XF305 with stabliser - handheld at DVinfo.net

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Old October 12th, 2011, 04:28 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: London
Posts: 1
XF305 with stabliser - handheld

Hi everyone,

I have a shoot coming up where I'm looking to use a handheld stabiliser with the XF305.

We're shooting a short walk & talk ptc with extras entering/exiting frame - me walking backwards. The production initially asked me to shoot this handheld with the view being that they could use Warp Stabiliser in post. I pushed for a stabiliser rig because I want the experience, now I'm concerned I may have bitten off more than I can chew!

Production will only go to 50 hire so my options are limited to the Glidecam 4000 or the Merlin Steadicam. I guess I'm just looking for the headlines at the moment, any comments would be greatly appreciated.

1. Merlin Steadicam - I've read conflicting reports on this. It doesn't look like many people like to use it to fly a camera the size of the 305 (2.8kg)

2. Glidecam 4000 - positive reviews lead me to favour this but I am worried about the weight

3. The Blackbird would be a great option as well as it seems very beginner friendly but I can't seem to find anywhere to hire one, has anyone come across this rig for hire in London?

4. Any hints / tips for a beginner? I am very worried about balancing it, but I will get whichever rig I use a full day before the shoot to practice with, so am hoping it might work out!


Tom Dearden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 16th, 2011, 06:26 PM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 189
Re: XF305 with stabliser - handheld

Could you expect to rent a guitar, practice for a day without any lessons, and be able to play it?

Of course not.

Steadicam is no different. Steadicam takes weeks of practice, and ideally some instruction, to get even minimally acceptable results. Months or years to achieve a level of mastery. Do yourself a favor, go to the rental house well in advance and try it out, to prove it to yourself.

Then, instead, rent a body brace/shoulder rig or something you can be comfortable with, and shoot it handheld with that rig.

Or have them shoot it on a dolly.

Or tell production they need to hire someone experienced in Steadicam to do that particular shot.

Rather than risk your reputation and possibly embarrass yourself, you will gain respect by being candid.

Good luck whatever you decide.
Mark Schlicher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 16th, 2011, 08:36 PM   #3
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 1,384
Re: XF305 with stabliser - handheld

I have to agree with Mark on this.

I own a 300 and GlideCam 4000hd with vest and arm. My buddy owns a Pilot and has flown my camera as well as several others and has a LOT more experience than I do.

First thing is unless you have some arms of steel, you are not gonna be happy trying to hand fly the 305. It's heavy. You should use the vest and arm.

Second, balancing is not bad if you have a couple of hours OR a friend who knows what to look for.

Third, even balanced right with the vest and arm, I'm just now getting "client ready" results after a month of periodic practicing. Meaning my client is happy but i know i have a long way to go before im happy. If I did nothing else, I could probably have gotten to where I am in a week of solid days. I also have the benefit of my buddy helping me with the finer nuances.

And you want to do a shoot where you're walking backwards? Forget it. Sorry if I'm a bit harsh but that is difficult for even my buddy who has been flying for a couple of years. I tried it once (with him as my spotter) and it was darn near impossible to get it smooth. He said keep doing it for a few weeks backwards and it would start to smooth out.

The biggest thing that I'm running into is body control. You have to relearn walking and body position to make it work right. That takes time.

You'd better spend your rental money on a dolly and track to get smooth shots. The 305 does have a great stabilizer (i like the dynamic setting) and you could even sit in a wheelchair or cart and get decent results.
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