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Glidecam Smooth shooter


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#1 senman

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 04:28 AM

Hi,
I recently been using The Glidecam Smooth shooter with the Sony Z1 HDV camera.
When i move, the camera has slight side to side roll. How can i prevent this or am i operating
wrongly?. i have set the sled to be more bottom heavy by adding more weights. Has anyone
faced the same problems with the smooth shooter? Do i need to make any other adjustments
to the vest?

Thanks,
Senman
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#2 RobVanGelder

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 11:22 AM

It´s all in the fingers.......

The roll is something that is the most difficult to control. Or let me say it different: because you "control" the roll, meaning that you use a little force on the gimbal/rig that causes it to roll.

Solution: DON´T use any force to control the roll. That sounds of course much easier than it is. But really, most of unwanted roll-movements come from using too much pressure with your gimbal-hand.
Other causes could be wind or pulling cables or not in dynamic balance.

Making the rig more bottom heavy looks like the best option at first, untill you get aware of the "sling-effect": when the rig is off-level and you try to correct it, it will sling through the vertical and ends up on the other side - off-level.

So it is better to learn yourself to control the rig with minimal drop-time, and you might even try neutral.

practice-practice-practice :D
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#3 senman

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 11:38 AM

Hi Rob,
Thanks for insight and info. i will defintely try out the netural and longer
drop time to see how it feels.

Cheers,
Senman
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#4 Troubadour

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Posted 12 August 2005 - 10:04 AM

I made some modifications to the Glidecam V8 (similar to the smooth shooter) which made an enormous difference.

Make the sled pole thicker
First of all, I bought some traditional-style push-bike rubber handlebar grips - the big long polyurethane ( I think ) type and added it to the sled by:

1) taking off the bottom
2) spraying hairspray into the grip, then sliding it up to within 5mm of the gimbal.
The hairspray initially causes it to be easier to slide up the pole, as the standard size for handlebars is slightly smaller than the sled's pole. Once set however it bonds it lightly to the metal and would require you to break the seal (easily done with a steel ruler) to get it off.

The advantage of this is that you get a much thicker area to manipulate with your hand, rather than the thin fiddly pole you have to deal with on the Glidecam products. Ever seen the same area on a steadicam? They're HUGE and well textured, which brings me to my next point, the extra friction of the rubberised texture allows for a much more controlled grip. You can "feather" your pans much more lightly and with a finer touch than with the bare pole.


Stop fiddly bits moving when working
If the rest of the SS is as similar to the V8 as it looks, you may have your monitor battery and cable to deal with.

I got adhesive-backed velcro, stuck it on the base of the sled, battery and chunky power-converter for the monitor and secured them on the sled to ensure my balance didn't slip during operation.

Plus, in moving my batter to between the front weights and the sled pole, I was able to make adjusting weights much easier as we have multiple cameras.


Fix the monitor & mount
If you've got the same stupid monitor that came with our V8, the mount for it just bites. In fact, there's a lot wrong here. The hex-bolt that screws into the base of the monitor easily causes the nut inside to come loose. We had to super-glue the nut into place. Also the 6mm bolt with the plastic finger-tightener on the elbow-joint that connects the monitor to the sled is to hard to tighten. We simply took a much longer bolt, sheared off the top and bend it 90deg. We added a nut at the point on the bolt where it would sufficiently tighten the elbow. The bend makes quick adjustment much easier.

Add spirit levels
We also added to the base of the sled a circular slow-spirit level. It makes balancing so much quicker - which will also minimise side-to-side roll.

Set your weights appropriately
Look elsewhere on these forms about the "drop" of the device. For our XL2, we completely max-out the back-bolt of the sled and have probably about 1/3 - 1/2 the number on the front.

We also added about 4 or 5 of the round weights to the top for two reasons - the XL2 seems to work a bit better if you add a bit more weight both at top and bottom, but also with the V8 it's impossible to tighten the camerplate in its mount the way it's supposed to - the tightening thumbscrew hits the top-base of the sled, so we used those weights to mount it.

It also helped that we had Harry Panagiotidis come in and show us what we needed to do!
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#5 Charles Papert

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Posted 12 August 2005 - 02:07 PM

The concern with a lightweight rig and a large diameter handgrip is that one may be tempted to use more force than is necessary to control it. An experienced operator will be able to resist such temptation, but for those new to the game a nice fat rubberized grip practically screams "grab me!". Consider the tiny "tongue" on the Steadicam JR gimbal--there's a reason you can only fit a finger and thumb in there, and that's to keep the operator influence down to the absolute minimum that is needed.
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#6 Troubadour

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 03:05 AM

The problem with the thin glidecam pole is that you can't get your fingers in there in an easy position for a light touch alone, exacerbated by the lesser friction on the smooth metal.

I've certainly found in using the modified version both my students and I can exert much finer control with much less tendency to grab.

Although I'm far from experienced we did have one of Australia's top steadicam operators make this suggestion.
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#7 Charles Papert

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 03:55 AM

All good--whatever works for someone is what they should use. I've never really used a Glidecam outside of a trade show floor, so I probably shouldn't have chimed in anyway.

all the best,

Chas
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