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Old February 10th, 2006, 10:04 AM   #1
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Do a gyro and Stedicam/Glidecam do the same thing?

Would one use one or the other? Do they accomplish the same things? If I had a gryo would I not need a Steadicam?

Thanks, I hope these aren't dumb questions.
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Old February 10th, 2006, 11:21 AM   #2
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Not a dumb question, many times over the years I've overhead people whispering to each other as they observe me with the Steadicam on: "see, there's gyros in that bottom section that make it steady" when, of course, there aren't.

If by gyro you mean the Kenyon gyro, the differences are actually notable. The Steadicam (and all related stabilizers) achieves isolation from the operator by passive means, which allows for essentially unlimited movement in all axes. Gyros are active, powered devices that will provide resistance to movement and thus are not ideal for fast-moving situations. The optical stabilization found in most DV cameras today have a similar effect to gyros: they assist with minor bumps but will not take out the bounce of a handheld walking shot.

In practical terms, gyros are somewhat heavy, power-hungry (they are actually AC operated and require an inverter, which draws a lot of power) and make a high pitched sound that makes them difficult to use when recording dialogue. It may be worth noting that for particular Steadicam shots we sometimes mount gyros onto the sled for absolute stability, given the drawbacks listed above.
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Old February 10th, 2006, 12:38 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert
It may be worth noting that for particular Steadicam shots we sometimes mount gyros onto the sled for absolute stability, given the drawbacks listed above.
Charles, in what situations would you use gyros on a Steadicam? Can you use them to help keep your horizons level in normal operating? Or is it more helpful in extreme cases like a rocking boat or in high winds? Thanks.
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Old February 10th, 2006, 02:50 PM   #4
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Yes and yes. Mostly they are used for wind resistance (where sound isn't as much of an issue) but some use them for more general purposes to add that extra stability to the image. I personally have only used them a few times and find them to be more of a pain than may be worth it.

One of the legendary uses was the background plates for the Speeder Bike sequence in "Return of the Jedi", where Garrett Brown hauled a specially built rig with lightweight Vistavision camera and two gyros through the redwood forest, shooting at 3/4 frame per second.
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Old February 10th, 2006, 04:53 PM   #5
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Thanks Charles

Great answer.
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Old February 10th, 2006, 04:55 PM   #6
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Thanks for the info Charles!

I don't envy Garrett on that job!
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Old October 25th, 2006, 07:25 PM   #7
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Gyro vs Steadicam

I have used them both. Started with Steadicam. Fast action, no power needed, I chase car shows and fast cars. when it dosen't work? Helicopter, ususally they are too small (helo), wind whips them, tried it, worked better than hand held but really muscled it. Zip tied all jumpout connections i e gimbal to arm.
Gyros - great for helo, standing and shooting long, gun and "try to run", very power hungry for long shoots its murder. Shoulder killing at end of day

My dream - a mini steadicam to attach to torso, and hold camera and gyros, with atomic powered generator belt, a flash gordon costume, good hair gel, world pease, learm ho to spel.......
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