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


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Old April 5th, 2012, 10:02 PM   #1
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Glidecam/Steadycam Question

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!
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Old April 5th, 2012, 10:27 PM   #2
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Re: Glidecam/Steadycam Question

I have a glidecam HD-4000 but havent really used it yet, was meaning to mount a EOS 7D just for flying at particular moments but so far havent deployed it, Probably need a vest system for it because it gets heavy very quick, theres also the question on whether you actually have the time to get this thing up and running
Also looking into whether a slider might be a good idea!
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Old April 5th, 2012, 10:36 PM   #3
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Re: Glidecam/Steadycam Question

Thanks Rob, I actually use a slider for every wedding. I'm looking to up the game a little and start implementing the glidecam for certain moments. However, I'm wondering if most people have a dedicated glide-cam operator or just try to do both?
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Old April 5th, 2012, 11:57 PM   #4
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Re: Glidecam/Steadycam Question

I use the Steadicam Pilot (full vest) but use it sparingly. Mainly for creative shots before and after the ceremony and a little bit during the reception. I personally would never use it during the ceremony as I feel it would be very obtrusive and cause the guests to pay more attention to me vs the couple. IMHO, the key is to use it in moderation (same for slider) for creative shots outside of the ceremony. I'm not sure how long it takes to setup and balance the Glidecam but with the Steadicam Pilot...I can achive setup with dynamic balance in about 3-4 minutes so it really doesn't require too much extra time to start "flying". You've got the right idea with your quick release plates. I use Manfrotto QR plates on all of my cameras so it makes it really easy to switch them out between tripods, sliders, steadicams, etc.

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Old April 6th, 2012, 02:08 AM   #5
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Re: Glidecam/Steadycam Question

I use the Glidecam HD4000 with the Steadicam merlin/pilot vest and arm.
Without the arm/vest, I just find it too heavy to hold for more than 10 sec. I've used it for the photo shoots and reception. The disadvantage is that it takes about 5 min to put on and setup. I use it with the Manfrotto quickrelease since that is my tripod.
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Old April 6th, 2012, 03:13 AM   #6
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Re: Glidecam/Steadycam Question

I must admit I only use my rig now during the photoshoot!! Once the photog has finished formals I grab the B&G and take them on a 10 minute stroll and shoot enough creative footage to put to the bride's favourite romantic song.

I have tried using the rig (full vest BTW) on bridal entry but it's not practical anymore ..Churches with narrow aisles are not the best. It would be nice during the first dance but again few venues have enough space so it's only for the photoshoot now!! Getting in and out of a rig during events takes time too!!

If it's really a strong desire then something tiny like a handheld Merlin or Blackbird with a small camera on it all set up and ready to grab, is probably a better plan!! You could use that at receptions and even ceremonies!!

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Old April 6th, 2012, 07:16 AM   #7
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Re: Glidecam/Steadycam Question

It all boils down to time basically. Prior to the ceremony you have time to set up and balance properly.

I have the HD4000 with X-10 and vest (I couldn't possibly work without the vest due to the weight of the Z5)

Film the guests arriving and then into church/venue whilst 2nd camera films bride arrival.

After ceremony, back on with vest and on to photo shoot.

It's important to make sure that the rig is still balanced, it's no good just putting it on and hoping for the best, I rest it on a balance stand and make sure it's fully balanced before using otherwise the slightest off balance will ruin the effect.

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Old April 6th, 2012, 01:04 PM   #8
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Re: Glidecam/Steadycam Question

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
If it's really a strong desire then something tiny like a handheld Merlin or Blackbird with a small camera on it all set up and ready to grab, is probably a better plan!! You could use that at receptions and even ceremonies!!
I do weddings solo but use the blackbird mainly starting from the reception, with my 550d and a samyang 14mm it's a very lightwheight set up. A very big plus is that it's got a resting stand so you can, unlike a Merlin, just put it aside on the floor with the camera still attached to it. Balancing is also very quickly done.

I don't take it with me before the reception, too much of a hassle, maybe during bride prep, if I got the time and space but once the reception starts I think 30% of my shots are done with the blackbird.
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Old April 6th, 2012, 01:17 PM   #9
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Re: Glidecam/Steadycam Question

a lot depends on what you want to fly - if you're shooting DSLR's then you shouldn't need an arm & vest - I used the pilot from time to time but it's way too time consuming to set up & break down. I've used the merlin a lot and now I use the glidecam 1000HD - I shoot with Panasonic GH1's and leave one set up on the glidecam. ALL my equipment (tripods, slider,etc) have the same quick release place - you'd be crazy not to.

I use the glidecam during prep, ceremony if possible and reception - always sparingly and not long shots, just for a bit of movement
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Old April 6th, 2012, 04:14 PM   #10
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Re: Glidecam/Steadycam Question

If you are shooting DLSR, I would say no to any vest. Way too much time. Just practice with it. I have a manfrotto quick release plate for the glidecam 4000. I balance everything before the wedding or shoot...depending on the look, I shoot with a 14mm, 24mm or 50mm...some out there shoot longer glass.

The key for me has been planning ahead. Draw out an idea of when you would like to use it and set up your shoot accordingly. Just dragging it along hoping for something will rarely yield good results.

Good Luck!
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Old April 6th, 2012, 07:25 PM   #11
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Re: Glidecam/Steadycam Question

I don't know if many other people have done this so I thought I'd share. The ideal glidecam, I thought, should be one that is custom fitted for my DSLR. A custom fitted glidecam weighs less because it has no top adjustable assembly. I simply removed the top adjustable assembly and mounted the quickrelease directly to the top plate (and cut the top plate to fit). The only adjustable feature I ever seem to need is inline with the quick release and there's enough play front to back in the release to work with all the lenses I glide with. Surprisingly both my 7D and 5D balance fine on it.

But I'm sure I'm not the only person that's looked at that whole top adjustable assembly and said "do I really need all that crap?"
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Old April 15th, 2012, 08:38 PM   #12
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Re: Glidecam/Steadycam Question

Gents, thanks for all the feedback and the info on your workflow. I seriously don't know how else to use a glide-cam without the proper balancing and quick release plates you're talking about. I use DSLRs so I don't think I'll need a vest.
Do you find that you're in the way of the photographer a lot?
I've been following this guy for a while: Portfolio of our work featuring wedding highlights, trailers and videos | GmElliott Videography
He's not too high-end and not low-end for the type of product I'm looking to re-create. I feel he's in the shot quite a bit for the average photographer. Aisle shots, photo session and first dance...

Do you guys generally have an initial meet and greet with the photog and let them know what you're up to?

Thanks!
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Old April 16th, 2012, 02:21 AM   #13
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Re: Glidecam/Steadycam Question

ofcourse he's in the shot quite a bit, he's just doing his job, you could say the same about the videographer from the photographers point of view.

Weddings are no movie where you tell all actors and crew members where to stand, you just have to try real hard to get nice shots in a uncontrolled environment, the only thing I tell the photog is to not block my second unmanned camera in the church too long and the only place where you can have complete control is during the photoshoot, all the rest is run and gun, trying to frame your shots just right and hoping it all turns out alright. :)
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Old April 16th, 2012, 06:03 AM   #14
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Re: Glidecam/Steadycam Question

Hi Noa

My photogs are never in the video shoot!! What I do is when we get to the first location I grab the bride and groom and wisk them away and do a 10 minute shoot..just the three of us. The couple are then returned to the photog and I go and set up at the reception.

I have never believed in following the photog around shooting video of the photog taking still photos..it doesn't make sense to me!!! Also that means I'm not in the photogs way and he/she isn't in my way...I let them get on with their job after my shoot and they are always happy about it!!

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Old April 16th, 2012, 06:29 AM   #15
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Re: Glidecam/Steadycam Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Terott View Post
I don't know if many other people have done this so I thought I'd share. The ideal glidecam, I thought, should be one that is custom fitted for my DSLR. A custom fitted glidecam weighs less because it has no top adjustable assembly. I simply removed the top adjustable assembly and mounted the quickrelease directly to the top plate (and cut the top plate to fit). The only adjustable feature I ever seem to need is inline with the quick release and there's enough play front to back in the release to work with all the lenses I glide with. Surprisingly both my 7D and 5D balance fine on it.

But I'm sure I'm not the only person that's looked at that whole top adjustable assembly and said "do I really need all that crap?"
How do you adjust for side-to-side trim?
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