V-16 Gimbal Problem Solved at DVinfo.net

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Old May 10th, 2004, 09:09 AM   #1
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V-16 Gimbal Problem Solved

I was having difficulty getting my Glidecam V-16 into dynamic balance. After balance and level, when rotated 180 degrees the nose would tilt down, now obviously out of balance again. The spin test confirmed this.

I remembered a website that suggested installing a thin washer as a shim between the gimbal and the gimbal arm (fork). Unfortunately, I couldn't recall the website's URL, so I attempted this fix with no guidance. (If anyone remembers the URL for this website, please let me know) These attempts failed (for various reasons), and it became obvious that I was doing something wrong.

I gave up after several attempts of inserting the washer and reassembled the gimbal and gimbal arm to what I thought was the original configuration. After re-balance and leveling, when rotated 180 degrees, the sled now maintained the proper balance. It didn't tilt, and remained level. How did this happen?

After much noodling, I think I figured it out. When I reattached the gimabl arm, it had rotated so that now screw "A" was going into hole "B", and screw "B" was into hole "A". In other words, the gimbal was now rotated 180 degrees from it's original placement relative to the gimbal arm (fork). Apparently, either the gimbal arm, or the gimbal was slightly out of balance relative to the original mounted position. By rotating it, these forces countered each other and corrected the problem. Perhaps it was assembled incorrectly at Glidecam, or maybe I was just lucky that this new configuration leveled things out.

In any case, my V-16 is now much improved, and should be much easier to operate. I am hoping that it will be easier to keep a true horizon and stay level. Once I get a chance to do some experimenting, I'll post my experiences here. If anyone else has had a similar situation, or any suggestions, I would be interested in hearing from you.
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Old May 10th, 2004, 11:54 AM   #2
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I had to use a shim (thin washer) and that solved my problem.

I'll try your method and see if that will also solve it.

The web site is referenced on Glidecamcentral which is currently down (?) and I don't recall the URL. But basically you insert the shim to the side of the fork that is tilting down.
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Old May 11th, 2004, 08:00 AM   #3
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Nope

It didn't work for me. It still required a shim in there. Here's the link to the glidecamcentral (it's finally back up) that talks about this

http://glidecamcentral.com/html/modu...b861f252548dcd
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Old May 13th, 2004, 01:52 AM   #4
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Brad

What you did was one of the recommendation that Glidecam suggested. I guess in your case that solved the problem.... lucky you ...
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Old May 15th, 2004, 07:18 AM   #5
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Norman,

Thanks for the link, I might still need it in the future. I guess I was lucky, because the Glidecam is certainly much easier to control now that it's closer to dynamic balance. It would be nice if everything was perfect "out of the box" but I guess the good thing is that by fiddling around I'm learning a lot more about how things are supposed to work. Now I need to do a lot more practice!

How is your progress? I thought it interesting in one of your posts when you noted that you could last a lot longer when you were actually shooting something. I've found the same thing, when I'm just fiddling around my back gets to me a lot faster, when I'm really shooting I don't notice the discomfort. It must have something to do with thinking about the work rather than thinking about the pain <G>

Thanks again for the link, and happy flying!
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Old May 15th, 2004, 12:59 PM   #6
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That's a good point about fatigue. Definitely one's mind helps distract the body during a real shoot rather than when practicing!

Nevertheless, it is critical to use your practice time constructively. Make sure to include plenty of very slow moving shots (such as walking down a hallway) and ALWAYS hold the end of a practice shot with a lock-off for as long as you can. It is a natural tendency to just flip the rig up on your shoulder as soon as you reach the end position, panting and grimacing, whereas in reality many shots will end with a lockoff and your muscles need to learn that.
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Old May 16th, 2004, 12:35 AM   #7
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I just came back from a fashion show shoot using a Glidecam. During the rehearsal yesterday, I was able to last the 2 hour final rehearsal. Actually the runway walk was about 3-4 minutes per theme (there were 7 themes in total), so I was able to quickly pull in the camera in and rest it over my left shoulder during each break. I was surprise that my back did hurt a bit but not to the point where it was killing me!!!

Tonight, the show was from 8-10 PM. I was there around 5:00 PM doing some "behind the scene" stuff mainly handheld due to cramp space in the back.

I only used the Glidecam V16 during the actual show (from 8-10 PM). I had another XL1 camera (with operator) on tripod.

Most of my movement were walking alongside (left side) of the runway with camera facing the model. Me walking forward with camera lens facing behind and to the left of me. It could be the adrenaline or something, but back pain was even less than yesterday. Again I was not able to dock so I just rested the rig on my left shoulder.

One thing I had to constantly do was to ride the exposure because when they did the lighting, the last thing on their mind was to light the runway for television. (During the rehearsal, only the houselights were on) As the models reached the end of the runway, their faces were overexposed. Everytime I reached towards the end of the runway before the models, I had to grab the post with my right hand while my left hand manually readjusted the exposure. This worked pretty well because the left part of the XL1 where the aperture wheel is located is facing me. Man those were tough moments!!!

It is only now back at home that my back is starting to feel it!!!! But I love it!!!!
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Old May 16th, 2004, 09:25 AM   #8
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Charles - As always, great advice, especially the lockoff at the end. I think that the beginning and end of a stabilized shot separates the men from the boys!

Norman - Strapped into the V-16 for two hours, plus rolling iris at the end of each walk...sounds like a helluva workout! I would love to see a snippet or two of your video if you have somewhere to post it. At this rate you will soon need to loosen your vest, making room for enlarged back muscles! <G>
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Old May 16th, 2004, 01:56 PM   #9
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Also I wore a black t-shirt and black jeans so as not to make myself too noticeable. Don't forget to bring an extra T-shirt as I had to change out of mine at the end of the shoot. It was drenched with my sweat!!!!!

Luckily the room was air-conditioned!!!
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Old July 11th, 2004, 03:27 PM   #10
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In hopes of baiting Norman (or anyone else) to post some of his (or your) stabilized video, I am linking to another short scene I shot today. I hadn't put the V-16 on for a few weeks, and certainly felt it.

Anyway, this quick scene was a "one-taker" thanks to my son who manages to endure my obsession! I also included a "start" and a couple of "lockoffs" thanks to Charles Papert's suggestions on practicing.

http://www.doubledogsvideo.com/movie...ndex_scene.htm

I stole the general idea from a shot on Charles Papert's fantastic reel, but make no claim to approaching his talent.

Note, I added some more weight to the camera plate, and it seems to help me a lot in keeping the horizon straight(er) and aids overall control. I also adjusted the arm so it is lower in it's resting position, this also seemed to help a lot. I still have a long way to go, but am having fun on the way!

I look forward to seeing some examples of other's work and progress in flying their cameras.
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Old July 11th, 2004, 04:40 PM   #11
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Nice going Brad. :) Nicely done.
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Old July 12th, 2004, 03:06 AM   #12
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Yes, I see the homage! (better word than "stealing", right?)

Good job Brad. So let me ask you this: what in the shot do or don't you like? What would you do differently if you were to do it again? What did you identify as your "problem areas" in the operating, things to focus on as you continue to practice?
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Old July 12th, 2004, 08:42 AM   #13
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<<<-- Originally posted by Charles King : Nice going Brad. :) Nicely done. -->>>

Thanks Charles! I still have a long way to go...practice...practice...practice...
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Old July 12th, 2004, 09:15 AM   #14
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<<<-- Originally posted by Charles Papert : Yes, I see the homage! (better word than "stealing", right?)

Did I say "stole"? I meant to say I was paying humble homage to your excellent work :-)

<<<-- Good job Brad. -->>>

Thanks Charles! Your encouragement and suggestions are very welcome and needed.

<<<-- So let me ask you this: what in the shot do or don't you like? What would you do differently if you were to do it again? -->>

Too much headroom when coming around the car, I should have kept my composition and framing cleaner, tilted down then up as my son exited the car. I was also off to the right as I made the move around the back of the car. Also, when in the full sun it was very difficult to see my monitor, so for some of the shot I was "flying blind". I need to fix that.

<<<-- What did you identify as your "problem areas" in the operating, things to focus on as you continue to practice? -->>>

My main (but not only) problems, as I see it, are controlling the pitch and yaw, and keeping my framing accurate. I'm still floating and losing a true horizon. My vertical control also needs work. I am getting a little better with my fingertip control of the post, getting away from using the "meat hand", but still need much more practice.

From my experience, shooting verite style off the shoulder seems to be more two-dimensional (tilt/pan, body dolly), while shooting with the stabilizer moves into the third dimension (tilt/pan, ped up & down, reset body position while maintaining the shot, dolly left/right & forward/back & arc moves) a lot of extra things to think about while maintaining good composition and framing...it's almost a geometric progression of actions required to maintain a nice shot.

My "lockoff" shots are improving, but still need more practice. Obviously it takes a lot of work to hold that shot at the end of a move with zero float.

Lastly, when doing walk along shots with a subject, I need to decide if my frame-of-reference is their head or the background. I assume it is a combination of both, with emphasis on one or the other depending upon the particular shot. I would appreciate your input on this and any other suggestions you might have.

Thanks for your interest and help! Someday hopefully I'll post something with a high "wow" factor. Until then, I'll keep practicing!
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Old July 12th, 2004, 09:34 AM   #15
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Boy! I can't wait to start practicing. After been away for so long I doubt if I'd be any good. More like clumsy ;)

Nice composition of your work Brad.
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