Glidecam Balance revisited at DVinfo.net

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Old October 21st, 2003, 07:42 PM   #1
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Glidecam Balance revisited

Brad, I hope you are all set. It sounds like it. I just started with my setup. I have the V-8 with the Gold spring, L4 monitor and battery mounted on the bottom with 16 washers on the back. For the top, I have one weight plate with my XL-1 w/ma200.

Needless to say, after reading the previous threads and my own initial trial and error setup session, this is NOT a workable configuration. (like a 10 second arc test....<cough...sputter>.)

My initial thoughts are:
1. I need to remove the MA-200 and go wireless for my audio - or just use the camera mic for sync and record audio separately. This will elimiate the XLR wires off the back and remove some weight.
2. I may be able to remove the washers and offset the XL-1 to the rear of the top plate to balance the LCD and battery on the bottom front. (thoughts anyone?)
3. Purchase a good C-stand. I tried to do the setup using my 18 year old son as a human C-stand by just mounting it on the vest and arm. After doing this, I don't think its the perfect situation for balancing this configuration.

Tom Hereford
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Old October 21st, 2003, 08:54 PM   #2
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Hey Tom, well I am certainly no expert at getting a balance on the V8 but from the looks of it you are on the right track. As for the monitor and battery on the front issue, I agree that moving the camera back on the camera plate helps. That is what I did. I assumed the first step would be to rebolt the camera onto the back and see if I could get a good balance. It wasn't enough so I then moved the actual camera plate forward with the Allen wrench (thereby making the whole sled more back heavy to compensate for the monitor). After a lot of tweaking with the counterweight disks, adding and subtracting, as well as moving the actual disks closer or futher from the center post, I was able to get a good for/aft balance with the system.

I also have an MA200 and to be honest I haven't even tried mounting it with the V8. Not only is it way too back heavy, but all the XLR cables are sure to get in the way and throw the whole system off balance. I'm not quite sure how I am going to get audio yet, as I'm still trying to get the swing of things. I think what I will do is just use my extra Beachtek XLR adapter with my Sony Vx2000 to record audio onto a seperate miniDV tape, and then use a clapper to sync in post.

My rig is pretty well balanced right now. I have 11 counterweight disks on the back, and one counter weight disk on the front of the baseplate. Along with the monitor and battery on the front and the camera positioned back on the camera plate, it works for me.

I didn't think my C stand would be strong enough but it does pretty well. I just can't mount the sled too high on the balancing docket or the stand will tip over. I'm using the same C stands that came with my Arri D1 lighting kit.

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Old October 22nd, 2003, 01:21 AM   #3
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Hi Tom and Brad.

The subtlety of balancing a rig is that it makes a definite difference in your operating whether you achieve dynamic balance or not. here's a post that describes what I mean by this. Removing weight from the bottom and adjusting the camera back may (or may not, as it turns out) negatively affect your results with the system. One quick way to figure out if the sled is roughly in dynamic is to place the sled by itself on a dowel or rod like a see-saw. Find the center of gravity by moving it back and forth on the rod--it should balance around the same spot as the center post.

Tom: not sure, but what if you removed the weight plate from the top, allowing you to then remove weight from the bottom? This would result in an overall lighter system, and perhaps allow you to connect the MA 200. Although you are right in thinking that recording wireless to the camera is best. Cables are a definite annoyance. If you send the sound wirelessly AND record separately to another deck or camera, you will be covered nicely.

Brad:

The stands you refer to are usually called "kit stands". C-stands are made of steel, are much heavier and thus less likely to tip or bend. With a DV setup, you can use kit stands but ultimately you may feel safer with a traditional C-stand. Either way, a sandbag or two will help with the tipping possibility.
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Old October 23rd, 2003, 12:27 PM   #4
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Well, I think I got it balanced out though I haven't put the rig on yet. As it turned out, I talked to Tom at Glidecam and he had some good suggestions.

I'm now using my XL-1 minus the MA-200 Balanced XLR interface.

Instead of using the weight washers, I using the weight plates which BTW fit nicely UNDER the bottom sled.
Top: two plates with my quick release bogen.
Bottom two plates, battery on back, LP4 monitor on front

I required more weight on the top because I'm using a gold spring(10-13lbs) instead of the std black spring(6-10lbs). otherwise my camera may ride too high. I haven't mounted it up yet but Tom said I'd should be able to place a cup of water on the spring arm (on the glidecam label) when in a rest position.

Tonight I'll be drilling two holes for my video cable to pass throught he center post and then trying it out. Wish me luck.
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Old October 23rd, 2003, 01:16 PM   #5
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Good luck Tom, and thanks for the advice Charles.
Tom, how many counterweights are you using on the bottom baseplate? Ie...how many in front and in back? Also, is the battery on back of the baseplate for the monitor or for the camera? If it's for the camera, is there any particular reason why it should go there instead of on the camera?

I have yet to drill a hole through the post, but I think I will need to for the video cable to pass from the monitor to the camera. If possible, please post some pictures or video if you can so I can see how you have done it. Thanks.
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Old October 23rd, 2003, 02:08 PM   #6
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yes, thank you Charles. Your input is always coveted.

Brad, the only counter weight I use are the black weight plates (the plate intended for under the camera), not the large heavy washers. I use two plates mounted towards the rear with about 1/2 inch extending out below the rear of the sled.

I have a battery for the monitor. Both are mounted back and front respectively on the bottom sled. with nothing attached to the top sled, I horizontally balance the lower sled with the Monitor, battery, and weight plates.

Camera power comes from its own battery pack mounted on the camera as normally configured.

I hope this helps. I'll post some pics.
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Old October 24th, 2003, 01:04 AM   #7
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Optimal results for most stabilizer arms are when both sections ride just below horizontal, requiring one to lift slightly to achieve horizontal. Once you put the rig on, take a few steps, boom the camera up and down a bit and let the arm settle out--it may be a bit "bindy" when you first put it on and it will ride higher than after doing the previous procedure.
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