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Old June 10th, 2004, 12:34 PM   #1
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Glidecam 2000: Need help & advice

I've been having trouble setting up the Glidecam 2000 and using it. I experimented with it for 2 days and then decided to come here to seek advice. I have read the manual fully but still a couple of things bother me.

How do you control the central pole of the unit (and the camera) from spinning around it's own axis? Even if I managed to balance the unit perfectly, the pole just rotates all the time in random direction. I take it that you must somehow use the other hand to control this, but - how? Can someone give a detailed info on the hand-control part?

And the other thing: I need to know if this is normal, balancing the unit takes A LOT of time, and the problem that I encountered was: I could only balance the unit perfectly in a straightforward position, meaning that it's steady when I lift it up extremely slowly and the camera is in it's normal position facing to the front. As soon as I rotate the camera to either side while standing still, it goes out of balance.

So basically, I would love if someone could give me the head-start on this thing, because I am still an amateur with it and it's my first ever stabilizing system :)

Thanks!
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Old June 10th, 2004, 04:13 PM   #2
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*sigh* please tell me that the Glidecam comes with instructions that at least MENTION where to put your hands to operate it?

Reinis, the hand that is not holding up the system should indeed operate the center post. Use a very light touch just below the gimbal. As light as possible is the key. Eventually you will realize when you need to apply more than just fingertip pressure to hold the frame, it comes with practice. But for now, think of it this way: the hand that is supporting the weight is responsible for positioning the camera in space, i.e. up and down, side to side, forward and backware. The other hand operates pan, tilt and roll (horizon).

It sounds like you have balanced the system neutrally with the problem you are experiencing. Tilt the unit so that the post is horizontal, and allow it to fall back to vertical. If it doesn't, or takes longer than 3 seconds to reach a vertical position, you need to add more bottom weight until it does. This should help keep it from tipping over.

Good luck,

Charles
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Old June 10th, 2004, 04:39 PM   #3
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Thanks for the tip, heh, I just read my post and realized that I sounded like a complete idiot :) Of course, now that you mention it, I thought of using the other hand to control the pans/tilts/rolls, I just wanted to know if there were any specific tips on how you should control it. I'll try it soon and then maybe put some footage for people to download and see the flaws.
I just didn't realize it was of such importance at first.

And no, the manual didn't say anything about the pole-spinning problem (roll), but there is a chance that I'm wrong, if there is a line in the manual that gives this information, please point it to me, so we don't accuse the company falsly :)

By the way, I got the body-pod for it aswell. I have yet to assemble it to test it out, the basic initial testing with a poorly balanced main unit was not a success :)
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Old June 10th, 2004, 04:49 PM   #4
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Usually, you use your strong hand/arm on the grip and a light finger and thumb just below the bearing. If you use your fingers lower, it tends to show more shocks from your body, but there are times you may need to hold it low if you have it way over your head.

You may find that you may tend to hold the grip about 30-45 degrees to your strong side, so think of that when you balance it.

It is possible, with a really good balancing to hold it one handed for a short period, but you cannot do any direction changes. This is not a normal operation and I tend to do it only when I take the camera to a low shot from a high shot.
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Old June 10th, 2004, 05:50 PM   #5
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Reinis, I wasn't meaning any disrespect, believe me. I see now what you were getting at. My frustration is that there is precious little documentation given by any of the manufacturers on how to operate stabilizers. There was a very good operating manual with the JR when I bought mine (when it first came out); I hope that is still included. Part of this is why I am making an instructional video that demonstrates proper operating technique. (no release date yet--sorry!)

Let me know if the drop time fix improves the rolling effect.
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Old June 10th, 2004, 06:22 PM   #6
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Right. Let's say I want to do a straight dolly shot - just by simply holding the stabilizer straight and walking forward. Sounds easy. I stabilize the unit by using the 2 balacing test modes. I balance it horizontally by doing the drop-time test, say it's about 2,5 seconds - it works. Now we do the vertical balancing by lifting the unit up straight to see if it remains straight vertical. If all this goes well, we are set for shooting.

I take the unit by the handle in my right hand and hold in a bit lower than shoulder level. I start walking. Is now the time I should use my other (free) left hand to keep the central pole from spinning around it's own axis? Without holding it gently and walking over a rough terrain, the camera starts rolling and even turns around to face me...

And in addition to that, when I accelerate my body or come to a full stop instantly, the unit swings forward and backwards. Are there any special rules on HOW you should move/accelerate/decelerate your body in order to avoid the swinging due to inertia?

Now... the art of operating this kind of stabilizer decently - lies in 50% balancing, 50% handling it with your left arm? Is this correct?
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Old June 10th, 2004, 06:31 PM   #7
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OK, there's two different things going on there.

Acceleration will definitely cause the unit to swing forewards and backwards. That's physics in action. Think about walking with a punchbowl--when you come to a sudden stop, the punch will slop over the side. This is where you need to exert a counter-force to the front or back of the center post to keep it from kicking out.

However, the first thing you described is not good. This is an indication that your body motion is translating past the gimbal. See if you can get some video up on the web for us to look at (not from the camera on your G'cam, video of you operating).

In any event, you will want to have your left hand constantly involved. This is a two-handed machine, contrary to the publicity pictures.
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