Glidecam V-16 vs. Steadicam SK2 at DVinfo.net

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Old January 17th, 2004, 01:08 PM   #1
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Glidecam V-16 vs. Steadicam SK2

Greetings,

Over the past few weeks I have been considering (note the word "considering) the purchase of a stabilizing system. I think I have exhaused all sources that I could find on the Internet, and have narrowed my search to two systems: Glidecam V-16 and Steadicam SK2. I would plan on using the system in lower budget productions, and obviously know that I will not be competing with the experts who are working in major motion pictures and top dollar productions.

I thought I would poll members of this list to see if someone can offer me some additional input to help me make a decision. I own a Canon XL1-s, and will be using that camera primarily, but at times I might wish to use the stabilizer with DVC Pro video cameras, hence my reason for considering stabilizers that will fly a camera in the 10-20 lb range.

Aside from the obvious difference in price of these two systems, I would welcome any insight from those of you who might give your input regarding either of these rigs. Should I decide to part with my hard earned dollars, I want to make sure that I would be getting a system that I would be happy with, one that will allow me (with practice and experience of course) to produce quality, well stabilized shots.

Bottom line: I would rather spend twice the money and be happy with my purchase rather than spend less and be left wishing I hadn't been so cheap. I do realize that there might be implied value in the "Steadicam" name alone, but at the end of the day the quality and functionality of the tool is my primary concern...however, value for the dollar is a consideration since I'm still required to work for a living!

I have yet to decide if this is something that I cannot live without, anyway, here are the systems I am looking at:

Glidecam V-16 professional camera stabilization system - $3,699.00
Key Features
Support Vest
Three-Axis Gimbal
Dyna-Elastic Arm
Base Platform (Sled)
LCD Monitor Mount
Kick-Stands
L5-PRO 5-inch Active Matrix LCD Monitor
5" TFT Active Matrix Full Color
Bright 350 nit screen for good daylight viewability.
NTSC and PAL auto read
Powered by custom Lithium-Ion battery plate on the back.
Power with Sony Lithium-Ion battery (Sony NPF-550 compatiable).
Side 2.1mm power input that can handle 9-30 volts.

------------------------------
Steadicam SK2 Stabilizing System with Anton Bauer Battery Mount - $6,999.95
(Batteries and charger are extra...add about $1000 bucks for two batts and one charger)
System Includes:
Camera Mounting Chassis (Sled)
Composite Center Fixed Post
Enhanced Monitor: 3.5" CRT with 4:3 aspect ratio
9-19lb Camera Capacity Iso-Elastic Arm
Lightweight SK2 Vest
Low mode kit
Docking bracket
Battery Mount (Anton Bauer, PAG, or optional NP-1)
12V Power Cable
3' light weight BNC Video Cable
"T" handle Allen wrench
Owner's manual
Instructional Video Tape
Turtle base 'C' stand
Soft carrying case


Thank you for your time. I look forward to reading your suggestions.

Brad Richmond
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Old January 19th, 2004, 11:23 PM   #2
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Since i have an obvious bias, i'll leave it up to the impartial user base and won't weigh in much here. But its worth mentioning, there is also an Anton Bauer version of the V-16, if you're comparing power systems for the rigs. It also comes with the same basic tools and docking bracket, and there is also a low-mode/vehicle mount kit available for it as well.
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Old January 20th, 2004, 01:30 AM   #3
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Both are good machines...not an easy call. There's a lot of other things you can buy for the $3K+ difference.

I do see used SK's for sale from time to time, mostly from folks who wish to move up to more robust rigs. Try peeking at steadicamforum.com, in the classified section.
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Old January 20th, 2004, 05:16 AM   #4
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I saw on their site they are currently having special packages
for reduced prices. Might be worthy of checking out.
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Old January 25th, 2004, 11:34 AM   #5
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Thank you Casey, Charles, and Rob. I will probably make a decision in the next few days, but will likely purchase the Glidecam V-16. I am sure that both the Steadicam and Glidecam are good products, but cost (among other things) has been a factor in my decision.

Now all I have to do is get in shape and practice...practice...practice! I do realize that one doesn't just strap on any stabilizer and immediately begin producing beautiful video or film. I'm sure it will be an adventure!

I'll post my evaluations of the Glidecam in the future.

Thanks again for your input!
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Old January 26th, 2004, 12:52 AM   #6
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I can only tell you of my experience working on a Glidecam V-8 (I think that was the model). Originally purchased for use with a Sony DSR-500, the DP wanted to use it with a Pannasonic DVX100. Everything about the V-8 was overkill for the Panny and, of course, it could not be balanced in any way.

So I modified the sled to add weight equaling the difference in weight of the two cameras. So the DP ended up hauling the same weight regardless of the camera model.

I felt the bent metal body of the cameras plate and support plate and their methods of adjusting position to be somewhat crude and primitive given the cost of the rig.

I don't know how the Steadycam is built but perhaps for the extra $3,000 they build it better.

No idea if the V-8 and the V-16 share construction methods.
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Old January 26th, 2004, 01:28 AM   #7
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Mike:

The Tiffen rigs (i.e anything with the official Steadicam name) have, in general, the cleanest machining and design, which partially explains the elevated prices. The biggest nitpick I have with the Mini is the arm, which is hardly more than a desk lamp arm in design. They have the design for a much more sophisticated and effective arm that wouldn't cost much more to make, but apparently feel that the Mini users don't care what they are missing, which is a shame.
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Old January 27th, 2004, 05:49 PM   #8
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Also considering the V-16

When I saw the arm for Steadicam SK, it looks thinner compared to the V-16. Apart from this, functionality wise it should be the same. I own a steadicam JR for my GL2 and but I'm looking something for my XL1s. I saw a demo somewhere with the XL1s and V-16 in action. The footage looks very cool and that helped me decide to get the V-16 in the future - I just hope that it would be cheaper when the time has come to buy it.
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Old January 27th, 2004, 08:20 PM   #9
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Re: Also considering the V-16

<<<-- Posted by Rafael Guerrero : When I saw the arm for Steadicam SK, it looks thinner compared to the V-16. Apart from this, functionality wise it should be the same. I own a steadicam JR for my GL2 and but I'm looking something for my XL1s. -->>>

After much research, and cost considerations, I decided to go ahead and order the Glidecam V-16. Hopefully it will be delivered within a week or so. I ordered the new package #2, which includes a 7" monitor and Anton Bauer battery and charger.

Once I put it together and have a chance to play around, I'll post my impressions and upload some video examples. I know it will take much work to produce acceptable video, but I look forward to the learning process. I have been a film/video photographer in commercial broadcasting for over 30 years and am excited at the prospect of learning a radically (for me) new way to produce video.

<<<--I saw a demo somewhere with the XL1s and V-16 in action. The footage looks very cool and that helped me decide to get the V-16 in the future - I just hope that it would be cheaper when the time has come to buy it. -->>>

As I looked for information, I found some nice examples shot with the V-16 and the Steadicam in the thread I started at Stabilizer video on the Web

I especially like the V-16 video from the Ping Pong Cameras website.

Anyway, I am ready to play. I plan to start a new thread detailing my adventures once I finally strap this thing on and let the camera fly!
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