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Old September 26th, 2006, 03:08 AM   #1
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Steadicam v's Glidecam for Canon XLH1

Just wanted to hear peoples thoughts regarding Steadicam v's Glidecam equipment for the Canon XLH1.

At this stage I am leaning towards the Glidecam Smooth Shooter. Does anyone have any thoughts one this choice? Do Steadicam offer a better solution?

Thanks
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Old October 1st, 2006, 05:48 PM   #2
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I think the selection is extremely personal, that is, what feels better to you. The physics of the body realy come into play when you're talking about something that actually becomes a part of you and every body moves differently. Thus, one person might like the way a Glidecam works while another prefers the Steadicam. Still another might like the Sachtler offering. I know. I looked at all of them and felt better with the Steadicam and, curiously, so did Paolo who is built completely differently than I am. There's also the issue of price. I don't know for certain but the Steadicam is alot more expensive that the Glidecam but if I can offer a bit of wisdom, if your point is to get professional results, don't let the dollar stand in your way. Rent instead of buying if you have to but get the rig that results in the most fluid movement and that means testing all of them. Again, Tiffen who sponsors us owns Steadicam and we just happen to fit into the Steadicam better but if we didn't, we'd still be sponsored by them and using their glass but also using whatever felt better. That's why I'm telling you, try them all with your camera and look at the results. Then, choose the one that 1) gets the best results on film and 2) feels better.
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Old October 1st, 2006, 06:56 PM   #3
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Moved to our Stabilzers forum from 2nd Unit TV.
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Old October 1st, 2006, 11:31 PM   #4
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Simon, I agree with Jonathan about not letting the price stand in the way, especially with something like a steady cam unit. If the unit does only 90% of the job, it won't take long for you to be wishing you'd just spent the extra money for one that does 100%. I tried both the Glidecam and the Steadicam Flyer at NAB, several times over, and I really felt that the Steadicam was the superior unit. While this was an overall impression, something specific I could say is that with the Glidecam arm I found that I had to hold it down or up if I wasn't in the "neutral" balanced postion. With the Steadicam, the arm stays where you put it. You put the camera down low, it stays low, until you gently bring it back up again. This is an important feature as steadycam work is a lot of finesse, and the lighter the touch the better.
I wouldn't recommend renting, unless it was just to try out the unit. You'll probably be hard pressed to find a Steadicam rental anyways. Steadycam work takes quite a bit of practice, and if you rent one just for the day of your shoot, you're not going to get the results you are looking for.
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Old October 2nd, 2006, 07:18 AM   #5
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Simon, the best advice anyone can give you is try the different brands out to feel and see the difference then you will know or at least have an idea of what is right for you. When you are looking to buy a car do you go for the enspensive porsche or the cheap toyota? Again, it depends on you pockets and how deep they are. Are you intended on becoming an operator or is this just a pass thing? Will it be used occasionally or something to spice up your business? There are lots of questions but you must know your criteria.

The flyer is a beautiful piece of machine. The arm behaves like a 20,000 dollar steadicam arm; Almost ;). The shooter works but is limited to several things. It all depends on if you will be upgrading to heavier cameras in the near future. Lots of decision making, at least if I was the one going to buy a rig. You can take a look at both reviews of the smooth shooter and the flyer and check out the 20 min demo video I did on the flyer. Do a cearch here and if you don't find it then go over to HBS and check out the review forum.
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Old October 2nd, 2006, 10:21 AM   #6
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The Steadicam and Sachtler are available for rent through Abel Cine if you're in Los Angeles or new York. I don't know about the glide Cam but you can rent that at EVS in Burbank.
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Old October 2nd, 2006, 10:42 AM   #7
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I think it would be easier for us to understand Simon's situation if he tell's us what his plans are. It's pretty hard to just blot out this is better and that is better if we still just have a jest of the question he has posed. So Simon, let's get some more detail feedback, please. What are your intensions for wanting to purchase a stabilizer? Most people just want to buy a unit because it looks cool and because everyone else is into it.
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Old October 2nd, 2006, 10:59 AM   #8
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A lot of people base their stabilizer decision on what seems like economic sense, i.e. if the camera costs $6K (or even $10K in this case), why on earth would you pay $7K for a stabilizer? The important thing to remember is that cameras in this class will always be this size or smaller, and thus the rig will outlast any particular camera. In 10 years, the performance of the XLH1 will have been well surpassed (probably by a cell phone!) but the Flyer will still be able to turn out perfectly smooth shots.

So the same is true of buying tripods; buy the best support gear you can possibly afford, because you will be using it for a long, long time.
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Old October 2nd, 2006, 11:15 AM   #9
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Well said Charles P. Again, it will be nice to know what Simon goals are in purchasing a unit.
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Old October 2nd, 2006, 09:22 PM   #10
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Simon,
The XL- H1 is at the top weight for the Glidecam SShooter
and I have only been able to use them together for short periods of time.
...In fact, I don't use tham together at all anymore
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Old October 3rd, 2006, 03:43 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone for your feedback it is much appreciated.

My situation is the following. I have 2 short drama films I will be shooting and currently have various tracking shots I want to achieve. These vary from exteriors to interiors. For example the exterior has 2 characters walking through a forest with dialogue which I want to smoothly track along with. Now being in the forest a dolly is out of the question but a smooth tracking shot is desired.

Another shoot is an interior shoot of a large table with various characters sitting around it. Now this could be a Dolly shot but it's in a film noir style and I really want to be circle around the table tightly cropping the shot.

Another shoot is tracking a 2 characters walking up a large 18th century stair case and into a long corridor shot.

These are just a couple of shots I feel I'd like to have a Smoother Shooter or Steadicam for. The majority of my stuff I feel I'd be using this equipment for is dramas.
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Old October 3rd, 2006, 03:51 PM   #12
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Hi Simon. Thanks for replying. It seems you only will be needing a stabilizer for a short period of time and was thinking maybe it would be best just renting. Are you planning on doing more shots of this nature? Does your company or needs require the use of a steadicam/Glidecam most of the time?

Just breaking up all the pices before putting them back together ;) In other words are you planning on becoming an operator?
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Old October 3rd, 2006, 04:02 PM   #13
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At this stage it is very early in my development. Basically I will have my own short films I wil be shooting reasonably often. Say 3 or 4 over the next 6mths. Along with this I am currently building up various corporate clients I would also be aiming to use it for. But initially I really would just be wanting to get very proficient with this tool. Even if I didn't have shorts or corporates to shoot I would be expecting to be experiementing with it on a weekly basis. I come from a dance background and the body and camera as one is very appealing idea/style to me. Now this really all takes time and a lot of experiementing with the find a language and style that one can be very much at one with this tool. For example I am trying to get a project of the ground with a Dance Company to work through a series of movements with the aim being for the dancers to relate their physical language to the camera rather than thinking about traditonal dance steps. So I have a variety of styles eg Drama, Corporate to Arts Related stuff I would be wanting to explore.
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Old October 3rd, 2006, 05:29 PM   #14
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My advice to you Simon would be to rent for the time being until you can afford the Steadicam Flyer. You will reap it's reward and will be happy that you did. :) During that time you will gain some experience while renting the gear but I will advice you to take a workshop or befriend a steadicam operator to help you show you the ropes. It takes time to operator so don't expect perfect shots right off the bat.

Read the reviews I did on the flyer or the Glidecam V25 and see the differences and your needs in the near future. You are the only one you can decide which system will fit your needs. I'm sure others will agree or probably will provide you with their own opinion in the matter.
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Old October 3rd, 2006, 07:10 PM   #15
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I just came back from shooting a documentary overseas and I used the XLH1
with the Glidecam ( Smooth Shooter ) with a lots of shots. Now I know the Steadicam is more money and maybe better then the Glidecam ( I don't know that I never tried it) but I can tell you that I got some amazing shots with the Glidecam with the XLH1 I even climbed a mountain with it as I was taking shots. Now it is not for eveyone and I am saying this to any stabilizer you use. It is hard work and it takes time for you to understand how it works but at the end the results is great.
And by the way the XL-H1 is not too heavy for the Glidecam it is just the right weight. Glidecam recommend to max the weight to get better stabilization and it really works.

Mike Oj
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