The very first impressions from shooting with my Smooth Shooter and Glidecam 4000 Pro revealed what I always had in mind about the rig, but couldn't do otherwise, considering the bigger cost of other systems. The system is too light and every little move makes a big difference. Trying many different shots, I came to the conclusion that I have to make very delicate moves if I want to get some nice shots.
My question is the following: Are light rigs only suitable for light camcorders (my camcorder is a JVC GY-HD 100, that weighs only 7.3 lbs) or can these camcorders be as easily adapted and operated on a heavier rig? For example, would it be better if I attached my JVC on Glidecam's Gold System or Tiffen's Archer? Can such heavy rigs host such a light camcorder? And, finally, if this last one is not possible, is there a way to make the Smooth Shooter and 4000 Pro a little less "sensitive"? I know practice plays a great deal but any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks a lot in advance
Edited by Themis Gyparis, 17 September 2007 - 02:21 PM.
Many people are flying cameras of this class on bigger rigs simply by adding weight plates to the top stage. A lot of operators already have practice cages made up so that they can use their camcorders at home to sharpen their skills while duplicating the mass of a larger camera that one would more typically fly with this size rig. Certainly you get smoother shots, partially because the larger rigs are higher-performance but also because the greater mass means greater inertia, which is missing with your setup.
However, the JVC is one of the heftier of the cameras of it's type and the setup you have can deliver great results, but you will need to practice with it plenty to learn the subtleties of controlling it. There is no simple way to make it less sensitive, short of adding weight top and bottom of the sled until you are at the limit of what the arm will bear, but you were indeed correct that delicacy is the real solution.
Just for reference, and to confirm a few of Charles' comments, here's a couple pictures of my Master rig with the JVC and Canon cameras mounted on it. You can see the JVC has a weight plate beneath it and the Canon is mounted to the P&S Mini35. Both are great as far as weight goes - not too light, not too heavy. One drawback to the weight plate beneath the camera is it lowers the center of gravity of it. Depending on the rest of your setup, this will likely force you to lower your gimbal. You'll notice in the picture, the gimbal is about 4-5 inches below the stage which is operable, but not desirable.
So, if I get it right, there will be some change in operation if I add some weight but it will still require delicate moves. Considering, I add a little less weight from the maximum than the arm can handle - and, of course, adjust spring tension and post lenght accordingly - would that have any "side-effects" on the arm's function? I mean, wouldn't an arm at it's max give worse results than another working at, say, 50% of what it can handle? As I read at the Smooth Shooter's manual, the arm can hold a maximum of 18 pounds. Do you think a few extra pounds would make a difference or give the exact opposite results? (I wish I had all that information earlier, I might have at least gone for Glidecam's V-16)
I'll do just as you say, Charles. I am only afraid about this "less springy" that you mention. I guess you refer to the arm springs. Mine has only two and if I add more weight, the rig might collapse with e.g. only one spring. Are you suggesting one spring might be better for a camcorder like the JVC GY-HD 100 or did I understand wrong? Sorry for all these questions. They may sound silly but I've heard so many things and I am trying to reach the truth Also, any recommendations for a heavier but slightly affordable rig?
By less springy I mean that it doesn't bounce up and down as much. Compare to shock absorbers in a car--you want one that "absorbs" the shocks, making the bumps in the road invisible, not one that bounces the car up and down repeatedly until it settles back to normal.
Just load up some dead weight onto your rig, you'll see what I'm getting at.