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Greetings from a total newbie :)


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#1 JayX

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 09:54 AM

hi guys, i'm a poster over at dvinfo (James Connors there) and whilst the grip section of the forum is always my first port of call, and has some great posters there, i thought i'd pop over to a dedicated forum to read thru as much as i can. already recognised a few names so thats welcoming already :)

currently i'm on my 3rd camera, a pd150 (about to be repaired unfortunately due to a channel switching problem) and i use this alongside my trv950. i was lucky to get both of these, and money most certainly isn't something i have to play with unfortunately. shooting handheld hasn't been too much of a problem due to the kind of work i do (currently i mainly shoot live music, because i have good contacts with the bands promoters and venues.. its enjoyable too and i've learnt a lot over the last 2 years.. in my opinion anyway!) but recently i've been doing shifts where i'm handholding 1 camera on and off for 8 hours, and leaning around corners to remote control 2 others.. a pain! but worth it in the end as its a lot more fun to cut with multiple sources.

anyway, to cut a long story short... i started reading up on stabilisation as except for when its done on purpose (and properly) shaky cam is never nice to see, so i wanted to do my best to kill this when doing anything properly. tripods are nice if you want a more static view, but i've always enjoyed the fly on "the real movies" and my interest in steadi/steadycam grew. as mentioned by ted churchill in his manual, it seems to be a great mix of technology and an artistic view.. i think that sums it, and myself, up perfectly. some of the shots i've seen in movies just stun me as i see the camera fly around.. and whilst obviously not all of it is steadicam, there's nothing quite like seeing a camera move thru the air like that. (if anyones seen the hong kong flick Breaking News, the single take shot (or VERY clever editing!) at the beginning is breathtaking) so thats where i lie now :)

my first idea was to go for something like a dvrigpro, it looks a neat piece of gear and would certainly help keep the camera steady when i'm standing still, but it just doesn't look as much of an art as operating a proper rig.. which obviously i cannot afford :) the glidecam smooth shooter has interested me greatly tho... in a few months i'd be able to scrape together enough money to get a glidecam 2000 pro and spend the summer learning how it works, and training myself up.. and then finally biting the bullet and picking up the arm/vest when i have the experience and the definitive "YES!" in my mind that this is the direction i want to go in. does this sound like a good idea for a beginner to you guys? i'm 23, not in the worlds best paying job (by a long way!) but hopefully that situation will change in the next month, and i'm a pretty big guy... trying to turn the alcohol abuse into upper body strength gradually tho :) i definitely think the glidecam is a relatively cheap way of getting used to how a real rig will handle.. i'm very happy with DV in general at the moment, i know there's no way i would ever be able to afford an Arri camera, and i'm a massive fan of owning my own equipment, so the only upgrade i'd ever have to do would be to purchase the 4000 (which would then handle a much bigger DV camera when hooked up to the smooth shooter). i'm anxiously waiting for side by side comparisons to the magiqcam as its similarly priced, and also see how it holds up to the steadicam flyer (at 3x the price i'm not expecting miracles!)

so any advice, suggestions, recommended reading is all greatly appreciated! i'm located in the uk (cardiff, wales to be precise) and i know only a few people into this kinda thing at this level (most of my friends are either not interested, own consumer 1 chip cams or are more knowledgable than me but haven't got the stabilisation route) so if anyone lives near me and would let me even see their rig, that'd be awesome. i've never tried ANYTHING on any scale so at the moment all i know is what ive read, so i'm just trying not to waste a lot of money on something i'd never be able to use :)

anyway, thats me :) sorry for the massive blurb, but i'm a much bigger fan of explaining the situation, rather than just saying "i'm poor and i want a steadicam.. what should i buy??" :) look forward to posting here.
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#2 Matt Burton

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 10:11 AM

"i'm poor and i want a steadicam.. what should i buy??" :) look forward to posting here.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


i'd say the steadicam "flyer" from tiffen is the best bang for buck real steadicam, even then your looking around £5000. It operates just like a master rig but is designed for small to medium sized cams.

hope this helps as a start.
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#3 JayX

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 10:39 AM

yep, the flyer looks an excellent piece of kit. i read charles king's review of it, and am anxiously awaiting the video :) the fact he used the same camera as mine to do the test with always helps :) but yep, you're correct about the price, and the US > UK markup as usual is ridiculous.. it retails for $6k out there, so theoretically could be a grand or two cheaper over here... typical! its simply not the kind of money i'll ever have to throw around, but would love to hire one for a weekend, but even then that sounds expensive! definitely something to use when being paid to do something, but alas i'm sure someone paying you would want the experience needed to operate one! a catch 22 situation for sure, which is why the glidecam smooth shooter interests me so much, as the £800 (US price mind!) addition to the 2000 pro is nowhere near as heavy on the pocket, and owning the 2000 pro for a good few months will enable me to get trained on how to balance and operate a hand held stabiliser.
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#4 Nicholas M. Chopp

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 11:17 AM

I'm not entirely sure using the 2000 Pro will help you at all. It's something entirely different, using a handheld "stabilization" like the Glidecam 2000 or 4000, and a vest-mounted stabilization. If you enjoy shooting, and you enjoy handheld, I can pretty much promise you you'll love flying.

I would definitely suggest the Glidecam V-8 over the new Steady Shooter. If you get lucky you can find used V-8s for about $1,800 or so. This way you at least have a monitor - and that's something you'll definitely want. For your price range, it's really the main option.
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#5 Matt Burton

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 12:15 PM

Could i ask what the purpus is of your filming ? is the end result gona be for promo material or just event coverage ??
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#6 Mikko Wilson

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 12:21 PM

Well I guess i'll say it.. Take a workshop!

ok i know it's a lot of money (i'm 22 myself) but it's well worth it.

If i were you i'd sign up for the Optex course (may still has space i think...). I'v heard it's really good.
Myself I took the SOA one in the states last fall and it was incredible! - Well worth the couples of grand USD (so not even *that* bad in £)
Any workshop will help teah you the right way to use any stabilzer, and will tell you if it's for you. - Even if you decide that it's not for you, the workshop will have been well worth it. By far the safest first investment!

If you do go the handheld rig route, then i'd sugest a workshop before you do get a bigger rig at least.

As for rigs.. Flyer all the way if you can at all afford it. ..If you want smaller handhelf then get JR.. in my oppinion they are the best handhelf unit ...and it'll even fly the 150.


Good luck and welcome to Steadicam!

- Mikko
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#7 JobScholtze

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 12:37 PM

As for rigs.. Flyer all the way if you can at all afford it.  ..If you want smaller handhelf then get JR.. in my oppinion they are the best handhelf unit ...and it'll even fly the 150.


Funny,
Did you ever try'd the smoothshooter? Ore the V8 Ore ANYTHING else than your homebuild rig and your Flyer?

Everybody have a meaning about rigs the even did'nt try.
I try'd the flyer and think it's a nice rig, but i also think it's overpriced.

I would advice you to go to the ibc ore some other place and try all the rigs out there.
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#8 Matt Burton

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 01:38 PM

yo Scholtzey,
Can you sugest a rig for between £0-£8000 to fly an xl2 with PS Technik mini35 ?
I agree that the flyer is overpriced, but what can you do man ? they got us by the balls. I wana see a hybrid rig inbetween the flyer and a master, but priced more like the flyer. An ffs give us extendable posts that don't cost the price of a second hand sports car. lol sorry getin a bit carrid away again. I know you are feelin you Glidecam Gold, however i fear thats outa my price range.

cheers matt
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#9 JobScholtze

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 02:53 PM

I am not sure understanding what you mean. Yes i own a Glidecam Gold. After several other rigs like the sk2 and an upgraded sk2. It was the new provid ore the Gold. After testing and flying a LOT of rigs the desicion was simple. More features and more weight range. It totally fits my needs.

What i say is, for 5 k i would look for the v16 ore v20. Ore some other secondhand rig. So that you can do more in the future than only the dv on it.

And after the dv he would like the pro 35 adaptor, mattebox, and hee i need some follow focus. What about video transmitter and so on. Don't limit yourself but think in the future. And never be afraid of new products but try them out to see if you like it.
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#10 JayX

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 04:40 PM

I'm not entirely sure using the 2000 Pro will help you at all. It's something entirely different, using a handheld "stabilization" like the Glidecam 2000 or 4000, and a vest-mounted stabilization. If you enjoy shooting, and you enjoy handheld, I can pretty much promise you you'll love flying.


yeah i see your point, the fact i'd like to go this route is simply the cost factor. the glidecam 2000 is pretty cheap, as in.. i'd be able to afford after a few months (need to replace this pc first, its on its last legs alas) and it gives me some introduction to the world. sure its not going to be the same as a real rig, but the fact it comprises up the new steady shooter means it'll be relevant if thats the path i want to go.

I would definitely suggest the Glidecam V-8 over the new Steady Shooter. If you get lucky you can find used V-8s for about $1,800 or so. This way you at least have a monitor - and that's something you'll definitely want. For your price range, it's really the main option.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


ah, i do love used equipment :D glidecam are discontinuing the v8, so i'm gonna definitely read comparison reviews between the v8 and the steady shooter before making any decisions. would like a monitor, but again... its something i can add on at a later date so its not the main priority i have at the moment.


Could i ask what the purpus is of your filming ? is the end result gona be for promo material or just event coverage ??

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


currently i'm just having fun doing stuff i enjoy. i plan to progress up thru making music videos for friends bands (luckily the uk is small and i'm friends with bands that have a decent enough exposure thru the music scene i enjoy, so good access to properly recorded cds and willing bands!) then i'd like to do shorts etc. my problem with paid work is, i'd have to always make sure it was work i want to take on anyway, as i enjoy video so much i wouldn't like the enjoyment to be killed out of the need to do corporate vid after corporate vid. too scared to do weddings at the mo! maybe i'll work as a 2nd cam for someone for free for a few and train up that way tho.

Well I guess i'll say it..  Take a workshop!

ok i know it's a lot of money (i'm 22 myself) but it's well worth it.

If i were you i'd sign up for the Optex course (may still has space i think...). I'v heard it's really good.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


would love to do a workshop, will look up the optex one, but i'm in debt i have to recover, and pc equipment to purchase (as above) so it'll definitely be on the "to do" list but when.. i'm not sure. but yeah, i'd love to be shown the ropes by professionals, that'd be awesome. its a lot of money tho, and i'm not saying it could be put to "better use" as nothing is better than proper training, but something that can last longer has to be my priority when dealing with a low amount of money :)

thanks for the replies guys, appreciated.
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#11 Mikko Wilson

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 05:42 PM

Jay,
Sounds like you have your prioreties in the right place :-)
I agee it is a lot of money. My advice is definaly on an "If you can afford it" basis.. I feel your lack of money.. I have taken a workshop but have no rig of my own.. :(

Yeah I promo the Flyer, not really to speak bad of any rig, but just as positive feedback from using the one at my school very regularly...

Job,
No hard feelings about the other guys, I'm just giving my oppinion of the best I've tried.
And yeah I have flown other rigs too. ..Every rig on the floor of IBC last year infact. With multiple flies of all the Glidecams, as well as ABC, PRO, Sachtler and a couple more that i don't rember the names of...
And i do say that Glidey did a decent job too (as most of them did) Flyer is just my personal fave in the Light Rigs category that's all.

Heh, and I don't count my own build as anything worth even mentioning as a rig... ;)


- Mikko
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#12 benedictspence

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Posted 16 February 2005 - 08:01 AM

Hey Jay,
I've owned and operated a Glidecam V-20 for almost 4 years now and although it's not as well made as the flyer (which I've used a couple of times) it sound like a better rig for what you want.

Firstly the V-20 is cheaper (always a bonus), secondly it comes with some nice extra weight plates so you can get your PD-150 up to a deceant weight level. It's modular so you can buy a nice monitor (and other bits) when you get the cash togther and not get stuck with some not-so-hot LCD. Also you can take pro camersa from DSR 500's to 790's and even F900's and 750's on it. The flyer can barely take the 500 (if at all- anyone tried it??).

I'm in the process of picking up a nice new MK-5 rig from Howard but have just done the deal to sell my old V-20- if only I had know sooner I could have given you a cheap deal on it!

The main problem I find with the flyer is that it is so light weight that there is no inertia in the rig and it is far too easy to screw up your framing- even the slightest and lightest touch jitters the picture around.

The Optex course is good but it takes a VERY long time in the vest to be proficient- far more than the 2/3 days you'd get. I gues thats why everyone is an owner/operators!

So my opinion would be get a V-20 bare bones system, spend as much time with it as possible. Do the optex course, but more importantly get the experience!

Oh, I'm a young one too- only 23!

Good luck

Ben Spence
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#13 JayX

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Posted 02 March 2005 - 05:27 AM

Hi guys, apologies for the massive delay in replying... the computer at home is slowly driving me insane :) (Quality full system death within 1sec of attempting to render DV.. nice!)

Alas, something like the V20 system is simply completely out of my price range at the moment. I'm hoping within a few years I'd be able to buy a comparable rig without even thinking about the cost, but for now budget is a killer, and I need to buy lots of toys for my cam, and also replace the aforementioned killer PC.

Luckily I found what I was looking for, I found a GC2K on ebay UK for £150 ($300) yesterday, and snapped it up. Over here finding second hand GCs seems to be a pain, and the retail is closer to $550-600. For the money I've spent, at least I can get started and I'll certainly notice a massive difference in my shooting. Then when I'm more confident I can look into expanding it with either the Smooth Shooter, Indicam or other similar vest/arm solutions.

Thanks again for your posts, I'm eagerly awaiting its arrival now, and can spend the whole weekend practising away :)
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