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Old May 26th, 2009, 08:47 PM   #1
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steadicam upgrade ideas?

Hi guys,

I wonder if you guys can help me with some ideas and thought about upgrading my steadicam..

I have a merlin now and have been using it for almost 2 years now. I want to upgrade to pilot but the price is very expensive. I wonder if its a good idea to reside to glidecam x10 or even the arm brace with hd4000 or whether it is better to just jump in to pilot straight away.

The merlin is great but its not so great anymore since I can't put any wide angle adapter or mike or any other thing on it while its on the merlin. I really want to be able to put a wide angle adapter. Any ideas on a widey lens?

I'm using xh-a1

Santo
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Old May 26th, 2009, 09:15 PM   #2
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I am currently using the glidecam 2000 and am in a similar situations I considered going up to the full vest setup or a steadicam model, but like the flexibility and more freedom of just using the pole. I also wanted to be able to use a wide angle a good amount of time and am using the a1's just like you. I decided not to fully upgrade and am about ready to get my new setup using the glidecam 4000 HD model and that should support the wide angle pretty well. I'm not sure of the weight in total for that setup but I'm currently running around with 14 lbs (camera/glidecam/mic) so I don't think it will be much different because I'll have the longer pole with the 4000.

Matt
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Old May 26th, 2009, 10:11 PM   #3
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Matt,

I'm sure the hd 4000 will support a1+wide angle really well.. but can you shoot with that for hours without the arm+ vest? I usually shoot with my merlin+a1 for full day. so I don't know whether I can stand glidecam 4000 + wide angle without arm and vest.

but honestly you have some good footage with the glidecam2000.

making me leaning towards the glidecam now because of the price as well.

have you tried the arm brace? does it do any good?
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Old May 26th, 2009, 10:21 PM   #4
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It took me about a year to really get the hang on it and now I really can go for quite a long time with it and definitely last all day. I shot almost 21 hours last weekend between two weddings and didn't think twice about it. Of course I wasn't holding it the whole time but use it quite a bit throughout the day. My secret is to have an elastic wrist brace that I got at a sports store. When I need to do long tracking shot or keep it steady for a good amount of time, I'll throw that on and it's gives me enough support that I can definitely tell the difference. I've never used the arm brace for the glidecam. Personally I think the arm brace would be a lot more weight on your shoulder. Currently the weight would be on your wrist but by having the brace, I'm supporting that much better. I've never felt me arm actually getting tired, but I thik you would with the GC arm brace.
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Old May 26th, 2009, 11:30 PM   #5
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Hi Susanto,

I'm using the Merlin's vest and arm with a glidecam 2000. Like you I use an XHA1, both with and without a wide angle lens. Its a very compact, low profile set up that works very well. I had to adapt the post the on the arm for the glidecam though. The standard post is angled for the merlin and the glidecam prefers a straight post.

Did this Saturday:

~ THE WEDDINGS OF MARCIA AND PRASHANT ~

Two weddings in one day, solo, with an SDE. The clip itself is a J.A.B.O.S., 'just a bunch of shots'.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 01:31 AM   #6
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Thanks for that Joel!

do you just put the glidecam onto the merlin arm and it fits straight away?

so your post basically confirms that it is possible to use wide angle adapter on xh-a1 mounted on glidecam 2000 yeah?

thats good to know.. cause I'm just worried that 4000 might be too bulky.

Can I ask what is your wide angle adapter? it doesn't feel that wide isn't it. I'm guessing its .5x ?? I think I'm looking to get something like .3x or .4x

Anyone got hands on the red eye wide angle adapter??

Santo
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Old May 27th, 2009, 02:59 AM   #7
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I would strongly recommend finding a way to audition both the Glidecam and the Pilot products before making your purchase.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 03:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Susanto Widjaja View Post
do you just put the glidecam onto the merlin arm and it fits straight away?
I needed to replace the angled post that the merlin slipped on to with a straight post. That was it. I tried the Merlin with the vest and arm, and I had a Smooth Shooter with a GC 2000. Out of those I preferred the GC and the Merlin's support.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Susanto Widjaja View Post
so your post basically confirms that it is possible to use wide angle adapter on xh-a1 mounted on glidecam 2000 yeah?
Absolutely. I like that the 2000 is much easier to transport. I'm big on trying to carry as little as I can every weekend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Susanto Widjaja View Post
thats good to know.. cause I'm just worried that 4000 might be too bulky.
I'll see if the photographer from one of my gigs can send a picture of what the set up looks like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Susanto Widjaja View Post
Can I ask what is your wide angle adapter? it doesn't feel that wide isn't it. I'm guessing its .5x ?? I think I'm looking to get something like .3x or .4x
I use a Century Optics .6x made for the A1, but I'm not entirely happy with it. There is some chromatic aberration that bothers me. I shoot most of the day without an adapter.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 05:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
I would strongly recommend finding a way to audition both the Glidecam and the Pilot products before making your purchase.
I'm on the same page - in fact I've talked to Santo and arranged to visit him in Sydney to let him have a play with the Merlin arm & Vest. I think that will cope with the WA adapter and he can upgrade to the pilot later on.

see you Sat week Santo!
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Old May 27th, 2009, 06:27 AM   #10
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Charles: It would be great to hear some comments from someone experienced like you :)

Joel: I also have the .6x century. I don't like it too.. got it for free when I bought my camera.. only used it less than 5 times so far.

Paul: yeah. I'll be good to meet and catch up.

Anyone else got some feedback?? basically now I understand that it all depends on the operators set of skills when it comes to choosing between glidecam and pilot

people also say if you got the extra money, then get the pilot..

the difference is like more than 2000 dollars (AUS)

so I'm kinda tempted with glidecam.

plus, I've seen a lot of great stuff coming from people who use glidecam, e.g. mr matt bishop

Can I just ask whether glidecam can be flip upside down for low mode easily (quickly)??

I think you can do that easily with pilot yeah??

Thanks

Santo
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Old May 27th, 2009, 08:06 AM   #11
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Hi Susanto. I own the Pilot and Merlin, and did a few days worth of shoot with the Glidecam Pro HD4000 + x 10. Both do their jobs well. The big diff comes in the weight. If u r using handheld only the HD series would do fine. In fact, I find it easier on a Glidecam than Merlin.

If you are looking for a rig, the Pilot shines. I assume you are of Asian built. The Pilot is very compact and fits very well for me. In comparison, the x10 is about 15% bigger and heavier. I can wear the Pilot rig for an hour easily with not much fatigue during a Mass. The x10 is a bit more tiring in comparison.

U also have to consider the amount of time taken to setup and get out of the rig. If you are shooting in 2 or 3 man team it is fine. But if you are a one man army, a handheld rig would be most suitable.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 08:08 PM   #12
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I shoot a GL2 + WD58 wide angle and put that all on the Glidecam4000. The thing is heavy. Very heavy. I have the arm brace and that is the only thing that allows me to shoot for more than 15-30 seconds at a time. With the brace, I can shoot for maybe 1 minute max before I need to brace against something else and rest (usually I put hte bottom of the "sled" on my leg to hold the weight).

I also have QR plates on the Glidecam and on my MultiRig so I can pop the thing off whenever I need. I have heard that the Merlin cannot be used in a wind. I had an outside wedding this weekend that had a lot of wind, but since I use the 4000, it wasn't much of a problem, if at all.

I suppose it depends on how you want to use the steadicam device. Do you want to shoot the entire ceremony on it and fly around in the back getting neat shots while cams A, B, & C capture the locked down stuff? OR do you want to catch the occasional shots on steadicam and not have a dedicated cam for it?

Are you going 5d in the future? A full flier rig might not be needed with just the 5D and a lens.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 08:45 PM   #13
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Hi guys,

I'm 90% 2 man team on my shoots. Therefor setting up steadicam shouldn't be much of a problem although I truly love how merlin is very very portable and light. It only take less than 5 minute to put them together and fly with my A1. I wonder if glidecam would be the same thing.

Sean, Thank you for your point we now know merlin arm & vest is the best out of others with similar price range but glidecam sled is better then merlin, right?

so the only person here with the experience of flying GC on Merlin arm and vest is Joel. (joel! we're counting on you! hahaha) how're those pictures of your setup coming??

I can see how some people reading this could think "Just buy the bloody pilot" hahahaha.. as a matter of fact I did think of that.. hmmmmm...... maybe I'm just a research freak :P

actually let me do the prices now:

glidecam hd2000 = $470
glidecam hd4000 = $570
merlin arm vest = $1574

merlin arm vest and hd4000 = $2144

pilot =$3689

prices baed on b&h

So basically you're looking to save around 1500. NOT TOO BAD EH??

I guess the question is, do you want to ditch the pilot for 1500??? Plus.. you'll get a monitor that comes with the pilot..

hmm.... steadicam is very smart......... I'm leaning towards pilot now......
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Old May 28th, 2009, 10:22 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Susanto Widjaja View Post
Hi guys,
so the only person here with the experience of flying GC on Merlin arm and vest is Joel. (joel! we're counting on you! hahaha) how're those pictures of your setup coming??
Attached is a shot that shows the GC 2000 with the Merlin arm. When I add the wide angle lens I just need to slide the camera platform back to a spot I've got marked. Though the post I hacked together isn't visible I describe it here:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/stabilize...erlin-arm.html

I know of a videographer that is working on machining a straight post that is more solid. There is a chance that copies of that might be available to buy.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/attachmen...1&d=1243523971
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steadicam upgrade ideas?-joel.jpg  
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Old May 28th, 2009, 11:19 AM   #15
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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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