Glidecam V16 - New operator demo reel at DVinfo.net

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Old April 4th, 2004, 08:47 PM   #1
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Glidecam V16 - New operator demo reel

Never being one to fear criticism, I have put together a little reel of my first efforts with my Glidecam V16. All of the video was shot with less than three hours of stabilizer experience, so don't expect anything that approaches Charles Papert's awesome reel.

At any rate, I'm having a great time using the V16 chasing my family, dogs, and friends around the neighborhood. Eventually, if I work hard enough, I might become somewhat competent with this cool tool.

You can see my demo at http://www.doubledogsvideo.com/movies/ It's a fairly large QuickTime file, about 7.1Mb, but should stream for loading.

I look forward to your comments, but please be kind. I am fully aware that I need a lot of work on pitch and yaw, smooth stops, level horizons, sled-knee-bangs, and headroom...I'm working on it!

In any case, I hope you enjoy the video, and appreciate the punch line at the end.
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Old April 5th, 2004, 08:49 AM   #2
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I thought it was very smooth and looked good.

But. I think the dog was gettting tired of it:-).
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Old April 5th, 2004, 09:09 AM   #3
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Some really nice shots (mainly the basketball bit.)

It's looking good, keep it up :)
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Old April 5th, 2004, 08:40 PM   #4
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Wow, I thought that looked real good. Have you used
other gimbaled stabilizers before, such as the Steadicam JR?
If not, this just goes to show it's not as hard as some
make out to use those stabilizers and get terrific
improvement. I heard of a guy who got a Glidecam 2000
and in a few hours he was getting very good results.
I'm suppose to be getting a Magiqcam in about a week.
This gives me some encouragement that I'll see okay
shots without having to practice for weeks.
Did you turn the XL1S' stabilizer off before you did
your demo?
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Old April 6th, 2004, 03:38 AM   #5
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Very nice! Looks like more than "less than three hours of stabilizer experience"! But if you say so.... :)
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Old April 6th, 2004, 06:12 AM   #6
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This is such a great forum, I really appreciate the nice comments from everyone!

<<<-- Originally posted by Dave Largent : Wow, I thought that looked real good. Have you used other gimbaled stabilizers before, such as the Steadicam JR? -->>>

This is the first time I've used any stabilizer. I did spend a lot of time reading about them, primarily on this forum, before making my purchase. I've also watched as much stabilizer video as I could find.

<<<-- I'm suppose to be getting a Magiqcam in about a week.
This gives me some encouragement that I'll see okay
shots without having to practice for weeks. -->>>

I've read a lot of good things about the Magiqcam on this forum, so I think you should be pleased with it. I'm sure you will be producing some "okay" shots early, and probably some really cool ones too! Please be sure and post some demo video once you get the hang of things.

<<<-- Did you turn the XL1S' stabilizer off before you did
your demo? -->>>

The camera stabilizer is turned off when flying a camera. I learned that from this forum. I did use a Century .6 wide angle attachment, which helps make the shots appear smoother.

When I first strapped the Glidecam on, I honestly wondered if I had made a big mistake! The thing was so hard on my lower back that I thought I would never be able to make a shot longer than 5 seconds. I've been shooting television news/production for over 30 years (film to 3/4 to Beta, etc), and I'm used to lugging heavy gear for long periods, so this was quite unsettling to me. I wondered "What kind of idiot would go buy such a demanding tool at 52 years of age?" I had visions of selling the thing on ebay for half of what I paid for it.

I decided to take it slow...shoot for awhile, rest, then shoot some more. My stamina improved quickly, partly because I began to learn the best way adjust and hold the device. In my last shooting session I had the Glidecam mounted on me for about 1/2 hour, and I was still able to get out of bed the next morning. This was progress!

I did spend a lot of time (many, many hours) balancing the Glidecam and finding the best fit for the vest. I still have a little more work to do with the balance, and have yet to perfect the elusive "dynamic balance".

Bottom line. Stabilizers are a terriffic tool, extremely hard to master, but very rewarding when you finally get a shot that really works. I have a long way to go, but I'm really enjoying the journey...although my wife, son, and dogs might be getting a little tired of being chased around <G>
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Old April 6th, 2004, 12:23 PM   #7
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I don't even have mine and I'm already worried I
made a mistake.
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Old April 6th, 2004, 08:37 PM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by Dave Largent : I don't even have mine and I'm already worried I
made a mistake. -->>>

Dave, not to worry! The first time you make a really nice shot you will be saying, "This is soooo cooool!"

- When it arrives, open the box and lay everything out.
- Put the batteries on charge first, you don't want to be waiting for monitor batteries to charge once it's together.
- Read all the way through the instructions, hilighting important stuff.
- Be slow and methodical when assembling
- Keep your hands on it when you finally mount your camera. If it's out of balance, the thing can swing down violently...and you know what that might mean.
- Spend a lot of time getting balance as perfect as possible. You will spend days or weeks (maybe a lifetime) tweaking on this little pursuit of perfection!
- Put it on, keeping a good grip in the proper places. Always remember "where you are" to avoid doing anything stupid that can harm you or your equipment. Take it sloooow!
- Keep the stand close by, and take frequent breaks. You will be asking muscles to do new things, so give them time to adjust.
- Go chase the wife (girlfriend) and kids (dogs/cats) for awhile.
- Carefully return the camera and Magiqcam to it's stand.
- Open a beer, and enjoy the video of your camera flying through space.
- Practice often. Even if for only a few minutes a day.

Remember, it isn't going to be easy, but even basic photography wasn't easy for me in the beginning...hell, after 35 years I'm still learning about that!

I know that I will never be as capable as Charles Papert with a Steadicam device, his dedication and hard work have allowed him that goal. However, I know that I'm already a lot better than Brad Richmond was when he first strapped a Glidecam on, and I'll be even better in six months.

Sorry if I sound preachy, but I am having a lot of fun learning how to use this crazy photo-machine. Maybe I'm crazy, but I'm even starting to like the pain in the back, it reminds me that "one must suffer in the pursuit of beauty".

Quit worrying...if you are willing to do the work you will never regret the decision. I look forward to hearing about your experiences with your Magiqcam!

I got myself so psyched with this posting that I would strap on the Glidecam, except that I've had a couple of beers, and I firmly believe that one should never go "drinking and flying".
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Old April 7th, 2004, 05:18 AM   #9
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Looked excellent, especially after such a short usage time. I did
seem to notice that the camera was leaning back to the left a
bit?
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Old April 7th, 2004, 12:43 PM   #10
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Thanks for the encouragement, Brad. I'm waiting for
that first shot where I go "Wow".
Have you ever seen the footage by that one guy
who made his own rig where he's shooting
skateboarders? Charles Papert said he thought
the guy was on a skateboard himself while
he was shooting! Man, you should take a look
at that if you haven't.
I'm curious about something. This is to those of you
with the rigs. What sort of reaction do you get
from the general public to the rig? Most have never
seen one. Are they pretty curious about it.
I know one guy on here (awhile back) said that
when he's out around the general public
he feels like RoboCop.
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Old April 8th, 2004, 02:51 AM   #11
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Brad, I'm out of the country and achieving 28.8kbs when I'm lucky, so i'll have to check out your demo when I get back to my blessed DSL in a few weeks!

In the meantime, sounds like you are having fun which is what counts. And I'm sure that your longtime shooting experience is the reason that you have developed so quickly with the tool. From teaching many operators, I have seen a pattern that for those who know instinctively how they want to frame a shot (i.e. they have done plenty of handheld), learning a stabilizer comes a little easier than someone who is also to an extent learning how to frame and shoot as well.

Drinking and flying--actually not so bad. Never did it while on a payroll, but many years ago I ran around a party with it, the footage was actually some of my best!
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Old April 8th, 2004, 04:38 PM   #12
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Hi Brad...

Nice stuff!

Which monitor are you using? My problem is trying to find a monitor that works in full sunlight. A shade helps but whenever the sun gets past the shade it becomes impossible to see what I'm framing.

The setup I work with is similar to yours. Another problem was the XL1's lens vibrating whenever I'd take a hard step. I solved that by mounting the camera on a thick plexiglass plate which was designed to also support the lens.

Dean Sensui
Base Two Productions.
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Old April 9th, 2004, 08:00 AM   #13
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<<<-- Originally posted by Rob Lohman : Looked excellent, especially after such a short usage time. I did
seem to notice that the camera was leaning back to the left a
bit? -->>>

Rob, thanks for the nice comments, and for your observations. You are right about my leaning to the left. I think the next time I practice I'll pay particular attention to that particular problem!

I'm finding that keeping the horizon level and maintaining proper headroom are two of the toughest things for me to do. Operating a stabilizer seems to be a lot like ballet, combining strength moves with a delicate touch...hard to perform, but beautiful when properly executed. For me, it's more like trying to do a ballet move in oversized hiking boots while wearing a heavy backpack <G>

I feel as the stabilizer is also a great exercise in multitasking. Not only do I need to think about typical photographic concerns (composition, framing, follow action, etc) but I also need to keep track of the stabilizer demands (level horizon, head room, drift, kicking the sled, tripping on a step, etc). I have a long way to go before these things become second nature, and I have a new found admiration for Steadicam photographers who have mastered these skills!
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Old April 9th, 2004, 08:05 AM   #14
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<<<-- Originally posted by Dave Largent : Thanks for the encouragement, Brad. I'm waiting for
that first shot where I go "Wow".
Have you ever seen the footage by that one guy
who made his own rig where he's shooting
skateboarders? -->>>

When you do get that "wow" shot be sure and post it so we can go "WOW" too! I haven't seen the skateboard footage. Any idea where I can find it. I cannot imagine getting on a skateboard with any stabilizer!

<<<-- I'm curious about something. This is to those of you
with the rigs. What sort of reaction do you get
from the general public to the rig? -->>>

I haven't been out of the neighborhood with the V16 yet, but it does attract quite a bit of attention here. If I look look like Robocop it's different than the one in film...my version is groaning and sweating <G>
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Old April 9th, 2004, 08:25 AM   #15
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<<<-- Originally posted by Charles Papert : Brad, I'm out of the country and achieving 28.8kbs when I'm lucky, so i'll have to check out your demo when I get back to my blessed DSL in a few weeks! -->>

I hope you are having a great time on your trip. I've yet to get out of my neighborhood with my stabilizer <G>

<<<-- In the meantime, sounds like you are having fun which is what counts. And I'm sure that your longtime shooting experience is the reason that you have developed so quickly with the tool... -->>>

I'm having a great time! I think you are right about shooting experience. I have done a lot of shooting off-the-shoulder and so it may be a little easier combining body moves with camera operation. However, going from shoulder held camera to stabilizer is like moving from a two-dimensional world to one with three dimensions. Not only are there new physical hurdles, but mental challenges as well. It's funny, but now when I'm just walking around I'm starting to visualize how things might look through the Glidecam. Good exercise for the body and the mind.

<<<-- Drinking and flying--actually not so bad. Never did it while on a payroll, but many years ago I ran around a party with it, the footage was actually some of my best! -->>>

Hmmmm. Maybe I'll try it sometime...but not for awhile. Right now I need ALL of my facilities just to do mediocre work, however a couple of beers does make it look better on playback <G>
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