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Old April 24th, 2009, 11:02 AM   #1
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Glidecam 4000 HD vs 4000 Pro

I know that the new HD model of the Glidecam 4000 has a different weight system and is supposed to be easier to balance.

Does anybody here have practical experience with both and know what the difference is, and is it a worthwhile / significant difference?

I noticed that the Pro model is under $400 bucks now while the best price on the HD is around $550.
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Old April 24th, 2009, 11:59 AM   #2
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Glidecam X000 HD vs 2000 Pro

I have the 2000 Pro (not the 4000). I just tried all of the HD series at NAB. The 4000 series should be easier to operate, because you'd have heavier camcorder on it, and the resulting higher moment of inertia is your friend. I think that the HD series is much, much better than the old Pro. Besides cleaner counter weights, they improved the gimball and mounting precision a lot, and the stage adjustment is infinitely better than the one Pro had. It took forever to set it the first time, specially if you don't have stabilizer experience. I'd wish that I could upgrade the pro for the HD.
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Old April 24th, 2009, 12:35 PM   #3
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I'll be posting a stabilizer roundup in the article section here shortly, but yes, as Pavel says the HD is an improvement. Whether that is worth the $150 is depends on the individual.
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Old April 24th, 2009, 01:25 PM   #4
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CMR - Blackbird

Charles, are you going to cover the CMR - Blackbird as well? Handheld stabilizer for video cameras - Blackbird, GS2 - Camera Motion Research The variable/selectable friction is handy. I tried that one as well, it is cool, except that you cannot fold it like the Merlin, almost as expensive.
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Old April 24th, 2009, 01:53 PM   #5
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Yes, I liked the Blackbird quite a bit, it will be in the review.
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Old April 26th, 2009, 02:18 PM   #6
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Review (including the GC HD series and the Blackbird) is now up at:

NAB2009 Stabilizer Wrap-Up DV Info Net

Please direct comments to this thread:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/stabilize...es-papert.html
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Old April 26th, 2009, 03:33 PM   #7
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Charles,

Thanks for the stabilizer update article from NAB. From the posts on this thread and other research it does sound like the upgrades to the gimbal, weight system, etc make the HD models worth $150 more.
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Old April 27th, 2009, 02:04 AM   #8
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Thank you Charles, much appreciated.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 04:29 PM   #9
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I pulled the trigger today and spent what was left of my tax refund on the Glidecam 4000 HD.

I will be flying it with my Flycam 5000 arm and vest. I have been using the Flycam 5000 sled which is an Indian knockoff of the Glidecam 4000.

We had worked and worked and finally gotten good at getting the camera properly balanced on the Flycam 5000. We were pleased with our test shots although our shooter is a newbie with a stabilizer. The instructional DVD from Indicam was very informative as were some online tutorials / video's found various places.

While the vest / arm and sled are very basic and low end it is pretty amazing the results you can get for much less than the name brand ones. However the Flycam 5000 sled has a couple of glaring weaknesses in design / production.

First the camera plate / top part attaches to the sled post by two small hex screws. They screw into an aluminum post that slides down into the main sled post. The problem is that these small screws constantly become loose and when they do it causes the camera plate to rock back and forth slightly, ruining shots.

We kept a tool handy and were constantly tightening them when disaster struck at our very first wedding using the sled. The wedding rehearsal went great but the day of the actual wedding after we set up the sled when I went to tighten these two screws one of them was stripped and would not tighten. Arghh!!!!

I took it to a machine shop and $55 later it has had larger holes bored in the aluminum post, been rethreaded, and has much beefier screws going into it. It appears to be a lot better now but they told me that since the post is aluminum it will be subject to stripping out again if tightened too much.

The fear of it stripping out again just before a wedding caused me to go ahead and order the Glidecam 4000 HD to use with the Flycam 5000 arm and vest. I will either keep the fixed Flycam 5000 sled as a backup or sell it.

Added to that fear was another fear that the adjustment mechanism for lengthening the post is not very durable and might break at an inopportune time. I belive with enoug thought and alternate locking mechanism could be figured out but a custom machined one was going to be over $200 at the place I had the other repair made!

Since in a year or so I hope to have the money to upgrade to a Glidecam Smooth Shooter or X10 arm and vest getting the 4000 HD sled now is just saving me some money when that time comes.

I think in addiion to the better workmanship of the sled the revised 3 axis gimbal and easier adjustment mechanisms will make it a worthwhile purchase.

I still recommend the Flycam 5000 setup for the budget beginner wanting to get started with a stabilizer, arm and sled. For what little was paid for the whole set up the arm and vest alone are worth more.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 04:56 PM   #10
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I gave up on the original Glidecam 4000 Pro due to the insane amount of time necessary to balance the rig. Having to loosen and tighten 4 thumb-screws to move the camera plate fore and aft, and having to repeat that multiple times because the act of simply tightening the screws would throw the plate out of alignment again! The same was true for the side-to-side adjustment. The Steadicam Pilot gets around that problem using vernier-type adjustments, one for fore/aft, and a second for side-to-side movement.

I recently read a review of the Glidecam 4000 HD which said that although the 4000 HD has vernier-type adjustment knobs, it still requires you to undo 8 thumb-screws before you can use the vernier adjustment knobs! The review also said that the same problem exists with the HD version as the original version, in that tightening these 8 thumb-screws can easily throw the camera plate out of alignment again.

I'm glad I bought the Pilot. The speed of set-up alone was worth the price difference.

Julian
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Old May 5th, 2009, 06:56 PM   #11
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different review than mine, sounds like? although I think I made similar points.
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Old May 6th, 2009, 12:36 AM   #12
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I have talked to someone who bought the new sled. She said it was fairly easy to balance.

Good for Glidecam!

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Old May 6th, 2009, 03:37 AM   #13
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I had a balancing problem with the HD4000 of my friend as well. Once the 8 screws are tightened, it goes off balance sometimes.
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Old May 7th, 2009, 03:56 PM   #14
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Sean,

How would you compare balancing the 4000 HD to the 4000 Pro or earlier 4000 models?

I am amazed how that without changing anything on a camera a stabilizer can be balanced perfectly and then when you put it back on the next time it is not.

I just got my new 4000 HD yesterday but work is so crazy I am not going to get to assemble it and try to balance it until the weekend. I am very excited about the new way to balance it even if it does mean loosening 8 screws!
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Old May 7th, 2009, 04:44 PM   #15
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Although I've never used the HD version of the Glidecam, the problem with the Glidecam 4000 Pro was that the tolerances were so wide that tightening the thumb-screws would cause the plate to go out of alignment. Having achieved very good static balance with the thumb-screws loosened, it was next to impossible to keep the Glidecam 4000 Pro in static balance after tightening the screws! If one screw was tightened slightly more than the others, it would pull the plate, and therefore the camera, in that direction. The same would happen if the screws were not tightened at the same time (IE. the 2 front screws, or the 2 back screws). Trying to keep the plate in alignment while tightening [U]8[U] screws was an exercise in futility. I hope the vernier adjustment knobs on the HD version make balancing a lot easier. I'll be interested to hear your opinions on the new unit.

Julian
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