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Old August 20th, 2005, 02:54 PM   #1
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reassessing the flowpod

It's been out for a few years now. Everybody seems to agree (in previous years' posts) that it is not the greatest stabilizer, but it has an interesting design.

The question is, over time, how useful is it?

Do the people that have them use them?
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Old August 20th, 2005, 04:17 PM   #2
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I had a reviewer all set up for the FlowPod quite awhile back, but obviously nothing ever came out of that arrangement. If there's enough interest, I'm pretty sure I can put one together again. Is this something you'd like to see?
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Old August 20th, 2005, 05:18 PM   #3
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yeah, I for one would be.

Their ads are ubiquitous, but it has all the hallmarks of a scam--a $400 monopod.

It _appears_ as though it would be super useful for setting up and getting quick shots, but I suspect that if it were a successful product design, there would be more imitation products by now.

But, so far as I know, there no Glidecam flowpods, no steadicam flowpods, no Brand X flowpods. Only varizoom flowpods.

I take that to mean that it is, at the end of the month, not that useful. But the premise is so promising that I am really, really hopeful.
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Old August 20th, 2005, 11:28 PM   #4
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I'd love to see a flowpod review. It was what got me into the idea of affordable stabilizers after all, and I feel that we should have a nice, independent review of it. It looks like in theory it might work, but a lot of things look good in theory. To me at least, it doesn't seem well enough thought out for good use. I think that a good test of it side-by-side with a Glidecam or a JR would just be incredible.

I'd be willing to help with making this happen in any way possible.
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Old August 21st, 2005, 12:13 AM   #5
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I'm not a big fan of the Stabilizers made by Varizoom.. just another set of copycat rigs in my oppinion.

But I will say that they where rather inovative with the flowpod. Neither the handheld stabilizer, nor of course the monopod is their idea.. But they are the first place that at leaast I have seen that has combined them.
- I doub't it's peticularly spectacular dooing either job. - But as a combination tool, i'd bet it would have it's merrits.

It would be nice to have a proper review though :-)

- Mikko
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Old September 25th, 2005, 01:32 AM   #6
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I use one. I have managed to get some very effective shots, and since it's still relatively new in my hands, I can tell that better results will obtain when I've had more practice shooting off it.

I like it very much, but I don't have the experience to compare it against different and/or more expensive rigs.
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Old September 26th, 2005, 02:22 AM   #7
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G'day guy's,

I've been using a Flowpod on and off for a while and no it's not a 'scam'. I think Glidecam/Steadicam etc have a pretty solid base with their own products and probably just don't feel they need to wander off on another tangent.....if they built a copy of every new rig that comes out they'd never have time to concentrate on their own products.

Anyhow, like all these smaller hand held 'steadying' devices you need to realise it's not like a full vest and arm rig. They can be balanced to give nice smooth shots but it's your arm that's gonna give out long before anything else. And when your arm gets tired nothing will make for smooth shot's. The trick with these thing's is to use them sparingly and not get tired.

The Flowpod itself is a great idea, I can get smooth moving/walking shot's out of it then drop the 3 stage monopod leg down and get good supported stationary shots. The only minor thing I would prefer is a bit more height out of the monopod.

A lot of thought has gone into it's construction, the body is solid and well made, the stage/camera plate is fully adjustable in it's x and z axis, the gimbal/handle is smooth and doesn't bang on the stage if you come up too high and it has a neat but simple locking system to fix it for monopod use. The balancing weight's are machined and 'clamp' to the centre post not just a bunch of large washers.

There's a nifty little plate available to help with balancing, just clamp it to a table and slip the handle over it and it sit's there as you adjust it. You can even use this to safely put it down if your not using it rather than laying it down or holding it all the time and there's also a low mode cage and a quality carry case available.

Like all these hand held stabilisers it's a 'balancing act' and takes a little time to get it balanced correctly. I've tried the Flowpod, a Glidecam 2K and a home made version of the Glidecam, all as hand held stabilisers and the final footage I got has all been pretty similar...except the latter two can't do monopod shot's.....at least not at head height.

Obviously none of them are as good as a full blown rig but there is still some really good footage to be shot and quite a difference in price.

No matter what type of (hand held) stabiliser I've used I always seem to get an occasional bit of sideways 'wobble' or 'swing' and that's the same with the Flowpod/Glidecam etc but that could be just balance or more than likely that I'm just a crappy user of these devices.....but I have to admit I don't use them consantly...probably less than an hour a week.

There are a lot of video's on the VariZoom site both their own and from other people ( http://www.varizoom.com/flowpoddemos.php ) so go and check them out and decide for yourself.

Not quite a review but I hope this helps someone out....cheers...Paul.

AND...g'day Chris..do any of my emails ever get through to you?
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Old September 26th, 2005, 09:03 PM   #8
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G'day Paul, I'll go back through my inbox and find 'em, wring the beer out of 'em and try to get a reply out to you a.s.a.p.
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Old September 27th, 2005, 02:04 PM   #9
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From taking the Flowpod on short jaunts at a couple of trade shows, my feeling is this: an interesting idea and good for those who might need both capabilities, but for serious stabilizer work I believe that it has more tradeoffs than advantages.

With a handheld stabilizer, it is important to keep the weight of the system as low as possible while still counterbalancing the camera to minimize fatigue. This is normally achieved by placing the counterweight (battery, steel washers, etc) as far from the camera as possible, which results in less weight needed to achieve the desired effect (and having the lightest possible spar that connects the two). Another good piece of design is to spread the weight out as much as possible, which increases inertia and gives the rig a more stable feel.

Where I feel the FLowpod compromises all of this is that its weight is distributed throughout the center post rather than concentrated at the bottom, and none of it is spread out. The result is that one is carrying a fair amount of weight (which limits useable shooting time) without having the benefit of "free" inertia; that is, properly distributed weight. Given a different design, one could achieve just as stable results with a much lighter load; or much more stable results with the same load.

Again, for one who will use the monopod feature quite a bit and occasionally want to fly for brief periods of time, this may be worth it.
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