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Old February 28th, 2003, 12:31 PM   #1
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Just got Glidecam V-8, I'm impressed :)

Subject says it all, just go my V-8 today and I'm impressed. I was using a Glidecam 2000 pro before and although was good it is night and day compared to this. The V8 isn't 100% properly balanced yet, but even the stuff I've done tonight looks pretty damn good. It was pretty easy to put together and balances much the same way as the 2000 pro so again not too much of a hassle.

Once I've had a proper chance to have a play with it, I'll post more of my thoughts and some footage.

Thanks to Charles, Jeff and Wayne for the advice before I made my purchase :)

John.
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Old February 28th, 2003, 02:11 PM   #2
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John,

Post away! I want to see some of your footage.

Cheers!

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Old March 1st, 2003, 01:40 AM   #3
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I'll second that
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Old March 1st, 2003, 01:56 AM   #4
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I wish I was going up to Tokyo soon, I would love to see it in action. Have fun learning how to use it, I guess we won't be hearing from you on the boards for awhile, you'll be too busy with your new toy. Enjoy!
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Old March 1st, 2003, 02:20 AM   #5
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Different John...same situation (almost), Rik. Mine hasn't been shipped yet, so I won't have it for another couple of weeks.

John Steele...Rik and I had spoken on the phone and I told him about my order or the same thing. Congratulations on getting yours. I really would appreciate you giving an update on balancing and working with it (tips maybe!).
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Old March 1st, 2003, 06:14 AM   #6
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No probs guys, I'll report back as soon as. I'm planning to play for most of the weekend :)

John.
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Old March 1st, 2003, 11:48 AM   #7
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If you are interested in what a really nice Steadicam move shot with a dv camera looks like, be sure to check out Charles Papert's short film at : http://www.instantfilms.tv/if006/hollywoodandvalentine.WMV
Download it first and then play it in Windows Media Player. Also has some great examples of creative composition, but I love the choreography between actress and camera operator about half way into the piece. Notice the camera remains level at all times, that the movement is not hurried, that it stops when necessary, but most important, that at all times it compliments what the actress is doing. This kind or shot requires a lot of work and rehearsal, and possibly a number of takes, and usually the one that is best for the actress is the one that is used in the film.

This will give you something to shoot at as you learn to use your rig. Good luck and please give us weekly reports. I confess I am not a fan of the Glidecam products after trying out the 2000/4000, but hopefully the step up to the V8 will change my opinion, if John can learn to do movement similar to the example in Charles' film.
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Old March 2nd, 2003, 03:20 PM   #8
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Wayne, thank you so much for your kind words.

That shot (which was nicely operated by Christopher Ivins) was designed as part of an overall scheme to give each character in the film a different visual treatment; that particular character is always presented with a moving camera to match her high-strung energy. However, I didn't want the camera to overpower her energy, more like engage in a dance with her. It took me about 15 minutes to design the shot and then walk it through with the actress a few times while the camera was being converted over to the Steadicam; then I think it was 2 rehearsals and 4 takes.

In retrospect, I wish I could have spent more time on performance notes but that is the nature of Instant Films (remember that the whole film was shot in a day, from a script that had been handed to us that morning...!).

Outside that, congratulations on your purchase, John. Practice the hell out of that thing and make us all proud! Remember to keep your gimbal-hand grip as gentle as possible, keep your shoulders back, and don't neglect practicing your holds (50% of Steadicam is standing in place for a portion of the shot, imitating a tripod).
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Old March 2nd, 2003, 04:08 PM   #9
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Charles Papert
Tripod imitator

:)
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Old March 2nd, 2003, 05:37 PM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by Rob Lohman : Charles Papert
Tripod imitator

:) -->>>

A number of years ago, when the Steadicam was rather new to video work, a producer called me up and said the director on an upcoming project we were to work on, said he absolutely had to have a Steadicam for a sequence we were shooting in Las Vegas. The producer asked me to call the director and try to talk him out of the Steadicam for budgetary reasons.

I called the director and mentioned I had heard he wanted a Steadicam for our upcoming shoot, and could he tell me a little about what he had in mind.
"There is this scene I want to shoot in the mens' room," he began. "And the space is so small, that there's no room to set up a tripod, so I figured you could use a Steadicam to stand in the corner and shoot the scene."

I called the producer back and told him to cancel the Steadicam.
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Old March 2nd, 2003, 05:52 PM   #11
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Speaking of nice Steadicam work... I just saw the opening scene of "The Time Machine" that has the Steadicam winding down stairs and up to a sign on a door. That's a pretty nice example of what to shoot for, John.
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Old March 2nd, 2003, 09:14 PM   #12
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Great story, Wayne.

I've certainly had to do shots in spaces that were too cramped for a dolly, but rarely because there wasn't space for a tripod. I'm sure it's happened, but I can't remember. Definitely never been called in just to execute that one shot though!

This calls to mind a shot that I did in a movie called "Crazy/Beautiful" a couple of years ago in which we spent a couple of weeks shooting in a super-modern glass house in Malibu. The room we used for Kirsten Dunst's bedroom had one wall which curved out in a convex fashion, and where it met another wall it created a tight little angled nook. At one point I had to stuff myself into the corner with the rig fully in front of me, then slowly push forward into the room to meet the actors. Just one of those things that on screen looks perfectly business-as-usual, but is absurdly uncomfortable at the time!

Which also reminds me that very often, the best-executed Steadicam work can be virtually undetectable. I've actually had very few "showcase" shots in my career (as typified by the Copa sequence in Goodfellas, the opening to Boogie Nights etc.). The shots that I am most proud of are the ones that so completely mimic a slow-moving dolly that no-one can tell the difference.
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Old March 2nd, 2003, 09:58 PM   #13
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And, Charles, those shots that "completely mimic a slow-moving dolly" are the ones that are going to be impossible to pull off with an inexpensive rig. This is what I hope we can get through to our young and enthusiastic shooters. Don't get sucked in by the advertising hype that promise "movie quality" shots. It ain't gonna happen with a $300 rig. That doesn't mean to give up, but rather to temper your expectations. And realize the amount of practice it takes to get good with even the high end gear. I have operated Steadicam, but in no way do I call myself a Steadicam operator, because I did not have Charles' patience to work at it and commit the hours of practice it takes to get good at it.

For those of you who may want to be professional camera operators some day, learn to operate a Steadicam as soon as possible. It is almost obligatory to know the Steadicam to move up in the profession.

And for the rest of you, hire a good operator for your films. My tag says it all.
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Old March 4th, 2003, 06:01 AM   #14
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Update #1

Hi Guys,

Thanks for the advice Charles I'm planning on taking plenty of time to practice this stuff and I really appreciate you taking the time to give us amateurs advice, it's amazing the people you get to speak to on the net :) Anyway update #1 on the V8.

In my last post I hadn't taken the time to really nail down the balance on the V8, I really just got it out the box and had a play. Over the weekend getting it balanced properly was my main priority. It balances in much the same way as the 2000 pro I had, it didn't take to long to get a good horizontal balance with a nice 3 sec drop time. The only issue I had was when the sled was properly balanced and I rotated 180 degrees it tipped forward. I had previously read about someone having this problem with a V16 on the Steadicam forum.

The actuall problem I don't really understand too much, it's something to do with all 3 axis not meeting exactly in the centre of the gimbal, but the fix you'll be pleased to know is extremely easy. It requires adding a thin washer between the downward facing leg of the yoke(think thats what it's called) and the gimbal. With this in place the sled balances perfectly in all directions and it was a 5 minute fix. Before I did it I got in touch with David Stevens from glidecam for some advice, they were really good and assured me that this small mod would not affect any warranty and thanked me for carrying it out, which was nice, I would hate to have had to send it back to the states for a 5 minute fix.

So now all is good, the footage I'm getting after 2 days of practice is better than I thought I'd be getting, all very smooth no up/down motion that I got with a handheld and I can shoot for ages without my arm breaking.

As soon as I get hold of some webspace I'll put up some footage, I went to a nice area in Scotland on Sunday by the banks of loch lomond, the ground is very uneven but the footage I got going through the woods by the water was excellent. So overall I'm really happy with it, one small balance problem which wasn't a big deal and thats been it so far.

So I'll take Charles advice and get back to practicing(once I've got home from my day job of course :) )

More updates to come.

John.
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Old March 4th, 2003, 06:40 AM   #15
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Thanks for the info, John. Mine will arrive around the 10th. I'm busting at the seams...can't wait to get my hands on it. I'll dive into the Japanese dictionary now to try to figure out how to ask for a "small washer." (skoshi-washero?)

If you have some examples you'd like to post and they're 5 mb or less each, send them to me and I'll post them for you.
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