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Old August 12th, 2006, 12:26 AM   #1
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Smooth Shooter - Lens height

Just got a used Glidecam Smooth Shooter off eBay. Spent about half an hour flying it today. I'm aware of the limited boom range of a single-arm design, but I was still surprised that the lens height ends up below eye-level. Is that normal, or am I doing something really wrong?

My second question deals with the iso-elastic (or lack thereof) nature of the Smooth Shooter. The arm seems to want to return to an up/down balanced state fairly easily. Glidecam's marketing throws out terms like "Dyna-elastic" and "Light-Force Technology", which means nothing to me. I'm setup with the default 2-springs, on a GC2000, FX1, quick release plate; balanced with 4x2 weight discs. If I remove one of the springs, will that help keep the sled in place on up/down boom movements? The theory is to keep the springs under close to full tension, so that it won't return as easily, right? I'm just a little afraid of overloading the single spring, plus I didn't get an instruction manual with mine.

Any other advice from SS owners would be greatly appreciated. This is my first vest/arm system, and I'm very excited about it. I've gotten pretty good with shooting with the GC2K handheld, but it's just too tiring, so I made the jump to the SS. I can already see a lot of practice will be necessary because of the added bulk (getting through doorways, etc).
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Old August 12th, 2006, 08:23 PM   #2
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I'm not familer with the specifics of the SS to this detail, but I can give you some pointers:

The only way to lift your maximum lens height with the SS is to move the "bridge plate" (the horizontal peice on the vest that the arm attatches to) heigher on the vest. Use the 4 bolts to move the plate up on the central spar of the vest.
Unfortuantly with a 1 section arm and a non-movable gimble on the sled that's about all that you can do.

Iso-elasticity is a copyrighted term (by Steadicam) that describes a 'non-bouncy' arm, that doesn't pull to center very tightly. The patented iso-elastic arms adjust their lifting strength without adjusting spring tension. An arm is most iso elastic with the spring's tension carefully 'tuned' correctly.
You shouldn't be able to damage the spring of an SS arm by over loading them. When they are at full tightness, if they overloaded, the arm should just not lift (and therfore sag). Trying one spring tighter could verry possibly give you a more iso-elastic feeling arm over 2 loose springs.

Never heard "Light Force Technology" but I suspect it's a pointless marketing term, just as is "Dyna-Elastic" (which is a direct rip of "Iso-elastic", except it doesn't mean anything). I wouldn't put too much faith into Glidecam's marketing terms. - The reason they mean nothing to you is because they normally are, well, meaningless.

Try raising the arm on the vest, and then getting some shorter actors! Good luck!

- Mikko
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Old August 21st, 2006, 10:36 PM   #3
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Hi Eric,
I recently purchased the smooth hooter as well but am flying a GC4000. In the manual it says that with a GC2000 it flies best at a weight of 9lbs and the spring at full tension. With the GTC4000 it is best at 18lbs and both springs at full tension. It really takes some getting used to though.
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Old August 25th, 2006, 12:14 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikko Wilson
Try raising the arm on the vest, and then getting some shorter actors! Good luck!

- Mikko
You crack me up Mikko!

Eric,

I don't know about the Smooth Shooter regarding the springs (wether to use one of two) as I don't know the strength of the springs but on my rig I use one on each of the arms when flying an FX1. I also like the system to sit a little low so my own arm can lift the sled to the correct height which helps a lot in dampening vertical movement or "steps". There isn't much weight involved in booming the sled so the fatigue factor isn't a factor.

For my information, what is the vertical (booming) range on the Smooth Shooter?

Smooth shooting,

Terry
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Old August 27th, 2006, 06:53 PM   #5
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Terry, the vertical boom range of the Smooth Shooter is just under 17 inches. But obviously, that range is much smaller in practice because you wouldn't normally start at one extreme end or another. The problem I have repeatedly encountered within the short period that I have owned this device, is that to get the camera height to near "average" eye level, it is already near the top of the boom range.

It seems like this problem could be easily overcome by simply including a longer vertical post. This is the piece that slides into the sled's handle. I don't think something like this comes with the SS, but I'm not 100% sure since I bought it used. Can anyone confirm this?
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Old August 27th, 2006, 07:21 PM   #6
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Eric:

I think GC is making longer armposts now, but they don't come standard in the package. If they aren't, you can probably have them made by a local machinist. I've used a range of four armposts for years, ranging from 6" to 18" in height. Make sure that the long ones are made of solid stock as they will have a certain amount of torque placed on them.

One problem with the long post is that panning the rig to the left may result in the base of the sled hitting the end of the arm (where before it would rotate underneath it). Something to watch out for.

Perhaps someone will develop a mod that replaces the non-articulating section of the arm with one that articulates vertically without shock absorbing capabilities, i.e. is a parallelogram that can be locked in different positions--slanting upwards, horizontal or slanting down. An aircraft pin would allow the operator to adjust the bias while wearing the rig for a given shot. Most of the time, it would be helpful to have the lens float around the 5 1/2 foot range at least--all current single-arm rigs are considerably lower.
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Old August 28th, 2006, 12:21 AM   #7
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High shot adaptor

Eric,

We actually make a High-Shot adaptor that will work with the Smooth Shooter. It will extend the height of the post from about 12 - 18 inches. It fits between the gimbal handle and the arm. Both the Smooth Shooter and the PILOT have the same sled-to-arm connection size so it works for both.

We use the High-Shot with our Indicam PILOT to give a basketball player point of view. This is because our system normally goes from above head height down to about waist height so the High-Shot extension gives a real high perspective. To see the video click on the link below.
http://www.indicam.com/index.php?opt...d=28&Itemid=57
Select the 2005 CES clips then High Shot.
This part is available as an accessory to both the Smooth Shooter and the PILOT.

If you have any questions feel free to email us from our website (www.indicam.com) or through this forum.
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Old August 28th, 2006, 08:53 AM   #8
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Terry, is there the ability to mount a small monitor...like the panasonic 7inch to the sled...and still be able to balance it? I'm sorry but I don't know much about your product so I'll claim ignorance here! Can the rig be set up to power items from it like maybe by mounting a battery bracket to the base of the sled...maybe underneath? Possibly Anton Bauer Dionic 90 or some slim Lithium Ion power source to run camera and monitor? These powerful batteries are pretty light these days and they'll run a camera and monitor for a really long time. Can cable be run up the center post or is it solid? Or am I making the product too complicated?
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Old August 28th, 2006, 12:11 PM   #9
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Ken,

Attached are two pictures. One shows the PILOT system with a Nebtek 5.5 inch monitor and Panasonic LiIon battery. We bought the Nebtek because it looks great in full sun. This configuration is harder to dynamically balance because of the weight differences on the bottom plate but it can be done. What we do is spin the sled without the camera platform on and work on getting a non-wobbly spin (equal weight on either side of the post). Then we put the camera stage and camera on and do a normal balance.

The second attachment shows the video cable coming out of the post.
We had to make sure it was long enough to accomodate an extended post.

Our own preference is to use the side mounted monitor as that is what we are comfortable with but you origonal Steadicam guys are familiar with the bottom mounted monitors.

The answer to your questions is...where the is a will there is a way. We don't sell the PILOT with the bottom mounted monitor but it can be adapted as long as the increased weight is in our range.

Terry
Indicam
Attached Thumbnails
Smooth Shooter - Lens height-pilot-nebtek1web.jpg   Smooth Shooter - Lens height-pilot-nebtek2web.jpg  

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