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Steadicam Flyer LE Vs. Glidecam X-22


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#1 Leo N Rowe

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 10:17 AM

Hello to all,

I am new to this forum and to the whole steadicam business. I am about to graduate film school and I am looking at purchasing my first stabiliser system. I have been researching for weeks on this forum here and just about everywhere else online and I am still very much in doubt whether to go for the Flyer LE or the X-22 as my first rig? I will mainly be using it for short films in HD and 16mm with a variety of cameras. My budget is around £5,000 ($8,000).

I am aware that the steadicam is generally regarded as superior to the glidecam products, but I have actually yet to find any postings by people who actually own or have substantially used the new X-22, so I would appreciate it if there are any of you out there who could let me know how it handles? A higher maximum weight capacity is obviously very important for me as I will be working with a variety of cameras, in particular the Arriflex SRII.

Any info from people experienced in both systems, or any other systems I may be unaware of, would be greatly appreciated! The artemis DV Pro MD also looks interesting, but I have yet to discover any first hand information on it?

Many Thanks
Happy Holidays
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#2 Andrew Stone

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 12:57 PM

I am new to this forum and to the whole steadicam business... I am looking at purchasing my first stabiliser system... I am still very much in doubt whether to go for the Flyer LE or the X-22 as my first rig? I will mainly be using it for short films in HD and 16mm with a variety of cameras. My budget is around £5,000 ($8,000).


Hi Leo,

Probably aren't many people here that can answer your question directly but what you say raises a few questions and common suggestions to people starting out. First is (and it will help you with your decision making) is to take a course in operating a Steadicam. There are 2 day ones and 5/6 day ones. The shorter ones are more often than not ones geared towards using Flyers and small/mid-sized rigs. The longer courses use rigs that are intended to be used on "the set" or heavier camera setups. You will have a chance to talk to instructors and students who can answer a lot of your questions including the dozens of questions you haven't asked yet.

You ought to know what size of camera package you are going to be flying. Simply stating HD and/or 16mm isn't enough info. Flyers can fly MOST of these kind of setups but with film gear you have lenses, rail systems, follow focus units, other wireless devices, etc. $8000 isn't going to get you a new Flyer with batteries, charger, vest, case, etc. Glidecam I can't speak to that.

You can get used Flyers (not the LE) used for around $6,000 last time I checked but there usually aren't too many for sale. A used Flyer can hoist about 18 to 20 lbs (occasionally more on some units) before they top out. If you are going to be working on film do not overlook a follow focus. Unlikely you are going to be able to shoot "wide" all the time.

If you want more Glidecam specific comments in short order, I would look at the other stabilizer forum sites. There is at least one I have seen that has a lot of Glidecam users that will be able to help you out.

-Andrew
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#3 Paul Gardner

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 02:02 PM

Hello to all,

I am new to this forum and to the whole steadicam business. I am about to graduate film school and I am looking at purchasing my first stabiliser system. I have been researching for weeks on this forum here and just about everywhere else online and I am still very much in doubt whether to go for the Flyer LE or the X-22 as my first rig? I will mainly be using it for short films in HD and 16mm with a variety of cameras. My budget is around £5,000 ($8,000).

I am aware that the steadicam is generally regarded as superior to the glidecam products, but I have actually yet to find any postings by people who actually own or have substantially used the new X-22, so I would appreciate it if there are any of you out there who could let me know how it handles? A higher maximum weight capacity is obviously very important for me as I will be working with a variety of cameras, in particular the Arriflex SRII.

Any info from people experienced in both systems, or any other systems I may be unaware of, would be greatly appreciated! The artemis DV Pro MD also looks interesting, but I have yet to discover any first hand information on it?

Many Thanks
Happy Holidays


Leo,
I have first-hand experience buying a lower priced rig - thinking that it would be good enough for a newbie (it could handle the heavier cameras which was a HUGE part of my decision. Turns out THAT and price should NOT have been the main criteria for my choice). I moved beyond the capabilities of that rig pretty darn quick.
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say...you won't be sorry if you get the Flyer LE. I have demo-ed the x22 and, in my humble opinion, feel that there's no comparing it to the Flyer. As far as the others (Pro and Artemis) see if you can take them out for a test spin, as well. I don't work for Tiffen or anything. I'm just saying...you will definitely avoid any sort of "buyer's remorse" with the Flyer. I have used the flyer extensively and wished I bought one of those instead of the one I ended up with! Shop carefully!
-Paul
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#4 Leo N Rowe

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 07:33 PM

Thanks for sharing your first hand experience, I guess your right. I wish I had known this last week when there was a used Flyer on ebay for under £4K! Oh well, i guess I'll have to keep looking!
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#5 Leo N Rowe

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 08:07 PM

Also, does anyone have any experience using the Flyer LE with an Arriflex SRII? This will be the camera I intend to use with the system so I need to know if its suitable?

Thanks
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#6 Paul Gardner

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 08:29 PM

Also, does anyone have any experience using the Flyer LE with an Arriflex SRII? This will be the camera I intend to use with the system so I need to know if its suitable?

Thanks


Leo, Robert Starling pretty well sums that up. I have doubts that you'd be able to configure SRII "light enough" for the Flyer...if you wanted some good glass and motors...you'd be into the 40lb range. Flyer LE is rated for 19lbs.

Check out Mr Starlings remarks:

http://www.steadicam...showtopic=10786

That's what I was referring to when I mentioned that I was courted by the notion of heavy weight capacity and Low price when buying my rig and I'm remorseful about it now. I'd rather have a lower weight capacity but quality rig in hindsight.
You have to ask yourself how often you'll be flying the SRII...
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#7 Brian Freesh

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 10:22 PM

Also, does anyone have any experience using the Flyer LE with an Arriflex SRII? This will be the camera I intend to use with the system so I need to know if its suitable?

Thanks


Leo, Robert Starling pretty well sums that up. I have doubts that you'd be able to configure SRII "light enough" for the Flyer...if you wanted some good glass and motors...you'd be into the 40lb range. Flyer LE is rated for 19lbs.

Check out Mr Starlings remarks:

http://www.steadicam...showtopic=10786

That's what I was referring to when I mentioned that I was courted by the notion of heavy weight capacity and Low price when buying my rig and I'm remorseful about it now. I'd rather have a lower weight capacity but quality rig in hindsight.
You have to ask yourself how often you'll be flying the SRII...


Devil's Advocate (cause I always am)

I've twice flown an SR2 on my Flyer (not LE, technically rated for less weight). Once to see if I could, and once for a gig. I'll say the same thing as with a RED One: It CAN be done, but it MUST be stripped down. And as Robert and Paul have pointed out, you can't guarantee you'll be able to do that every time. Since you say you know that will be a camera you fly a lot, I'm guessing this is your camera, or a friend's, or something like that. I'm guessing you'll be using the same package repeatedly. If this is the case, you may be in more of a position to set it up within a manageable weight. You'll be looking at prime lenses, clip-on mattebox/lenshade, and not much else. Heck, use short ends if ya can, every ounce counts. If you have access to the camera before you buy a rig, take a scale, strip the camera down to everything you NEED (body, mag, film, lens, video tap), and weigh it. If there is room for more, add the next thing you'd LIKE to use. Keep doing this until you max out. Try different combo's (remember even different prime lenses in the same set can vary in weight) so you know what will work in case one thing is more important than another for a particular shot. By now you're starting to see the annoyance of a lighter weight rig. But budgets be budgets.

Myself and some of the others here will state with certainty that the Flyer and the LE can handle more weight than they are spec'd for, but I and I assume the others will also recommend AGAINST this! It's not so much the arm you're as likely to have an issue with as much as you will be over-taxing the gimbal and risk failure!

While I am unfamiliar with the X-22, I've once used a smooth shooter and it was a piece. Leaving aside that the arm only had one booming section (on the assumption the X-22 has two) the arm was crap. It was loud and not smooth. And it was only a couple months old. The X-22 is newer and beefier and may be great in comparison, but not compared to the Flyer according to Paul, so I'm gonna go with what he said. :)

If I was buying today, I would certainly check out the X-22, but I suspect that I would come to the same conclusion Paul has. I love my Flyer and for the price there is no rig I'd rather have (but again, open to checking them out!). The weight restrictions are a bummer, but I am always very clear about what I need to fly every camera I'm hired to fly and I haven't had a problem yet. However, since you're looking to fly the SR2 a lot, I would definitely figure out exactly what you need to fly the camera and decide if any compromises are reasonable or not.

Edit To Add: You should be able to remove the eyepiece of the SR2 as well, stick a cover on the exposed element and save yourself some weight that way

Brian |-)~

Edited by Brian Freesh, 28 December 2009 - 10:24 PM.

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#8 Paul Gardner

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Posted 29 December 2009 - 01:41 AM

Also, does anyone have any experience using the Flyer LE with an Arriflex SRII? This will be the camera I intend to use with the system so I need to know if its suitable?

Thanks


Leo, Robert Starling pretty well sums that up. I have doubts that you'd be able to configure SRII "light enough" for the Flyer...if you wanted some good glass and motors...you'd be into the 40lb range. Flyer LE is rated for 19lbs.

Check out Mr Starlings remarks:

http://www.steadicam...showtopic=10786

That's what I was referring to when I mentioned that I was courted by the notion of heavy weight capacity and Low price when buying my rig and I'm remorseful about it now. I'd rather have a lower weight capacity but quality rig in hindsight.
You have to ask yourself how often you'll be flying the SRII...



Devil's Advocate (cause I always am)

I've twice flown an SR2 on my Flyer (not LE, technically rated for less weight). Once to see if I could, and once for a gig. I'll say the same thing as with a RED One: It CAN be done, but it MUST be stripped down. And as Robert and Paul have pointed out, you can't guarantee you'll be able to do that every time. Since you say you know that will be a camera you fly a lot, I'm guessing this is your camera, or a friend's, or something like that. I'm guessing you'll be using the same package repeatedly. If this is the case, you may be in more of a position to set it up within a manageable weight. You'll be looking at prime lenses, clip-on mattebox/lenshade, and not much else. Heck, use short ends if ya can, every ounce counts. If you have access to the camera before you buy a rig, take a scale, strip the camera down to everything you NEED (body, mag, film, lens, video tap), and weigh it. If there is room for more, add the next thing you'd LIKE to use. Keep doing this until you max out. Try different combo's (remember even different prime lenses in the same set can vary in weight) so you know what will work in case one thing is more important than another for a particular shot. By now you're starting to see the annoyance of a lighter weight rig. But budgets be budgets.

Myself and some of the others here will state with certainty that the Flyer and the LE can handle more weight than they are spec'd for, but I and I assume the others will also recommend AGAINST this! It's not so much the arm you're as likely to have an issue with as much as you will be over-taxing the gimbal and risk failure!

While I am unfamiliar with the X-22, I've once used a smooth shooter and it was a piece. Leaving aside that the arm only had one booming section (on the assumption the X-22 has two) the arm was crap. It was loud and not smooth. And it was only a couple months old. The X-22 is newer and beefier and may be great in comparison, but not compared to the Flyer according to Paul, so I'm gonna go with what he said. :)

If I was buying today, I would certainly check out the X-22, but I suspect that I would come to the same conclusion Paul has. I love my Flyer and for the price there is no rig I'd rather have (but again, open to checking them out!). The weight restrictions are a bummer, but I am always very clear about what I need to fly every camera I'm hired to fly and I haven't had a problem yet. However, since you're looking to fly the SR2 a lot, I would definitely figure out exactly what you need to fly the camera and decide if any compromises are reasonable or not.

Edit To Add: You should be able to remove the eyepiece of the SR2 as well, stick a cover on the exposed element and save yourself some weight that way

Brian |-)~


Brian,
Way to chime in! I didn't know how strippable the SRII was, but when there's a will...
It's what Charles Papert refers to as "Sensibly configured" I have done the same to a RED (which Leo will inevitably be asked to fly) with the clip-on Mattebox, Preston Focus, CamWave...all using RED brick and one A/B (for the camwave), Flash Cards, etc. That's alot of stuff and Charles' "NimbleCam" is rated for 26 lbs. Point is, the challenge of making it all happen is a cool one.
But, yeah....strip, strip, strip.

http://www.steadicam...h...15&start=15

So, Leo...I hope this all gives more ammo to make an informed decision. I'm trying to sell my old rig (which I'm too embarrassed to even mention the mfr) and renting rigs in the meantime (including Flyers). I'm hoping others like yourself can learn from my mistakes (cuz I sure did).
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#9 Brian Freesh

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Posted 29 December 2009 - 02:00 AM

It's what Charles Papert refers to as "Sensibly configured" I have done the same to a RED (which Leo will inevitably be asked to fly) with the clip-on Mattebox, Preston Focus, CamWave...all using RED brick and one A/B (for the camwave), Flash Cards, etc.


RED on my Flyer: Body, cheese plate, prime lens, bartech, decimator, CF cards. Powered off my rig. Could have easily done a clip-on mattebox, but neither time did they have such a thing (or even a studio mattebox) I count myself lucky as far as that goes. I did put the raid drive on that once, but don't recommend it on the Flyer. Again, it's the gimbal, not the arm that is the concern here.

I don't pretend to hope I will be able to do every Red job that I am offered, least not with the Flyer.

I'm trying to sell my old rig (which I'm too embarrassed to even mention the mfr)


Hey my first rig was home made, with a rollerblade wheel as the gimbal, we all start somewhere, I'm just glad I didn't stop there!

Brian |-)~

Edited by Brian Freesh, 29 December 2009 - 02:02 AM.

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#10 Alex Kornreich

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Posted 29 December 2009 - 02:34 AM

Hi Leo,

PM sent
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#11 Leo N Rowe

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 10:42 AM

Thanks allot guys, you've been a great help!
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#12 Josip Pavelic

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 06:28 PM

...and one more unpleasant thing to mention:

Both systems mentioned share the same 7 inch monitor, which is almost unusable at bright sunlight! This means if somebody's work is mainly outdoors it's additional invest of another let's say 1200$ for decent monitor without framelines, otherwise you can't see what are you doing at extreme sun/monitor angle, believe me.

Josip
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#13 Paul Gardner

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 07:41 PM

...and one more unpleasant thing to mention:

Both systems mentioned share the same 7 inch monitor, which is almost unusable at bright sunlight! This means if somebody's work is mainly outdoors it's additional invest of another let's say 1200$ for decent monitor without framelines, otherwise you can't see what are you doing at extreme sun/monitor angle, believe me.

Josip


Yes...you are 100% correct, Josip! It's the price you pay for the price you pay.
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#14 chris fawcett

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 05:26 AM

Both systems mentioned share the same 7 inch monitor, which is almost unusable at bright sunlight! This means if somebody's work is mainly outdoors it's additional invest of another let's say 1200$ for decent monitor without framelines, otherwise you can't see what are you doing at extreme sun/monitor angle, believe me.

With respect, Josep, I can't agree with this. If you mean the 700 NIT Flyer monitor, I think it is usable outdoors in bright sunlight. I've used it on a a few docs in high sun at low latitudes, and it was fine.

All the best,

Chris
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#15 Josip Pavelic

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 05:50 AM

Hi Chris,

No, I didn't meant 700 nits monitor which is optional but standard monitor which comes with Flyer LE and X-22. It is 500 nit monitor (as official pages say) with poor antireflex coating and I still maintain it is unusable outdoors on a sunny day! I know because I used it. If I were on budget, and around 20 lbs of capacity would be sufficient, I would go for SK2, one is still available at Adorama for 7200$.

Josip Pavelic
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