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


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Old March 23rd, 2009, 12:52 PM   #1
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Help for quick decision, X10 Upgrade or Glide Track

I have to make a quick decision and I was wondering if I could get some experience help with it.

We have a smooth shooter we want to upgrade to dual arm (x10) but we also want two glide tracks as well. Eventually we will have both the upgrade and the glide tracks but for now I have to make a quick decision on which way I should go in the short term. I'm leaning toward the upgrade myself.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Cheers!!

GMan
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 04:19 PM   #2
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I also have a Smooth Shooter, however I wouldn't spend any extra money to upgrade it. I feel the Smooth Shooter is a bad design, try tilting the camera up from a low angle, the "handle" makes this basic shot impossible! Motion dampening sucks. If I was in your shoes I'd buy the two Glide Track's and save for a Steadicam Pilot, I feel that the X10 is just another way to throw money down the toilet to improve a bad design to begin with, in the end it costs almost as much as a Steadicam Pilot with zero of the benefits.
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 04:46 PM   #3
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Hi have to disagree. I have seen unbelievable shots taken with the smooth shooter, it is just how well you master it. Bruce Patterson from Cloud Nine uses one and has great presence, Glen Elliott is another, and Stillmotion uses the glidecam as well. It is a tool and first must practice, practice, practice before the great shots come. Gino, seeing how you use the glidecam for the majority of the time, the extra arm will be beneficial. The glidetrack is another great tool but will only allow you a few creative shots before they become repetitive. If you plan on getting both, I would ask yourself which will be used more and go that way and add the other later. Just my opinion though. I found the smooth shooter to be a good tool, you just really need to practice, and the double arm will help with the smoothness.
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 07:48 PM   #4
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I agree with Nicholas. Sure, the Glidecam works great, I used to own a Glidecam Smooth Shooter (its actually for sale in the classifieds now... hint hint ;) ), anyway, it is a very bad design. Practice will make some nice shots, but you're very limited because of its design. For one you can't dynamically balance it, or at least I couldn't with mine, and I spent many hours trying, also, the vest/arm connection is terrible with no adjustments. The way I wore the vest and with my posture, the Glidecam always flew away from me with no control if I let go of it. Plus like Nicholas said, low shots were horrible, the handle on the Glidecam was not designed for shots like that and its very uncomfortable.

The Steadicam Pilot on the other hand is worth every penny. I was able to get my rig dynamically balanced within 2 hours, and now I can unpack it from its case and get it 99% balanced in about 30 min or less. Also, the vest, socket, and arm are fully adjustable, and what I like the most is I can adjust the arm even while shooting without any tools at all. For me the Steadicam Pilot was worth everything and then some. Its more comfortable to wear, easier to adjust, and just feels more expensive :)

The GlideTrack though is a very interesting concept indeed, and I actually might get one or two of those also. Definitely look into the Glidetrack first, because if you already have a Smooth Shooter, I'd wait and save for the Pilot later because you can go ahead and reap the benefits of the GlideTrack and keep shooting with your Glidecam without spending too much extra $$$. But as far as the X10, I'd wait and save for the Pilot, I think you'll be very pleased... I know I am.
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 10:43 PM   #5
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Try to keep in mind that Gino lives in Canada and an upgrade is about $1000 where as the pilot will run him upwards of $5500cdn. Not exactly chump change for someone who already has the smoothshooter.
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Old March 24th, 2009, 04:23 AM   #6
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Hello Fellas,

Thanks for sharing. I realize the steadicam is a beautiful piece of equipment. I've been a fan of the originator Garrett Brown since Star Wars ROTJ (way back when I first saw it in theatres). I wanted it so bad when we first started but I was on budget and had to go with the Glidecam as a starter. I will have one some day soon. The upgrade adds the vest arm adjustment although not as elegant as the the steadicam's. People have said that the second arm upgrade to the SS makes a night and day difference so the 1000 bucks may be worth it for me.


Jason

Didn't you end up going with the steadicam?
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Old March 24th, 2009, 08:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Bowers View Post
Hi have to disagree. I have seen unbelievable shots taken with the smooth shooter, it is just how well you master it. Bruce Patterson from Cloud Nine uses one and has great presence, Glen Elliott is another, and Stillmotion uses the glidecam as well. It is a tool and first must practice, practice, practice before the great shots come. Gino, seeing how you use the glidecam for the majority of the time, the extra arm will be beneficial. The glidetrack is another great tool but will only allow you a few creative shots before they become repetitive. If you plan on getting both, I would ask yourself which will be used more and go that way and add the other later. Just my opinion though. I found the smooth shooter to be a good tool, you just really need to practice, and the double arm will help with the smoothness.
I know for a fact that Stillmotion uses a Steadicam. The Smooth Shooter is by no means useless, there are some things no amount of practicing will help for though, there are design flaws in the Smooth Shooter. I've had my rig for three years now and use it daily, I still can't afford a Steadicam Pilot myself, the day that I can I'm selling my Smooth Shooter it's definitely a good starting point for anyone, I'm just not sure it's worth the extra money.

Needless to say if you are "not" going to get a Steadicam Pilot the X10 will be a great improvement.
Nick said it all very nicely IMO.
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Old March 24th, 2009, 09:36 AM   #8
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Hi Gino,
I do use the steadicam flyer. I started out with the smooth shooter though and was very happy with my results. Stillmotion shoots with a flyer, pilot, 2 glidecams, and Konrad has the smooth shooter as well. After working with Stillmotion on a shoot and being around Patrick, he convinced me to make the switch as it would enhance the possibilities. I was excited, my wife, not so much :) I had the extra income though and stumbled upon Casey's from mindcastle, so it was used. After that job I had no extra income. It really depends on where you are at. If you have the $5500 pick up the pilot, it is a great piece of equipment, but for under that price you can get 2 glidetrack, and the upgrade and still have extra money to save. In your earlier thread you mentioned that the phone wasn't ringing that much, so in this tough time right now it depends on really on how much you want to drop and how quickly the return on investment is. Either way, Steadicam or X10 I am sure you will be happy with both results.
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Old March 24th, 2009, 10:45 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Bowers View Post
Hi Gino,
I do use the steadicam flyer. I started out with the smooth shooter though and was very happy with my results. Stillmotion shoots with a flyer, pilot, 2 glidecams, and Konrad has the smooth shooter as well. After working with Stillmotion on a shoot and being around Patrick, he convinced me to make the switch as it would enhance the possibilities. I was excited, my wife, not so much :) I had the extra income though and stumbled upon Casey's from mindcastle, so it was used. After that job I had no extra income. It really depends on where you are at. If you have the $5500 pick up the pilot, it is a great piece of equipment, but for under that price you can get 2 glidetrack, and the upgrade and still have extra money to save. In your earlier thread you mentioned that the phone wasn't ringing that much, so in this tough time right now it depends on really on how much you want to drop and how quickly the return on investment is. Either way, Steadicam or X10 I am sure you will be happy with both results.

Hello Jason, thanks for replying. I would really welcome the opportunity one day to get together and really take a close look at the steadicam as I have never had the opportunity to see one in person.

As far as the phone, I didn't mean to saying that exactly. I was refering to trying to enhance the buisness model and attracting more calls in the disire to increase demand for wedding films in general. I have actually booked up 2009 back in November and had to turn away about 4 brides to date and I'm about 1/4 booked for 2010 and have already turned away one bride because of the conflicting date. So I am pleased with the bookings. Many of the new brides come to us by word of mouth or are family and freinds of former clients. Therefore our reasoning is that if we can increase awareness in our product with a bigger call ratio we can perhaps drive prices up a bit closer to industry standards. At least my confidence level would be bolstered and I would be less reluctant to increase prices.

As you know everything in our area seams to be in its own unique bubble and increasing awarness is sometimes an uphill battle. There are so many brides that tick off "no Videographer" when they visit the wedding shows that if they actually were to experiece the current state of wedding films they would think twice about their initial decision. Other brides would realize how important quality wedding films are and be willing to devote more resources towards it. I truly believe we would all share in that.

That being said I still have a large business loan to pay down and with the poor state of the economy I'm really not willing to fork out over 5 grand right now. Thus for me reasonable expenditures and upgrades are my current coarse.

There I go again, sorry to go off topic.

Thanks again Jason
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Old April 18th, 2009, 05:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Bowers View Post
Hi have to disagree. I have seen unbelievable shots taken with the smooth shooter, it is just how well you master it. Bruce Patterson from Cloud Nine uses one and has great presence, Glen Elliott is another, and Stillmotion uses the glidecam as well. It is a tool and first must practice, practice, practice before the great shots come. Gino, seeing how you use the glidecam for the majority of the time, the extra arm will be beneficial. The glidetrack is another great tool but will only allow you a few creative shots before they become repetitive. If you plan on getting both, I would ask yourself which will be used more and go that way and add the other later. Just my opinion though. I found the smooth shooter to be a good tool, you just really need to practice, and the double arm will help with the smoothness.
Maybe someone else points this out but.. I know for a fact Glen doesn't use the smooth shooter.. just the handheld glidecam 4000. Stillmotion doesn't use the Smooth shooter either, they use Steadicam Pilots and Flyers. Many of the shots Stillmotion pulls off can't be done with the smooth shooter.

EDIT: Just read that you said Konrad has a smooth shooter.. still, I'll bet 95% of the footage we see from them is with a flyer or pilot...
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Old July 11th, 2009, 01:35 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Scott Shama View Post
Maybe someone else points this out but.. I know for a fact Glen doesn't use the smooth shooter.. just the handheld glidecam 4000. Stillmotion doesn't use the Smooth shooter either, they use Steadicam Pilots and Flyers. Many of the shots Stillmotion pulls off can't be done with the smooth shooter.

EDIT: Just read that you said Konrad has a smooth shooter.. still, I'll bet 95% of the footage we see from them is with a flyer or pilot...
You can upgrade the Glidecam Smooth Shooter to the X-10 arm and I'd HIGHLY recommend doing that. It's an approximate price of $850 if you already have the smooth shooter and gives you the look and feel very similar to the Pilot or Flyer. Having that extra spring-loaded arm makes a huge difference and you can do some amazing things with it!
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Old July 11th, 2009, 02:12 AM   #12
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Hey Bruce,

You know I love your work and respect your opinion greatly but I have to disagree completely... Having now owned both systems (the x10 and the Pilot) the X10 doesn't even compare for me in terms of usability and build quality. The x10s arm is huge and makes you feel like robocop whereas the pilot makes you feel like a stealth ninja with an elegant mechanical arm... Not to mention the parka that glidecam calls a vest... Just my 2 cents though.. To me the pilot is easily worth the extra $1k.

Cheers,
Scott
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Old July 11th, 2009, 02:31 AM   #13
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LOL... robocop.. sorry.. i had to laugh.. I suddenly imagined robocop with mechanical hand containing 5D mark II on its left hand and XH-A1 on his right hand..

better yet.. he pulled out shotgun mic off his chest! and then he says...

"PLEASE STAND STILL.. YOU ARE BEING FILMED........."

"...."

"SMILE......"
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