on, it just makes things a bit more interesting to watch. Also during the first dance it's good to get up close(If you're allowed to) to the couple and get the camera moving rather than just being glued to one spot at the side of the dancefloor. I also did a long shot of coming into the venue(hotel) along the corridors to where the ceremony was being held, and I got the groom and best man etc walking down to the room where the service was, if I didn't have the glidecam I wouldn't have attempted any of these shots, they'd just be far too shaky.

I'll be taking the glidecam with me on all my jobs, can't guarantee I'll use it everytime, it just depends on if there's enough space to move around without running into people.

If I get a chance after I've finished editing I'll try and post a couple of examples of where I used it.

John.
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Old September 22nd, 2003, 11:08 AM   #9
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So how long could one last with a V8 and a GL2? Once you get storong enough, could you last the entire event?
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Old September 22nd, 2003, 03:48 PM   #10
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Aaron:

No reason why not! My personal record is 22 minutes of continuous walking, with a 16mm camera on a full-size Steadicam (we were shooting a campaign spot for Bob Dole as he cruised the streets of New Hampshire during the primaries). In case anyone calls foul on the run time, we changed magazines without breaking stride...

This thread is reminding me of attending the wedding of Garrett Brown's son Jonathan (Garrett of course being the inventor of the Steadicam). He immediately put me and another operator to work by handing us DV cameras; he was wielding his JR prototype during the ceremony and reception. He's a trip to watch, all 6'6" and an absolute master (surprise surprise) at the JR.
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Old September 23rd, 2003, 02:57 AM   #11
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Thanks John. I'd really like to see some examples.
Dave
P.S. For those of you wondering about the weight of the
smaller rigs, someone told me it's about 17 pounds
complete (without camera).
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Old September 23rd, 2003, 11:53 AM   #12
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Thanks for the responses everyone, sorry I did not respond back earlier. Well, I ordered the V8 and it should arrive in a week or so. I'm pretty excited about learning this new tool, should be fun and I hope I have the patience to keep at it.

Just something I was wondering before I get this. I use a Canon XL1s. I also have the MA200 adapter. This is probably a stupid question, but I am confused about how a Glidecam runs with attachments. Ie, is it possible to run this thing with the MA200 in the back with XLR cables running out of it, and another video cable to hook into a monitor so the director can see the footage as well? Just not sure if the Glidecam needs to have the camera solo, or how easy it is to use the rig with cables running out of the camera? Do all the cables get in the way? Is the added weight something that will throw off balance?

Another potentially stupid question...from the pictures, it looks like you can't really make adjustments to the camera when operating the Glidecam, ie..you need your hands lightly touching the rig itself. If so, how do you change focus, and how do you zoom in and out, adjust exposure during a shot? Are these things you just need to have set at one setting for the entire shot? I hope that question makes sense. Thanks guys.
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Old September 23rd, 2003, 12:14 PM   #13
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Brad:

Cables suck, frankly. They influence the balance of the rig, causing it to have a tendency to rotate or tug in one direction or another. We use video transmitters to avoid the video monitoring issue (there are some very affordable transmitters out there, here's one. The ideal for audio is to use a wireless setup also, but of course there is always a risk since you can't monitor the incoming sound to the camera (headphone cable is just as troublesome)!

The trick if you HAVE to fly cables is to have them exit the rig near the gimbal (wrap them from the back or wherever around the camera so they drop down near the gimbal) and make a big loop so the cable hangs down below the gimbal. Then you can attach the cable, post-loop, to your body in some way. I like it at the shoulder, others prefer at the bottom of the vest. The loop helps keep the cable from tugging at the rig.

Zoom, exposure--you're right, you can't operate them in the normal way. Some have found a way to attach a zoom controller to the gimbal handle as needed. In most cases, your legs are your zoom; if you want to get tighter, just walk closer. If you need to ride the exposure, you have to set the camera to auto. The "pro" way to deal with this requires (once again) wireless technology, none of which is affordable enough for me to recommend for DV users.

Great questions, Brad! I'll have to add them to the list for the training video.
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Old September 23rd, 2003, 02:23 PM   #14
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Thanks a lot for the answers Charles, it all makes a lot more sense to me. I'll have to see about getting some wireless devices down the road for audio, although I do see that problem of not being able to monitor as you'd have to plug in headphones. I guess I'll just have to wing it until I get a better feel for how to operate the rig. Looking forward to that video! I'll pay top dollar for something like that.
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Old January 20th, 2004, 01:56 AM   #15
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Hi Charles P,
Can you give me some info on moves I can practice specific to the Steadicam/Glidecam. i have a V8/DVX100 and am just getting up to speed on operating...it's going well but i am sure there are lots of technique tricks that will make my life easier.

Also is there any unusally balancing setup that you use to make a certain type of shot easier to get.

You had also recommended a video transmitter...does it work ok, good enough for onset viewing?

Thanx
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