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


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Old December 15th, 2011, 02:23 PM   #1
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Single shooters using glidecam/glidetrack/etc.

I've been filming weddings about 7 years now, and only a couple of those have been with two shooters. So I'm fairly comfortable with filming by myself (hey, no matter how many you shoot, the heart still gets racing sometimes!). I own a merlin steadicam and a glidetrack, but never find myself getting to use them often. I've tried thinking of things that would make their use quicker, so as using quick release plates for everything, but with run and gun, if you want to have your tripod and your glidecam or glidetrack, it becomes a lot to carry! Just wondered if there were any suggestions for finding the time to use these tools more often. Mostly I find myself using them to get venue and detail shots before the ceremony, and maybe a little during downtime of the reception, but it's rare that I'd use either during a "big moment", although I'd like to. I film with 3 Canon DSLRs, so it would be fairly simple for me to switch lenses on the go if needed.
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Old December 15th, 2011, 11:17 PM   #2
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Re: Single shooters using glidecam/glidetrack/etc.

Michael, your question is a really good one. I'm a single shooter also, and run three, usually four cameras by myself too.

I've considered getting a stabilizer and/or slider but the very question you pose is why I haven't made the move to do so: when do I have time to use it?

Just kicking this around, but with my one-track type of mind, I would likely do best to have one camera devoted to the stablizer only, and for nothing else. It would seem that would be the simplest approach, at least as I see it. Get to the church, set up my cameras, put the stabilizer cam on the stabilizer, get my detail shots, then put it on the stabilizer stand, until an opportunity during the ceremony to use it again. Then I only have to pick it up, get the shots I want with it while the other camera cover everything with static shots, then quickly put it back on the stand and resume tending to the other cameras.

Since most of my ceremonies are full catholic masses, there would be opportunities to do the above. I'd probably try the same thing at the reception: have the stabilizer on a stand ready to grab at a moment's notice.

Just a thought, not sure how effective the above would be, but it sounds good.

I agree it can be t is certainly more challenging to be creative when you're alone and under the gun, it's really tough at times.

Last edited by Jeff Harper; December 16th, 2011 at 08:05 AM.
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Old December 16th, 2011, 02:05 AM   #3
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Re: Single shooters using glidecam/glidetrack/etc.

Hi guys - the reason I haven't yet gone down this route (and i've mulled it over) is that working alone it's just so much kit to carry around (I always use 2, sometimes 3 cameras anyway) and I worry about being able to respond to events quickly with so much gear to lug around - I can still manage to film the bridal party setting off from the church AND arriving at the reception venue (a quiet word with the driver) but with even more kit to sort out it would be an issue.

A bit off topic but the best move I've ever made is to stop using a tripod and start using the Manfrotto 561BHDV-1 for everything but the speeches (they do go on a bit) - it's freed me up so much and shots are just as rock steady

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Old December 16th, 2011, 05:42 AM   #4
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Re: Single shooters using glidecam/glidetrack/etc.

I actually just bought the Manfrotto 561BHDV-1 last week and love it. Only thing I wish it had were a locking mechanism, so that with a small dslr/lens it could stand upright without fear of falling. (I know it can stand, but I never feel very safe that it's going to stay in one place!)
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Old December 16th, 2011, 07:25 AM   #5
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Re: Single shooters using glidecam/glidetrack/etc.

Two guys that I regularly shoot with each use a Glidecam 2000 when shooting weddings singlehanded. One uses a Sony Z1 & the other a Canon 5DII. My wife has edited full weddings that they have done singlehanded & the relatively short shots done with the Glidecam work really well. These aren't classic Steadicam walking backwards down the aisle keeping the B&G perfectly framed type shots but more swoops & floating shots. Just a few seconds of floaty footage is all that is required.

The last big wedding we did my colleague forgot to pack his monopod so used his Glidecam & 5DII extensively where normally he would use a monopod. The results were very good but he is by now pretty experienced using the Glidecam.

Last edited by Nigel Barker; December 16th, 2011 at 10:06 AM.
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Old December 16th, 2011, 08:08 AM   #6
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Re: Single shooters using glidecam/glidetrack/etc.

Michael, I saw a Manfrotto monopod somewhere recently that actully had little legs that do support it, but I forget where. I'm not talking about the 561, but a completely different one. I just went to their site and cannot find it. It might be a discontinued model.

Edit: I found it: http://www.amazon.com/Bogen-3231-Professional-Monopod-Deatchable/dp/B00007E7IL
Reviews are mixed, and it appears to be discontinued. From what I read it's heavy and some complain the legs are a pain to deal with, but it sure looks good on paper.
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Old December 16th, 2011, 11:19 AM   #7
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Re: Single shooters using glidecam/glidetrack/etc.

It used to be the Bogen 682B and having had one for a good number of years it can be a PITA to set up and use. I do still use it but have given up on the legs and use a crutch tip on it now. I had to split the neck of the tip and then none to gently place it on the lower leg of the monopod, then tape it. Lots of tape. I like the crutch tip as it gives a wider base when on the floor.
when I was big on using the legs I found that the thing swayed a lot and even holding it gently could cause some sway and unless you had a tripod head on it which I did for a while and the pan was really loose if you did pan the legs would come loose. the other thing was that if the legs were folded into the lower shaft they rattled around and made noise so I got to running a single piece of tape arpund them and that helped a lot. Yep, it is kind of heavy for a monopod but when I needed to have some sort of support other than the tripod or Multirig then it worked OK as long as you knew the limitations and worked within them,
I still carry it and use every once in a while.
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Old December 16th, 2011, 10:09 PM   #8
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Re: Single shooters using glidecam/glidetrack/etc.

Michael,

This is a great topic for solo shooters and I agree that as a solo shooter myself, I want to have all of the tools at my fingertips incase I need them. I hate carrying extra cases so I knew that I was going to go with a backpack. My solution is in this photo. The Merlin folds which is the main reason why I got it but It folds nicely to fit in the side of a back pack as well. As far as the Glidetrak goes, I "hacked my track" to 1 foot. Smaller slides but WAY more transportable. It takes me 7 seconds to get my camera from my Merlin to a glidetrack, sometimes less.
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Old December 17th, 2011, 02:35 AM   #9
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Re: Single shooters using glidecam/glidetrack/etc.

A Manfrotto 577 quick release base plate on everything (tripod, glidetrack, monopod, Glidecam etc) is the other essential for rapid changes..
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Old December 19th, 2011, 07:54 AM   #10
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Re: Single shooters using glidecam/glidetrack/etc.

I'm a solo shooter as well. I put off getting any kind of slider for a while because I just couldn't see myself taking the time to use it.

A couple months ago, I found a small, inexpensive, used slider on the classifieds here, so I went for it.

I'm very glad I did. I've started to build in a little more time for the slider shots before the ceremony and before the reception. I use them for detail/establishing shots, and it really raises the overall quality of the video. The problem I see with most people who use sliders is that they use them way too much, devaluing the overall impact of the shots. I'm using a handful of slider shots in my videos, and it's turning out really well.

It's not a problem at all to carry around -- it's 24" and very light, and mounts quickly and easily to any of my tripods.
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Old December 19th, 2011, 11:57 AM   #11
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Re: Single shooters using glidecam/glidetrack/etc.

Corey, thanks a lot for sharing your experience with your slider. It is the accessory I most want for next season.
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Old December 20th, 2011, 02:42 AM   #12
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Re: Single shooters using glidecam/glidetrack/etc.

Jeff, the new MobiSlyder looks perfect for the GH2. Good value too.

Mobislyder with Panasonic GH2 - YouTube
http://www.glidetrack.com/mobislyder/mobislyder-1.html
Mobislyder - YouTube
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Old December 20th, 2011, 03:16 AM   #13
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Re: Single shooters using glidecam/glidetrack/etc.

Thanks kindly for the link Nigel. Very cool device. I'm going to be using a XA10 also on this slider at times. I especially appreciate the link cause Glidetrack has other sliders, longer, that I would like also. I'm not sure of the length I want, but I'm thinking 24".
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Old December 21st, 2011, 12:43 PM   #14
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Re: Single shooters using glidecam/glidetrack/etc.

Jeff and others

I picked up the Glidetrack 30" SD model a year ago and I use it far more than my Glidecam. I keep a manfrotto 701 head mounted on it all the time and then throw it on top of my sticks with a 503 head. That way it is quick and easy to use it. I have quick release plates on everything. I use it a lot for corporate stuff, short films, and real estate as well. My only complaint with the GT, is that is does tend to bind sometimes, so you do need to hold the camera/head a little differently. This means that you sometimes have to repeat a move. GT have been talking about a carriage upgrade with bearings for awhile now.

Because of the potential for binding (which causes a judder, or vibration) I use it during the non-critical wedding stuff mostly. Photo shoot, reception, prep.

My Glidecam gets little use as it is a pain to balance when you swap out lenses when you're solo. And if they're not balanced right, they don't work right.

In fact I just looked at my most recent wedding demo, and there was quite a bit of Glidetrack and NO glidecam. I generally only shoot a few weddings a year. Love Stories On Film
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Old December 21st, 2011, 01:11 PM   #15
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Re: Single shooters using glidecam/glidetrack/etc.

Thanks to all for the replies. I guess maybe I need to revisit using my 24" glidetrack on a manfrotto head. I tried a couple times a long time ago, but on one tripod (I usually don't have time to set up two tripods at equal height most of the time), it seems like there would be some shake or movement, as the glidetrack would lean to one side when the camera wasn't in the middle.
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