Glidecam V-16 And Similar Vest and Arm Stabilizers for Weddings at

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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old August 19th, 2003, 11:59 PM   #1
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Glidecam V-16 And Similar Vest and Arm Stabilizers for Weddings

Last month a videographer by the name of BJ Thomas
mentioned that he uses a Glidecam V-16 in his wedding business.
I was wondering if BJ -- or anyone else who uses this full-body type of stabilizer -- could relate the situations they use it in and, additionally, how it goes over with B&G and guests.
Does it, as BJ mentioned, *really* help to get more gigs by giving
a more "professional" appearance than the competition?
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Old August 20th, 2003, 04:30 AM   #2
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Hey Dave,

I use the glidecam v-16 during preshots and sometimes at the reception if the B&G is ok with it. I never use it during wedding ceremony because the focus would be on me instead of bride and groom. I do use a cobracrane at wedding and that usually impress the guests. Learning to use the glidecam v-16 takes some time and if you are not physical fit, better get in shape. When I first got it , I lasted about 5 minutes on it so if you are sure that you won't be upgrading to a bigger camera I would stick with v-8 for canon xl1s or smaller camera. I can now last about an hour but it feels like I ran a marathon. When using glidecam I always have a backup shooter taping also. The bride and groom when they see the finished product and the special shots, they love it. Its all on how you use it in the video.

I feel that I look like robocop at the reception but it gets people attention and they see something that most other videographers don't use. Lots of people come up to us and ask us what the glidecam is and usually also ask us for business cards. Now this is a form of advertisment for us and it gets people interested in what we offer (so far we have not advertised at all).

Now it does no good to have all these equipment and not improve on every aspect of your video shooting. So a good demo is the final selling point. I watched a wedding we did 2 years ago and a wedding that we did 1 month ago and I will have to say we have improved so much that it is easier to close a deal now then before. Lot of the improvements could not have been achieved unless we bought additional equipment.



Many of the glidecam shots are used in intros of the bride and groom put to music and we also do mtv cribs types of shot on the bride and groom. Effect is a sped up shot of camera coming onto bride and groom and then slows down and turns around them.
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Old August 20th, 2003, 05:40 AM   #3
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Thanks BJ for responding. (I had hoped you would.)
A few questions.
What percentage of receptions do you use the Glidecam at?
(Do some B&G *not* want you to use the Glidecam?)
Do you think the V-8 is just as good as the V-16 if the cam is within the specified weight limits?
Do you feel that the "look" of you using the Glidecam *really*
contributes to you getting more bookings?
Are any of your competitors using this type of device?
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Old August 20th, 2003, 12:19 PM   #4
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GLidecam v-16 is used only at receptions where there are lots of room to move around. In tightly spaced reception we use the glidecam 2000 pro with body pod and arm brace and a smaller camera such as gl2. One of my camera operator is an expert at using the glidecam 2000 so he is usually on it most of the reception. I tried the glidecam 2000 but for me it is harder to get the same effect that you can with the v-16 but it is possible.

The glidecam 2000 we use almost 100 percent of the reception. The glidecam v-16 , I use about 20 to 40 percent of the reception. Example of the time I use it is during introduction of bridal party, I have one camera operator shoot on tripod or on a glidecam 2000 and I am usually on the glidecam v-16. When they are walking to their table, I get really smooth shots. I sometimes use it during cake cutting and also during dance if space allows for it. One place that we use it most is at the preshots of the reception.

I haven't had any bride or groom complain or not want me to use the glidecam. You have to use your judgement on when to use it. Also I had the v-16 for about 4 months now and I been including it my package for free. Now that I know how to use it and have good demo clips to show bride and groom, I will use it as an option that they must pay for. In one of the demo, we show all the different type of equipments that we use so the B&G can see what it will looks like in action and decide if they want it or not.

I feel that the glidecam, multiple xl1s, cobracrane etc gives us a more professional look which attracts people to us. It never gives us booking, but it leads to the path for more booking. Booking is done with the demos. There was another wedding company here that had many professional looking equipments but their end product was bad so it didn't do them any good to have all those equipments. You need creative and artistic editing capability to hold an audience. The items that we purchased allows us to be more creative and the end product reflects that

I have not seen any competitiors use the v-16 in texas but have seen them use the 2000 and 4000. Out of state, there are a few videographers that use v-8 and v-16.
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Old August 21st, 2003, 12:02 AM   #5
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Hi BJ,
Thanks alot for the detailed replies.
I hear so much that the set up of these devices is long and
that it takes alot of practice to get good shots. I was wondering:
How long *really* do you have to practice with it till you get level, smooth shots? And how much is the extra charge now to the brides for bringing the Glidecam?

P.S. I live far from Texas :-)
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Old August 21st, 2003, 01:32 AM   #6
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It took me about month to get use to it and about 3 month to build up endurance for it. I got the glidecam against my wife's wish so when I first got it and lasted only 5 minutes I was like omg my wife is gonna kill me if I can't use this. So I made up my mind that I will learn it even if it kills me and I now I love it. It gives me a great work out.

THe glidecam came unassembled and there was a manual that came with it but I had a hard time figuring out how to put it together because it lacked detailed photos. With the help of another videographer I was able to put it together. One extra thing you should buy is a light stand. I bought the Avenger black stand from b&h and it makes adjusting the glidecam so much easier. I usually adjust the glidecam with the camera at home and mark my setting so when I get to a wedding I can put the camera on and usually don't have to tweak anything. Right now I am able to put on everything in under 5 minutes by myself.

You have to practice a bit to get the ultra smooth shots but you can get result from the first time you put it on. If you can, go to training class for glidecam because right now I am learning a lot from trial and error and waiting for someone to put together a training video. I might actually take the class to perfect my technique in the future.

I am putting together a package deal on the glidecam and if B&G choose not pick a package deal, they can add the glidecam for $400 more. As my technique improves the price will go up.

Also the v-8, I believe is almost identical to the v-16 but you can't use heavier cameras. I had to add extra weight to the Xl1s on the v-16, the extra weight comes with v-16 package. Also the v-8 might be more useful because it is smaller compared to the v-16 for weddings and tight rooms.
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Old August 21st, 2003, 06:55 AM   #7
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Thanks BJ,
Does your company have a website?

P.S. I'd like to pass along to you the following article. It is
from a WEVA mag. The author describes some good shots
he got with a steadicam. Maybe, BJ, you can use some of
his ideas.

Here it is:
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Old August 21st, 2003, 12:50 PM   #8
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Working on website. Once it is up. I will send you link plus it will have demos. Thanks for the link.
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Old August 29th, 2003, 05:16 PM   #9
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Hi Dave,

I've got a V16, just upgraded from a V8. I recently bought a DSR-390 camera and the V8 just couldn't handle the weight, but I do have experience of both so hopefully I'll be able to help.

The main differences are the arm on the V16 is much bigger and heavier to support the extra weight of heavier camera, it is a 2 spring single section arm, as opposed to one spring single section in the V8. Both arms work in the same way and both are very smooth. One thing to note, the heavier the camera the smoother the shots will be, this is due to the inertia of the rig, with the V8 it has a 9lb sweet spot, so if you're camera is 2 lbs you need to add 7lbs of weight to the top of the rig to make it work properly. All weights are supplied by glidecam.

The sled is quite different, again the V16 is much bigger and beefier, it also has a moveable gimbal whereas the V8's is fixed. The V16's gimbal also appears to me to be smoother than the V8.

I can say that I should have bought the V16 in the first place, buying the bigger rig gives you room for growth, 6 months ago I didn't think I wouldn't have a heavy camera this then funds became available and there you go big heavy camera and a glidecam that was not designed for the weight.

As BJ said, alot of practice is required to get good with these things, be prepared for back pain too. I hope that helped.

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