Glidecam V8 Tips

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The vest is cleverly designed, easy to get in and a comfortable fit for a range of body sizes. The sled is a bit basic and to be honest a bit fiddlier than it should be but in all ok for the money. Were the rig sucks big time is the arm. It’s ugly, not just in looks but it just doesn’t work as well as it should. It won’t go down low or up high, which means I hope you want an eyelevel shot cause without a re-rig thats all you get. Forget going through doors because the big ugly arm is not going to fit easily in any doorway. Physically it’s a nightmare to fly. It only really works well if you fly it biased to the left side of your body – but that’s ok if you have a monitor mounted on the sled. In the end I had to fly the rig far away from my body so I could see what I was shooting which makes more strain on your back. 10 min in this rig was worse than 40 min on a Steadicam rig over 3x the weight. With a lot of effort and pain you can get a good stabile move, but I can’t help wondering why they don’t put a better arm on it.

The Glidecam, while inexpensively made, seems reasonably rugged and serviceable. Using it requires two hands… your right controlling the mechanical arm; and your left gently controlling the orientation of the camera in three axes. I found that the V-8 also put a considerable strain on muscles of my lower back that I hadn’t been using in quite the same way during ordinary hand-held shooting. Even after my short stint of using the V-8, my back wanted a rest big time. Thankfully, the sled pops off the arm and can be hung on an supplied mount on your own C-stand when you’re not shooting.

I would recommend the Glidecam V-8 for use with a camera if you want smooth floating shots. Realize that some time practicing with the rig will be required to develop some mastery and to build up the necessary muscles in your lower back. These V-8 shots will be smoother, by far, than what is possible hand holding the camera and walking — even with the a camera’s optical image stabilization turned on. The unit would be far more useful (but a bit heavier and more costly) with the high visibility green screen CRT.

The Glidecam V8 is an amazing camera stabilizer, and worked wonders with my DVX100. It’ll take a few days of practicing to get it right, but once you get the hang of it , it’s really cool. It’ll probably take you a few hours to assemble and balance the glidecam. A worthy investment of your time, but this balancing act is just part of the skill of using the glideclam. Although you should be able to pick up the glidecam from a level surface without any wobble, this is a useful exercise to get used to the feel of the unit: with your strongest arm holding the handle so it’s positioned about 45 degrees from the back of the glidecam (and your free hand gently holding the pole just below the handle) practice picking up and placing the glidecam back down again. The move onto walking in a straight line towards a target before finally attempting moving around corners. You’ll notice than any change in direction will result in an inevitable pendulum effect – the bottom of the glidecam will swing out. With practice you’ll find you can minimise this “roll” with graceful movements.

What I would suggest rather than adding so much weight to the back is to move the camera at the top until it balances out all you really needed was a slight extension of the post or another weight disk or two. A one second drop time is a bit too quick in my opinion, the key to all this is finding a balance between top heavy and bottom heavy and this normally lies somewhere in the 2-3 second drop time range. So I’d remove the weight you added adjust the camera position to balance it out and see if you can manage to get a drop time of about 2.5 secs, that should do the trick.

You should be able to get the quick release plate to work better, what you’ll need to do is to tighten the knob until it hits the weight plates, then use an allen key to loosen the screw that goes through the knob, you can then pull it out and turn it back without adjusting the current setting, this means you can set the range from loose to tight to allow you to work round the problem of it hitting against the weight plate(Hope you understood that terrible explanation).

I finally discovered the Catch 22 to balancing this. The more weight you add to the bottom, the easier it is to get horizontal balace, however the drop time goes much faster. So to make the drop time slower, you have to decrease the bottom weight, which in turn makes the horizontal balance harder to adjust. My patience started to wear a bit thin last night as I couldn’t find the perfect medium. Finally out of the blue after a tweak here and there it seemed to come into perfect balance with a drop time of a little over two seconds. I think I’m happy with that so I strapped on the vest and arm and went for a whirl last night. I think I did pretty well for a first run! I was able to keep it on for about 10 minutes before my back started to feel the pain (I’m sure I will last longer with more practice)

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