Just purchased the Glidecam V16 Package #3 - Which C Stand to buy? at DVinfo.net

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Old March 18th, 2004, 12:56 PM   #1
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Just purchased the Glidecam V16 Package #3 - Which C Stand to buy?

Hi folks

Well I've been sitting on the fence over the past year reading up as much as I can from this forum and have now taken the plunge into getting the Glidecam V16 Package #3 (Special ends tomorrow).

The order went out this morning from my local dealer here in Montreal. It will take one week for Glidecam to put the package together and probably another week to clear customs.

My understanding is that I will need a C stand to aid in the balancing of the rig. Which height do you recommend? I checked the web and there are 20", 40" and 60".

Thanks for all the help and hopefully I can participate more once I start flying my rig.

By the way, the camera is going to be a fully loaded XL1 with the Century 0.6 WA adapter. (4x4 Bellows Matte box, rails, French flag (from Cavision), Dual battery, MA100).

My dream camera would be the Sony HDW-F900 (I'll have to mortgage my house and family for this baby!!!)
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Old March 18th, 2004, 02:47 PM   #2
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Norman:

I would steer you away from a c-stand if I can. It's a great, sturdy stand but you have to pick it up to move it, and you need to use a sandbag for maximum stability. A wide-base roller stand is much, much easier to work with. Need to slide it over two feet while wearing the rig? No problem with a roller stand--not pretty with a c-stand.

The Steadicam stand listed here is great, especially with the rolling wheels, but you are looking at close to $400 (although if you ever come to LA, you can pick it up in town for 40% off). There is surely a less expensive stand available, possibly in your native land; lots of inexpensive film gear coming out of Toronto and Vancouver these days.

I will post something on the Steadicam board about this on your behalf. There may be something out there.
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Old March 18th, 2004, 03:03 PM   #3
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Here's a spontaneous idea: adapting something like this to a heavy duty light stand, like a Beefy Baby stand. Easy to pop off the wheel base for rough terrain. Hmm.
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Old March 18th, 2004, 03:11 PM   #4
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Thanks Charles

I'll go check them out. By the way, do you really need a stand to balance the rig or is it more easier that way?

I was just wondering what other "ingenious" ways other folks are using to balance their rigs.
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Old March 18th, 2004, 03:21 PM   #5
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You can balance the rig on your body, but that's using up your energy to do so.

You will most certainly want the stand in between takes. Setting the rig on the floor is a bit tentative, and it will probably require help to do so.

it's all about maintaining your strength for the shot itself.
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Old March 18th, 2004, 07:42 PM   #6
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Norman:

Did a bit of poking, and I'm wondering about the following item:

Bogen/Manfrotto 3073 Steel stand with caster set.

Seen prices under $150 for this combo. It appears that the casters are not lockable, which is not good--you'd have to use sandbags to hold the stand in place. They also offer a $69 locking version of the casters, but I'm not clear on how they mount (seem to be lacking the appropriate sleeve that the other casters offer).

Might be worth contacting your local dealer and seeing what they can put together. I think you'll be much happier with something in this style than a c-stand, and the price is comparable. Just make sure that the stand terminates in a baby pin--from the picture it looks like a junior receiver, but it may have an offset pop-up baby pin.

Let us know how it works out, eh?
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Old March 18th, 2004, 07:52 PM   #7
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Why did (or would) you choose the V16 over the V8?

I'm looking into joining the club too.
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Old March 18th, 2004, 09:37 PM   #8
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Hi Aaron

I chose the V16 over the V8 for a few reasons:

1) The V8 can support cameras up to 10 lbs. I have a fully loaded Canon XL1 that's going to bring it up close to 10 lbs.

2) I'm also looking at flying heavier cameras such as the Sony Betacams.

3) It very easy to upgrade to the V20 (I believe it's just a change in the arm, correct me if I'm wrong) for flying even heavier cameras (Up to 25 lbs)

What camera are you using?
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Old March 19th, 2004, 07:40 AM   #9
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Norman, congratulations on your new purchase. I received my V16 about three weeks ago, and am discovering how much I still have to learn about this apparatus! Although it's not the Steadicam Ultra ($66,000 bucks) it is still a decent piece of equipment. There are going to be limitations on the equipment and on the operator, but in the long run I feel that with enough practice and help from this board, I should be able to make some very nice scenes with the V16.

I still have a lot of questions about setup and operation of this unit. Hopefully we can get a thread going that will attract some experienced Glidecam and/or Steadicam operators who would be willing to help us learn to become good operators.

Since my experience is limited, at this point I can only offer you a few suggestions about my early experiences. Here are a few observations:

1. After unpacking the unit, read through the manual first. It might be wise to hilite specific key lines.

2. Take your time setting up, go slow, and follow the manual step by step. As others have said, more pictures would be nice, but I did find myself referring to the photo's that are included to make sure I was in the "ball park".

3. Fully charge your monitor battery before using it. The first thing I did was to put the battery on charge, so it was charging while I was putting the unit together.

4. The manual is not very clear on how to mount the quick-release plate to the camera mounting platform. I went nuts mounting it the first time, but later I realized that you can fully remove the platform to mount the quick-release plate. That was a helluva lot easier!

- Remove the brass lock screws
- Remove the two hex screws at the bottom of the plate
- Lift the plate assembly off
- Fully unscrew the forward/rear hex adjustment screw to remove the top assembly.
- Mount the quick-release on the plate
- Replace in reverse order

5. I found that I had to offset the quick release plate to allow me to use the locking lever. I am considering adding a shim under it to I can center it on the camera mounting platform. If anyone has a suggestion on this, please let me know. I fear that the offset plate might affect balance.

6. VERY IMPORTANT! When you finally place your camera on the completed assembly, hang on to it! Since the vertical balance is not yet set, the weight of the camera may cause it to rapidly tilt down...a disaster ready to happen. Also, it seems simple, but make sure that your camera is fully locked into the mounting plate...one time I was in a hurry, and my XL1-s fell off. Fortunately, I grabbed it before it shattered on the floor. I aged about ten years on that little oversight!

7. When you have balanced the thing, and are ready to fly, be sure and hang on to the curved arm that mounts the gimbal to the support arm. Keep your right hand on this at all times until you are experienced and understand the how things want to move. If you don't maintain this control, the camera might want to shoot away from your body, throwing your balance off and creating a dangerous situation for your equipment and body.

8. Walk around slowly and keep your stand nearby. Don't push it too hard, and be ready to set the camera back on the stand, resting often. You will feel a lot of strain in your lower back, especially at first, so take frequent breaks. Set your mounting stand at a height that allows you to comfortably hang the assembly. Use your legs and not your back to set the Glidecam on the stand.

9. I have tried to practice several times each day, and found that my back muscles began to adapt the more I used the Glidecam. I am getting better, but realize that I have a long way to go before I can begin to call myself experienced. Of course, learning is more than half the fun anyway. I have yet to attain "perfect" dynamic balance, but I'm working on it.

So, for what it is worth, these are my suggestions based on my limited experience. I hope that they will be helpful to you. If anyone has additional suggestions, better ideas, or disagrees with any of this, please don't hesitate to chime in. I am a complete novice, and am learning as I go. I have already read everything I could find on this board, and hope to get the answers to more specific questions about balance and operation as time goes on.

Good luck Norman. Hopefully, with the help of experienced members of this board, we can both learn how to fly!
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Old March 19th, 2004, 11:27 AM   #10
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Solid advice, Brad.

Sadly, my long-promised training video is going to experience another production delay, so I can't entice you guys with a "coming soon" teaser. In the meantime, keep flying!
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Old March 26th, 2004, 03:50 PM   #11
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Brad

Thanks for the excellent details ...

Another question: Do you know how many hours the battery will power the monitor if running continuously?

I'll be documenting a fashion show in May (I'll be flying my rig alongside the runway with the models). They have asked me to document the stuff happening behind the scenes as well(preparation and getting ready). All in all the shoot will be from 6:00 PM to about 9:00 PM. I may need to buy additional batteries. If so, can I mount all the batteries at once and then just switch the power connection to avoid having to rebalance?

One more week of waiting .......
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Old March 26th, 2004, 07:49 PM   #12
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Norman,

I don't know how long the battery will continuosly run the monitor, I haven't gone that long yet. I think your plan to order extra batteries is a good one, I am going to order a backup batt myself...once the American Express card cycles into a new billing month. I'm not concerned with adding a switch, as I doubt that I'll ever have the camera up so continuously that I'll go through an entire battery. I think I would pass out first <G> Additionally, I've managed to balance things pretty well with my XL1s and the single battery.

I hope that you aren't going to be flying on the runway for three solid hours! If you can do that you are one baaaddd dude <G> Be sure and keep your stand close, because chances are you will need to take a little break every now and then.

One tip for resting that I find helps...When you need to take a quick spell and don't want to hang the rig on the stand, you can pull it in and cock the camera back to rest the sled and post on your left shoulder. I angle it a little less than 45 degrees (monitor pointed away from my body), but you will see what feels best for you. This helps to keep the stress from pulling on your lower back and directs the weight straight down. It works for me, just make absolutely sure that you have the camera fully locked into it's quick-release (obviously it should be anyway) and don't relax so much that you release a grip on the post and/or the gimbal handle.

I am learning that not only is the Glidecam a demanding tool physically, it also requires constant awareness of what you are doing...whether placing on or taking it from the stand, or actually working with it. A lack of attention at the wrong time can spell disaster, for you and for your equipment. Using a Glidecam is similar to those times when I'm working on a tall ladder with both hands busy, I just keep telling myself, "Remember where you are!"

One other suggestion. While waiting for my Glidecam I ordered a Century wide angle adaptor. It costs about $330 bucks. It has a limited zoom, but that doesn't matter much to me as I'm not doing any zooming right now when using the Glidecam. It may be cheating in a way, but it sure does help smooth out the shot for a novice like me and is great for interiors. You can find it at B&H at: Century Wide Angle Adaptor for XL1

That's about it for now. Let us know when you finally get your V16. I'm looking forward to hearing about your experiences with it. Just remember, it's a lot of hard work, but a whole bunch of fun when you actually get a shot to fly the way you want. You will be able to make shots that you never dreamed possible, it may take twenty takes, but it can happen!

Good luck.
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