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boojoo007

Glidecam HD 1000 -A7S tips?

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Hello,

 

I just purchased an A7S and a glidecam HD 1000. I am using a 55mm 1.8 lens. Having difficulties getting it balanced to be perfect, however I am getting close.

 

Anyone else using glide cam ? Do you use a quick release plate? If so which one?

 

How many weights do you add to the bottom? Any other tips would be greatly appreciated! 

 

Thanks!

 

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boojoo,

 

I have an older Glidecam 2000 and used it with my Canon 7D years ago. Now I am dusting off all of my video equipment and using it with A7RII. For balancing I did not use all the weights that it came with, it would have worked with all of them but in the end I did not need all for an even balance. No matter how much you balance it, it will slightly keep turning to the right or left. That's okay, as long it's a slow turn and not a quick one. You don't want to have any leaning forward or backward, or left and right, that should be balanced. But for some reason the slight turn to right or left never leaves. 

 

Watch this cool video on youtube, this guy is good. Watch how he moves and the entire video is helpful.

 

 

Here is the setup I have with my manfrotto monopod, fluid head, and glidecam.

 

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=241139&gclid=COKIusiws8gCFU6Sfgodo9oNug&is=REG&m=Y&A=details&Q=

 

Hope this helps. Lots of practice and sore arms.

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I have never tried a glidecam so can not comment on that particular model, but have been working daily with a Tiffen Steadicam for years (Steadicam Pilot and Flyer). But most stabilizers work the same way so a few tips:

 

-The Glidecam 1000 is rated up to 1.3kg max weight. This weight limit usually describes the total weight of camera, lens, batteries etc and additional weights you put on the rig. If the total weight is too low it will not work very well (unstable). And if you are above the max limit it will not work very well either (the gimbal does not move smooth) and you can damage it. My guess is that a total weight around 1-1,3 kg for this glidecam is ideal. So how much extra weights you put on it to balance it is important since it adds to the total weight. Where you put them is also important since it will affect the balance.

 

-A quick release plate is really needed on any stablizer. It will save you a lot of time. If you balance the rig and just put the camera back on it (same lens and everything) everything will be the same as last time and you can just go ahead and use it (sometime small ajustments can be required but not much). 

 

-Weigh the camera with everything you need on it (battery, lens, quick release plate and adapter etc.) If it is around 800g then calculate how many extra weights you will need to bring it up to around 1.3 kg. 

 

-Move the stage on the Glidecam (the top part where you mount the camera to it centre sideways and back and forth). Find the point on the camera where you can balance it on your fingertip. This is the centre of gravity of the camera. Put the camera with battery and lens (and other stuff you need on the camera) on the top of the Glidecam. Mount it so that the centre of gravity of the camera is as close as possible to the middle of the stage (the part where the "post" is attached to it). Add the extra weights that you calculated to the bottom of the glidecam. If you need two extra weights than put one on each side at the same distance.

 

-Hang it from a light stand (if you have one). If not you can just hold it by the handle. But this is not ideal. Try to put the post (the long pole on the glidecam) horizontal. Let go and notice which end is most heavy (which way it turns). If the glidecam will let you move the gimbals position on the post then adjust this up or down and try again and again until the post will stay horizontal when you let go of it. Now move the gimbal a little bit upward until the time it takes for the post to fall from horizontal to vertical is around 2 seconds (you can experiment with longer and shorter "drop-times" which have their advantages and disadvantages, but 2 seconds can be a good place to start). If the camera does not drop all the way down because it is too heavy on one of the sides dont panic. We will fine adjust this later. But balance it as good as you can for now.

 

-After you are sure to have a "drop-time" around 2 seconds then hang the rig on the light stand again by handle or hold it. The goal now is to get the post (the pole that goes from top to bottom) as vertically straight as possible (forwards and backwards position). If it is not already vertical then notice which sides it leans to. Move the weights that you earlier added on the bottom of it from one side to the other so that the "post" is as vertical as possible. Remember that you have four places to mount these. Further out will move it more out to that side than the one closer to the post. You might also be able to change the weight distribution by extending the sides of the base etc. depending on the model. If you can make the post totally vertical (forward and backwards) you are fine. If you cant you will have to use the screws on the top of rig to move the camera slightly backwards and forwards. But this is meant for fine adjustments so try to get as good balance as you can just from adjustment and moving around the weights at the bottom first. Now you need to make the "post" totally vertically straight also sideways. I will guess the a7s is side heavy so this might take some work. If it tilts much to one side then move the camera itself to the other side on the top by changing the hole you mounted the quick release or camera to. The use the screw that lets you make fine ajustments sideways (if it has one, the steadicam models do) until the post is totally straight horizontal.

 

-Tilt the rig some to see if it returns to being totally vertical stable both forwards/backwards and sideways when it settles. If not fine tune until it does. Now the rig is in "static balance".

 

-Now do the positioning of the gimble again to make sure you have a "drop-time" around 2 seconds. Since it is now in static balance this will be a lot easier and you can perfect this. 

 

-After this check again to see that it is still in "static balance". If it is a little bit off balance then fine adjust again. When the rig hangs steady like this in perfect static balance (inside without wind etc.) then you are ready to "fly" it :-) If you cant get it to be in perfect static balance no matter what you do then there is something wrong with the rig, probably the gimbal. If so then complain and get a new one, or if it is so poorly constructed that you cant balance it perfectly static then i would highly recomend to not waste any more time on it. You will never ever get results you are happy with and it will just be a total nightmare to work with. Remember you can get the "steadicam solo" from Tiffen very cheaply. So if you like working with a steadicam and want to get better then consider upgrading to this. Also add a arm and vest to it to get much better results.           

  

-There is also "dynamic balance". Spin the rig around (so it rotates around its "post". If it does not "drift" outwards any way it is in dynamic balance. If not then you can improve this by making sure the weight mass is evenly distributed around its center. This is complicated and can take a lot of work. But dont worry about it. Static balance is the most important thing. Dynamic balance will have its effect on "pans" etc, but for "flying" around is not very important so worry about dynamic balance if you decide to make this your new hobby and use a lot of time on it.

 

-An arm/vest will help a lot, particularly with eliminating "walking" movements (up/down). 

 

-If you ever upgrade consider the models from Tiffen. They are more expensive but my experience is that it is worth it. The big difference is in the quality of the gimbal (it must be as frictionless as possible, if you spin one from Tiffen around it will keep on spinning and spinning and spinning, if you do this on a chinese copy it will stop after a little while do to the friction). Also there is a big difference in how the arms on the vests absorbs movements). 

 

-But keep one thing in mind......a steadicam is actually very easy to get OK results with, a big big improvement in comparison to handheld movements, as long as you learn how to do proper static balance on it (which is much easier than it sounds). Most people who cant get OK results with their rig probably never balanced it correctly. It is NOT hard. But to achive GOOD results (particularly keeping the horizon while moving, removing the small smooth start stop unstablity, framing etc ) you will have to practise practise practise. You can do it for years and years, and never feel really 100% happy with the results. There is always something to work on.This is the beauty of it. Easy to learn, hard to master. Also remember that with such a lightweight rig as this it is much much harder to get great results than with the heavier rigs. The heavier rigs will not be as easily affected by wind etc and will forgive much more. The lighter rigs will not forgive anyting. So dont expect GREAT results with such a small rig no matter how much you practise. But with time you can get some GOOD shots :-) 

 

Good luck.      

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Forgot one thing.....Using a 55mm lens on steadicam is not something I would take on as a beginner. This is like trying to keep a tele-lens stable handheld. Much easier with wider lenses. Use a wide angle lens on steadicam for much better results.  

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Thanks Trokvik, very helpful information. I got it for a cheap price so I thought id have fun and play with it. I've got it pretty well balanced now. I just need practice on my working and moving around with it. 

 

I'm hoping to get a 35 mm lens sometime soon. Hopefully that will help.

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