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Glidecam V25


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#1 camuse

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 05:59 AM

Hi all,

Who's worked with the Glidecam V-25 ?
I flew one some time ago and was very surprised by it's capabilities and am wondering how others think of this sled ?

Maurice
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#2 Mike Marriage

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 07:04 AM

I'm pretty pleased with mine.

For the price, it is very effective although they have obviously cut a few corners.

I have heard a lot of complaints about the vest. It actually fits me pretty well but isn't the most rigid vest ever made.

It doesn't use a standard socket block and although V25 arrangement works fine, it does prevent you from swapping the vest or arm. You can buy a socket block converter to solve this.

I find the post a little thin and I dislike the monitor arm but it does work.

I really like the arm, it is pretty smooth and well built. I have heard people say that the Flyer arm is smoother and that may be true but it can't carry as much weight.

If you want to spend about $10K on a rig for S16 and video, you can't go too far wrong with the V25. Another option is a 2nd hand rig like an EFP, which can be heavily modded but obviously lacks the support of buying new.
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#3 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 11:16 PM

V25 arm is too stiff in my opinion. It may take more weight than a Flyer but the sled is flimsy with that extra load. Vest is beyond uncomfortable.

Buy a Flyer (or a pilot if you can get away with that little of a pay load). Else go for the used EFP. Solid rig. Decent arm and okay vest.

Oh, Maurice, at your earliest opportunity, please add your first name to your display name (under control panel).

Thanks,
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#4 Morgan Lowndes

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Posted 24 May 2007 - 04:10 AM

hi maurice

i think the v25 is a great rig.
there are obviously a few quirky parts as mike mentioned.
the monitor arm is a bit funky and the vest will need a bit of tweaking to get comfortable.
i really like the arm, i think its very smooth and well built, and the sled is fine.
ive used mine for 8 months now and have got some great shots with it.

cheers
morgs
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#5 Charles King

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Posted 24 May 2007 - 11:30 AM

Maurice, you're certainly going to get different opinions, especially on a board that practically dominates the film industry with it's own name - The Steadicam. We all know Steadicam, GPI pro have the best arms out there but what most of the dedicated steadicam fanatics on this board forget is that not everyone can afford a full fledged out steadicam or GPI pro system for a first or second rig. It's all about developing and taking baby steps.

So my suggestion would be to try out both rigs if you get the chance to do it. You will never understand what people are talking about if you don't get the feel of it yourself. I've flown the V25, EFP & the flyer. The EFP arm is in a class of it's own, although it's an old arm it's still a high level arm.
The flyer arm is slightly better than the V25 but than again it's all about the weight thing, isn't it? ;)

The V25 arm is better than the Gold arm, my opinion of course. If you want more weight room and you're a willing to spend a little more than sure, go for the EFP, if you can afford it. If not, stick to the V25. I find the v25 to be a nice arm. The vest can always be modified. Morgan,who has a v25 has modified his vest to fit much better than Glidecam's original design. Maybe Glidecam should enlist Morgan for the design ;) You can see his design on HBS forum under Modified commercial rigs.

Anyhow, like I mentioned if you get the chance, test the rigs out to see what you think.

Edited by Charles King, 24 May 2007 - 11:35 AM.

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#6 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 24 May 2007 - 01:01 PM

Charles,

When I was starting out, it drove me nuts to hear people say "buy a 3a or this new PRO thing - everything else sucks...." and I'm certainly not saying it now as I know everyone has a budget. I brought up the stiffness of the V25 arm because the choices on the table were Flyer, used EFP, and the V25. Of those, the Flyer probably has the nicest arm, but the EFP is a lot more adaptable and has a good arm too. I guess, in my opinion, the EFP brings a lot more to the table than a V25. This is not brand loyalty; rather my opinion having done this Steadi thing for 15 years. Of course, I'd too recommend that someone looking to buy a rig try all the choices in their price range (and just above because one needs to factor in the cost of modifying their set-up - i.e. to make the vest usable). The only catch to this is that someone starting out may not know what to look for because they lack the experience to truly understand the subtleties. If you've only worn a rig once or twice, it is hard to imagine that you'd notice the difference between a $2000 gimbal and a $6000? Likewise, will you understand how a high end arm like a PRO or G70 will improve your operating? If you only have minimal skills with the rig (i.e. it takes all your effort to not fall over) I don't think you will see the difference we are talking about here. At the very least, this stresses the need to have taken a workshop before you buy. Having spent a few days to a week with an Ultra 2 or a PRO will certainly give you a sense of what the higher end rigs feel like. Is this enough time in the rig to tell the differences between models? I honestly don't know. I will only say that as you start your career you certainly don't need the best gear on the market because it can take years to hone your skills to the point of caring about some of these quality differences. But if you can buy better used gear for the same price as a lower end system new, it is surely worth looking into because after a few months of practicing some of a low end rig's short comings will start to haunt you and you may find yourself selling it to buy a new one.

One other note. If your interest in Steadicam is purely about flying a light weight prosumer camera, then you'll never need the extra weight capacity of a V25 or an EFP and the Flyer (or Pilot) will do this job better anyway so it really seems to be the way to go. Most people on this forum want to work on the higher end stuff that requires a "big" rig so much of the advice here will be to buy a system that can get you working with these cameras sooner, but this is not what everyone is after. Thus, we see Tiffen making more models than ever.
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#7 Charles King

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Posted 24 May 2007 - 03:50 PM

I certainly understand what you had said in your first post as well as your second post. I'm not disagreeing with you. Regardless of all the advice that are given here, people still need a choice. I know just spending a couple of minutes in a rig is not a ultimate decision breaker but you can certainly tell the difference in performance within a couple of seconds. For me it does. I think it's a good thing Tiffen is starting to make reasonable rigs,. This should have been done a long time ago. I knew they had to start listening to the demands of the little people. You can say, why now? I guess it's time to take over the low end market as well, after seeing the surge of many stabilizer brands flooding the market ;)

Anyhow, The choices are many, and people will finally come to realize what quality and performance are when they take their steps towards getting the best rigs. I would like to know what the original poster, Maurice, has to say about his budget. Then, we can start laying out all the advice on the table. :)

Edited by Charles King, 24 May 2007 - 03:55 PM.

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#8 camuse

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Posted 25 May 2007 - 10:56 AM

Well, that's a point....: My budget :rolleyes:

My budget stretches up to 16000euro's and for that money I already have got my eyes on a Steadicam Broadcast Master.
However, I'm not an operator that works 5 days at steadicam operating. I'm a regular cameraman as well.
Therefore I'm crunching my brains as to if an expensive rig will earn itself.
Ofcourse I want a good rig and I know from experience what the Master delivers. The V-25 I've only flew once and was quite surprised with it's capabilities, even if there are a few issues with the rig.

What should I do ? :blink:

Either way; it will be an improvement over my V16 rig, I've used for some years :lol:

Maurice.
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#9 Lars Erik

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Posted 25 May 2007 - 02:53 PM

Hey Maurice,

I'm in the same situation as you. I've delivered DP services for some years now. And almost 2 years ago, I took a Steadicam course and bought a rig. I bought the Archer, and have now upgraded to a G-70 arm.

What kind of rig to buy? I've never used a Glidecam. So I can't say much about those rigs. But what I know is that reputation follows you. So I decided from day 1 that I wanted gear that was good and had a good reputation. And I'm afraid DP's here in Norway aren't very impressed with Glidecam.

I'd advice you to buy a rig that you think is good. From what I read, you thought the Glidecam was good, but had some issues. Remember that the rig you buy, may well be with you for 10 years. Chances are good that you make money on that rig, even if it's a Master. And the better the rig, the better the shots. If you buy a rig that doesn't have the quality a higher-end rig has, you may lose jobs due to less attractive shots you've done. So that's also a factor. But as stated, I have not used Glidecam. So I can't say if these rigs are good or bad.

Personally, I've found that the fact that I've done a lot of camera op jobs before buying a rig, has helped me a lot. All my contacts from those days, now also hire me as a Steadicam operator. It's all about selling yourself. I told all of my contacts I bought a rig. And slowly but surely, I got Steadicam jobs in addition to a regular operator. I also sell myself as a DP/Steadicam op on deals on several programs. So a lot more money is coming because of this. And I've experienced that a camera operator who has his own rig is in high demand.

What rig to buy? You need to think about which market you want to attack. And what your goals are. When you know this, I'm quite sure you'll know which rig to buy.

Good luck on your investment.

LE
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#10 Charles King

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 08:56 AM

Now that is very good advice from Lars but one thing I must add or correct to what Lars said about DP's not being impressed by the Glidecam. Sure most or almost all DP's realize that Steadicam is a name brand that has stood the test of time. It's performance and quality speaks for itself. Even some directors might just know that a steadicam is a great device but frankly speaking ,if you were to shoot a film using another brand and blind folds the directors eyes I really do not think he will tell the difference if he sees the playback afterwards. This is of course if the operator is an experience one.. I've seen work done with a Glidecam V16, That I thought was done with a steadicam rig. So experience plays a big role in using a stabilizer or steadicam in general. To me, the director should care less what the steadicam operator uses as long it can get the shots that he or she requires.

I just do not like when people say, it's impossible to get the shots without it being a steadicam. Don't get me wrong. I love the rigs because I love the quality but remember it becomes important as an operator how much of a quality expense you are willing to do without. Options, reliability and flexibility are key elements for operators choosing the Steadicam or high level systems. Majority of the lower systems do not have these requirenments and that's why operators turn to the high end systems.

Again, like Lars said, if you have a good connections within the film or TV industry then you are liable to get clients galore, especially if you are good at what you do. Again, the US has the most steadicam operators then anyway else in the world. So there is competition. Like places where film is not a huge industry, you are not likely to find many operators. So if you're one of 4 or 5 operators in the country then getting a job is almost guaranteed. There are countries that only have one steadicam operator. So naturally if you are the only one available then your client list will be plentiful.

I just wanted to lay the facts out. All! not just a few. And especially not say it's either this or nothing. Whoever says something to like that is a narrow-minded individual.

Edited by Charles King, 26 May 2007 - 09:02 AM.

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#11 Lukas Franz

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 08:59 AM

Hi guys, here comes my opinion:

I recommand to save your money for a good workshop, rather than buy a high end rig. Start driving a Volkswagen (isn't it Garrett? hehe!) not a Ferrari. Better take some driving lessons and become a good driver in the first place. Comparably with operating a steadicam. Start with a small rig. Could be a Flyer, could be a V-25 or anything else. I think it's not important how big the rig is and how much weight it is able to carry. If you start operating, you won't (shouldn't) do "big" jobs. There will be no company hiring you for a 35mm big budget production. Maybe you start with low budget music videos and shorts. There are no budgets for an experienced Steadicam operator and they probably take you. It's good to learn and experience, but not for making big bucks. How I said before, save your money and take a workshop. And start practicing...a lot. You're getting better and jobs will be paid better, now you can think about buying a bigger rig and make bigger bucks. And yes, it takes years.

I for myself startet with a V-8, yes a V-8 ;-) If you're able to make good shots with that rig, you're able to make good shots with any other rig. It depends on how good you are as an operator. Of course it's also important to get the feeling of what it means to carry 50 lbs rather than 15 lbs. But I think that everyone knows that a Steadicam is a heavy stuff and it requires a physical fitness.

Take care.
Lukas

P.S. I like the V-25.
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#12 Charles King

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 09:08 AM

Thank you Lukas. That's my point I've been trying to get across. The first advice anybody gives to nebies when requríring about a rig is BUy an Ultra, buy the best. You won't regret without even asking more particulars about budget and trying to analys the best route to go. I concur again. Take a workshop and/or try the different systems out that your budget can afford but know the limits of each and buy the best that you can afford at this point in time. One will always grow. Job started of with a Glidceam and now owns a MK-v system. He grow out of it when his clients list and demands grew. Point blank.
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#13 WillArnot

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 12:52 PM

I have to jump in here perhaps to play devil's advocate but also to re-emphasize a couple of good points that Lars made.

Firstly he did qualify that it was DP's in NORWAY, obviously his home market. I agree that yes, if it was like a blind taste test, and people were only allowed to watch the monitor, well - you could probably execute a competitive shot w/ a stabiliser made out of wood! (to make a point)

Point being that of course a DP or Director, in a perfect world, shouldn't pay any attention to the tool being used, but the REALITY is that they DO look at what the gear is like. Producers, Directors, DP's love to be able to say they had "this really great piece of gear, that enabled them to do great stuff" - because for the most part no-one is re-inventing the wheel in film-making these days, so people want to feel like they are separating themselves from the masses somehow. Think about the Technocrane. Personally, I've seen a homebuilt 30' telescoping crane that is in various ways designed better than the real Techno, but it looks like a "bucket of bolts". It's market is very limited, although the designer is a genius, and the crane makes very smooth effective shots.

When I bought my first rig the Master had just come out. Since taking a workshop in '92, for several years I had rented various rigs, and continued nurturing contacts primarily working as a dolly grip. Another valid point that Lars makes, in that a solid reputation doing 'whatever' is very beneficial. My pre-Steadicam network became my Steadicam network. Key Grips would recommend me for jobs while they were on the Tech scout w/ the DP. I have found that personality is almost more important than skill. There are some fairly unimpressive ops out there, but they have strong personalities and they are able to talk themselves into a lot of work.

I am not good at selling myself so I have to rely on my skills and my friends to do the talking. So back to the rig; just as personality presentation can have a lot to do with success, Gear presentation will make you appear more professional. If you show up with a "bucket of bolts", or a cheap / lightweight rig, people know - and like it or not, it says something about you. In my experience, this will limit your market, let alone your ability to step up and do a bigger job (35mm), when it comes along. You say you will upgrade your stuff when the time comes, but all the jobs that presented themselves that bring you to that decision will have been lost, and possibly your reputation affected. This is a limiting factor to your potential to move up. Upgrading a rig is not an overnight affair.

ie. I did a commercial for a DP who had used a very well known Op on movies and commercials. This was a car commercial in the snow hard mounting to snow mobiles. Basically, my gear was neat, new, and buttoned up with custom rain protection, and the assistants remarked on this to the DP. He then took note and commented that as amazing as the famous op was, his stuff LOOKED so used & tatty- and somehow my presentation gave him piece of mind. I didn't have to say a word. The other op would have produced the same if not better footage. I got all the next big calls from that DP.

When the Master series came out, it cost $55,000 for the arm, vest, and sled w/ very basic cables, baseplate, 4 batts and 1 charger. At that time I had about $7,000 to my name, not a lot of choice in sleds and none of my family were willing to co-sign a loan. Long story short, it took me almost a year to convince a company to lend me the money, and the terms they gave me were almost double what I had budgeted to be my absolute limit, and the first and last month payment left me with less than $1,000 to live on the first month. Needless to say I signed the dotted line, and 3 days later had the latest and greatest Steadicam.

Up until then people (Dir, Prods, DP's) had seen very little new gear, and were used to seeing 3A's and EFP's. Even though I was an inexperienced op, I was able to achieve basic shots and people remembered me as someone who had my ___ together and I was known as that guy w/ that 'New' Steadicam, primarily because I didn't show up with a "bucket of bolts" or any cheap knock offs.

The other point to make is that the good gear bought me a certain amount of leeway for screwing up, since people respected that I was invested in good gear, and they certainly weren't paying me full rate then. Again, people SAW the gear, and that gave out a certain impression. Obviously I had to back that up with basic skills - BUT GO TAKE A WORKSHOP!!

Times have changed a little, but presentation still counts for a lot. The legendary op lost out on some calls because he was still flying a bucket of bolts. Skills will make or break you no doubt, but people do react to the gear you carry. They shouldn't, but they do. If you want to EARN big bucks, LOOK like you earn big bucks.

I bet you they would stop Steven Spielberg at the security gate at Universal/Amblin if he pulled up in a rusty old Volkswagon bug!

Bottom line is that you don't get anywhere without taking risks. My experience is that if you want it badly enough, no matter how impossible something appears, a glimmer of possibility will present itself somehow, the trick is getting used to recognising that moment. You just have to get busy living in what is possible, not worrying about what isn't.

Glass half full.

Will
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#14 Charles King

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 02:08 PM

I know it's not a perfect world but the truth is not all DP or directors will know the difference. I guess it all depends where you live. In the US, maybe, but I still don't think it's a point to base on this kind of decision. Again, I am NOT saying do not buy a high end rig. All I'm saying is get the facts and realize your present career endeavors. If you cannot get a loan or don't have the budget, you have to start some where. So you would probably have to settle for what you can afford at the moment. That's if you're buying your first system. Or just rent a Steadicam system if you really want a steadicam system or any high end rig.

I really don't think a director will send you back if you have a Glidecam or Sachtler system. If you are experience at what you do then why should he. There are many operators that started of with lower end rigs and they upgraded later. Maybe it's only in the US that DP or directors send operators off the set because they don't have a steadicam ;) I don't see what I'm saying is so hard to understand.

Edited by Charles King, 26 May 2007 - 02:11 PM.

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#15 Afton Grant

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 03:35 PM

Hey Charles,

You're right. Not all DP's, Directors, etc know the differences between equipment brands. However, as Will said, some do. I've had many DP's comment on my gear. I'm surprised at how many have taken a Steadicam workshop or dabbled in the gear at one point in their careers. Nobody said people without the right gear get turned away on set, although I'd be very curious to know if anyone knows of specific cases of just that type of thing. Once you're on set, it would be very costly and irresponsible to immediately fire an operator based on gear alone.

The question is, will you be hired again? Since it's not the single day's work that pays our bills. It's all the work that comes from that single day. The answer is, who knows? Some will and some won't, and you'll rarely know the reasons why. The goal is to eliminate as many reasons for them to not call you the next time. Your job on set is to make the DP and director look good, and getting them to trust in you to do that is the first step. For those that don't know a stabilizer from a transmission, you're probably one step closer. But for those that do know the gear, this is where appearance (as Will was saying) plays a big role.

I agree with what I think you're ultimately saying. Buy the best you can afford for what it is you want to do. If you truly don't need a $60,000 system, don't buy one. If you can't afford one now, get what you can and save for later. I do think having some rig is better than no rig at all. The politics of this business are gigantic, unfortunately. Knowing what they truly are and how to deal with them is a great step towards success.

Best regards,
Afton
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