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let's be honest here...


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#1 Themis Gyparis

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 12:17 PM

Hello everyone once again

About a month ago I made a post in the newbies section concerning the operation difficulties I had with Glidecam's Smooth Shooter and the 4000 Pro post. Back then I had expressed my disappointment and I questioned my choice to go for the certain rig. I got a lot of responses and I'm very thankful for all of them and I tried to put in practice everything that each and every one of you had to offer from his personal experience.

Since then I kept practicing and practicing, each and every day. I employed all the advices I got. As time went by I noticed improvement in my shots and I started to understand better what I had to do. Extremely light center post touch, slow moves and turns, a ballerina-like walk in some cases, the list goes on and on...

While I was able to tame the "dynamic balance "beast" up to a certain point, till today my constant problem lies in stops and starts in a move. I worked hard on this but till this moment I still find it difficult to make my steps invisible in a move. Steadicam as I get it is about imitating camera move on a rail, even if it means going up and down stairs or moving from one room to another.

I don't want to waste your time, because I know most of you would more than justly prefer to analyze a technique with an experienced operator, other than answer the same question again and again, so I get to the point. I think the problem lies in the rig's weight. It is light as a feather even with my JVC GY-HD 100E attached on top and every move needs surgical precision. Honestly, I don't think anyone could be able to make a decent shot with this certain piece of equipment...

So what I ask is this: Is it possible that a heavier rig with a bigger camcorder would produce better results even for someone who has only been into steadicam for a few months? It can't possibly be just my skills to blame and I know there's a certain reason for which the price difference of my rig compared to big professional stabilizers is so big... Not that I can afford it, but it would be good to know :)

If anyone has actually worked with this certain rig or a similar one for smaller camcorders, I'd be more than happy to hear from him, even see some shots he's made. I know you all would suggest a workshop and maybe it would make a difference but, honestly, I don't have the time or the money for it. I'm not a quitter, my ardency for steadicam work is enormous. It's what I always wanted to do and when I saw the price on Glidecam's Smooth Shooter, I figured this was the chance I was always looking for. By now I'm not so sure...

Any answer would be greatly appreciated. If it turns out it's only my skills to blame I'll accept it, put it behind me and give up on my "dream" once and for all. But I want to know if a larger rig would help me.... Please be both blunt and honest... I can take it :)

Thanks a lot in advance. I wish I didn't bore you again with a subject like that. It's the last time I do it. It's just crucial for me to know...

Edited by Themis Gyparis, 14 January 2008 - 12:23 PM.

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#2 Rob Vuona SOC

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 01:17 PM

Themis,
It sounds like your tenacity is enough that giving up on your rig isn't part of the equation and it shouldn't be. Although I have never flown one of those rigs but by looking at the pictures of it I can see that the light weight would make any movements difficult. But you have only been practicing for a couple of months . . . .give yourself a break . . . .! Keep practicing and take small steps in linking shots together, by this I mean don't try to do a walk down the hallway and up the stairs all in one shot put it together in pieces and make all the little pieces great, the entire shot will come in time. The great news is once you have gotten this super light weight rig down to a science and you graduate to a Flyer or something bigger your skills will make your next rig sing!

Don't give up, save your pennies and keep up the tenacity . . . .

Fly safe and take baby steps
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#3 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 01:22 PM

Here's a link to a friends website. He uses a Glidecam and a small Sony camera. Judge for your self as to how good or bad the operating is but I can tell you for a fact that the guy makes good money using that piece of equipment. http://www.glidefx.com/

I can also say that it's very likely that the operating on a 200 thousand dollar rig with a 200 thousand dollar camera on top would probably be better that the operating on a Glidecam and a JVC camcorder if operated by the same person.

And not to sound like a broken record but if it is really your dream to operate Steadicam and you spent the money on the rig, it's crazy not to take a class. I don't know any operators (not a single one) that didn?t take a class (OK, maybe Garrett Brown but as he invented the thing...).

Best of luck,

mm.
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#4 Frederic Chamberland

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 01:49 PM

Speaking of Mr.Brown,

While I was doing my workshop in Malibu with Garret as one of the instructors, we were using betacams on the sleds and the last day of the workshop, we were able to fly a Panavision Platinum on one of the sleds . I made a comment about how nicer were the stops and go with such a heavy rig and I will always remember his answer to me: "It's like moving a cathedral."

And yes, for having flown a flyer for a friend and very small cameras on my PRO rig, there is quite a difference in the way you start and finish a move depending on the camera and rig used. And I too, don't know any operator who has not attended a workshop. Since the workshops are given mostly by operators, you might be able to fly a bigger rig at your workshop (let's say the flyer workshop) if the instructors have their own big rig and can then compare on site with professionals.

Fly safe
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#5 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 02:25 PM

So what I ask is this: Is it possible that a heavier rig with a bigger camcorder would produce better results even for someone who has only been into steadicam for a few months?


Congratulations on your tenacity Themis! Steadicam is among the most difficult and challenging things I've ever done with a camera, but that is part of the allure and beauty of it as well. Taking a workshop is paramount to your growth and success and based on your dedication to working on your own, something you should do before too many bad habits are set that you have to "un-learn".

There's some validity to your question regarding heavier rigs as it relates to mass and inertial stability, but additional mass also comes with its own set of issues/rules related to the laws of physics. The higher end big rigs allow you more options to set up the rig to give you the best performance characteristics based on the needs of the individual shot you are doing, and some of the smaller rigs offer that too to a more limited degree.

Everyone here is suggesting what you need to do; and that is take a workshop where you'll learn the basics of not just the "HOW" but the "WHY" as it relates to operating. A workshop will be like throwing gas on a fire for you and when you come back to post on the Forum you'll be better equipped to understand and speak the "language" of flying a rig.

All the best!

Edited by Robert Starling, 14 January 2008 - 02:26 PM.

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#6 Charles Papert

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 03:17 PM

I would add to all of the excellent thoughts above that having flown the rig you mentioned as well as the smaller Tiffen rigs like the Pilot and the Flyer, I personally feel that it is much tougher to work through the specific issues you describe with the Glidecam. The Smooth Shooter arm is not bad but it is nothing compared to the little Steadicam arms. In a small rig like this the issues of precision in design and manufacturing become magnified as you do not have inertia on your side to help smooth things out.

I would recommend seeing if there is any way that you can try out the Pilot or Flyer with the same camera on it for comparison, I sense that having gotten some serious flying time in you will really appreciate the difference. And otherwise, loading up your camera setup with additional weight will help with the inertia issue as well. The JVC is a relatively low and long camera which is good, but maybe look into having a simple plate made for the bottom of your GC that will move both sets of washers further away from the center post.


good luck with all!
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#7 Erik Brul

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 03:40 PM

Here's a link to a friends website. He uses a Glidecam and a small Sony camera. Judge for your self as to how good or bad the operating is but I can tell you for a fact that the guy makes good money using that piece of equipment. http://www.glidefx.com/

Hi Mike,
Don't want to correct you :ph34r: ... , but i remember founding this website ages ago when i was searching via google for 'steadicam mini' owner/operators to see their footage.
Has Kurt changed his rig into a Glidecam ? Why, he makes wonderful images with the mini which i thought was not possible untill the Flyer came out.

Best, Erik
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#8 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 05:08 PM

He hasn't changed the rig. Is the one he's using not the same one were talking about??? I know his rig is really small and really light and has the word "Glide" in it somewhere.

mm.
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#9 Themis Gyparis

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 05:12 PM

As always thanks to each and every one of you personally for your immediate and full replies. I wish I could afford a workshop but I have to be honest, I can't, at least not for the moment. I'd be in it in a second should one ever took place in Greece, but I'm afraid that will never happen... Anyway, I can't thank you enough for all your advices. Next target is constant practice since I can't do anything else and... my silence till I have something I feel is worth showing.

Again thanks for everything and I wish all of you the very best
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#10 Erik Brul

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 05:16 PM

He hasn't changed the rig. Is the one he's using not the same one were talking about??? I know his rig is really small and really light and has the word "Glide" in it somewhere.

mm.


Nope, it is as seen in the demo 99.99% a Steadicam Mini ! I think GlideFX is just a great name and a perfect way to describe the possible footage,

Erik
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#11 Fabrizio Sciarra SOC ACO

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 06:31 PM

Hey Themis, good to hear from you.
Starts and stops are simply one of the many skills to learn and practice, like pans or walk in a line; again, no workshop means no basics in knowledge, so you are starting in an even more difficult way, but you're working hard and keeping on will give you results. It will be a long way and you'll probably develop some bad habits on the road that will be difficult to leave later on.
Inertia, as said in the older topic, certainly will help in some situations, but be happy, once you learn operating with a small and light rig you'll be an excellent op when it will be time to upgrade to a full "heavy" rig.
The light touch you are going to develop in this phase is something that will work also on the heavier rigs later on, so again make treasure of the experience you're in now, one day it will pay back with interest.
My tip for smoother starts and stops, a longer drop time can helps you to control the rig (i.e. 3 secs instead of 2, but carefull, then the sled will be even more sensitive at the touch, then you'll really need a VERY light touch). Also, is when your fingers on the gimble and your body in general are called to correct and anticipate the reaction of the sled.
It will just take time.
So, don't give up, if you know is the way you want to go, work hard to make it happen, and remember, if it were so easy..........
All the best
Fabrizio
P.S. keep showing us your videos, you'll quickly improve receiving inputs 'till you'll take your workshop which i wish you to have as soon as you deserve
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#12 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 02:28 AM

He hasn't changed the rig. Is the one he's using not the same one were talking about??? I know his rig is really small and really light and has the word "Glide" in it somewhere.

mm.


Nope, it is as seen in the demo 99.99% a Steadicam Mini ! I think GlideFX is just a great name and a perfect way to describe the possible footage,

Erik



ahhh, ok, a mini....... what ever it is, he makes it work pretty well. which rig is bigger, the glide cam or the mini?
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