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Old February 23rd, 2005, 07:46 PM   #1
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steadicam flyer or glidecam v16-20

1st i'm sorry for my english which might be poor in some place and hope i'll be understood anyway.

i'm going to use a 10lbs 4.5 kg camera and i have recently read a lot of things about steadicam flyer that seems really attractive but i wonder what are the difference between v16 and flyer (i've tried a v16 that feets my need except that it is an heavy thing and seems not so maniable as i have read about the flyer)

For example i've read that the arm of the flyer is so good that wherever you place it, it remains in the position it is placed even if i drop hand (with the v16 i need to keep my hand on if i want to keep the camera near from my body, otherwise the sled wants to escape from me and slightly want to raise the sky)

My main problem is that i have difficulties to believe a such product can really exist, what is the trick?

What's the most appropriate weight to use this product?

Does it really support 15lbs camera?

With 15Lbs camera if i want to go high do i have to hold the weight to raise up hand have shaggy moves and then, will it stays up if i release the gimble?

Hope some people have answers to those questions cause i can't try this product without buying one, there's no seller in my place.

Thanx in advance.

damien
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Old February 23rd, 2005, 09:57 PM   #2
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Hello Damien:

Yes, the Flyer arm is that good. The trick behind it is both simple and sophsticated; it is based on the isoelastic design concept that was developed by Garrett Brown nearly 20 years after he initially invented the Steadicam (and the Flyer arm itself was perfected and brought to market 10 years after that). In comparison, the Glidecam arm (and essentially all of the competitors) are using the same design as the prototype Steadicam, which is to say the same principle as a desk lamp arm!

These arms are non-linear, meaning that they will float at a given point, and require an escalating amount of force to raise and lower the system from that float point. Additionally, a nominal shock such as walking with the system will not be entirely absorbed by the arm, creating a pogo effect (visible as one's footsteps in the photography). A linear arm such as the Flyer will require a fairly uniform amount of force throughout its range, meaning that it doesn't take much to hold it low or high. To say that it stays exactly where it is put is not strictly accurate; it will tend to return to the float point but on a much more limited level than the other type of arm.

The other phenomenon you describe, wherein the system flies away from the body in the horizontal axes, is more of a function of torque within the system and the angle that the rig takes from the body. The solution to avoiding this is being able to preset the pitch of the arm in two axes at the junction with the vest (which the Flyer has), and a solidly-built arm and vest that maintain the appropriate pitch under full load. Many systems may start at near-vertical pitch at the attachment point of the vest, but due to torque and/or slop in the bearings etc. you can actually see each vertical member adding a bit of lean so that by the time you reach the armpost, you may be off by a good 15 degrees, causing the rig to want to fly away from the body.

The Flyer will adequately handle 15 lbs without problems. If one is to slightly exceed the weight limit, a small amount of force may be required to hold the camera up to the desired height; this usually does not affect the stability (or "shagginess"--I like that, Damien!!) of the photography, outside of the fatigue factor (if the operator is pushed to exhaustion, body shakes may be transmitted through the arm). I operated a feature about 10 years ago with my full-size rig and a camera that exceeded the weight capacity of my arm by about 4 lbs, requiring me to hold it up through extended takes, and in general the photography did not suffer (although I will admit that the aforementioned fatigue factor did rear its shaggy head--this being an Arri BL4 weighing over 40 lbs, bringing the weight of the entire system up to 75-80 lbs...! the movie, incidentally, was called "Squeeze")

Incidentally, I don't endorse any single manufacturer of DV-sized stabilizers, but I will champion the Flyer specifically because I feel it alone has truly professional features and performance in its weight class. For what it is worth, my personal rig costs well over $100K and I feel that the Flyer provides performance on a near parity with that system for its weight range, and I would not hestitate to use it in a high-stakes feature setting if appropriate (such as a very aggressive running shot, where I would pair it with a superlight film camera such as the Arri 235 or modified 2C).

Good luck with your decisions. Incidentally, the Glidecam line is in the process of being revamped, so these comments are based on the current V16.
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Old February 24th, 2005, 03:56 AM   #3
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thanx for your answer,

i think my choice is made then...

but it still remains one question after your brilliant answer:

Is there any other linear arm on the market except steadi ones and at which prices?

thanx again for your answer help me a lot.
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Old February 24th, 2005, 05:40 AM   #4
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Well, there's the PRO arm...lifts from 13 to 75 lbs, and only costs $21,000!

In the DV size and budget, the Flyer arm stands alone--I think it's the best arm Tiffen (Steadicam) makes, on par with their full-size arm for the Ultra (which costs about the same as the PRO arm). You won't find any other arms that perform like this on the market at current. The isoelastic concept is patent protected, at least in the U.S.
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Old February 24th, 2005, 03:09 PM   #5
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Hi Charles Papert,

Do you know any demo video made by steadicam flyer on the net except Charles King promised one?

TIA
Leigh
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Old March 8th, 2005, 10:19 AM   #6
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many thanx

i just wanted to thank you Mr Charles Papert,

You're advices were so good, i finaly find a resseler that sells the flyer in my place and went this morning to try it, my choice was made in 2mn and the flyer is now mine.

astonishing !!! i think that's what english spoker says for things like that.

so however it's expensive (in my place with 2 batteries and a charger) it coast 9000,00 USD without taxes.

Some might say to use with a dvx100 around 4100 USD it might be ridiculous.

Well from all that i am concerned i'm really glad and if this stuff last a long time i'm sure i'll be abble to use it one day with DSR 390 or 570 without any pb.

Again thanx a lot you prevent me from buying this half well done glidecam at a half/price comparing to the flyer that's sure!!!
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Old March 8th, 2005, 11:21 AM   #7
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Damien:

So glad you were able to make the Flyer work for you budgetarily. I am a proponent of buying the best support gear you can afford, like head/tripods, stabilizers, filters etc. since you will likely own these for many years and use them with multiple generations of cameras.

The important thing to remember about the seeming discrepancy in price between the Flyer and the DVX100a is that not all that long ago, the idea of a sub-$5000 camcorder that could shoot material that was anywhere close to "professional" quality was unheard of. Even now, that price range includes HD(V) cameras. Five or ten years from now, that Flyer will still be with you and working wonderfully but it's hard to even imagine how sophisticated the camera that is onboard will be.

I bought a Steadicam JR in '91, along with a pretty nice little Hi-8 camera. That camera is long gone, Hi-8 is like a bad memory (!), but the JR still works fine and I even tried popping the DVX on it a while back (I determined it could be done with a little extra weight, but it was really too heavy overall; but for something like the GS400, great combo!).

And for everyone reading this, I do want to be clear--I'm not knocking the Glidecam for what it is; it will satisfy many people's needs, especially if the price difference is just not viable. A lot of it comes down to how serious one wants to get about achieving beautiful shots, and how many compromises one is willing to make to get them.

Leigh, I don't know of a specific demo video for the Flyer, but as I think I indicated in a previous post, I feel like I could have achieved about 80% of the quality of the kind of shots I do every day at work with my $100K+ rig (the other 20% has more to do with the lack of inertia of this system due to the reduced weight, which makes the rig more "squirrely"--that's just physics, nothing to do with compromise in design). So think of your favorite Steadicam shots and yes, the Flyer could really approach that.

Damien, congratulations, happy flying, and I'm so glad I could help.
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Old March 8th, 2005, 12:54 PM   #8
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Re: many thanx

Damien,

Congratulations on your purchase.

Will it be possible to post a full screen video i.e. 720x480 shot using your flyer let's say 1 minute? It would be nice that you shoot something with ground/building get vertical/horizontal lines and you shot in full wide angle and you slowly moving towards something i.e. building.

Thanks

Regards
Leigh
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Old March 8th, 2005, 02:05 PM   #9
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one more word

Charles i have read you about the glidecam and i have to say that even if it's a good product price/quality, we can say for sure and to help others that are wondering wich products to buy that at any level the flyer is far well better than the glide v16 but or the eagle http://www.laigleparis.fr/index.htm

anyway Leigh you'll have to wait a little for demos coz i don't want to make bad videos from this stuff cause it really deserve to be shown on it's best. It really is awesome.

I've played a little since my previous post and all i can say for now is that without any additionnal weight, simply with a good balance, the gimbal at the right place, inertie is well fine, hop wearing the stuff with no problem, hop walking pretty fair, hop high & low, hop 360°, hop pan, hop, hop, hop, no stress and no pain. my pretty wife is about to get ride of me and my new bride !!!

Still it remains one slight problem the sled is a bit short 5-10 cm more would have been a good idea...
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Old March 8th, 2005, 04:09 PM   #10
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Re: one more word

Hi Damien,

May I ask how is your experience level with stablizer? Have you used that before? How long have you been operating the stablizer? I am asking that is I want to guess that how long I have to wait for demos as you don't want to make bad videos from this stuff cause it really deserve to be shown on it's best. 8 )

I just want to see the video myself if the flyer performance really as everyone keep praising. It really does not matter if you are experienced/inexperienced steadicam operator.

Regards
Leigh
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Old March 8th, 2005, 04:26 PM   #11
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Damien, congrats on your purchase…you lucky b@$%!#&

Leigh, surely there’s no point watching a video shot by the flyer if the operator isn’t yet proficient in operating the rig. It would not show the systems true potential.
I guess your just going to have to wait for CK.

All the best,
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Old March 8th, 2005, 05:24 PM   #12
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<<<-- Originally posted by Richard Lewis : Damien, congrats on your purchase…you lucky b@$%!#&

Leigh, surely there’s no point watching a video shot by the flyer if the operator isn’t yet proficient in operating the rig. It would not show the systems true potential.
I guess your just going to have to wait for CK.

All the best, -->>>

Hi Richard,

CP once said it might take three(maybe two) years to get that level. I am sure that I don't want to wait that long.

Regards
Leigh
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Old March 8th, 2005, 07:39 PM   #13
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<<CP once said it might take three(maybe two) years to get that level. I am sure that I don't want to wait that long>>

Leigh, honestly I'm not sure I understand what you are looking for here.

Do you mean you don't want to wait two or three years to see Damien's work? Or you don't want to wait that long to get to that level yourself??

The type of shot you described, a simple push-in on a building, should be attainable with decent accuracy by most operators after about 30 hours of practice. To make it look perfectly smooth, indistinguishable from a dolly, will probably require a skill level developed over a few months to a year. But it's an inexact science. Some people really take to operating Steadicam, others don't.

Garrett Brown did this type of tracking shot in "The Shining" 25 years ago on a rig that by today's standards was clunky at best, and he did beautiful work. There are folks out there working away in their Flyers that might never really get the hang of it.

The advantages of the Flyer are best understood by putting one on. The push in on the building is a challenging test of both operator and gear, in that it focuses attention on horizon and accuracy (the building stays dead locked in the frame and doesn't float around). A sticky gimbal will invite "wandering" from side to side in the frame, although again one operator may be able to overcome this while another will accentuate it.

This type of shot is not as demanding on the function of the arm, because even if there is a substantial amount of pogo-ing (minimized isolation of the operator's footsteps, resulting in the rig constantly rising and falling, usually caused by friction in the arm), you won't tend to see it if the subject is far away such as in this shot. A great way to analyze the performance of the arm is to walk alongside a cinderblock wall with deep grout lines, shooting down the length of the wall. Try to keep the line perfectly horizontal. You will quickly see variations in the boom height manifest as the line seems to dance up and down. Boom the arm down near the bottom and try it; now repeat with the arm boomed near the top. With a non-linear arm, it will usually perform best with the arm in the middle. The Flyer arm will really shine in this situation, as it should perform nearly identically in all three positions.

If I may be so bold as to use my own reel as an example of how critical the operator/arm/footstep isolation issue is with objects in the near foreground, about 5:20 in there is a shot from "The West Wing" that starts booming up from a vase of flowers and pushes in on Martin Sheen and Stockard Channing lying in bed. Even in the world of the West Wing, this was not a casual shot to make; nobody is really moving in the frame except the camera, and it passes very close to foreground objects (the table lamp) at very slow speed. It was absolutely imperative that I focus on making my footsteps disappear, otherwise the lamp would appear to be floating around as I walked passed it. Even with the PRO arm and my operating at a high point from all the difficult work on that series, it was still a major challenge.

So Leigh, once again--I'm not sure what exactly you are looking to see in a demo that will satisfy your curiousity about the Flyer. An experienced operator will make it look great. An inexperienced one will make it look not so great.
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Old March 8th, 2005, 08:02 PM   #14
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Dear Charles Papert,

I don't want to wait two or three years to see Damien's work with flyer. The period is too long and I just want to roughly see the performance of the flyer as you said that there is no demo video on the net to show the flyer. And Damien got a chance to own a flyer.

I did not realize that my request is so challenge.

Regards
Leigh
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Old March 9th, 2005, 07:45 AM   #15
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dear leigh

If you're looking for a good steadicam to buy and your budget is under 9000 USD well i can asure you that this stuff rocks if you make a good balance of course. i have tried glidecam v16, eagle (http://www.laigleparis.fr), and magicam and honestly there is no comparison between all this products.

For the rest as other says it sure will depend of the skill's operator that's the reason why i would prefer not to show beginner features. i have too much respect for steadicam now to make some people think this is an average tool whereas it's the operator that is.

the issue i had on other product compares to flyer where many.

now if you want to know if the flyer is as tall as the best of the steadicam i can say that for myself that it is sure except for 2 complain but at this level price it's all natural :

I would have like the sled to be a bit longer cause sometimes with a dynamic balance in special moves the battery is to close to the arm and hit the arm but with practise due to this small issue i'll prevent from that. and however ther arm is perfect a larger sphere of activity would have been appreciate but again at this level of price i'm really asking for paradise.

tell me if you want to buy one in this case i'll be abble to show you videos, not from me in action, as i have said i'm too beginner, but i'll make you videos like ck did of the product itself, if you know a little about steadicam it will be enough i think.

SO tell me i'm going to make them fo 22h00 in paris. se ya.
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