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Old December 31st, 2009, 12:34 AM   #1
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Glidecam X10 question

We recently got the X10 and Dean is having troubles balancing it.
It's bouncing as he's walking...

What's he doing wrong?
He has the FX on the g2000 & the GH1 on the HD4000 - he's adding more weights to 4000 for the Gh to see if that makes a difference.

Can anyone help with some tips?
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Old December 31st, 2009, 12:42 PM   #2
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If you have bounce then you could probably do with more weight on the sled. Then you need to adjust the springs. The arm should be almost level with a slight upwards inclination.

How many springs do you have in each arm section? With the FX1 on a GC4000 you only want one spring per section and enough weights to max it out and still have the arm remain level. If you have both springs then you most likely have too much springyness making it bounce.

Also, you will get bound with the GC rig. We had one and it just bounces, no matter how you walk. The Steadicam Pilot is a far superior setup.
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Old January 3rd, 2010, 03:28 PM   #3
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Hi Danny,

Thank you for responding.

So I think he's weighed it down on the top fairly well now - not sure how many springs in the arms but he has been reading the manual and adjusted them as well as the knobs on the bridge plate.
Looking at some clips of people using it, I guess the arms will bounce and perhaps a well trained user will get less.

I'm sure the steadicam would be a better setup - a wish list item I think at this stage :)
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Last edited by Rochelle Morris; January 4th, 2010 at 03:59 AM.
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Old January 3rd, 2010, 05:27 PM   #4
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The X10 is by nature quite springy and bouncy. As noted, the Steadicam products have a far superior design in this regard.

I would recommend dialing down the arm so that it hangs a bit below horizontal, which may require the operator having to provide more of the lift with his own arms. This should help soften the bounciness somewhat, at the expense of greater operator fatigue.

It is very possible to get decent results with an X10, but again as noted, it will take quite a bit of practice to dampen the arm's natural tendencies. A softer footstep (more like one would use with handheld shooting) will help also.
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Old January 4th, 2010, 03:43 AM   #5
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Following on from what Charles has said. I spent a while hanging out on the professional steadicam forums. Nothing quite like hearing how the real pros do thing and they would always argue that when walking with a steadicam you should walk normally (although many videos of them in action show them not walking normally).

Anyway, I quickly realised that if you wanted to walk normally you can only really do so with a large, heavy rig. The smaller rigs for HDV cameras you do need to soften your steps somewhat, even the pilot but only to a small degree.

The basic way Steadicams work is they make the camera really heavy, so its harder to move. An 80lb camera is REALLY heavy and its hard to make it move but with our little HDV cams and lighweight rigs they still have that tendancy to move with a slight touch.
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Old January 4th, 2010, 05:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny O'Neill View Post
Following on from what Charles has said. I spent a while hanging out on the professional steadicam forums. Nothing quite like hearing how the real pros do thing and they would always argue that when walking with a steadicam you should walk normally (although many videos of them in action show them not walking normally).
"Normally" is a relative term. There is a more precise way to move with a Steadicam than if you were strolling down the street, but perhaps it is most accurate to say that we do not follow the knees-bent gliding form one adopts for handheld shooting. However if the arm in use doesn't properly absorb all of the vertical movement of the body, you will need to minimize said movement to begin with, as is the case with the X10.

Quote:
Anyway, I quickly realised that if you wanted to walk normally you can only really do so with a large, heavy rig. The smaller rigs for HDV cameras you do need to soften your steps somewhat, even the pilot but only to a small degree.
I would actually refute this. I am able to do my standard Steadicam walk with a Pilot or Flyer (but not as successfully with other manufacturer's arms). The proof of the pudding is that one can run with the rig and the shot remains smooth, so walking is even less jarring.

Quote:
The basic way Steadicams work is they make the camera really heavy, so its harder to move. An 80lb camera is REALLY heavy and its hard to make it move but with our little HDV cams and lighweight rigs they still have that tendancy to move with a slight touch.
To clarify this, the primary principles behind Steadicam are isolation and inertia. The gimbal provides the angular isolation from the operator's movements and the expanded configuration of components allow for the proper placement of that gimbal as well as creating more inertia. More weight does increase inertia, but it can easily be seen with the Pilot that a combined camera and sled weight of perhaps 15 lbs creates a more inert object than, say, a handheld camera that weighs 30 lbs, so it's not really about the total weight. If one was to walk with a full-size rig and a Pilot with your operating hand off the rig, the shots would look essentially identical, proving that the difference in weight is not what makes it steady.

However, it is true that a lighter rig will be more "touchy" and requires less operator input in pan and tilt. If one was to increase the inertia of a light rig by expanding the masses considerably, you can actual duplicate the feel of a much larger rig without adding significant weight. Those who use the supplied weights on the Pilot can attest that it becomes much "quieter" in feel once you start adding mass to the front and rear of the camera stage and lower spar.
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Old January 4th, 2010, 07:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
I am able to do my standard Steadicam walk with a Pilot or Flyer (but not as successfully with other manufacturer's arms).
I'll second that. Obviously, I'm not as good as Charles, but let's just say that with the Pilot, worrying about how I walk is the least of my problems. The Pilot arm really does even out the bumps. So I would agree that weight has little to do with this. It's all about how well the arm performs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
However, it is true that a lighter rig will be more "touchy" and requires less operator input in pan and tilt.
Yes. In other words, a light rig requires a feather-light touch with your hands, particularly your left (sled post) hand. But a feather-light touch also makes it more difficult to control framing. So this part requires a lot of patience and practice, especially practice framing a moving subject.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Those who use the supplied weights on the Pilot can attest that it becomes much "quieter" in feel once you start adding mass to the front and rear of the camera stage and lower spar.
Right. In fact, I bought 8 more of the larger Pilot weights, which is 2 pounds. Together with the 1.5 pounds of supplied weights, this allows configurations that are noticeably less touchy with many different types of cameras, especially the 4-5 pound HDV cameras.

But even with the extra weights, a light rig like the Pilot is is going to be more difficult to control with your left hand, especially in the tilt axis and roll axis.
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