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Old April 19th, 2012, 04:55 PM   #31
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Re: Glidecam/Steadycam Question

Sorry everyone. My posts are only pertaining to the Glidecam (it has a large/bulky adjustable assembly).
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Old April 19th, 2012, 05:09 PM   #32
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Re: Glidecam/Steadycam Question

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My post is specific to the Glidecam. I posted a picture of a Glidecam. I used the word "Glidecam."
And I used the word blackbird and you called it a glidecam in your following post, also your pictures only shows a part of a vertical rod with a quickrelease adapter on top of it, I at least can't see a glidecam in that, I only asked because glidecam is often used a a general word for anything that floats. :)

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I think there's a good chance that if I had your glidecam in front of me I could prove to you it's not 'perfectly' balanced side to side.
Pls explain, my blackbird has 2 levels (with these airbubbels inside) for vertical and horizontal controll, if both bubbels are in the centre then it means the blackbird is perfectly balanced, what more can you "prove" here?

Quote:
My posts are only pertaining to the Glidecam
you also assured, in my case with my 550d/blackbird, that any weight imbalance from one lens to the next is front to back, not side to side and I have proven that statement is not correct, so now you say that statement only applies to a glidecam?
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Old April 20th, 2012, 06:34 AM   #33
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Re: Glidecam/Steadycam Question

The geometry of balancing a Steadicam/Glidecam is far more complicated than simply balancing it left/right then balancing it fore/aft as the very act of balancing on one axis will take off-balance in the other. That is why people are forever twiddling with the adjusters in between each shot because basically it's never perfect just approximately so until some tiny thing upsets the balance again.
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Old April 20th, 2012, 06:55 AM   #34
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Re: Glidecam/Steadycam Question

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basically it's never perfect just approximately so until some tiny thing upsets the balance again.
Like when the camera gets heavier on one side as the card fills up? ;)

All joking aside, I would be interested to learn what exactly you do to get your glidecam balanced like it should, untill now you just talked about swapping lenzes and doing front to back adjustments only without even mentioning droptime as that also get's affected. What else do you do to balance your glidecam so it never loses side to side balance again, even when swapping lighter with heavier lenzes?
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Old April 20th, 2012, 07:17 AM   #35
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Re: Glidecam/Steadycam Question

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Originally Posted by Craig Terott View Post
I am curious Buba, is your Glidecam balanced so the lens is at a slight downward angle?
i used to be a "sinner" in that matter, but as soon as I discovered importance of dynamic balance all my rigs are balanced properly
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Old April 20th, 2012, 09:55 AM   #36
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Re: Glidecam/Steadycam Question

Aligning a camera on any given axis EXACTLY so that you don't need to rebalance side to side is impossible. Joe Simon probably created that illusion by setting up the rig very bottom heavy.
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Old April 20th, 2012, 11:32 AM   #37
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Re: Glidecam/Steadycam Question

Theoretically it could be possible to get away without side to side balance if everything is truly square on the rig. In reality, EVERY rig has a certain amount of play and "gremlins" that will require one to fine-tune to achieve perfect balance. The Glidecams are no exception; in fact they are known to have non-linear gimbals which cause the rig to lean one way or another when you rotate the rig 90 degrees.

Over my 25 years in the saddle I owned something like seven rigs, starting with Model 1 pictured below (damn, was I young) which didn't have side-to-side adjustment--you swung the battery on the sled left and right on a pivot--up to the latest and greatest. Every single one required trimming even when nothing had been altered on the sled. The classic ritual of a Steadicam operator before a shot is twiddling the knobs; it's a given. I got to the point where I would do it while walking from the dock to my first mark, even after lens changes where I'd have to adjust the gimbal, check drop time and tweak the top stage, right up to the slate coming in.

My experience is far more limited with the smaller handheld rigs like the Merlin, Glidecam and Blackbird but I've certain played with them enough to know that they are even more critical to the nuance of balance. I long berated the Glidecam guys at trade shows about their coarse stage adjustments; eventually they incorporated the screw mechanism to allow finer tuning. So the "problem solved" suggestion from Craig regarding a slotted stage wouldn't be a solution I'd recommend to anyone--needing to nudge the camera a millimeter while fussing with all that would get old really quick.

Craig: bottom line is that if it works for you, cheers and congratulations. I'm concerned about others who might jump on this train and find themselves with crippled rigs with no resale possibilities and limitations in functionability. I would suggest that anyone considering this mod analyze whether they EVER find themselves trimming side-to-side during the course of a shoot--if the answer is "no" (again--for me, unfathomable), have at it and report back how it's going for you.
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Old July 26th, 2012, 06:24 AM   #38
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Re: Glidecam/Steadycam Question

OK, I am going to have to revise my opinion a little here. The other day I tried using a colleague's Glidecam that had been hacked in this way so that the only adjustment was fore/aft on a Manfrotto quick release plate & it was actually pretty usable. I wouldn't say that it balanced perfectly & he also fiddled about with the large washers that are the weights as a means of correcting lateral balance. However it was relatively easy given the light weight & the fact that it was just being use for floaty effects shots to guide it with the left hand so that the bad balance didn't matter too much.
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Old July 26th, 2012, 08:39 AM   #39
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Re: Glidecam/Steadycam Question

You Guys MUST be good.

My rig is balanced fore and aft and left and right and is also tweaked during the shoot too!! I'd hate to have to fight a rig that wanted to lean to the left or the right (or tilt up or down) The whole idea is that one hand is on the handle (in my case the handle at the end of the spring arm as I use a vest) and the other uses just 3 fingers to not adjust any imbalance but simply control the rotation and tilt. I can go hands free at anytime and the sled simply sits where it is..that's the whole idea. I do agree that you CAN load the bottom stage and that will offset a lot of balance problems but then your drop time is less than a second so the whole concept is spoilt....you need balance on both axis plus a drop time of at least 2.5 - 3.0 seconds. If it's any more than that then you might as well buy/make the "poor man's stedicam" which is a piece of galv water pipe with a weight underneath, cam mount on top and a "T" piece to hold..it will do the same job as an unbalanced or overweighted pro rig and be a lot cheaper

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Old July 26th, 2012, 10:47 AM   #40
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Re: Glidecam/Steadycam Question

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Originally Posted by Craig Terott View Post
I have no need to ever trim in side-to-side direction. The release is positioned so that the cam is perfectly balanced side-to-side. A different lens requires front to back adjustment only, which I do on the fly because there's enough play/slack for the release plate positioning within the release.
This will only work if the CG of the camera happens to be exactly at the center line of the lens. In my experience this is not true for most DSLR's. If it is not, changing lenses will change the actual side to side CG of your setup. A bigger affect will be seen in the dynamic balance of the rig. Which brings up something, you all are dynamically balancing your rigs and not just achieving static balance right?
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Old July 26th, 2012, 01:21 PM   #41
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Re: Glidecam/Steadycam Question

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Originally Posted by Ben McElroy View Post
Just curious what others are doing in respect to glidecam/steadycam for weddings. We own one glidecam 4000 but hardly use it. We're anticipating a great wedding season with lots of opportunity to use it.

However, what is your workflow? I just ordered a quick release plate for the top of ours so we can detach from Satchler tripods and mount to the glide camera seamlessly. Sachtler Sandwich Touch and Go Adapter with Wedge Plate 1091 B&H

Do people recommend full blown suites?

Thanks!
How many shooters are you at weddings?

I generally use my steadicam during processional, recessional, reception introduction, dances and/or any activity that is dynamic and involves a lot of movement. But I would only do it if I had at least another shooter to cover other angles with a monopod

There are many tricks and movements you can perform with the steadicam to add significant production value to your piece.

The most important thing to practice is knowing how to balance your rig properly. I find it much more important than actually flying the rig.

I've owned and used 4 different models: Glidecam 2000 pro, Glidecam hd4000 + X10, Steadicam Merlin & Steadicam Pilot

The Steadicam Pilot is by far my favorite rig to fly a dSLR on. The non-reactive iso-elastic arm really helps you get smoother vertical movement if you wish to get more creative than the usual follow or wrap-around shot. The fact that it allows you to add front & rear weight at the top to makes dynamic balance much easier. The only 2 things that is a bit less interesting is the fact that the bottom of the sled is not flat and that the handle is curved, which is not ideal if you only want to grab it and go for a quick flight. However, the vest is very sleek so I wouldn't mind wearing it for a long period of time (if it wasn't because of the hot summer weather)

My next favorite of the list is the Glidecam HD4000. I love how the sled can be easily flown without a vest and how the bottom is flat so you can easily put it on the floor and pick it up at any time for a quick flight. I wouldn't really recommend the X-10 Arm & Vest, unless you're planning on flying your glidecam for a considerate amount of time. However, the arm tends to fight back when moved up or down from its neutral position, which doesn't give you as smooth a movement as the pilot would.
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