Flying your camera is not as easy as it looks.
The opening sequence was shot on this Glidecam HD2000. These type of devices that fly your camera are not as easy as they look, they take practice and this is my first one so I have nothing to compare it to, so please take my review from the point of a true beginner.
First off let’s talk about price, the HD2000 is around $450 which kinda on the pricey side for hobbyist, however if you compare it to the Steadicam Merlin it is a steal, but on the other hand if you compare it to a Hague then it looks expensive again.
I had some problems balancing my Glidecam so I contacted the manufacturer and Tom from Glidecam gave me a few pointers. They actually told me I have the wrong one for the T2i, they recommended the same one, the Glidecam HD1000 is about $100 cheaper.
I am tall at 6′-3″ when I try to go low to get at eye level with my girls the handle hits the bottom plate the camera sits on which ruins my low shots. I asked one of my visitors to my site Marc Wiblishauser Skateboard video on Vimeo what he does with his and he recommend rotating the handle, and that worked great for my low shots instead up inverting the whole unit which would time consuming.
I found that flying this outside it much easier than trying this inside, the main reason is focus, you generally want most of your image to be in focus so you have to raise your F-stop to 8 or higher, and if you don’t have much light inside for all the rooms you are passing through you need to up the ISO a ton.
Again I am a beginner at this but one of the biggest things I learned that really helped me get much smoother shots is applying the right pressure to the post while steering, this just comes with practice. I would think that within a month or two I will improve a ton more.
Here is one of my bad shots that is not easy, I’m trying to do a crane move and you can tell I need a lot of practice to smooth out my shot.
Suggestion for Glidecam
I have one suggestion for Glidecam to make this a better product. Taking weights on and off is the most time consuming process when getting it balanced, instead of having two screws which takes time to screw is to use just one. Create a holding bay for them to fit is so they don’t shift. Also the screws are the weakest link because if you damage the threads you are kinda screwed out in the field, my suggestion would eliminate half of them.
Jake Nielson came to help me out and he brought his Hague unit which he tested out on me. It is about a third of the price and I was surprised how smooth it was on the level walking scenes, however up and down the stairs it was hard to steer it with one finger. Also as Jake explains it appears to have a major design issue.
I learned a lot by watching other people use it, so on my blog post I included a few videos I think you should watch.
Good Videos To Learn From
Some other videos to check out:
Products Use in this Video
Thanks to Kevin Macleod for the creative commons music.