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Old July 12th, 2002, 05:19 PM   #1
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steadicam vs. glidecam

OK, I think I need one of these for sports footage.
I'm going to buy a used one off Ebay as it looks like I can get one for $150-$300. My choices are either the Glidecam 1000 or 2000 or a Steadicam Jr.

Does anyone have an opinion on which I should get (yes I know someone out there works for one of these comapnies :), which is better for running and fast movement?

Thanks

Oh, it looks like the Steadicam Jr. has a built in monitor, is this the case?
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Old July 12th, 2002, 06:14 PM   #2
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lol, i wont unfairly try to sway you either way...but i will tell you if you have the option of a 1000 or 2000 when it comes to Glidecams, definitely go with the 2000, you'll be much happier.

To the best of my recollection the Steadicam Jr does have a built in monitor, though I'm sure someone who owns one will chime in and verify this. The Glidecams do not come with a built in monitor, hence the price difference in new models.

However if you're buying on ebay, you might just find one with a monitor =)
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Old July 12th, 2002, 07:12 PM   #3
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Chime!

The JR does traditionally have a monitor, however I saw a version at NAB this spring without a monitor (presumably to accomodate cameras that incorporate a flip-out LCD, and bring the price down.

Be aware, Dylan, that all such camera-based LCD's will wash out in sunlight, so for critical framing an outboard monitor that has both anti-reflective coatings and significant backlight is a must. If your sports work is essentially aiming the camera in the general direction of the action and running like a demon, this may not be that much of an issue!

Casey, are you guys offering or repping third party monitors with your smaller rigs like the 1000 or 2000? Whose displays are they if this is the case?
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Old July 12th, 2002, 07:24 PM   #4
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Charles, always good for a chime ;)

Note that we don't even manufacture the 1000 anymore, that's long since been replaced by the 2000. Currently our handheld models are the 2000 and 4000 pro.

Our show rigs typically have 3rd party monitors on them, Panasonics/Neb Tek, etc. But at present I do not believe we are offering any 3rd party monitors on regular sales. However, that doesn't mean packages can't be put together on a case by case basis. For the latest info on this sort of stuff, anyone interested should call Tom Howie at our sales office or check out the specials on the web site.
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Old July 13th, 2002, 04:45 AM   #5
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Dylan (and Casey),

I haven't used the Glidecam 2000/4000 systems but I can see that there is a great difference between them. The Steadicam JR is not based on the "pole and gimbal" principle. The Steadicam Mini and Glidecams are. Pole and gimbal is essential if you want to tilt the camera. Steadicam JR is very limited in tilting movements. With the JR you can't do much more than travelling/panning eyeline shots. I see no point in a system like that quite frankly.

If you want the same results the JR produces I suggest you save money and buy a monopod and duck tape small weights to the lower end of it. You can weigh the monopod in the palm of your hand to get a decent balance (placement of the hand is important). This rig will cost you a lot less and give you the same and better results than the JR.
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Old July 13th, 2002, 01:42 PM   #6
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Martin, I have to disagree with you. The JR is certainly capable of significant tilting, one simply adjusts the angle of the hand that is supporting the handgrip to move it out of the way of the stage. It becomes second nature fairly quickly. It's been years since I've used mine so I can't offer the exact degree of tilt available, but I don't recall feeling restricted by it.

The advantage of that system over other handheld devices that incorporate a gimbal is that the weight is centered over the hand rather than cantilevered off to the side, which may be more fatigue inducing. And the reason that the JR uses this approach and the others don't is that it is patented. However, it is certainly possible to achieve great results with a side-mounted gimbal system such as the Glidecams use.

As to suggesting that a weighted monopod will produce equal or better shots than a JR, once again I disagree. The JR, in the hands of a skilled operator, is capable of extremely subtle and delicate moves, and all but eliminates undesirable activity in the roll axis (horizon). The monopod will work pretty well for violent running shots etc. but it has no isolation in roll.

As a longtime Steadicam operator I am the first to admit that mastering the JR requires a substantial amount of practice. It borrows most of the operational techniques of its big brothers but because of the reduced mass and inertia, it is very finicky and easily over-controlled. In these circumstances a weighted monopod has a much shorter learning curve and may produce similar results. But as I said, in the right hands the JR can produce beautiful shots that could be mistaken for those created with a full-size rig (I myself only achieved that once in the period that I was using the JR on a semi-regular basis). You should see what Garrrett Brown, the illustrious inventor of the Steadicam, can do with a JR!
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Old July 13th, 2002, 02:58 PM   #7
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Although I would like an external monitor included, I think the Glidecam may be a better choice for running like hell with the camera.
Is there any real advantage of a 4000 over a 2000 for XL1 use?

Thanks!
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Old July 13th, 2002, 03:31 PM   #8
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the 2000 is smaller, and made for sub 5 pound cameras...the 4000 is bigger, stronger and made for 5-9 pound cameras....the real advantage is your gonna have a much easier time balancing the damn thing if you use a 4000. The 2000 wont handle an XL1.
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Old July 13th, 2002, 04:41 PM   #9
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I should also add, as Charles mentioned, as with any Steadicam-style rig, a great deal of practice is required to use it effectively.
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Old July 14th, 2002, 01:47 AM   #10
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So I shouldn't consider the 2000, regarless of price?
I wasn't sure how much an XL1 weighed, so I'm glad to find this out before I bought one. :)
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Old July 14th, 2002, 05:31 AM   #11
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Charles,

we'd be amazed what Garrett Brown could do with any type of equipment ;)

Perhaps I'm underrating the JR. It may be I'm not used to it's design and that's why the Mini is more up my alley.

Sachtler makes a version of the JR patent:

http://www.sachtler.com/content.asp?lid=1&mdid=3&subdid1=9&d2cid=122&pid=208&psid=3
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Old July 14th, 2002, 10:09 AM   #12
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"You should see what Garrrett Brown, the illustrious inventor of the Steadicam, can do with a JR!"

yep, it's sort of like saying, "You'd should see what Bill Gates can do with a copy of Microsoft Windows!"
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Old July 14th, 2002, 10:25 AM   #13
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Isn't Garret much more hands-on concerning the development of his product line than Bill is with his? I've oftened wondered how much Bill really knows about his software. Don't they just shuffle him into a demo room, sit him down at a workstation, point out some features and then get his blessing? I thought the guy was too busy collecting art, sitting in court and planning for world domination.

;-)
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Old July 14th, 2002, 10:37 AM   #14
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good point chris, i'll get back to the drawing board on those analogies.

=)
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Old July 14th, 2002, 11:19 AM   #15
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GB has said that the JR is the closest thing to his original concept of the Steadicam. The arm and vest were incorporated into the first production Steadicam because of the sheer weight of a system that was designed around a 35mm camera (the Arri 2c) which was the only option in the early 70's. The introduction of 8mm camcorders in the late 80's made possible again the design concept of a handheld stabilizer, and the JR was born.

GB is fond of wielding his as a mobile comedy device, recording a moment then spinning it around to capture his perfectly timed commentary and so on. With his long arms, it looks like he is being tracked by a documentary crew. Great stuff. And to watch him swoop the JR from 1' to 8' in an instant--really cool, since none of the body-mounted rigs can do that yet (well, there is one, but that's a whole other story). He still uses his prototype rig, which is made of aluminum, hinges in the middle for storage and most importantly has a metal gimbal, which means after 10 years it's still flying nicely!

Martin, I had forgotten about the Sachtler (Artemis??) that does use the inter-gimballed concept. Their new full-size rig is pretty impressive, flew that at NAB as well. I recall an unconfirmed rumor flying around when the SK (the video Steadicam that is one model up from the Mini) was released 8 or 9 years ago that it was intended to squash a planned Sachtler version of a similar rig--the SK standing for "Sachtler Killer".
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