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Steadicam vs. Glidecam et al


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#1 Daniel Bloom

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 11:59 PM

hi,

i'm an aspiring steadicam op and i wanted to know whas the deal with glidecam. If you look in any film book for any state there is a section for steadicam, but not for glidecam or any other stabilization system. Further, all the ops in the steadicam sections seem to have actual steadicams, so it is not just a generic term. Why does it work this way? does it actualy work this way or am i missing something? is starting with a glidecam because of cost a bad idea? Is steadicam a generic term used for all camera stabilization systems, or is specific to the Steadicam brand?

As you can see i am a serious newbie, but your help would be awsome!
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#2 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 20 August 2006 - 12:07 AM

As you can see i am a serious newbie, but your help would be awsome!



Searching of the archives would be most informative for you
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#3 Charles King

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Posted 20 August 2006 - 06:33 AM

hi,

i'm an aspiring steadicam op and i wanted to know whas the deal with glidecam. If you look in any film book for any state there is a section for steadicam, but not for glidecam or any other stabilization system. Further, all the ops in the steadicam sections seem to have actual steadicams, so it is not just a generic term. Why does it work this way? does it actualy work this way or am i missing something? is starting with a glidecam because of cost a bad idea? Is steadicam a generic term used for all camera stabilization systems, or is specific to the Steadicam brand?

As you can see i am a serious newbie, but your help would be awsome!



Steadicam is name brand and it's own by Tiffen. The inventor of the steadicam, before it was called the steadicam, it was named the 'Brown stabilizer'. Named after the the one and only Mr. Garrett Brown. The steadicam as been around a long time, since the early part of the 70's and only recently you started having a burst of manufacturers coming out with their own brand. The principle is the same for all stabilizers but it all boils down to quality and years of experience.

The name is commonly used to express the original method of stabilizing a camera thus - the Steadicam. The Steadicam is more known within the film industry and people or directors tend to draw the term across all makes of stabilizers.

What brand of Glidecam do you have?
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#4 Daniel Bloom

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Posted 20 August 2006 - 10:07 AM

thanks,

i am borrowing a glidecam v-16, very low end, but i got to start somewhere right.

thanks
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#5 Charles King

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Posted 20 August 2006 - 01:22 PM

thanks,

i am borrowing a glidecam v-16, very low end, but i got to start somewhere right.

thanks


No problem. you're right, you got to start somewhere. Don't worry I've seen some outstanding videos done with the V16. You would have never guessed. So it always boils down to the operators than the actual rig. The rig is a tool. It's useless if you hav no one to operate it ;)

But in certain cases the tool does make part of the difference. :)
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#6 Carl Perkins

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Posted 20 August 2006 - 03:45 PM

I began my Steadicam career with a Steadicam SK model and now I own a professional rig, half Steadicam brand and half MK-V brand. And just recently I took a job using a rig that was not mine (first ever). The company owns a Glidecam V-16, so that is what I operated. My thoughts on the V-16 are that it is harder to operate because of the lack of adjustability for balance and performance. There is a front/back adjustment under the camera, but no side to side adjustment. The video cable to the monitor doesn't run inside the centerpost, must go old style from camera down front to monitor. It was difficult for me to get the gimbal in the right spot so tilting was easy. The arm is only a single stage of springs and a solid stage and was always too high for proper headroom framing. I had to push the arm down to get better framing, which makes smooth moves more difficult as my pressure takes away from the arms performance.
Overall it is very dificult to do fine tuning with the V-16. They provide a bunch of metal washers to adjust balance at the bottom stage of the sled, which takes a lot of effort to get right. If you use the same camera all the time, you may be able to find the proper setup, but if you will be using different cameras for each job, I think you will have troubles with the proper setup for each camera.
If you are able to borrow a V-16, why not try it, but if you are thinking of purchasing a rig, I would strongly suggest getting a low end Steadicam model. It will be easier for you to use and you will be a better operator and you will be on the right track to using a professional rig someday. Try to get a Flyer or SK when you buy something.
I could not wait for that job to be over and get that V-16 off of me.
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#7 John Steele

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Posted 20 August 2006 - 04:06 PM

I began my Steadicam career with a Steadicam SK model and now I own a professional rig, half Steadicam brand and half MK-V brand. And just recently I took a job using a rig that was not mine (first ever). The company owns a Glidecam V-16, so that is what I operated. My thoughts on the V-16 are that it is harder to operate because of the lack of adjustability for balance and performance. There is a front/back adjustment under the camera, but no side to side adjustment. The video cable to the monitor doesn't run inside the centerpost, must go old style from camera down front to monitor. It was difficult for me to get the gimbal in the right spot so tilting was easy. The arm is only a single stage of springs and a solid stage and was always too high for proper headroom framing. I had to push the arm down to get better framing, which makes smooth moves more difficult as my pressure takes away from the arms performance.
Overall it is very dificult to do fine tuning with the V-16. They provide a bunch of metal washers to adjust balance at the bottom stage of the sled, which takes a lot of effort to get right. If you use the same camera all the time, you may be able to find the proper setup, but if you will be using different cameras for each job, I think you will have troubles with the proper setup for each camera.
If you are able to borrow a V-16, why not try it, but if you are thinking of purchasing a rig, I would strongly suggest getting a low end Steadicam model. It will be easier for you to use and you will be a better operator and you will be on the right track to using a professional rig someday. Try to get a Flyer or SK when you buy something.
I could not wait for that job to be over and get that V-16 off of me.


Hi Carl,

The V16 sled does have side to side adjustment on the top stage, there's two screws one at the rear for fore/aft and one at the side for side to side. You are right though the V16 has it's challenges with fine tuning but with time you get better at dealing with them and as a starter rig it works, I used one for years.

Daniel, I would say though that if you want to purchase something a Glidecam V25 would be a good option and something you should definately look at along with flyer/older steadicams etc.

John.
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#8 Carl Perkins

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Posted 20 August 2006 - 06:47 PM

Hi John,

The V16 sled does have side to side adjustment on the top stage, there's two screws one at the rear for fore/aft and one at the side for side to side.


Maybe the sled I was using wasn't a V-16, the arm I was using had V-16 graphics on it, but the sled was unmarked. But this one didn't have any side to side adjustment and the fore/aft wasn't at the back. The sled I used only had 4 hand tightening bolts (2 on each side) that were loosened to allow the top plate to slide forward and backward within a bottom plate. The centerpost was attached to the center of the bottom plate with no options for adjustments. Maybe the sled was from a different model rig.
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#9 Stefan Czech

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Posted 05 October 2006 - 11:49 AM

Hai

John Steele is rigth. The time change and so the Products. The V25 from Glidecam had not much to do with the "old" V16. The V25 is a modern and nice Steadycam tool for a god pice.
If you have the chance to check the Glidecam V25 and the Steadicam Flyer so try it.
It depending on your camara and "shootingstyle".

cu Stefan
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#10 Rhys Duncan

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Posted 06 October 2006 - 05:26 AM

steadicam is the industry standard , lets face it it was the first , everything else is a copy , i have been a very proud owner of a 3a steadicam for several years and am quite proud of that fact but i feel the truth is now there are a lot of alternatives on the market and i must admit i am tempted by them mainly because for all the clever design the one thing tiffen in my opinion does not seem to accomodate is that as batteries and monitors have got lighter the dynamic balance of their rigs has got harder to achieve ,i.e The Flyer, how many people have added weight to their rigs to make them fly straight , forgive me if i am wrong but why is that not a design consideration ,you literally have to gaffer tape them on , i have found that the addition of a kilo or two can solve a lot of problems but if you are a new boy you might not think of that ,you would expect that the rig is perfect , ready to go , so i suppose what i am saying steadicam was the leader but now i find the likes of say mk-v, glidecam etc are offering viable alternatives and i am starting to look at those. ps i still love steadicam and would love to meet garrett brown one day, for all the joy he has given me!
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#11 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 06 October 2006 - 11:06 AM

The Ultra 2 is one of the best thought out sleds I've ever seen. New battery and monitor technology combined with lots of features and this sled was certainly designed with dynamic balance in mind.
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#12 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 09:27 AM

i'd love to throw my 2cents in, as a v20 owner.

I too looked for a rig that was going to get me started in understanding the process of steadicam and only due to the price, i turned to the v20. using it with different cameras was a mission at times, resulting in improvisation and hand made mods. I still own the v20 and am quite comfortable with it now. i have done a lot to make it 'fit' better around my needs... basically, i look at it as my first car, one that I build up, work on the engine and learn the basics on...

Of course, i cant wait to try out a mercedes of the steadicam, but meantime, my nissan has got all the turbo boost i need to get me through my small gigs;


mods:
internal wiring
AB gold mount
quick release (shifts camera back/forw a bit easier) etc...
hook - lowers the rig by 10cm (that head room that got mentioned is now not an issue)
custom build cage
etc

dont judge too harsh, remember it is a nissan :unsure:

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