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Old July 26th, 2007, 06:01 PM   #1
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Glidecam/Steadicam help!!!

I rented a Glidecam V-8 today to use tomorrow for a Bridal Portrait video. The rental house doesn't have the Smooth Shooter Package yet so I'm left with the older version. I have a couple of questions on the use of the Glidecam....

1. How do you focus/zoom while shooting (i can hardly reach the controls)?
2. How do you hold the unit (i was lightly holding the stabalizer to hold it in frame and had one hand on the articulating arm to adjust the height and control the arm)?
3. Which is better/lighter a Glidecam or a Steadicam? (I shoot with a Sony FX1)
4. Once balanced do you wear the Glidecam all day? or do you get the handheld shots that you can't get with it on and re-balance again? or do you have a second camera for handheld/tripod shots?

I can see a huge improvement with the shots already but its definitely goingto take some practice using it. Ready for any tips/pointers anyone has. Thanks.
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Old July 26th, 2007, 06:26 PM   #2
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Hi Zach! I use a Glidecam 2000. Not familiar with the V-8 but I'll try to answer some of your questions.

How do you focus/zoom? There are 2 options: Get a remote zoom tool like varizoom and attach it to the handle or set your focus/zoom before you begin your move.

Holding the unit depends on how it is set up but with the GC2000 and no body pod, I hold the handle with my right hand (I'm right handed) and lightly place my left fingers on the "shaft" to guide it.

Never used the steadicam so can't help you there but I hear they are very similar.

I generally do have one camera on the GC the entire day. It can be very tiring until you build up the proper stamina for it (and even then it's tiring) but again, I don't use the body pod so that may help. You could get a quick release bracket to fit the GC with and be able to switch from GC to sticks quickly but again, I use 1 GC all day so that's not for me.

It definitely takes some practice to get the hang of it. I would get as much practice in as possible before you begin.
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Old July 26th, 2007, 09:41 PM   #3
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Isn't the V-8 the older vested model?

I believe it is and if so you better practice hard befor the shoot. Using a steadi type device with out lots of really good practice (or bad practice at first which hopefully makes you good or at least better) is very dangerous and can lead to some footage that might not be worth using.

Having said that I admire your go for it attitude.
If it is the vested unit after balancing the camera stay in the vest get your shots done and get out of it. I wouldn't use a sled made to be on an arm and vest handheld - the weight alone could kill you. If you need tripod type shots get that after you do the steadicam work-you'll welcome the physical break of not hefting the gear. As for which is better GC or Steadicam, well, since the STEADICAM was the first and the original and everything else after has basically been a copy of that although the Steadcam has patents that CAN'T be copied things like the arm and the gimbal-you know little things like that, I'll leave the choice of answers as to which is better to you.

As for focus and zoom, well unless you have a focus puller (someone that runs with you to adjust focus and control the zoom) OR a nice LANC control and really really sharp eyes to be able to see the focus as your moving and watching the monitor on the bottom of the sled then I would suggest you stick with auto focus and forget the zooms. Most folks can not do a well executed zoom on any steadicam type device without lots and lots of practice. I know Charles Papert and Mikko Wilson and Jaron Berman can and I know there are others her on this forum that can but they have had lots and lots of practice.
Remember, you don't have to try to show everything you can do in one shot. Less can be more. I would rather see a well done almost static shot as opposed to a poorly done shot trying to show every trick in the book.
Oh yeah, did I mention to practice practice practice before the shoot;-)

Good luck to you , let us know how it went!

Don
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Old July 27th, 2007, 09:51 AM   #4
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Thanks for all the comments. I was practicing for hours last night and I can definitely feel it...props to you guys who do this all the time.

Don - I figured out after looking online that this unit was meant to stay on the vest/arms at all times. that sucker is heavy trying to use as handheld. If all goes well today, I will probably opt for the steadicam merlin system and upgrade to the vest shortly after.

With practice last night i was able to pull off some fun shots and hope i can recreate them today. Only downside is that its so bulky and i find myself knocking things over so i'll have to watch out while in the makeup artist studio lol...

I'll post some footage soon from today. thanks.
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Old July 27th, 2007, 01:42 PM   #5
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Hi Zach

I have tried the V-8, but here's what I do.

1. Auto Focus and wide zoom. If I really need to adjust, I quickly switch to manual adjust and adjust quickly holding the cam with both hands (using smooth shooter). You have to quickly grab the cam so that it doesn't go flying off to the side and when you're done quick grab the rig handles.

2. Sounds like you're holding both just fine. Remember that you don't need to hold either to tightly but I have found that at times trying a light grip only makes you wobble the camera more.

3. I have used the Glidecam with both the FX1 and the XH-A1. It works great. No experience with Steadicam.

4. All of the above, with the exception of rebalancing. I attach a quick release plate so that once it is balanced it remains balanced. I'll wear the rig as much as I can. Naturally, there will be times when I have to take it off, but not because it tires me. I adjust the straps so that the weight goes onto my waist and not my shoulders.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zach Stewart View Post
I rented a Glidecam V-8 today to use tomorrow for a Bridal Portrait video. The rental house doesn't have the Smooth Shooter Package yet so I'm left with the older version. I have a couple of questions on the use of the Glidecam....

1. How do you focus/zoom while shooting (i can hardly reach the controls)?
2. How do you hold the unit (i was lightly holding the stabalizer to hold it in frame and had one hand on the articulating arm to adjust the height and control the arm)?
3. Which is better/lighter a Glidecam or a Steadicam? (I shoot with a Sony FX1)
4. Once balanced do you wear the Glidecam all day? or do you get the handheld shots that you can't get with it on and re-balance again? or do you have a second camera for handheld/tripod shots?

I can see a huge improvement with the shots already but its definitely goingto take some practice using it. Ready for any tips/pointers anyone has. Thanks.
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Manchester, NH
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Old July 29th, 2007, 03:22 AM   #6
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Wear dri-fit clothing that doesn't show sweat stains as much, and use antiperspirant :) Bring an extra change of clothes. It gets mighty hot under that vest after 30 minutes...

I think the V-8 is a bit of overkill for a bare FX1, but if that's what you got, go for it. It's a lot of equipment to lug around though.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 10:50 PM   #7
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Well the weekend is over, and i'll have to return the rented V-8 tomorrow. I think i've decided that it takes a ton of practice and lots of excersise with using a vested unit. i really enjoyed using it overall, but i hope that the steadicam merlin system or the new smooth shooter glidecam is much lighter than the V-8...it was just too heavy. Being in Texas, I was sweating within the first few seconds of putting it on. I haven't reviewed the footage yet, but hopefully it turned out ok.

Oh....and you need someone telling you were to go. I almost fell in the river cause i wasn't lookin...thanks again.
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