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Glidecam v-16 newbie


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#1 Tommy Eriksson

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 04:57 PM

Hi guys my name is Tommy and Im a new glidecam v-16 owner (its an old rig with one elastic arm and vest) and I bought it from a school. I know the parts of the glidecam and now how to adjust all things with it (I think). Im using it with a ENG DVC-PRO camera.

Here is my problem: I don't know how to balance it correctly, I do not even now what to start with to get the right balance, so if anyone please could help me from the begining very detaild because I want to know exactly how I do it.

Maybe it is too much to beg for? I hope not.

Thanks to all who want to help me, I appriciate it!

BEST REGARDS
// Tommy
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#2 Dave Gish

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 05:54 PM

In order to better help you balance the rig, I'll need you to answer the following questions:
1) How heavy is your camera?
2) What other stuff will you be adding to the camera? (batteries, shotgun, wireless audio, lights, etc.)? How much does all that weigh?
3) Do you have a monitor & battery at the bottom?

Also, I used a V-20 once, do you happen to know how is the V-16 different from the V-20? Does the V-16 have the 8 brass thumbscrews on the stage? Do the front/back and left/right stage adjustments require an allen-wrench? Is the bottom of the sled just a plate with a bunch of holes? Did it come with weight plates for under the camera?

Edited by Dave Gish, 30 December 2008 - 05:55 PM.

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#3 Charles King

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 06:52 AM

Dave, the V-16 & V-20 are no different from each other. The only difference is the Springs in the arm.
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#4 Tommy Eriksson

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Posted 01 January 2009 - 12:05 PM

In order to better help you balance the rig, I'll need you to answer the following questions:
1) How heavy is your camera?
2) What other stuff will you be adding to the camera? (batteries, shotgun, wireless audio, lights, etc.)? How much does all that weigh?
3) Do you have a monitor & battery at the bottom?

Also, I used a V-20 once, do you happen to know how is the V-16 different from the V-20? Does the V-16 have the 8 brass thumbscrews on the stage? Do the front/back and left/right stage adjustments require an allen-wrench? Is the bottom of the sled just a plate with a bunch of holes? Did it come with weight plates for under the camera?


Thanks for helping me.

I will try to answer your questions. I will not add too much stuff to the camera, I just use the camera without any shotgun,lamp etc, so it will be rather heavy in the front of the camera because of the lens. So i figured that it would be best to maybe add a battery to the camera on the backside so it some counter weight? All things togheter will weigh 7.5 kg (16.5lbs). I forgot, I have removed the wievfinder from the camera too. I do not know if this is a good way to do, what do you think of this?

On the bottom there is a battery and a monitor, its a rather old rig. On the side of the bottom platform there are 2 (wings) u can pull out and add weight plates on, beside that there just plane and 2 rather big holes beside the sled. I have weight plates yes. Maybe I can send u an image on the rig? Than u will see for yourself?
Thank u so far!
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#5 Dave Gish

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Posted 01 January 2009 - 02:46 PM

Hi Tommy,

OK, that helps. The camera looks about the right weight for this rig.

I don't know how much you know about balancing a steadicam already, so I'll go through it slow and you can skip over stuff if you already know it. By the way, from the pictures you sent, I would get a shop-vac and dust everything off, particularly the monitor.

1) Watch the Pilot training video.

I know it's not your rig, but many of the basic concepts of balance are explained fairly well here.

2) Make sure you have a lighting stand or something to balance the rig on.

3) screw the balancing yoke plate on top of the stand.

4) hang the sled on the hook side of the yoke plate. On the V-16 and V-20, the silver metal gimbal ring sits on top of the yoke hook.

5) If possible, move the monitor post to the last hole in the front of the bottom plate. This will give you more inertia in the pan axis.

6) Gaff tape the battery to the bottom back part of the bottom plate, as far back as it will go without hanging off the back too much, again for pan inertia. Make sure the battery doesn't move around at all! When things move around even a tiny bit, balance will be affected. Tape it tight!

7) If possible, get rid of the wing mounts that stick off to the side of the bottom plate. It's better to have all the weight in line on the bottom.

8) Adjust the length of the sled post as short as possible.

9) Mount the camera.

10) Carefully move the sled over to the balancing pin side of the yoke. The hole in the gimbal handle goes over the balancing pin. Make sure you keep hold of the sled.

11) Adjust the position of the gimbal on the sled post so that drop time is around 2-3 seconds. You can lengthen the post a little if necessary. You might need to add some of the washer type weights on the bottom in order to balance. If so, move the sled back to the hook side of the yoke, and try sliding these washer weights over the monitor post to get the weight as far away from the sled post as possible, again for max pan inertia. I used some gaff tape around the monitor post to make sure the weights were snug and didn't move around.

12) After you get a rough 2-3 second drop time, get a rough front/back balance by moving the camera on the sliding tripod adapter plate (I'm assuming it slides). You may also have to move the hole where you mount the tripod adapter plate to the sled stage top plate.

13) Using the allen wrench, fine tune the front/back balance and left/right balance. Loosen the 8 brass thumbscrews before the adjustment, and tighten these 8 thumbscrews after the adjustment.

14) re-check your drop time, go back to step 11 if necessary.

15) give it a slow spin to check for dynamic balance. If its way off, try moving the weight around on the bottom plate a little and then re-adjust the stage front/back balance to compensate.

Good luck and let me know how it works out.
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#6 Tommy Eriksson

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 04:20 PM

Hi Tommy,

OK, that helps. The camera looks about the right weight for this rig.

I don't know how much you know about balancing a steadicam already, so I'll go through it slow and you can skip over stuff if you already know it. By the way, from the pictures you sent, I would get a shop-vac and dust everything off, particularly the monitor.

1) Watch the Pilot training video.

I know it's not your rig, but many of the basic concepts of balance are explained fairly well here.

2) Make sure you have a lighting stand or something to balance the rig on.

3) screw the balancing yoke plate on top of the stand.

4) hang the sled on the hook side of the yoke plate. On the V-16 and V-20, the silver metal gimbal ring sits on top of the yoke hook.

5) If possible, move the monitor post to the last hole in the front of the bottom plate. This will give you more inertia in the pan axis.

6) Gaff tape the battery to the bottom back part of the bottom plate, as far back as it will go without hanging off the back too much, again for pan inertia. Make sure the battery doesn't move around at all! When things move around even a tiny bit, balance will be affected. Tape it tight!

7) If possible, get rid of the wing mounts that stick off to the side of the bottom plate. It's better to have all the weight in line on the bottom.

8) Adjust the length of the sled post as short as possible.

9) Mount the camera.

10) Carefully move the sled over to the balancing pin side of the yoke. The hole in the gimbal handle goes over the balancing pin. Make sure you keep hold of the sled.

11) Adjust the position of the gimbal on the sled post so that drop time is around 2-3 seconds. You can lengthen the post a little if necessary. You might need to add some of the washer type weights on the bottom in order to balance. If so, move the sled back to the hook side of the yoke, and try sliding these washer weights over the monitor post to get the weight as far away from the sled post as possible, again for max pan inertia. I used some gaff tape around the monitor post to make sure the weights were snug and didn't move around.

12) After you get a rough 2-3 second drop time, get a rough front/back balance by moving the camera on the sliding tripod adapter plate (I'm assuming it slides). You may also have to move the hole where you mount the tripod adapter plate to the sled stage top plate.

13) Using the allen wrench, fine tune the front/back balance and left/right balance. Loosen the 8 brass thumbscrews before the adjustment, and tighten these 8 thumbscrews after the adjustment.

14) re-check your drop time, go back to step 11 if necessary.

15) give it a slow spin to check for dynamic balance. If its way off, try moving the weight around on the bottom plate a little and then re-adjust the stage front/back balance to compensate.

Good luck and let me know how it works out.



Thanks a lot for all help, Im really glad for u helping me!

It worked pretty well i most say. I think I got everything right except one thing. I refer to the video u linked, the static balance worked out well and the drop time is around 3 seconds, but when it comes to the dynamic balance, while I try to get the sled a little spin its off dynamic balance. In the video they say to move the battery/camera in opposite directions. Is that the trick? because it will be very hard because I cant move anything around on the bottom, the battery is stuck and the monitor? Is there any other way to receive dynamic balance?

maybe u got some tricks?

Best regards!
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#7 Dave Gish

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 10:22 PM

Hi Tommy,

For dynamic balance, the mains points are:
1) It doesn't have to be perfect.
2) Dynamic balance only comes into play with faster pans.
3) The only way I've found to get good dynamic balance involves a lot of "fiddling".
4) The main concept is to somehow move the total weight on the bottom plate forward or aft, and then compensate at the stage.
5) Remember to breathe. Seriously, I got frustrated with this at first, and had to concentrate on relaxing and taking my time. Make sure you have plenty of time to do it.
6) After you get a good dynamic balance, it will be much easier to get it again with the same camera and accessories.

Hope this helps.
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#8 Dave Gish

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Posted 02 January 2009 - 10:42 PM

Also, some more specific tips for testing dynamic balance are:

? Make sure you have PERFECT static balance before you test for dynamic balance. Find something vertical to visually line it up with (I use the pole of my stand). Start with the camera lens facing right, line it up visually, then turn the sled 180 degrees so the lens is facing left. If it doesn't line up exactly the same this way, then you know your vertical reference is a bit off. In this case, I split the difference so that visual gap with the vertical reference looks the same both ways. Do this for left/right static balance also.

? Make sure that the way you spin it doesn't cause the wobble. Use only your thumb and first finger placed right up against the bottom of the gimbal to start your spin. This way, you know that the force on the sled pole is directly opposed. If you can, very loosely grab the bottom of the sled post as you start spinning to help take out any initial wobble, and then carefully remove that hand. Also, gently touch the yoke after you spin to make sure the the stand and yoke are not moving around during the spin. You may also want to wait a while to see if any initial oscillations settle out. The point here is that initial oscillations may cause your spin test to look like it's out of balance when it's really in balance. If you spin it carefully, take other steps to remove initial oscillations, wait a while for any remaining initial oscillations to settle, and it still continues to wobble, then you know it's not in dynamic balance.

Hope this helps.

Edited by Dave Gish, 02 January 2009 - 10:47 PM.

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#9 Afton Grant

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Posted 03 January 2009 - 12:05 AM

2) Dynamic balance only comes into play with faster pans.


Not true. DB is important to any type of panning.

Tommy - try some of the cousin forums: steadiforum.com, dvxuser.com, and the home built site (sorry, don't have the address). They tend to have much more experience with the smaller, non-Steadicam type rigs and could help you with the setup and tweaking of your rig. Do keep in mind, many of the rigs of the type you have were not designed with dynamic balance in mind. Many of them simply don't have the adjustment capabilities to achieve it. DB is something best understood conceptually, rather than by a checklist. Read Jerry's DB primer, take a workshop, or shadow another operator to get a better understanding of it (do them all if possible). On the smaller scales, there may be such little total weight involved, such things as placement of cables might affect the total equation.
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#10 Dave Gish

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Posted 03 January 2009 - 07:30 AM

Not true. DB is important to any type of panning.

Hi Afton,
Thanks for pointing this out. My bad.

After I did the tagalong on your shoot, I was able to use the Glidecam V-20 on a couple of other student films, and I was able to get it to spin flat, so I know DB is possible with this rig.

Posted Image

Tommy - try some of the cousin forums: steadiforum.com, dvxuser.com, and the home built site (sorry, don't have the address).

We just happen to have the moderator of the home built site, Charles King, posting on this particular thread. See the link under his name on post #3.

There's also a lot of good info about Glidecam rigs on this forum:
http://www.dvinfo.ne...-steadicam-etc/
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#11 Tommy Eriksson

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 07:22 AM

Not true. DB is important to any type of panning.

Hi Afton,
Thanks for pointing this out. My bad.

After I did the tagalong on your shoot, I was able to use the Glidecam V-20 on a couple of other student films, and I was able to get it to spin flat, so I know DB is possible with this rig.



Thanks for all help I think the only problem is the Dynamic balance and I will try as hard as I can to get it good.
I really appriciate for helping me, U have made my life a litte bit easier=)

There is only one thing I have noticed, When I look at other peoples rigs the gimbal position on the sled is very high, almost at the top platform, when I try to balance its like the gimbals position is 20cm from the top of it. Do u know how I mean?

sry for my bad english btw.
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#12 Tommy Eriksson

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 07:37 AM

Oh sorry Dave the question was, does it matter where the gimbal is placed? Or as long as u have a good drop time it doesnt matter?
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#13 Dave Gish

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 08:30 AM

Oh sorry Dave the question was, does it matter where the gimbal is placed? Or as long as u have a good drop time it doesn't matter?

Yes, it matters.

Grab a pencil. Hold the pencil between the thumb and finger of one hand, and move the pencil with the other hand. Hold the pencil in the middle. When you move the pencil, the eraser moves a lot. Now hold the pencil much closer to the eraser. When you move the pencil with your other hand, the eraser moves much less.

So in order to decrease the effect of sled movement on the lens, you want to get the gimbal closer to the lens. In order to keep a reasonable drop time (2-3 seconds), you will need more weight at the stage (top) in order to move the gimbal closer to the stage.

The V-20 should include some weight plates that go under the camera.

Of course, if you are doing a really high shot, or a really low shot in low mode, then having the gimbal further away from the lens is desirable. But for normal shots, I try to balance the rig so that the distance from the gimbal to the bottom of the stage is 7cm or less.

Hope this helps.
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