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Old July 2nd, 2007, 04:24 PM   #1
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Glidecam 4000 loosing my hair.

Hi Guys,

I purchased a glidecam 4000 about a month ago and I am trying to get it to balance. I have a Canon XHA1 with the larger battery and a unomat 301Z onboard light. Can anybody help me with some pictures on how many weights I should have on and how high the center should be? I have tried and tried and can not get it perfect. When I pick it up of the table its perfect it does not move forward back left or right its straight. As soon as I do the side to side thing and bring it back to the middle it always starts turning to the left by its self. Please help.
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Old September 26th, 2007, 06:01 AM   #2
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glidecam 4000

Did you have any luck with the glidecam 4000? I have the same problem I thought you would get more replies. I;m thinking of selling mine I've wasted to much time on it. I have a Sony FZ1
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Old September 26th, 2007, 06:28 AM   #3
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What I've found with my stabiliser is that if its too bottom heavy it spins and wobbles from side to side. Try to remove some weights and keep trying.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 10:25 AM   #4
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Guys, having the same problem.
FX1 on the Glidecam 4000. Just cant balance it correctly. I can get it to feel a little better, but seriously this is taking up far too much time than i had expected. It would be helpful if glidecam would publish some 'typical setup' docs on their website.. for users to post up pictures/diagrams etc etc.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 12:06 PM   #5
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I am using the Glidecam 4000 Pro with my Sony V1U and found it fairly easy to balance. My steps:

1. Find the center of balance for the camera with all of your gear (not mounted to the 4000 Pro). Remember the center point that you find.
2. Attach the mounting plate to the camera so that the center of the mounting plate is aligned with the center point that you discovered in step 1.
3. Add enough weight to the bottom of the 4000 pro to keep it from flopping over. Make sure that the weights are even in number from front to back (in other words, 4 plates on front = 4 plates on back), and are centered on the mounting foot.
4. Pull out the center column several inches and lock it down.
5. Make gross adjustments to get close to balanced by sliding the platform back and forth, and left to right. Remember that if you are struggling to make slight adjustments with the mounting plate, you are almost done. Lock it down at this point.
6. Make your final adjustments by sliding the weight stacks front to back and left to right. Very small movements will make a huge difference at this point.
7. Finally, slide the center column up half an inch at a time and check your balance. Hold the handle and hold the column at horizontal. You will want your entire rig to swing slowly from horizontal. The recommended time is 1.5 seconds, but I suggest 3 or 4. Remember that the goal is to get the entire rig balanced top to bottom as much as possible to prevent a pendulum effect.
8. You will likely have to keep moving the weight stacks ever so slightly as you work on step 7. Keep in mind that adjustments at this point are going to be very small.

You should be able to do this in about 15 minutes or so. Once you have it, slight adjustments may be necessary from time to time. If anything on the camera changes, however, you will need to start over.

I hope this helps.
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Last edited by Ian Farlow; November 20th, 2007 at 05:44 PM.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 05:33 PM   #6
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Ian, many thanks for taking the time to reply - much appreciated.
Ill try this tomorrow.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 05:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Sargent View Post
Ian, many thanks for taking the time to reply - much appreciated.
Ill try this tomorrow.
No problem. I'm by no means an expert with this stuff, but it just seemed to work. Let me know if you need anything else and I'll try and help. Maybe someone with more experience could chime in to say I'm on track or way off base with my suggestions?
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Old November 20th, 2007, 07:55 PM   #8
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Ian, your methodology sounds good to me.

The Glidecams are known to have quite a variety in the linearity of their gimbals, which refers to whether all of the axes intersect through the center of the gimbal. This will manifest in a tendency for the rig to drift, or act balanced pointing in one direction but start dipping when it is rotated 90 degrees. Various folks have reported successful discussions with Glidecam tech support about this issue (generally shimming will take care of it, or at least make it more workable).
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Old November 20th, 2007, 08:30 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Ian, your methodology sounds good to me.

The Glidecams are known to have quite a variety in the linearity of their gimbals, which refers to whether all of the axes intersect through the center of the gimbal. This will manifest in a tendency for the rig to drift, or act balanced pointing in one direction but start dipping when it is rotated 90 degrees. Various folks have reported successful discussions with Glidecam tech support about this issue (generally shimming will take care of it, or at least make it more workable).
Excellent, thanks. I noticed that the weight sets ended up "out of alignment" on the base in an effort to counter the odd balance of the V1U with attachments. But, in the end, I ended up with a perfectly balanced system that didn't spin or tilt, didn't pendulum, and worked with the Smooth Shooter quite well. Of course, when I bought the 970 battery (Sony's largest for the V1U as I understand it) and added it to the camera, the rig flipped over! I expected that... well, if I had been thinking, I would have expected that. Shocking, actually, when it happened. But, a few adjustments later and everything is right again.

Now to paint the weights with a nice black textured paint.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 08:36 PM   #10
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Oh, as an aside... I added a 577 Quick Release Adapter and Plate assembly to the top of the mounting plate for the 4000 Pro. That way, I can remove the camera and attach it to my 501HDV head with no trouble (same plates).
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Old November 20th, 2007, 10:55 PM   #11
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First of all...is your first name Tarig or Peter? Don't want to call you by your last name if I can help it.

You will find that if you can get a wide base mic stand or a lighting stand that is stable and weigh either down so it won't tip over, you can put the handle of the 4000 over the end and let the Glidecam hang instead of trying to balance it on a table etc. That is the hardest way!

When the sled hangs your balancing is much easier. We include a mic stand adaptor with our system but you don't have to have one to make it work.

First, set your drop time to around 1.5 seconds. (If you don't know what a drop time is let us know) Next set each of your axis' by moving the camera stage fore or aft & side to side so the post hangs vertical. You can get a bubble level at a hardware store and put it on the bottom plate to help with this.

Once you have your sled hanging vertical you can lengthen your drop time to 2-2.5 seconds. You will probably find that your rig is out of balance again but it won't be out that much. Just re-balance the rig so the post hangs vertical. You will only move the camera stage in small increments at this point.

In our "Stabilizer Basics" training DVD we go through the whole procedure and show how it's done. It really isn't that hard once you get used to the way things work.

A tip from the video...always move the camera platform to the "uphill" meaning that if the camera is leaning towards the right, slide the camera platform (stage) uphill or to the left. If the camera is leaning forward (pointed downward), slide the camera platform uphill or towards the back. Be careful when you are doing this as the Glidecam camera plate can slide quickly and you don't want that.

Special note: Make sure everything is the way it will be when you use the stabilizer including...the lens cap is off-the side mount monitor is open-the battery is on-and the tape is in. Everything that needs to go on the camera goes on now before you start balancing.

Another thing we have found that works for a dynamic balance is to have the bottom weights equal and the same distance from the post. With our camera platform off the post, the post spins without wobbling. When the camera is balanced correctly the whole thing will spin without wobbling. Ok, maybe just a little bit.

Have you checked to see if your gimbal is linear? It's an easy process.

I hope this helps.

Smooth Shooting!

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Old December 1st, 2007, 09:06 PM   #12
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For everyone trying to balance this rig here is a nice little addition you can do to make finding balance a lot quicker and easier.

Use two bullseye bubble levels front and back of the post. Make sure they are in line with the weights front and back and equal distance from the post. Attach them with two sided tape or the like.

Makes balancing about a 2 minute job.
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Old December 2nd, 2007, 06:12 PM   #13
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James, I'm not sure I get why you would need two identical levels on the same plane...?

Traditionally the more standard level for stabilizers is the tubular level. I've always used one for the roll axis (left/right) but I have seen some folk mount a second one perpendicularly for the tilt axis. In general you will always want the rig level in roll, but not necessarily in tilt, in fact it is common to adjust the tilt axis for each shot (probably not the case with a Glidecam or similar unit that doesn't have precise fore-aft control).
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Old December 2nd, 2007, 07:47 PM   #14
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Charles,
Thanks for yours and others comments on my dynamic balance questions about the Glidecam btw.


The reason I used two identical bullseye levels was for three reasons.

1)
The same level front and back makes sure the additional weight (albeit very small) is the same front and back of the post. If I had put a single regular bubble level at the back and another at the side it would have been slightly unbalanced. Probably not a big deal but I thought it would be less problematic.

2) The bullseye level works in all the tilt/pan axis's. A tube level works in one axis at a time. The tube level is possibly more accurate though. I used to do construction and used a transit so a bullseye level was the first thing to come to mind when I thought about level balancing a rig.

3) Assuming you shoot forwards and sometimes Don Juan, you can still easily see a bubble level for reference. I doubt that it is really all that necessary as you should be focusing on the subject/framing ect of the shot but every once in a while a quick glance at the level while learning during a move seems to help me for checking level (assuming that is the type of shot I am trying to achieve).

I will mention that the weight plate on the Glidecam can start to deflect downwards a little with large weight stacks. This may throw the bubbles out a little. With lower weight stacks this is probably a non issue. Another option would be to stiffen the weight plate up with a small square tube of aluminum tacked on underneath but it is very minor so I am not concerned with it.

Hope all that makes sense.
All the best,
James
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 05:15 AM   #15
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Following helpful advice and suggestions in here, with some patience and adjustments I managed to get my FX1 quite well balanced on the GC 4000.
Drop time of around 2 seconds - just need to practice now!
Cheeers!
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