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Old May 28th, 2009, 11:55 AM   #16
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Moved thread from W/EV to Stabilizers.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 12:22 PM   #17
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Hi Charles,

Thank you for your insight. One thing to note though is the demands of wedding videography, specifically finding a rig must fit the needs of the shoot rather than the rig limiting what you can do. For example - one technique the GC2000 is capable of is allowing support when you need to use the camera in a more handheld method. By simply bracing the bottom of the GC on the waist support it brings the viewfinder to eye level. You're then able to handle the camera as if the GC and arm weren't there, with complete manual control of the camera, but with the addition of rock steady close-ups and static, dutch angles at telephoto focal lengths because of the four-point contact between your eye, the GC and your hands. Its essentially like having a monopod available at all times. I'm not saying there aren't practical reasons to have a different rig, just that this rig has benefits that directly relate to the unpredictable and creative challenges of event videography, which often doesn't have the luxury of a support crew, time to swap out equipment or even the space to operate a larger rig.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Susanto:

There are quite a few differences between the Pilot and the Glidecam HD series. Quite a few people think you are just paying for the brand name with the Steadicam products. However anyone who has had a certain amount (not even that much) stabilizer experience can generally tell the difference in some key areas. The difference between the Pilot/Merlin arm and the X10 is significant--the former is much smoother and easier to boom which results in increased isolation. The camera stage on the Pilot vs the GC is much easier to adjust trim, it's a quick one handed procedure. The GC gimbals have traditionally had linearity issues, meaning that you balance the rig, turn it 90 degrees and watch it lean to one side. I don't know if this has been properly tackled in the HD series or not.

Remember too that the Pilot comes with monitor while you have to supply your own with the GC (and arrange a battery system), this affects the apples-to-apples pricing. While it is obviously possible to operate from the camera's own flip-out screen, you are locked out from panning the camera hard right as your view to the screen will be blocked in most models. It also forces one to operate with the rig in front of the body, which is more tiring than having it to the side as is standard with body-mounted rigs.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 04:05 PM   #18
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Did anybodu use the merlin with the glidecam vest?
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Old May 28th, 2009, 07:30 PM   #19
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That is interesting, Joel. I'm trying to visualize how this isn't "floppy", with the arm under load and still trying to float the camera while you brace it. Would this not also be possible with a Pilot--jamming the battery against the vest the same way you would jam the flat base of the GC (if I understand correctly)?

FYI Garrett Brown is very interested in the needs of wedding and event videographers and has been taking notes on the subject. Expect a rig tailored for this sort of thing in the future; very portable, quick to reconfigure, low profile etc.

I would still maintain that the GC's clumsy top stage controls (all the knobs and things) would make it a liability in an event situation where there isn't much time to make adjustments.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 07:42 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
I would still maintain that the GC's clumsy top stage controls (all the knobs and things) would make it a liability in an event situation where there isn't much time to make adjustments.
That is one of my main complaints about the GC 4000 I have. The 4 thumb screws per axis make quick changes a bit hard. I balance the unit for use with my GL2 & WD58 lens, but when I to fly with my .3 fish-eye (which weighs less) I have to loosen all 4 and piddle around for several minutes to get the balance right.

So the Pilot has a single point adjustment for balance? Is it a tightening screw(s) like the GGC or a trim screw that simple adjusts the balance with out needing to be tightened after proper balance has been achieved? Also, is it one adjustment point per axis (X&Y) or one for all of them?

I also cannot use a light on the GC4k because it simply isn't enough to counterbalance that much weight sitting on top of the GL2 (ie farther from the gimble makes it very hard to balance out). So any time I have a ceremony exit that is at night time, I have to gamble with using ANY gliding device vs the MultiRigPro which I can attach virtually everything to, but which barely can be considered to "glide" (it does it poorly).

So any flying solution I would want would have to be able to hold a GL2 / EX1 style camera and a light (somewhere) on the unit. And unfortunately, I don't want that light on the rig for the whole day since it would only be needed at night, so I would have to spend a bit of time to attache the light and re-balance the rig. Hence the rig would need to adjust very easily as I change lenses or accessories.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 08:34 PM   #21
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Jason, the Pilot (like all Steadicam models) uses a single trim knob for fore and aft and another for side to side. No locking knobs.

In terms of adding a light, yes you are right that it becomes complicated once you are adding masses far away from the gimbal. With the Pilot, you would likely just drop the center post to accommodate the mass shift and perform a rebalance. I think you would find it a bit of a revelation after the GC. True, the HD models improve things by incorporating a trim thumbscrew but those locks...! Also you need to adjust the arm load--with the Pilot, that's a thumbscrew on top of each section of the arm, no tool needed. Very quick.

With practice (and marking the top stage for with and without the light, counting the number of turns on the arm adjustment etc), you should be able to make the switch in less than 5 minutes on the Pilot.

I have used the GC's a few times and they are nowhere near as quick to rebalance.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 08:45 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Jason, the Pilot (like all Steadicam models) uses a single trim knob for fore and aft and another for side to side. No locking knobs.
Sure sounds like it has most of the features I would want.... except the >$4k price. That pretty much leaves it outside the budget of all but the superstar wedding videographers (unfortunately).

Realistically, take the GC, swap out the annoying thumb screw adjustments and the bolt & washer weights (replace with weights like on the merlin / pilot), and make a vest & arm that is very small.... and that is what we want. Also, your price point is probably sub $2K to really grab attention. That is probably what "we" in the wedding video industry would want. A lot of us are 1 shooter plus one semi-skilled assistant which means not enough crew for a dedicated flyer person, so that vest needs to be lightning fast to get in & out of. And should not require assistance.

Last edited by Jason Robinson; May 28th, 2009 at 09:59 PM.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 11:23 PM   #23
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Hi Jason,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Robinson View Post
That is one of my main complaints about the GC 4000 I have. The 4 thumb screws per axis make quick changes a bit hard. I balance the unit for use with my GL2 & WD58 lens, but when I to fly with my .3 fish-eye (which weighs less) I have to loosen all 4 and piddle around for several minutes to get the balance right.
I've removed two of the screws for both axis adjustments on my GC. There is one on each side.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Robinson View Post
I also cannot use a light on the GC4k because it simply isn't enough to counterbalance that much weight sitting on top of the GL2 (ie farther from the gimble makes it very hard to balance out).
I highly recommend looking into off-camera lighting. In addition to not having to balance for a light its a joy to be virtually invisible. You don't attract any attention when you don't have a light. Its also more flattering to the subject and also allows you to set exposure and not have to worry about your camera to subject distance.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 11:50 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
That is interesting, Joel. I'm trying to visualize how this isn't "floppy", with the arm under load and still trying to float the camera while you brace it. Would this not also be possible with a Pilot--jamming the battery against the vest the same way you would jam the flat base of the GC (if I understand correctly)?.
Its a matter of force being pressed down against the belt-line strap - there is no floating involved. Its a static option. The Pilot post as well as the GC4000 is too long for this technique - the camera ends up above your head. I'll see if I can find a stills of what it looks like. Its the only way I've found to go from steady 20x close-ups to gliding in a matter of seconds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
FYI Garrett Brown is very interested in the needs of wedding and event videographers and has been taking notes on the subject. Expect a rig tailored for this sort of thing in the future; very portable, quick to reconfigure, low profile etc.
If there is anyway I can be a resource I'd love to be involved. I have a lot of ideas about what would be my ideal set up. I've worked with my GC since 2002. Last year I tried a Merlin and found it ill-suited for event work, at least for me. It wouldn't stay tuned, couldn't be set down conveniently with a camera on it like the GC, was too light to maintain a level horizon in a breeze, wasn't long enough to use for my close-up technique of supporting the base with my belt and wasn't adaptable to third-party tripod adapters because the interface with the camera is proprietary. But I loved the Steadicam arm and vest that came with the Merlin - much more so than my Smooth Shooter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
I would still maintain that the GC's clumsy top stage controls (all the knobs and things) would make it a liability in an event situation where there isn't much time to make adjustments.
Switching lenses is about all I need to tune for, and that is done in 10 seconds, at most. I've removed two of the four screws for each axis which helps speed up adjustments.
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Old May 29th, 2009, 12:01 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
With practice (and marking the top stage for with and without the light, counting the number of turns on the arm adjustment etc), you should be able to make the switch in less than 5 minutes on the Pilot.
I have used the GC's a few times and they are nowhere near as quick to rebalance.
I think therein lies a good example of how a production set and event videography differ. 5 minutes is an eternity in the event production business. When I need the W.A. on the camera I lengthen the GC post about a centimeter to a sharpie mark and loosen the one screw on each side of the of the stage (at the same time) to move the camera back to a similar mark below the camera. Literally 15 seconds from a balanced stock lens to a balanced WA adapter.
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Old May 29th, 2009, 02:47 AM   #26
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I have been trying to figure out how to make the merlin arm and vest work with a GC 4000 sled similar to what Joel is doing... I was going along merrily thinking I had it all worked out when it suddenly dawned on me that I need to figure out the exact weight of my rig... an FX1 with 970 battery, century optics WA lens and a vidled come to a whopping 13.5 lbs.. how lame. too much to fly the merlin (pilot) arm using the glidecam 4000 sled. I have been flying that hand held for many hours on shoot days for the last 3 or 4 years... My Camera setup without the GC is 8lbs by it self.. I'm told the Pilot sled can handle the weight since the sled weighs a lot less than the glidecam. So anyone else looking to follow in Joels footsteps, be sure and weigh your camera on your glidecam first.

Last edited by Scott Shama; May 29th, 2009 at 01:58 PM.
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Old May 29th, 2009, 01:25 PM   #27
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I think that a Steadicam model configured for event videographers would also be very welcome for certain kinds of documentary work, to facilitate getting a lot of spontaneous, high quality b-roll in a limited amount of time with maximum flexibility and production value and minimum amount of fuss.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
FYI Garrett Brown is very interested in the needs of wedding and event videographers and has been taking notes on the subject. Expect a rig tailored for this sort of thing in the future; very portable, quick to reconfigure, low profile etc.
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Old May 30th, 2009, 08:57 AM   #28
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Wowww... the thread as develop a lot.. which is good!

I'm a merlin user. I didn't know anything about steadicam but decided to just buy the merlin after I saw some sample shots from youtube 2 years ago. I find it very light to use continuous hour and also too light in windy condition and uneven surface.

I'm having trouble flying it on the grass or rocky places.. I hate it when it comes to that...

But I also have seen some cool shots that come from glidecam and smooth shooter.

I guess it really depends on the operator of how good these system are...

about the price, like mentioned before, the pilot comes with a monitor which i think should worth around 500-600 dollars, that makes pilot only around 1000 dollar more expensive than the glidecam setup.

I really realllyyyyyy want to try both rig for myself and find out how quickly and how fidly it is to set up and rebalance. Judging from what Charles and Joel have said here, I think Pilot would be quicker, but you can also be quick enough with the glidecam.

Now, one good thing that adds to the glidecam's side is the fact that you can operate the sled without arm and vest. that makes it shine on emergency situation.

more thoughts please ?? :)

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Old May 30th, 2009, 03:57 PM   #29
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As far as setting up and rebalancing, if you mean from shoot to shoot...if you use the same setup with the same camera, cabling, and battery type each time, your balancing should be easy each time no matter which setup you use. Just mark your gear to line it up the same each time and do a quick double-check.

However, if your operating advances to the point that you get in the habit of trimming for headroom, for instance...then the Pilot's controls really shine.
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Old May 30th, 2009, 05:13 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Susanto Widjaja View Post
Now, one good thing that adds to the glidecam's side is the fact that you can operate the sled without arm and vest. that makes it shine on emergency situation. more thoughts please ?? :)
Santo
I do think it is hard to beat the Glidecam and a quick release plate (or a dedicated camera on the glidecam) for when you have an emergency "Oooo that would be great to get a flying shot" type of occurrence.

Since I only have the Glidecam4K and arm brace, I cannot speak to the ability to use it for long periods of time.... because I cannot! Anything more than about 1 minute of constant use and my arm is dead. That is too much weight out there.

Another thought on the glidecam is the gimble has an oddly constructed handle so that it bumps into the bottom of the sliding mounts too easily depending on the angle. This means it is hard to get low angle shots with out adjusting your grip, repositioning the handle upside down, etc. It is possible, but the ability to transition for high angle to low (and vice versa) is convoluted and does NOT make for a smooth shot. So for those of us hoping to mimic the booming action of a short jib, we are not able to do that (easily) with a Glidecam setup.

But. . . I can shoot with my glidecam in 10-15mph winds and it is nice and steady with just a minor amout of counter force below the gimble (depending on how you balanced the drop time). That is a blessing in those outdoor weddings. From what I hear, the Merlin is almost impossible to use in a wind because it is so light weight (depending on your setup of course).


And other posters are absolutely correct that a GC setup means movign right to left puts the LCD on the opposite side of the camera body which means it is hard to see your framing. The monitor on the Pilot would be a great asset to assist in framing the shot, but the added weight of a monitor means it has to be on a full sled & vest. So there is a trade off; you either get superior portability & low key presence, or you get better shooting abilities, longer use and a higher price tag.
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