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Old July 28th, 2007, 09:16 PM   #1
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Canon XHA1 and XLH1 and steadycam

Whats a good inexpensive (as far as they go) steady arm setup that is mainly for use with a XHA1 but potentially a XLH1 in the future? I assume the arms are the way to go for smooth video, just using a device like the glidecam is nice but really not smooth without an arm that takes the weight off. So whats good out there and what should I be looking for?
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Old July 28th, 2007, 09:45 PM   #2
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What is you budget?
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Old July 28th, 2007, 10:26 PM   #3
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The handheld versions are actually just as smooth as the body-mounts, in fact in the case of many low-end body-mounts, the handheld version is probably smoother (as the human arm is more effective at dampening than the simple spring mechanism used in cheap arms). The Flyer and upcoming Merlin/Pilot arm is an exception to this.

However, if one is using a handheld rig with a camera like the A1 and heavier, over a period of time the fatigue factor will start to affect steadiness of the image. With an H1, you will definitely want to be using an arm-based system.
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Old July 28th, 2007, 11:29 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by David W. Jones View Post
What is you budget?
Do not have one set, I want as low as possible for decent quality for low budget behind the scenes and training DVD's so I don't want to spend tens of thousands but if entry level for a decent picture is 500 OK, 1000 ok 2000 I may wait but at least I know what is good, what I am looking for and what budget I need. Its not worth it to get something that is cheap but does not do the job. I would love it if any of these arms would also possibly work on a dolly setup if rigged to do so, Is that possible?
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Old July 29th, 2007, 12:07 AM   #5
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so smoothshooter or indie cam look possibe, though pricy how are they? is that a typical price point for this or are there lower priced options, the smooth looks like its about 1800 with a glidecam 4000 that siound about right? will it work with a merlin, and will a merlin work with an XHA1 or XLH1?
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Old July 29th, 2007, 09:30 AM   #6
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It is possible to hard-mount a stabilizer arm to a dolly, although most of the manufacturers do not market the parts to do this--reasonably easy to get something made at a local machine shop however. Very few people ask about this with smaller stabilizers, but it is a practice we regularly use with the full-size rigs for various reasons.

Smooth Shooter is nominally not compatible with a Merlin (again, the mating parts could be built to accomodate this however). Merlin can handle an A1 but not an H1, you would need to move up to the Flyer or the upcoming Pilot rig within the Tiffen (Steadicam brand) family. The Tiffen rigs are the best in class but of course, the most expensive. Check out Steadicam.com for info on those.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 12:19 PM   #7
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ok tiffen looks very pricey, how are the indiecam and smoothshooter which are much less expensive, if say I connect the glidecam to it?
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Old July 29th, 2007, 03:31 PM   #8
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They both work and do the job, which as you say is your main consideration. You'd likely be happy with either.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 04:33 PM   #9
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Keep in mind, though, that the SmoothShooter only has one articulated arm whereas the Indicam PILOT has dual articulated arms.

That means:
- greater range of motion (more than double the boom range)
- more dampening from your body (two springs vs one)


Not to mention that the PILOT sled has a great advantage with its adjustable gimbal and CNC machined parts.

This means:
- easy adjustment of 'drop time'
- easy adjustment to go into 'low mode' where the camera is balanced
- more fine-tunability for your operating style
- easier balancing


Also, Terry from Indicam provides great service and will gladly take the time to walk things through with you if you have any questions.

Like Charles says, you'll likely be happy with either, but the Indicam is better bang for the buck. If the funds ever do become available for you, Steadicam is the way to go but if you're on a budget, I'd take a long hard look at Indicam.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 04:52 PM   #10
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Also, don't discard Steadicam entirely just yet.

The Steadicam Pilot is by far the best rig for the size of cameras that you are looking at. It is more than the SS and the Ind!cam, but not *that* much more expensive. It's generally recomended that you buy the best rig you can afford if you are serious about Steadicam. If you can stretch a little to the pilot, it will be well worth it in the long-run.

Of course, the Pilot isn't shipping yet, so it's neither available, nor is it's street price finalized. But it should ship pretty soon I think. (Giving you time to save up a few extra $$ if necesarry.

- Mikko
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Old July 29th, 2007, 05:08 PM   #11
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so the difference is about 1650 for the smooth shooter and glidecam 4000 up to 10lbs or the indiecam at 1950 with pilot sled, up to 11lbs, or an upgrade to 14lbs for 2190

I was curious which is better I would prefer to be able to use an xlh1 in the future even though mainly this will be an xha1 or even a hv20 which is overkill but will be possibly used for b roll on occassion.

But for the xlh1 do I need the upgraded arm to 14lbs? and is the price of 2190 for everything I would need to ,mount a xha1 on the system, sled and arm/vest? or is that just an upgraded arm?
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Old July 29th, 2007, 05:15 PM   #12
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Also, don't discard Steadicam entirely just yet.

The Steadicam Pilot is by far the best rig for the size of cameras that you are looking at. It is more than the SS and the Ind!cam, but not *that* much more expensive. It's generally recomended that you buy the best rig you can afford if you are serious about Steadicam. If you can stretch a little to the pilot, it will be well worth it in the long-run.

Of course, the Pilot isn't shipping yet, so it's neither available, nor is it's street price finalized. But it should ship pretty soon I think. (Giving you time to save up a few extra $$ if necesarry.

- Mikko
OK so how much more is the steadicam pilot estimated to be for a complete setup, sled and arm/vest? and when is it shipping, its not a saving up time I am looking to buy as soon as possible for shooting training dvds now through september and beyond.

I see your shooting with a steadicam thats costs over 29,000 I am not deluding myself into thinking I will get the same level of quaility from a 2,000 unit as a 30,000 unit, I am also not making anything that warrants that expense at least not yet. So what will be decent for getting smoother footage at a lower pricepoint? so far the smoothshooter and more likely the indiecam look to be it, do they produce decent results for video or not worth it is the question.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 10:38 PM   #13
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Well I seem to think the indicam looks a bit better with the dual arm, but I may go with the smoothshooter simply because I can pick it up at BH and if it does not work its returnable relatively easily, so I can try to load it up with an XHL1 firestore and radio and see, even though I will mainly be using it for an XHA1 with firestore, and maybe led light.

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Old July 30th, 2007, 01:08 AM   #14
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Something to remember, and those of us who are battle-weary practitioners of the flying camera arts sound like a broken record on this point (broken CD? broken MP3? need to update reference here): all of these things require plenty of practice, none of them will "work" that well out of the box in the sense that it is a brand new skill. So it's a bit hard to judge how well one arm works over another if you are new to gimballed stabilizers. However, if you've done plenty of time on a handheld rig, it's a relatively quick adjustment to get used to an added arm/vest combo.
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Old July 30th, 2007, 02:50 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Something to remember, and those of us who are battle-weary practitioners of the flying camera arts sound like a broken record on this point (broken CD? broken MP3? need to update reference here): all of these things require plenty of practice, none of them will "work" that well out of the box in the sense that it is a brand new skill. So it's a bit hard to judge how well one arm works over another if you are new to gimballed stabilizers. However, if you've done plenty of time on a handheld rig, it's a relatively quick adjustment to get used to an added arm/vest combo.
Thanks for that advice Charles.
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