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Old August 23rd, 2005, 11:56 AM   #1
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Glidecam Help Please

Ok, so i got my glidecam 2000 about a week ago and been playing aorund with it since i got it. The thing is, i cant get it balanced the right way at all. I balanced it to where it doenst like move forward-back-left-right but it still isnt perfectly balanced like in the DVD it came with...I have a gl2 and im using the stock battery it comes with and i took off the sunshade so it would be lighter. How many weights and where did you put your GL-2 when you mounted it...i seriously cant figure this out at all.

Thanks in advance
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Old August 23rd, 2005, 12:03 PM   #2
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Hi Guiseppe:

I took the liberty of removing your duplicate post, I'm sure that was an accident.

Perhaps someone else can chime in with their weight recipe; in the meantime, can you be more specific about the problem you are experiencing? You said you have the fore/aft and side/side balance OK--what about the drop time (top/bottom balance)? And what is happening to the rig that makes you feel it is not in balance?
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Old August 23rd, 2005, 12:46 PM   #3
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Giuseppe,

My experience with the glidecam 2000 is as follows:

It, like every other small device like it, is very sensitive to weight adjustment, and you must slowly and minutely adjust the weights. If it weighed 50 lbs, it would be easy, but at 2 lbs it is very tricky. It is not something that can be done in a few minutes or maybe even a half hour or more. You have to think very carefully about each adjustment you make, and not just make a big shift and or adjustment. A change of the position of a weight by as little as a 16th of an inch, can throw it off.


Follow the instructions to the letter. Even when you have it balanced correctly, you have to practice a lot and learn to use your left hand to dampen the camera shifts etc.. The video that comes with it is a showcase of what it can do with much much practice and was probably made with numerous takes. Watch the hand placement and how much he manipulates the Glidecam unit, dampens movement etc.

One other hint, when you think you have it balanced correctly, stay indoors for your tests. If you go outside and test it with any breeze at all, you will never feel that it is adjusted right. The size and position of the camera is very different than that of the lower weights and weight mounts. In explanation, when the wind hits the camera, the resistance is much greater than the smaller weight area, and it will move. The top will want to move more than the bottom. That is why learning the left hand dampening technique is critical.

One modification I intend to make to mine is the addition of a dampening mechanism that restricts the rotation of the shaft. This is needed because, if you balance the camera perfectly on a point, it is not the physical center of the camera. Wind or breeze will move the camera because the cameras resistance is not uniform. I'm doing a poor job of explaining this, but just picture your camera with a nice 6 monitor attached, and then think of the monitor as a sail in the wind, because that is what it is.

Last note, if you use a flip out LCD screen, you must balance it with the screen the position you wish to use it. Every small thing will change the adjustment. Weight, sail effect, etc.

Fine adjustments, and go slowly.

Mike
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Old August 23rd, 2005, 01:02 PM   #4
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Mike, overall great notes.

I would want to be careful encouraging anyone who is new to stabilizers to "dampen" unwanted movements--this could be interpreted as an invitation to clamp down and manhandle the thing, which of course is not what you meant. The secret is the lightest, most gentle touch that gets the job done, which means that the amount of pressure will vary from hardly touching the post during straightaways to a momentary (fraction of a second) squeeze during a fast pan, but immediately releasing the intensity back to a gentle touch.

Mike, regarding your proposed dampening mechanism: any resistance that you place into any axis of the rig, including pan, will then start to interfere with the isolation of the system from your body. Thus, a momentary rotation of your body and hands will now cause the rig to pan in that direction which may not be desirable. You will force yourself to be locked to the rig in orientation.

The best solution for wind issues is a wind block carried by an assistant or grip. A double net is the industry standard; the wind is effectively baffled by the net (a solid will obviously block the wind more but creates little edddies around the edges which can be problematic). We use 4x4 frames but since that is for a full-size rig, a 2x3 should be big enough for a handheld rig. You can easily build something like this if you don't have access to a net, perhaps sailcloth that has a fine mesh. With the windblock held as close as possible between you and the wind, you will see a tremendous difference in performance.
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Old August 23rd, 2005, 02:57 PM   #5
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What i meant was...i was just seeing how many weights everyone was using and what hole you put the mounting pin in... Only for gL-2's and if u used the normal battery and the lens hood too.
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Old August 24th, 2005, 12:53 AM   #6
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Giuseppe,

When I have set-up my 2000 pro with most of the cameras I have used...

I usually use the hole closest to the center of the camera platform so the platform adjustments can do the fine balancing.

Weight wise...I have put on two to three weights per side (front and back) and made fine adjustments to the drop time by moving the bottom post up or down.

A question-do you know what what we mean when we say "drop time"?

This is a good topic for Casey.

This is also why we need Charles Papert's steadicam training video!!! If we had it we wouldn't have a great many of these questions. I have personal experience with a limited slip gimbal. Because of a sealed bearing instead of a shielded bearing I had to figure out why my video had a side-to-side movement problem. Once I fixed the bearing my problem went away. Your left hand on most systems (control hand) is what you will use for controlling the problem with the wind. Again the phrase "Practise, practise, practise"

Tery
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Old August 24th, 2005, 05:47 AM   #7
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I used the GlideCam with a XM2 (same thing as GL2 just the UK PAL version so presumably the same weight). Had to put quite a lot of weights on it to balance it properly. I'm by no means a GlideCam expert so dont take what I say as gospel, but I found that a few more weights on the back than the front balanced it quite nicely. If your using those little weights (small, thin, shiny) then I reckon I used about 8-10 of them on the back and about 6-8 of them on the front. Can't tell you the exact weight, it was a little trial and error. Hope this means something to ya, and helps!
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Old August 29th, 2005, 11:59 PM   #8
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Andrew,

Are they sending out Glidecams with different weights now. The weights that came with my 2000 are not very small but are large "washers". I can't imagine using more than maybe four front and four back. I have my Indicam sled weighted down (for stability) and I only have 5 in each area. I can do this because my gimbal is adjustable up & down.

I might be wrong (Charles?) but I think it's better to have the weights as even as possible for dynamic balancing. I know you can balance a rig with many different configurations but I was led to believe my prior statement is best overall.

Tery
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Old September 7th, 2005, 06:11 AM   #9
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Glidecam DVD

I have just got myself a glidecam 4000 which I purchased second hand.

However reading this forum it sounds like a training DVD comes with it? I didn't get this DVD. Anyone know where I can pick a copy of this up?

Been training with GC for a couple of weeks now and help or pointers would be GREATLY appreciated :)

Robert
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Old September 7th, 2005, 07:18 AM   #10
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Andrew, I'd seriously look at how many weights you are using.
I had the exact same setup, and by the sounds of it, you’re looking at less than half a second drop time! You only need 3 on each side for that setup, then ajust the post.

Drop time should be around 2.5-3 seconds, have a look in your user manual.

Please!

-Rick.
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Old September 7th, 2005, 07:18 AM   #11
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The Glidecam 2000 and 4000 Pro do NOT come with a training DVD. Models shipped from our factory within the past year have shipped with an updated Glidecam Demo DVD. On the demo disc is a chapter called "The Stability of Balance" which covers the basic ideology behind balancing a sled. The video features a Glidecam 2000 Pro stabilizer, but the principles apply to most stabilizers. You don't need the DVD, however, to get this chapter, as it's posted on our website under the videos section:

http://www.glidecam.com/videos.php
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