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Glide or Steadicam for Xl h1s?

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Andree Franks
Glide or Steadicam for Xl h1s?
on Feb 28, 2011 at 10:40:53 am

Hello hello,

we are in for a rig but I would like to hear some experience between the two brands and which model would be best for a fully loaded (camera and a Chrosziel matte box) Xl h1s. I would keep the battery on the rig itself right?

The most common thing I hear is that Steadicam is better but also cost the double then Glide....

Thanks for any input!



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Todd Terry
Re: Glide or Steadicam for Xl h1s?
on Feb 28, 2011 at 8:22:06 pm

Well, you'll find two schools of thought... from hard-core Steadicam operators that say the Steadicam is the only unit that will really do what you want it to.... and more budget-minded people who say "Yeah, but this other rig does the same thing."

Both are right, actually.

I'm a long-time Steadicam operator, and yes, I much prefer the "real thing," but the other units DO work. Just make sure you get a rig that is built for what your needs are, and one which will hold the camera you want.

We, too, shoot with a Canon XLH1. Keep in mind it's one of the bigger/heavier HDV cameras. Full rigged out, our weighs in at just shy of 22 pounds (camera body, P+S Technik converter, follow focus unit, matte box, prime lens, Anton-Bauer battery). Now, your rig is probably not as heavy as ours, but it's still not a lightweight. You need to put it all together in the configuration that you will normally be shooting in, and weigh it on an accurate scale. That will let you know which unit you need, whatever brand you choose. We still use an older-model Steadicam "SK" unit, and ours is rated to fly cameras up to about 23 pounds so we just squeak by.

All the rigs basically work the same... the difference you will find will be in the features. For example, with some of the "clone cam" stabilizers, you have to do a fairly delicate dance of making adjustments and physically moving weights around on the rig's sled to get the whole rig in perfect "dynamic balance." With a real Steadicam (and a couple of other higher-end units) that's much easier, by tweaking a couple of adjustment knobs up on the camera stage. Power, monitors, things like that will also vary from unit to unit. Keep in mind that the GlideCam is definitely one of the lower-end units, so it will be more difficult to set up and to use... but the end result may be the same.

As for power, that also depends on your rig. With a typical Steadicam rig (and I'm talking about the real Steadicam® brand), typically a single battery powers both the rig and the camera. There comes an issue though with the difference in power needs. With our rig, a single full-size Anton-Bauer "brick" battery rides on the rear of the Steadicam sled (there are dual goldmounts on the sled) which powers the monitor... AND powers the camera. Now, in our case we usually use an AB battery to power the camera for daily use, so we already have the proper configuration to change the 14.4 voltage from the battery into the proper voltage for the camera (half that). If you don't have that setup, you might need to continue powering the camera with its own native batteries (and if so, remember to include the battery when you weigh the camera).

Bottom line, it just depends on what your needs are. If you plan to do a lot of stabilized shooting (doing it pretty frequently), then I'd say a real Steadicam is definitely the way to go. If it's something that you might just do every now and then... pretty infrequently... then you might be perfectly happy with one of the lower priced units. Like most everything, "You get what you pay for," but in some cases the results are more than good enough... depending on your projects' budgets and your exact needs.

Keep in mind though that "Steadicaming" (or using any other brand of stabilizer) really is an art... and it's not something you'll be a pro at with your first rig right out of the box. It takes a lot (a LOT) of patience and practice... and if possible, training. I've been a Steadicam operator for almost 15 years, and it took me a significant amount of time and dedicated practice to get really proficient at it.

Good luck!

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Andree Franks
Re: Glide or Steadicam for Xl h1s?
on Mar 5, 2011 at 4:52:53 pm

Thanks for the info... yeah that is what I thought.
I think a GlideCam should be good enough for what we do.

Thanks!



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