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Old March 20th, 2004, 03:09 AM   #1
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Advice needed on stabilizer for GL2/XM2

Hi,

I am considering buying a stabilizer form my Canon XM2. The options seem to be the Glidecam 2000, Steadicam JR and the Hollywoodlite Ultra-Lite (or VS-1).

Does anyone know of a comparative review of these stabilizers. Better still, it would be great to hear from anyone who has used such stabilizers with the GL2/XM2.

Thanks

Ahmad
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Old March 20th, 2004, 05:04 PM   #2
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I can be of some assistance here, as I was recently in the market for a stabilizer for my GL2. First, search the forums using the different models of stabilizers (Steadicam JR, Glidecam 2K, Flowpod, etc) as your key word. That will provide just the kind of input you are looking for, along with hours of reading. This topic has been covered extensively in the forums, you won't be dissapointed. Also, you should know you will not find a specific answer as to "the best one" because opinions vary so much. I was just about sold on the Steadicam JR ($699 new w/monitor) but in the end went for the Flowpod (Varizoom is the company, the full-meal-deal is around $445) because of the construction (metal vs. plastic), the price, and the functionality options. All the major brand stabilizers have pros and cons it seems, so in the end you will have to take a chance on one (I did anyway) Hope this helps, I know your dilemma :)
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Old March 21st, 2004, 01:59 AM   #3
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Thanks.. If I end up choosing and buying one of the options mentioned, I'll post my exprience on this forum.

Thanks again..
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Old March 21st, 2004, 04:31 AM   #4
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Glidecam 2000 Pro - best $400 you can spend on a cheap steadicam deal...
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Old March 21st, 2004, 12:51 PM   #5
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I know a GL2 user who is very happy
with the SteddiPod.
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Old March 25th, 2004, 01:09 AM   #6
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HI
If you want try building your own check out http://homebuiltstabilizers.com/ some incredible home made rigs/stabilizers cranes/jibs/dollies matte boxes etc.I've just started building a full rig,and have made 2 basic stabalizers for next to nothing(they ain't great but do work).The second one i built is pretty well balanced(so long as i don't have any accessories other than my wide angle lens on my cam(XM2 by the way)
Check out the forum for that site here http://pub173.ezboard.com/bhomebuiltstabilizers ,there is a section for commercially available stabalizers JR,Glide cam etc.
Lots of very knowlegable people on this subject over there,and they are as friendly and helpful as the people here seem to be.
Hope that helps
Andy
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Old March 25th, 2004, 11:47 AM   #7
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Thanks andy. I will definately check out the the sites you mentioned. I have a relative who's excellent with mechanical stuff and maybe he can help me build it (i'm a digital-only kind of guy! :)

I also did a search on this site and there is a lot of discussion about the issue. I didn't realize this before as I alway focused on the GL2 section.

On my XM, there is the Canon wide angle lens and the bigger battery (forgot model number), but also a Beachtek XLR audio adapter (at the bottom of the camera).

I am very keen to look at the DIY stuff!

Thanks again.

Ahmad
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Old March 25th, 2004, 12:36 PM   #8
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Ahmad,
I've heard it's quite a chore to DIY. With the time,
money, hassle, and so-so results, it may be better
to purchase one already made. Also, the tools you
need for some of that stuff is not what most
people would have in their garage. These are
tools in a professional machine shop.
Do you and your relative have half a year or more
to put into building some of those items, for about
the same cost as to buy it pre-built?
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Old March 25th, 2004, 12:42 PM   #9
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Andy,

Which of the plans did you follow? There's too many of them :)

My disadvantage is that I live in Jordan and don't have access to a store selling professional stabilizers to try them out and understand hoe they actually work in practice.

I had a look at http://www-2.cs.cmu.edu/~johnny/steadycam/ (the 14$ steadcam) and was amazed that it was basically a pipe with a handle and a weight.

If we take the Glidecam 2000 for example, doesn't it have springs or hydraulics or something that helps stabilize the camera.

I would really appreciate it if you could tell me about the one you built yourself on on what principle it operates.

Thanks

Ahmad
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Old March 25th, 2004, 02:05 PM   #10
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I think you build one yourself only if you do not want a gimble-based stabilizer. If you do want a gimble, you would be better off buying one unless, as mentioned earlier, you have the time, tools and material to do it right. It seems to me that the $200 pole stabilizers with no gimble are a real rip-off. just my $.02
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Old March 25th, 2004, 02:17 PM   #11
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Hi
The first one i built was based off the $14 steadicam,originally i used 1" steel tube and had a tripod head on it but it was way too heavy,so i swapped the steel tube for 1"ABS ,much lighter but still a bit heavy,and not very well balanced,so made another out of 3/4"ABS,and no tripod head,it has a few threaded bars on it to add weights in four different places(i can sit it in the palm of my hand and it will stay level),for the weights one of the guys at work chopped up some brass bar into various sizes and drilled a hole through them.I'll get some pics tomorrow and post them.I haven't really had much of a chance to try it out,if the weather is ok at the weekend i'll try and get some test footgage done.
For the full rig i've just started building(making the sled first just cut up my aluminium) i purchased Cody Deegans plans.
http://www.codydeegan.com/
They're pretty easy to follow,and the design needs no machining(though it is optional).
Hope that helps
Andy

Edit:the first two i made do not have gimbals,the full rig will.
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Old March 25th, 2004, 02:49 PM   #12
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Yes, I was referring to gimbaled stabilizers as perhaps
not being worth DIY. I've heard of people who've
gone that route and, if they had to do it over
again, .....
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Old March 26th, 2004, 04:26 AM   #13
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Hi

Have you checked out the price of a full rig,cheapest commercial rig i could find find was about 2000.
It's not the easy option but should save me in the region of 1500.
So far i've spent about 120(Plans,monopod,and aluminium(of which i've got way too much))
For around 500(estimated total cost) i'll have a vest,three section arm and sled(with monitor).You should check out some of the rigs at homebuilt stabilizers,most of them look like the real deal.
I nearly brought the Steadicam JR,i'm glad i didn't now,for around the same price and a little bit of patience(ok alot of patience)i'll have a full rig.If i was going to buy a hand held stabalizer,i'd go for something like the Glidecam,you could always make a vest and arm for it at a later date.
The hardest part will be making the gimbal,and even that doesn't seem too complicated.
Andy
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Old March 26th, 2004, 03:52 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the infos people. I can't say I'm ready to make my mind up on what to buy (or build) but I've definately learned a lot!

I am now leaning toward the Glidecam 2000. Can any of you tell me how that would perform, compared to the full rig by Cody Deegan.

One thing I read on this forum is that using the Glidecam 2000 with its vest transmits body movement to the camera. Would you recommend using forearm brace or the vest.

The Cody Deegan full rig is quite tempting and I do have someone who can help me build it. The question is: is the performance of such a system appreciably better than the GC 2000, especailly that I do not plan on doing extensive shooting.

Thanks

Ahmad
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Old March 26th, 2004, 04:12 PM   #15
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Some like the Glidecam, some find it hard to balance.
The offset handle won't be easy on your wrist,
I wouldn't think.
I think for the GL2 you should take a look at the
Steadicam JR. I had one once. Pretty lite in weight.
Not that hard to balance. No offset handle.
Comes with a VHS training tape, which shows you
some things you wouldn't think of yourself.
The tape is nice.
Charles, will your training tape be helpful for
handheld stablilizers, too?
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