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Old August 15th, 2013, 10:21 AM   #16
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Re: How much do you use your glidecam?

If I"m following a person I focus on him first and then keep that distance during the shot and for the venue shot I focus halfway between me and the end of the room so I have everything more or less in focus.
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Old August 15th, 2013, 10:26 AM   #17
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Re: How much do you use your glidecam?

Noa, I've started putting my CX370 on my Glidecam simply because its a lot wider than my only prime lens for dslr. Having wide for stabiliser shots really helps the look and feel.

Off topic I know, but Noa, even when I manually set the CX370 to f1.8, it still seems to have a fairly wide DOF. Anything I'm doing wrong? Its hard to match it with my dslr footage when its so obviously camcorder footage with everything in focus.
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Old August 15th, 2013, 10:40 AM   #18
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Re: How much do you use your glidecam?

The cx730 has a small sensor which is why the dof is much wider, f1.8 on that camera is not comparable with f1.8 on a large sensor dslr.
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Old August 15th, 2013, 10:07 PM   #19
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Re: How much do you use your glidecam?

Noa, great shots with the blackbird. I have been practicing by walking around my house with my stabilizer. Trying to get as good as I can before I use it on my first wedding.
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Old August 16th, 2013, 03:59 AM   #20
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Re: How much do you use your glidecam?

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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
NIgel, I don't want to critisize your work but I found those glidecam shots very unstable and wobbly, what type of glidecam do you use if I may ask?
It's a Glidecam HD2000.

I agree that several of the shots are not perfect & would have benefited from some stabilisation in post. However as I said before I tend to use the Glidecam as a "smoother shoulder mounted camera" so prefer to have the fluidity & natural movement that gives me even at the expense of less than perfect stability. The alternative would be either extra wobbly footage because it was hand held or less movement because it's shot from a monopod or tripod. I am also now pushing myself & always use a 24-28mm focal length on the 5D2 which is challenging but avoids the distortion of near objects or worse still people that you get using a very wide angle lens plus it is a much more natural POV than an ultra-wide.
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Old August 16th, 2013, 04:12 AM   #21
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Re: How much do you use your glidecam?

But actually you are not using the steadicam for what it was designed for, I have seen glidecam 2000 footage that looked the same and better then what I do with my blackbird so it's mainly a matter of balancing and using it right. Just look at below video which shows you could get very good results out of it.

Ofcourse if the current way of using it is intentional as a part of a shootingstyle then I can understand but I find it a shame not using this tool to it's full potential, it's like shooting with your 5d mark3 and only use up to 1600 iso while you know it shines at iso's well above that. Hope you don't take it personal as I do mean well, I was just curious why the footage was so unstable.

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Old August 16th, 2013, 08:17 AM   #22
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Re: How much do you use your glidecam?

I know perfectly well how to use a Steadicam have attended Tiffen workshops & actually own a Pilot although I rarely get the chance to use it. Overuse of that slightly slow-mo floaty smooth Steadicam style gets tired after a while just like if you include too many slider or rack focus shots. I want movement in the camera work to follow the action and prefer to have a more natural & lifelike look rather than dreamy floating. That's not to say that I don't sometimes use the Glidecam as an alternative to a dolly or slider

BTW There is a world of difference between flying a Glidecam around alone in some lovely countryside with the option of re-takes & filming a wedding with all that involves including dodging guests, rushing around making sure that you don't miss anything, trying to see your framing on the LCD in bright sunshine etc etc
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Old August 16th, 2013, 08:52 AM   #23
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Re: How much do you use your glidecam?

Just that you know, none of my shots in both videos in this thread where slowed down, also, I didn't want to imply that you don't know how to use a steadicam but if you are honest several steadicam shots in the video you linked to are very unstable and is something I would not associate with steadicam use.

Quote:
BTW There is a world of difference between flying a Glidecam around alone in some lovely countryside with the option of re-takes & filming a wedding with all that involves including dodging guests, rushing around making sure that you don't miss anything, trying to see your framing on the LCD in bright sunshine etc etc
I don't share that opinion, it's very rare I bump into a guest when flying in the venue during shots where you only get one chance to get it right., it can happen but I pretty much nail every shot I do like the first entrance, the first dance, the cake cutting etc, I also don't overuse my steadicam, it complements my tripod shots and I use it only if it adds something to the shot what I couldn't achieve from a tripod.

There is often lots of time to redo steadicam shots but those are usually shots where I use tilts as well or more complex moves, this can be when I shoot the venue when they are preparing the tables, or just to shoot the surroundings outside. I often redo steadicam moves to have a choice afterwards in the edit.

Like I said, I can understand if the unstable movement is an effect you want but it's only my opinion that this is not what a steadicam is designed for. It's main purpose is to take the shake out of the footage and to provide you with fluid movements.
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Old August 16th, 2013, 09:12 AM   #24
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Re: How much do you use your glidecam?

Here is another one I did during a wedding and after I placed it online the venue liked it so much they asked if they could share it on their site and facebookpage, I made a shorter version for them and to date it has, and still is, the most watched video on my site, the first minute is mainly steadicam with my 550d, there is also one shot where I follow the cake carriers, I can tell you there was virtually no room to pass between the tables and I had to lift my steadicam higher not to bump against people's heads.

I also noticed a bigger increase in bookings since I started using my steadicam more then 2 years ago (and also invested in getting better sound since then), I don't advertise but only use my website and mainly facebook gets me the most attention, most of my clients I meet tell me how much they like the steadicam shots which is something just a few of my competitors in Belgium use (I know, we are a few years behind to any other country here :) So for me it's definetely a tool that helps me promote and sell my videos.

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Old August 18th, 2013, 06:47 AM   #25
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Re: How much do you use your glidecam?

I have a Steadicam Merlin for use with my Sony VG20 and use it with either 16mm or 12mm lenses. I get it out occasionally at weddings but am always less than happy with the results. The camera is perfectly balanced with good drop time etc - exactly set up as in the manual/online guides and doesn't sway much but..... I cannot seem to get over the 'bob' movement as I walk - I'm sure it's a technique thing but I've practiced for hours on end and even though smoother than hand held - it still looks like you can see the camera is being held by someone walking - completely unlike some of the smooth gliding I've seen online. Also as a solo shooter I find I don't have much time for these shots as I still consider them 'experimental' and so my main concern is playing safe.

I keep looking for courses in the UK to no avail - It would be money well spent if I could find one! - Noa's outstanding samples though will spur me on to keep practicing :)

Pete
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Old August 18th, 2013, 07:08 AM   #26
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Re: How much do you use your glidecam?

Hi Pete

I'm not sure if you have a vest for your Merlin but a vest and at least a dual arm makes a huge difference. My very first sled (no vest and arm) was very bouncy and hard to keep smooth. However the recommended practice is to go up and down a nice long hallway with a "X" on the end wall and try to keep that in one place on your LCD. Having an LCD on your sled also helps otherwise you are trying to look at the camera LCD!

An often and useful tip is to walk around like a cat burglar ...allow your knees to take up any shock coming from your feet so walking with your knees bent also helps. When you can do a full 360 circle of the couple and the frame height of the video remains constant you know you are winning...it's all practice, practice, practice and plenty of it.

The EFP DVD from Tiffen that was shot as a series using analog cameras and 1" tape is still a valuable resource and you can order from them or find it on eBay .... it makes great viewing!!

Steadicam EFP DVD

Chris
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Old August 18th, 2013, 07:15 AM   #27
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Re: How much do you use your glidecam?

I've a HD 2000 and I've never been able to use it, i'm just hopeless at trying to balance it, even without a camera on it, it just seems to twirl incessantly.
yes I'd agree it's totally experimental, I couldn't deploy this at a live event!!

I think to counter the bobbing movement you need to adopt a different posture and walk, in another life i was in the military, and a technique for close quarter battle drill was to walk from the knees down, i.e. keep the upper body on the same axis of travel while aiming (no deviation from the target) so slightly crouched and smaller steps, from the knee down tend to negate the bobbing movement a good bit!

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Old August 18th, 2013, 07:21 AM   #28
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Re: How much do you use your glidecam?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hi Pete

I'm not sure if you have a vest for your Merlin but a vest and at least a dual arm makes a huge difference. My very first sled (no vest and arm) was very bouncy and hard to keep smooth. However the recommended practice is to go up and down a nice long hallway with a "X" on the end wall and try to keep that in one place on your LCD. Having an LCD on your sled also helps otherwise you are trying to look at the camera LCD!

Steadicam EFP DVD

Chris
Hi Chris - No I wouldn't have time during a wedding shoot for a full vest/arm rig but I've been looking at Noa's work and it's great - he uses a Blackbird which is a similar design to the Merlin - gives me hope!
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Old August 18th, 2013, 09:16 AM   #29
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Re: How much do you use your glidecam?

Rob has the right idea yes and any decent sled is really easy to balance ..just take the time to set it up correctly on a docking stand and get it statically balanced first (I also mark the QR plate so I can slide the camera in and shoot) A couple of balance tips are : Do your static balance initially with the bottom stage weights heavier than needed and get it really dead vertical and dead horizontal. Then do a drop test and reduce the weights until horizontal thru to the bottom of the arc takes 2 or 3 seconds MAX! I work on 3 seconds. Then rebalance the sled again if required and do a dynamic test so you need to spin the sled slowly and make sure it doesn't get a speed wobble ...if it does you might need to swop weights front to back on the bottom sled to compensate for a not perfect gimbal .... A little time spent here means you can grab and shoot without fussing around with an un-balanced rig which is almost impossible to control.

I can start flying in around 30 seconds and that's with a full vest, dual arm and sled. The last time I balanced my rig was probably around February with the new EA-50's so any decent rig should be able to keep it's balance indefinitely. Just remember if you balance the camera with a big battery you cannot shoot later with a smaller one so make sure the cam is exactly as it was when you did the setup!

Chris
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Old August 18th, 2013, 09:31 AM   #30
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Re: How much do you use your glidecam?

I think it's my technique Chris - my cam is balanced nicely with a drop time of about 2 seconds (Tiffen recommend 1-2 seconds) - I use the same config every time - same battery size, no camera strap etc. I've followed the included DVD and looked at many online guides to get it just so - I can get it out of it's case and have it set up like you in about 30 seconds and it's really well balanced - it's just my technique - need to practice more :/
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