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I have a Stedicam SK-1 and shoot with HDV

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#1 Bob Busch

Bob Busch


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Posted 07 May 2006 - 03:33 PM

I have an original SK1 and I shoot with a light (5lb) Hdv cam. I have put weights on the top of the cam and the gimble's position on the shaft is still so low that the arm bangs constantly into the monitor. :blink: I have been told to get my arm converted to an SK2 so the thin part of the arm attaches to the sled and won't be in the way too much. I need to concider how much I can get for my old SK, (I think about $4000), if I can JUST replace the arm by itself (which ones will work with my stedicam product) or should I just sell my medium weight SK and get a light-weight alternative like the "Varizoom Prolight" or the "Glidecam smooth shooter". Are they heavy duty enough for a 5-10 lb cam? Will I be dissapointed while stepping back by using an inferior off brand product? I know if my used Sk sells for $4000 i can afford to get a light weight rig like the "smooth shooter" and the"Varizoom Prolight"? I haen't used those two and would like any input from anybody that have tried all 3 rigs.
Thanks, in advance
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#2 Synergy


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Posted 07 May 2006 - 06:35 PM

Hi Bob:

The SK is a nice system. I used to fly the CP EFP model, mid 80's, when I was shooting alot of
Betacam back then.

I have since converted everything to DV format and with that conversion the cameras are much lighter
so I have switched to a lighter rig, the Glidecam Smooth Shooter to be exact.

The Smooth Shooter arm is extremely quiet and smooth. It's really well engineered for the price point.
They have mounted all the pivots on flat bearings which is much like the methodology used in the Tiffen
line of rigs.

The vest is fairly comfy, you can adjust it for a nice snug fit and it feels really solid, you can also
switch the arm mount on the vest for left/right operation.

There are only two minor things about the system which I am working on correcting, the horizontal
armature which attaches to the vest on the SS (Smooth Shooter), is suceptable to lateral torsion under
load. And the Gimbal yoke and handle need a redesign.

But overall the SS is actually not a bad system I am really pleased with it.

When you say inferior product lines such as Glidecam, I would agree that there are definitely some
design issues, although minor, that I would address, but the price for the SS is kept at an affordable
level for mid level operators.

The price point may be low but the SS system doesn't really suffer any quality issues in terms of
engineering. It's a very nicely engineered system.

In terms of mixing and matching your current system, I would recommend that you get into a rig
whos components are designed for each other rather than taking a shot in the dark.

When I compare my previous CP EFP experiences with the Glidecam SS I have to say that the SS
actually delivers surprisingly well.

The SS rig is capable of carrying a total combined weight of anywhere between 5 and 18 Lbs
depending on the spring configuration you choose. The SS arm has a detachable spring system
for lighter cameras and of course you get both springs for the arm, they come installed.

Thats for a total of 18 Lbs maximum for the combined weight of the Sled, camera, batteries,
monitor etc...

Glidecam has really good customer support and the Smooth Shooter includes:
A docking bracket
Stainless steel Arm Post
Aluminum arm post
Steel weight plates
Hardware & Operating manual

You will also need to purchase the Glidecam specific to your requirements such as the Glidecam Pro
2000 or the Glidecam Pro 4000 sled to go with your smooth shooter.

B&H Photo currently has a special on right now for the complete package including Monitor, battery
pack for the monitor with charger, Smooth Shooter vest and arm and your choice of a 2000 or 4000 Pro sled for a really great price.

Glidecam kit at B&H <<<---Click Here.

Overall I would say that Glidecam has come a long way since their early days and their current
line of products reflects the engineering advances that their experience has given them.

This is why I feel comfortable suggesting the Glidecam.

Great price,
Really good performance,
Really good customer support,
Extremely popular rig,
This system is consistently sold out and with good reason, the market has responded very well to it,
Very good engineering,
Solid feel and really good control,
Quality construction materials.

I hope this will help with your decision.

Cheers and best of luck.

Matt :)
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