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left to right or the opposite?


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#1 Themis Gyparis

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 03:57 PM

Hello everyone

I am new to the camera stabilizers area and in a few days about to start operating lessons with practically - lucky me - the best steadicam operator in Greece. I just have a question. I own Glidecam Smooth Shooter and 4000 Pro for my JVC GY-HD 100E camcorder. The factory "setting" places the arm from right to left, so that the post's operation is with the left hand. As fas as I've seen, though, most TV operators have their arm from left to right and operating the post with their right hand. Which position is better? I mean I've tried both on my rig and operating the post with my left hand works best for me. Does this hide a disadvantage I should be aware of or is it just a matter of operating convenience?

Thanks a lot in advance :)

Edited by Themis, 11 September 2007 - 03:58 PM.

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#2 Jon Beattie

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 04:45 PM

Hello everyone

I am new to the camera stabilizers area and in a few days about to start operating lessons with practically - lucky me - the best steadicam operator in Greece. I just have a question. I own Glidecam Smooth Shooter and 4000 Pro for my JVC GY-HD 100E camcorder. The factory "setting" places the arm from right to left, so that the post's operation is with the left hand. As fas as I've seen, though, most TV operators have their arm from left to right and operating the post with their right hand. Which position is better? I mean I've tried both on my rig and operating the post with my left hand works best for me. Does this hide a disadvantage I should be aware of or is it just a matter of operating convenience?

Thanks a lot in advance :)


Its like many other actions. Its a matter of comfort. For some setups you may have to switch. But its like a boxer being regular or a southpaw or a surfer riding regular of goofy foot. which ever is most comfertable should be your standard.
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#3 Erwin Landau

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 04:55 PM

Hi Themis,

First of all, please change your Login name to your real first and last name (I send you a message how).



You are referring to the regular operating position versus goofy.

Todays 2 handed operating position (Arm attached to the right side of the Vest, Sled hanging/floating to he left side of your body, right hand on the Gimbal handle, left hand on the center post) is a derivation from the original one handed operating style (used by Garrett and all first Generation operators. Arm attached to the right side of the Vest with right hand on the center post, also back then you can find grooved Center-post grips for a better grip, and Garrett is a right hander).

The Steadicam Support arm was supporting, as the original name states, the weight of the steadicam with Camera attached and made longer operating less fatiguing to the right operating hand. Also by using your right hand you stayed on the smart side of the Camera as you would with regular operating, and instead of looking through a viewfinder, you where using the little monitor that was attached at the camera in place of the viewfinder. (Later the monitor moved to the now familiar position, at the bottom of the sled).

The one handed operating style persisted until 1979/80 when Garrett was slated to start filming on "The Shinning". Kubrick requested some intricate moves (which also led to the development of the Universal 2 model to facilitate low mode which was achieved by separating the monitor from the sled, no shaving mirrors as with the model 1) that required more controls (Watch the movie!) which ultimately let Garrett to move the Sled over to the left side of the body, gripping the Gimbal handle with his right and allowing more dexterity to go to the center post via the left hand (way more control and ease of operating).

The 2 handed style or the now know standard operating position was born. It also didn't require major mechanical changes... exempt for a smooth Wrap grip on the center post... And most operators adapted the new style and use it to this day. We also still use the single hand style, even if it's only for running purposes...

Over the years it became personal preference to use the regular or the goofy operating style. On all Cinema Products Workshops you where encouraged to try the other side just to figure out what works better for you and for the purposes of a fully rounded operating experience to be able to operate on both sides ergo expending your operating repertoire...

So put it were it feels better.

Sorry about the history lesson,

Hope it helps,

Erwin
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#4 Themis Gyparis

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 06:25 AM

Hello Erwin

Don't apologise for the history lesson. As a Greek I know well that history is something you can never put aside if you want to have a future. I saw your message and made all appropriate changes. I know you mean well but I am certainly NOT a spamer, just a newbie who wants to learn in order to operate in the best possible way. :)
Anyhow, if I understood correctly, the goofy way is operating the post with the left hand. It's good to know because it works best for me, as I can minimize impact on the post, allowing more smooth moves of the post in any direction, while allowing my stronger right hand to handle the gimbal. That's if I understood it right.
I have one more question, should you find the time to reply. What's your opinion on Glidecam's Smooth Shooter with 4000 Pro? I got to that solution not only because it was more affordable, but also 'cause talking with a number of pros they suggested it more for such a light camcorder as my JVC GY-HD100. What's your opinion? Of course, replies are very welcome from any other member in the forum.

Thanks a lot in advance
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#5 David Hughes

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 08:13 AM

Hello Erwin

Don't apologise for the history lesson. As a Greek I know well that history is something you can never put aside if you want to have a future. I saw your message and made all appropriate changes. I know you mean well but I am certainly NOT a spamer, just a newbie who wants to learn in order to operate in the best possible way. :)
Anyhow, if I understood correctly, the goofy way is operating the post with the left hand. It's good to know because it works best for me, as I can minimize impact on the post, allowing more smooth moves of the post in any direction, while allowing my stronger right hand to handle the gimbal. That's if I understood it right.
I have one more question, should you find the time to reply. What's your opinion on Glidecam's Smooth Shooter with 4000 Pro? I got to that solution not only because it was more affordable, but also 'cause talking with a number of pros they suggested it more for such a light camcorder as my JVC GY-HD100. What's your opinion? Of course, replies are very welcome from any other member in the forum.

Thanks a lot in advance

Hi Themis.
I think you have your wires crossed a bit. Left hand operation is known as regular. Goofy is when you use the right hand on the post with the sled on the right hand side.
Choose a side and favour it for most of your regular operating but don't neglect to give some practice time to your other side as it will come in handy some day in a tight doorway or an akward stair well.
Dave.
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#6 Themis Gyparis

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 09:08 AM

No, no perfectly got it the first time! :) . By mistake I wrote down "left hand", instead of "right hand". Otherwise, why would I state to be happy since it's more convenient to me to operate the post with the left hand?
Anyway, thanks for the advice, I'll do so. Any opinions on Glidecam's SS and 4000 Pro?
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#7 Charles Papert

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 11:04 AM

I'll throw in a thought about the GC4000/Smooth Shooter as a friend of mine got one and I was helping him shoot a piece with DVX100's and thus did some shots with the setup. The fun part was that we were well into the shoot and I was ready to put the rig on and he showed it to me--brand new, in the boxes and all wrapped up. It took me 25 minutes or so to put it together and balance it, but I would imagine a "newbie" having to spend most of the day doing same as balancing with that rig is not so intuitive.

As far as the pros who recommended it to you, if they were Steadicam operators I would think that some of them at least should have recommended the Tiffen Flyer to you instead. It's a good fit for the HD100 and a much more sophisticated rig, particularly regarding the arm that has MUCH more range and smoothness. Balance trim is a world apart also.

It is that last part that continues to confound me with the Glidecam 2/4000 series. Adjusting fore-aft and side-side with a series of 4 thumbscrews and coaxing of the plates is something that is maddening for an experienced operator and, I can only imagine, difficult and frustrating for a less experienced operator. To achieve the delicate balance that is crucial for all stabilizers but actually more precise for a small rig like this, one must be able to make very tiny adjustments in trim which is a challenge with the top stage of the GC. Outside of that, the rig does what it needs to do and the gimbal works well enough to provide the appropriate isolation.

The Smooth Shooter arm is nicely made and does as well as it can given the design limitations, meaning that it will have inherently more bounce and less vertical isolation than the iso-elastic design in use with the Flyer. Also being a single section arm, the range of travel is significantly reduced and one is unable to boom the camera up to even their own eye-level, let alone the subjects if they happen to be taller. I understand that there is now a dual-section version of the arm available which would be a big help in this area.

To me, the Smooth Shooter being a much later product shows the evolution of Glidecam's design team but the GC 2/4000 is a throwback to a less elegant period, and I am surprised that they have not updated this piece of gear. Certainly they have sold many of these and they continue to be popular but that topstage could use an overhaul in the biggest way, or there should at least be a more sophisticated version of this weight class of sled available.

I mentioned the Flyer earlier and perhaps this was something you examined but discarded due to the cost. Of course now there is the Pilot which will also accomodate your HD100 in a similar price range as the GC/Smooth Shooter, and which has incorporates all of the features mentioned above.

Well, you asked for an opinion! I'm not saying that you can't make good shots with the rig you have (I myself found the inability to boom to eye level a deal-killer) and you should continue to work with it and learn the skill, as you will. At some point however it probably would be good for you to try on a Pilot just so you can see the difference, I think you will find the arm in particular to be a revelation.
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#8 chris fawcett

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 11:12 AM

Charles,

The consistency and thoroughness of your answers is inspiring.

Note to self: must try harder.

Chris
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#9 Themis Gyparis

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 03:04 AM

Well, Charles you are absolutely correct. I wouldn't expect to hear anything less from an experienced professional and, to tell you the truth, I may be a newbie but soon I faced the same problems that you mentioned. Indeed, balancing needs a lot of time as well as fine-tuning and the way it must happen can drive you mad sometimes. What's comforting is that the camcorder is light enough to allow some movements that help balancing for an amateur. I say that because when I tried to attach a heavier and bigger camcorder I barely did it.

Also, you are right about the cost part. The price difference of the Tiffen rig was tremendous, so I didn't look into it at all, at least not for now. You see, I mainly wanted a rig to help me do some basic things at first, in order to learn basic operation and, in time, should all go well, I'll go for a better one.

The problem with shooting at eye level is also very discomforting and was one of the very first things I noticed when I bought the rig. I was informed that there is a way to bypass that with a higher arm post. I am not sure what it is exactly because the guys at Glidecam didn't have a picture available, but I tend to hesitate, mainly 'cause I don't know how much more difficult shooting will be with such a change.

Apart from the above, I am truly grateful for all the information each one in the forum provided. You see, here in Greece it is very difficult to find a guy at the reselling company with the appropriate knowledge in the area - they are salesmen and nothing else. I got lucky to contact a top operator here - and abroad as it turns out to be, you may have heard of him: Michael Tsimperopoulos - who is really kind enough to find some time and show me some stuff.

Thanks for everything. I'll soon "annoy" you all again with new questions :)
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#10 Andrey Yazydzhi

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 05:31 AM

Good morning , Themis!

The advices of Ervin was exelent , but do not forget: right or left is not only a question of your comfort as usual.Sometimes you need to work with left or right hand on sled as a result of shoting conditions.

Best regards,

Andrey Yazydhi,SOA,russian steadicam operator&instructor,
yazydzhifilms.com,
yazydzhi@mail.ru,
+7 903 7406481,+380671331646.
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#11 Charles Papert

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 08:25 AM

Glad to help Themis. Interesting to hear that GC is providing an extended arm posts, I wasn't aware of that. That should work fine. I use 4 different high posts (and two lower ones) myself.

Chris, thanks for kind words.

Andrey, true in theory regarding left or right side for certain shots, although a large percentage of operators would rather operate with the rig swung to the "wrong side" rather than switch the arm around, me included. I tried it once on a feature 10 years ago and was embarassed by the results. The impossible situations like a spiral staircase etc. might force one's hand however. You keep your fingers crossed about these sort of shots popping up!
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#12 Themis Gyparis

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 09:23 AM

No problem, Charles. See? Even a newbie like me may have some useful information to offer to an experienced pro :) As soon as I get the extended post, I'll let you know the results and even post a picture if necessary. I also checked out Tiffen's Pilot and I have to confess it is much better than GC/SS but also much more expensive. A few months ago mine was $2,500 on B&H, including monitor batteries and Tiffen's - athough still affordable enough - is way up at $4.000, almost double the price. Anyhow, should I find some time, I'll arrange a demonstration with my local dealer - if I find someone who knows! A good choice, if you are not aware of it, is Sachtler's Artemis HD Pro, but way more expensive. If you haven't seen it, take a look atSachtler's page. I am sure you'll be amazed!
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