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Need advice on what steadicam to get for canon 7d!


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#1 Andrew Noon

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Posted 29 January 2010 - 05:57 PM

Hello everyone.

I am brand new to this forum, and also very new to the world of steadicams as well, so any advice is welcome! I am a young, recent film school grad looking to get some sort or steadicam rig for a Canon 7d I recently purchased. I have been drawn to the glidecam's because they are quite moderately priced (this is where I will stress that I don't have much of a budget). I like the fact that I can purchase something like the hd-2000, or the 2000 pro now to tide me over shooting handheld until I save up enough money to buy a good arm and vest attachment. (I am really eager to get out and start shooting some decent quality videos as soon as possible!)

Keep in mind i'm not looking for top of the line stuff for professional filming, at this point I am more of a hobbyist looking to get a rig at a reasonable price that works well and will help me shoot some nice video to build up a nice bank of footage.

So just looking for any input or suggestions of products that I maybe haven't seen or researched yet, that would work well with a Canon 7d.

Thanks a lot in advance!
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#2 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 29 January 2010 - 06:00 PM

Hello everyone.

I am brand new to this forum, and also very new to the world of steadicams as well, so any advice is welcome! I am a young, recent film school grad looking to get some sort or steadicam rig for a Canon 7d I recently purchased. I have been drawn to the glidecam's because they are quite moderately priced (this is where I will stress that I don't have much of a budget). I like the fact that I can purchase something like the hd-2000, or the 2000 pro now to tide me over shooting handheld until I save up enough money to buy a good arm and vest attachment. (I am really eager to get out and start shooting some decent quality videos as soon as possible!)

Keep in mind i'm not looking for top of the line stuff for professional filming, at this point I am more of a hobbyist looking to get a rig at a reasonable price that works well and will help me shoot some nice video to build up a nice bank of footage.

So just looking for any input or suggestions of products that I maybe haven't seen or researched yet, that would work well with a Canon 7d.

Thanks a lot in advance!



The merlin can be used with a 7D and it's far better than the glidecam stuff
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#3 David George Ellis

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 09:18 AM

The Merlin really isn't a good choice.

The 7D doesn't have a true autofocus option like most video cameras and unless you're using wide-angle lenses, you're gonna be limited in keeping the image sharp without a follow focus system.

Also, looking at it from a feasibility standpoint, I don't see how the Merlin can support a wireless FF WITHOUT additional adaptors. Maybe some DIY'ers will share wisdom in the matter.

I've been watching videos of "steadicam-like" shots with their 7D's and while I've seen some impressive shots, the majority has not produced anything useable in a professional setting. It's commendable that people are trying to push the ingenuity factor, but it seems that the general consensus is that good enough is good. Enough.

My best advice for you is, team up with a local operator who has gear. I'd say nothing lighter than a Flyer or Pilot. preferably someone with a FF and an assortment of gear pitches that match your lens. You'll solve problems better when you have someone with the gear to experiment with.

Another suggestion is to take a workshop and bring the 7d. You can't beat years of experience and true amateurs of the craft giving you options to solutions.

Good luck. Let us know what you concoct.

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#4 David George Ellis

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 09:19 AM

here's one closer

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#5 David George Ellis

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 09:20 AM

And closer still...

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#6 Kevin Andrews SOC

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 10:06 AM

I disagree that the Merlin is better than the Glidecams. I've used and owned both and sorry, no way.

The merlin has no mechanical way to remove the vertical influence from your body other than relying on your own arm flex. (carrying full cup of coffee method)

The glidecam folks incorporated a gimbal and handle that can help with the extra bumps one might encounter when operating. However, both rigs are used by so many folks that death grip the post instead of using fingertips, that it is rare to see nice work done on these low cost systems.

Yes, ideally you would want a focus control system with those primes, but I think you aren't looking to spend that kind of $

If you are looking for an affordable way to stabilize your 7D, in my opinion it's the Glidecam 2000. Just make sure to use a wide lens around 11-16mm for best results with the crop sensor.

(I still own my Glidecam 2000)

My evidence... (Granted, this operator is on skates, but I bet he can knock out some killer shots on foot too)


Edited by Kevin Andrews, 09 February 2010 - 10:08 AM.

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#7 Alfeo Dixon SOC

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 10:50 AM

I would go even bigger, I used Steadicam's Flyer and it was a solid choice. Like David said, by the time I added a wireless transmitter, V-Lock power supply rods support, Preston Motor & Motor Drive Receiver and 4x4 Matte Box.

It all added up to a sizable config in the Flyers weight range.

Not to mention you will have a monitor much larger than the cameras LCD. Other wise, I would look at the Pilot, unless you don't care about your focus!?!? I don't believe the Glidecam models have one until you get up into the larger models.

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#8 Brian Freesh

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 12:17 PM

I disagree that the Merlin is better than the Glidecams. I've used and owned both and sorry, no way.

The merlin has no mechanical way to remove the vertical influence from your body other than relying on your own arm flex. (carrying full cup of coffee method)

The glidecam folks incorporated a gimbal and handle that can help with the extra bumps one might encounter when operating.


Both Merlin and Glidecam 2000 have gimbals and handles. Both come standard without an arm and a vest and so require your own arm as the shock absorber. Both Glidecam and Tiffen offer arm and vest solutions for these rigs.

Neither comes with a monitor, though one can be added to the Glidecams, at that point you're looking at a Pilot vs. Glidecam 4000 with monitor.

Glidecam's cheaper, Tiffen is higher quality. You'll have to figure out how much weight you'll be putting on the rig. If you know for a fact you'll be fine shooting wide without any accessories, you know you'll be going light, and you can get a smaller rig. As just a hobbyist, you might already know this is the way you want to go. So I'd recommend either Merlin or Glidecam 2000, with no arm and vest. You can probably find either for a decent price used if new is still too high for your budget.
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#9 Kevin Andrews SOC

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 12:26 PM

I guess what I was saying is that the merlin has the handle mounted directly under a ball gimbal, which is the position where the post would normally be. The Glidecam has an offset, more traditional gimbal which can rotate up and down a bit to remove a little more vertical influence and the wrist twitch that comes from the hand held rigs.

But you really can't go wrong with any of the small units out there. It all comes down to price for the individual.
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#10 Mike Germond SOC

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 02:14 PM

I did a commercial with the 5D (same concept) on my Flyer LE. I actually added a 13lb steel weight plate with my Manfrotto quick release adaptor on it. Add in the zacuto rail plate for matte box and follow focus, and you get this:

Posted Image

It balanced fine on the Flyer LE, but it's length makes for some crappy inertia. In hindsight, I should have mounted my antlers on top going front to back..
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#11 Kevin Andrews SOC

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 04:45 PM

Mike, is that the Zacuto normal sized plate, or mini baseplate.

I need a solution to add rails when I can't add them to my cheeseplate.
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#12 Mike Germond SOC

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 10:34 PM

Mike, is that the Zacuto normal sized plate, or mini baseplate.

I need a solution to add rails when I can't add them to my cheeseplate.


It's the DSLR Docu Kit #Z-DSLR-DOCU...We also put a Manfrotto 394 quick release plate on the camera itself.
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#13 Charles King

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Posted 10 February 2010 - 10:43 AM

Mike, is that the Zacuto normal sized plate, or mini baseplate.

I need a solution to add rails when I can't add them to my cheeseplate.


It's the DSLR Docu Kit #Z-DSLR-DOCU...We also put a Manfrotto 394 quick release plate on the camera itself.



Thanks for those links. I got a 7D shoot on the first of March and this would be perfect.
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#14 Kevin Andrews SOC

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Posted 10 February 2010 - 12:08 PM

Cool, thanks Mike.

Get ready for 550D shoots coming up too everyone. Those are gonna hit the market real strong.
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#15 Charles King

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 12:55 PM

Cool, thanks Mike.

Get ready for 550D shoots coming up too everyone. Those are gonna hit the market real strong.



Man! I gotta keep up with all these new developments.. :(
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