Panny GH3...Easiest to Learn & Use Rig? at DVinfo.net

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Old February 22nd, 2013, 03:05 PM   #1
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Panny GH3...Easiest to Learn & Use Rig?

Howdy
I got some gift certificates for Amazon totalling $300 over last 6 months. Just found out I can't use them for paying down my account, a little over that amount, a number of purchases which were video related.

So I have to buy something. I had been looking at Glidecam type products for that nice light weight of the GH3 and a short lens or zoom, but decided to buy first a DVMulti-Rig with the great, configurable over the shoulder and grip support system plus the heavy duty velcro belt with the support pocket in front and spring loaded, telescoping support rod with the quick attach, heavy spring tip on the "rig" end. Sits in that pocket and really gives you a very mobile, almost tripod like stability if you get caught in the open, no tripod, in a run and gun situation. It is awesome!

So to make best use of this $300 as a starting point, for I'm guessing for the GH3's weight in available light, with a light micro 4/3 lens on it, I can find something really "great" between $300 and $600?

^^^ With regard to ease of use and stress on the wrist and arm, once I know what I'm doing with it after the required practicing period, and the actual length of the practicing period usually required for the various options in this weight support range.....can you guys do me a huge favor please and point me in the right direction of the best options at this point in time?

Quick, "easiest" set up, lightest stress on the wrist and arm once you know what you're doing, and easiest learning curve? Weighed against expected high quality performance that can be achieved?

This would be hugely appreciated.

Thanks much

Ron
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Old February 23rd, 2013, 10:30 AM   #2
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Re: Panny GH3...Easiest to Learn & Use Rig?

What kind of shots are you looking for?

I've tried the Merlin (borrowed it) and couldn't get it to fly properly.
Glidecam was very difficult and hurt my wrist (considering all the weight is being held about 2-3 inches in front of my hand, my wrist was constantly fighting gravity)

I ended up with a SteddiePod. So far, it's the easiest and most versatile one I've come across. I looked into the Varizoom Crossfire, but it seemed to by nothing more than their Flow Pod with sticks thrown on to it.

Oh side note, the learning curve was ridiculously short. It took me maybe 5 minutes to get balanced with a video camera, and another 30 minutes to get familiar with the techniques. They've also come out with a head that lets you balance DSLR type cameras in a few minutes. Best of luck.

Last edited by Kris Pyland; February 23rd, 2013 at 10:33 AM. Reason: Forgot to mention a few things.
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Old February 23rd, 2013, 01:50 PM   #3
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Re: Panny GH3...Easiest to Learn & Use Rig?

I would say the type of shots desired would be the usual capabilities of what stabilizers in general offer. Being able to walk at a good clip, circle around something, walk with camera sideways for pan and just cruising around. The DVMulitrig is excellent for slow movement or stationary but will give me bounce if I'm walking trying to be smooth.

Does the SteddiePod (this is Manfrotto correct?) have some kind of damping technology to it? A couple of videos I've quickly looked at seem to indicate that but it looks like simply a telescoping monopod?

You've caught my ear with the relatively easy learning curve according to you and not difficult set up. It looks really versatile. And.....yep looks like it is on Amazon.

Of course the GlideCam 1000 would work too with the GH3 and the 12-35 zoom, and I've seen some amazing footage. Kind of the way I was leaning but everyone seems to grump or warn a bit about the effect of the offset gimbal on the wrist. Gets old in a hurry. Looks like your rig would not have that because it's in line.
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Old February 23rd, 2013, 03:08 PM   #4
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Re: Panny GH3...Easiest to Learn & Use Rig?

OK now I am really interested. Just watched the footage with the "A list SteadiCam operator " on YouTube and listened to his (my impression) sincere comments and enthusiasm. That was impressive.

I'm curious to hear more from you Kris and/or anyone else using this equipment about the "gimbal" mechanism in line with the monopod tubing with which you can configure and switch into the "flying" mode very quickly and easily. The footage looks completely acceptable and in fact quite good for rapid walking, changing directions and moving the camera realtively quicker than most systems can handle.

I read somewhere else, maybe in a user review at B&H (before they stopped carrying them [maybe because Amazon has them since Feb 7th this year?]) that the person said to make sure you get the "swivel handle" with it. Made a point of it. Is this an optional item or does it come with the basic package?

And still, please, from Kris or anyone else using a SteddiePod, how is the "up and down" motion from walking and even running dampened as it appears to be in the footage? The swivel handle not appearing to really be a "gimbal" type mechanism as on the Glidecam or Merlin type units.

Last edited by Ron Fabienke; February 24th, 2013 at 10:49 AM.
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Old February 24th, 2013, 03:56 PM   #5
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Re: Panny GH3...Easiest to Learn & Use Rig?

Yeah, Ron Vitor. At first I shrugged it off, then I looked up his IMDB. I was duly impressed.

The "gimble" is your arm. Your arm naturally stabilizes things as you move (cup of coffee, etc). The Swivel handle is now standard. Apparently it used to be an option, but they pretty much figured that trying to fly without it was a disaster, so made it part of the standard setup. As far as I know, B&H still carries them. They might have discontinued the older model that didn't have the swivel handle (UPC codes and unique inventory ID's I guess).

As for the up and down motion, it's relatively minimal, Just requires a bit of practice and learning how to do the duck walk/run. If you're in/around Los Angeles, I can show you mine and let you have hands on with it first. So far, most video an DSLR shooters I show it to love it...with the exception of the guys that have invested thousands of dollars into vest/arm systems.

PM me.
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Old February 25th, 2013, 06:08 PM   #6
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Re: Panny GH3...Easiest to Learn & Use Rig?

OK, we have agreed on PMs that we can get together and I can check your SteddiePod unit out with my GH3, rather than me walking into a local sales company that handles the product, and me unfairly taking their time to demo it. Since I am going to put $300 in gift certificates toward that purchase on Amazon as I mentioned in the original post. I will report here on DV Info Net what I decide to do. Seems to me to be between the "known" ....... what I test out myself with footage from my camera from on your SteddiePod from your kind offer, and what I have only "read" from all other "user reports" on Amazon and here and elsewhere about both the Glidecam 1000 and the SteadiCam Merlin.

I hope others will find the information helpful.
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Old February 26th, 2013, 11:13 AM   #7
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Re: Panny GH3...Easiest to Learn & Use Rig?

That's the best way to go about it really. Apples to apples comparisons.
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Old March 8th, 2013, 09:10 PM   #8
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Re: Panny GH3...Easiest to Learn & Use Rig?

Got a chance to meet Kris today as he kindly trekked about 10 miles into my neighborhood and we set up indoors in a municipal sports facility with a threat of rain outdoors.....the SteddiePod with my GH3 and also a heavier Sony A77 with a legacy lens on it totaling 8 lbs. He said the unit is rated for 6 1/2lbs but it handled the 8 lbs just fine as well in my and his opinion.

I have to say I liked everything about it. It's a quality machined product and feels great on the arm once he showed and helped me to do the initial balancing with each camera. Those each took all of about 3 minutes and I really have the impression if you don't change anything on the camera that is taken off after balancing that putting it back on quickly will have you ready to roll again with the locked down knobs, etc on the Pod.

Being used to many years of run and gun and trying with my always shoulder cameras and camcorders of the past and the current PMW320.....to shoot as best as possible walking footage with a subject, trailing them or preceding them walking backward, the SteddiePod was a revelation.

My very first take with it after he showed me how to properly hold the swivel handle, I followed Kris around walking at a good pace, changing directions and a little bit of walking partially around him. Zero practice time. Boom....just like that the smoothest footage of that nature I've ever shot. It is very intuitive with the great balance and butter smooth swivel action of the grip mechanism, that the arm becomes the up and down gimbal, like walking with an open cup of coffee. The hands' grip positions are on the vertical shaft itself and feel nothing like the descriptions of wrist positions with a Glidecam setup with its offset gimbal handle and the strain described by everyone on the wrist from that offset position.

Not to mention the 4 or so other great shooting positions and solid support you can get from it including serious boom type height.

Every user review you read for Merlin or stabilizers of that type, or the Glidecam type makes no bones about seriously stressing how much practice time you will need to put in to get decent precision with the flying techniques. With minimal additional practice after I save the extra money for the mid $600 price tag of the "hybrid", "best and most recent fluid head" version of this stabilizer, above my $300 in gift certificates, I fully expect to be shooting flying footage that completely fills my needs in "event", run and gun shooting situations.

It is a finely constructed, well engineered, good looking and very versatile piece of equipment....and very user friendly to get the hang of it in just a short period of time.

Thanks so much for your time, Kris!
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