Which Steadicam?

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incas
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Joined: Oct 7 2000

I have a Panasonic DX110 camcorder. Please can I have advice on Steadicams best suited for my size of camcorder. I see prices vary between £150 and £600. They all appear to work on the same principle - is it worth spending the extra money.

Thanks

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

FWIW, I have a DX100 and use a Hague stabiliser. I'm happy with it for about £200, but it takes a fair time to get the setup right. Try their web site, something like http://www.b_hague.co.uk.

[This message has been edited by Alan Roberts at work (edited 22 January 2001).]

FerrymanR
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Joined: Nov 22 2000

I also use a Hague. Works well after initial setup. Needs to be set so it *just* balances. If you tilt by 30 degrees is should take over a second to return to vertical and not 'pendulum' back and forth.
Go to your hardware cheapo shop and buy a smal circular spirit level and superglue to the bottom plate... helps a lot.
Richard

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

Yep, I glued a spirit level on mine too, and I replaced the top plate with a Manfrotto slide plate, so now I have a coarse/fine adjustment and a quick release mechanism all in one.

incas
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Joined: Oct 7 2000

Thanks for the advice. I have seen a steadicam unit advertised on the following website: www.scootx.freeserve.co.uk/
your opinoins to this one would be most appreciated - the price looks good but what about the rest of it?
What style of footage do you do with your steadicam.

Paul Rossi
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Joined: Jun 15 1999

Saw the website but admit the animation didn't look as though the camera was that smooth. I have often fancied having a go at making a DIY steadycam but don't know where to get the gimble from - any ideas?.

I have seen the video for the Steadycam but it is too expensive - the Hague appears to work very well but doesn't look as pretty. Why isn't there a cheaper alternative? Maybe the SmoothKam is the answer, after all the price looks very reasonable but has anybody used one yet?

Great interesting thread methinks.

Regards,

Paul

You can't edit what you haven't got.

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

It looks good value at the price, but it has limitations.

There's no for/aft compensation for cameras with the screw mount off axis. Many Panasonic cameras have the screw hole way off centre, so you need to move the balance around a lot to get it to work (I've used my DX100, a DS11 and a DS35 recently with my Hague beats, no problems). The Hague has both for/aft and left/right fine adjustments for balancing, essential in my book.

You can't put SmoothKam down vertically, it has no "foot". Neither has Steadicam for that matter (the plastic JR collapses when you put it down, marginally acceptable). Full-blown Steadicams (the professional stuff, springs, kevlar flak jacket and all) even have a separate tripod you can park it on. The Hague has a flat base, and is stable when parked on the ground or a table. So I can start the tape with it on the ground, then pick it up and walk away with it still recording. I've done it several times and the results are worth having.

Horses for courses. Decide what you want to do with your kit, then get the bits to do it.

[This message has been edited by Alan Roberts at work (edited 25 January 2001).]

incas
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Joined: Oct 7 2000

Alan

You are selling me the Hague very well. I hate spending more than I absolutely have to (I work as a Buyer after all!) and initially seeing a Steadicam so competively priced (£79) I was turning my nose up at £195 for the HCS3 stabilizer advertised in CV - (I presume that is the one you have - please confirm). However after your stabilizing capability comments I need to look into this more closely. Will these suppliers cooperate with a 'buy to try' with say 7 day return for full refund? I feel that is the only way I will know what to spend my money on. I'll ask and keep you updated. Comments meanwhile will be most appreciated?

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

Sorry, I can't recall the model number, but IIRC, there's only one. And I seem to have got their URL wrong so I can't check in a huirry (which I am today). Since you're only 30 miles from me, you can borrow mine for a few days if it would help.

I phoned Hague about 4pm one Thursday and asked about the beast, having read about it first here on the BB. I'd looked at the web site to get the idea of shape and appearance. The nice chap on the phone said he could get one to me next day (I was going off on holiday later same day) so I ordered it and paid by card. It arrived by Parcel Force at 8.15 next morning. I spent about 2 hours getting the setup right then went off on holiday delighted with it. Only later did I take the top plate off and replace it with a Manfrotto slide (it really should have that as a orderable option).

Email me at home by tonight if you want to take up the loan offer. Leave a phone number and we can fix details.

------------------
alan@mugswellvillage.freeserve.co.uk. Delete village for a spam-free diet.

[This message has been edited by Alan Roberts at work (edited 26 January 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Alan Roberts at work (edited 26 January 2001).]

incas
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Joined: Oct 7 2000

Alan,

THanks for your offer on the steadicam and apologies for a late reply. (A) I've been a wee bit ill - better now, and (B) I've been trying to e-mail you but they ain't getting through. I'm most probably doing something pretty stupid but could you e-mail me at mark@incas.madasafish.com and I'll reply to you from there? Many Thanks

Mark

------------------

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

Private conversation's just launched.

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

Mark borrowed my Hague machine on Saturday and came back with it, wreathed in smiles. I guess he's going to get one.

BTW, molto grazie por il bottiglio di vino blanco, molto bene con pesce.

JamesE
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Joined: Oct 23 2000

Hi,

I own a Steadicam JR which is excellent. Mind you it is very expensive, but it's one of the best.

I've heard good things about the Hague Stabilizer and also about Glidecam (glidecam.com)

James

pegasusvideo
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Joined: Aug 29 1999

I am currently trying to develop a stedicam rig. I was going to build if from those adjustable U channel shelving uprights, but changed me mind when I couldn't drill the steel!

The next option was an unright threaded bar with a platform at top and below. On the vertical movement it was levels fine, but on horizontal moves, the momentum makes the camera pivot around. (The pivot being a photographic ball and socket joint). So now I'm looking at copper tubing bent into familiar stedicam jnr style with a weight below the centre of gravity.

The arm is 50% done. Again, it uses copper tubing in a parralelogram shape, the ends being fixed to a combination of steel "L" brackets. My idea is for a pair of springs to hold it in the "up" position, and the cameraman exerting pressure to hold it down (On the true rig, this arm seems to have a "stay put" setting of its own, but I don't understand the physics of that)

The body belt is gonna be the real challenge. Ah well, what this space!

Dave Currie
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Joined: Mar 4 2001

ANYONE WANTING INFO ON HOW TO BUILD A 'STEADYCAM' TYPE DEVICE SHOULD GO TO:
www.w1.226.telia.com/~u22604215/homebuiltstabilizers.html

Do hope I've got thE address right...or Bob will kill me!

PLEASE POST YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE VALUE OF THE SITE!

Dave Currie
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Joined: Mar 4 2001

I've checked the address input but can't get my browser (AOL) to open the site! Sorry!

Technophobe Dave

Later that day...

Typed in the address via Netscape and it found the site no problem!

[This message has been edited by Dave Currie (edited 09 April 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Dave Currie (edited 09 April 2001).]

king
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Joined: Aug 27 2001

Dave,

The correct link is http://homebuiltstabilizers.just.nu

[This message has been edited by king (edited 27 August 2001).]

Charles King
If it can be done, do it!

Des
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Joined: Apr 7 1999

I've been using a Camsling now for a few weeks - very good indeed and it allows you to keep your hands free a lot of the time.

Des

Sony Z1 / A1E / PD100 - Avid Liquid 7.1 - 2.66GHZ Core 2 Duo / ATI 950 Pro / 2 x Iiyama 17" flat screens
Storage: 1 x 80GB / 2 x 400GB / Offline Firewire 1 x 2TB and 3 x 400GB

Peter Stedman
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Joined: Oct 30 2000

Re the Hague Steadycam/stabiliser. I've looked at the photos and hear what you all say, but can't quite understand how, if it keeps the camera steady & LEVEL, how do you do your tilts shots up and down?
Please tell me. Thanks

Stuart B-M
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Joined: Apr 6 2001

Have been searching through a few links this morning, try.... http://www.b-hague.co.uk/camera%20supports%20systems.htm

For Hague products.

Regards all

Des
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Joined: Apr 7 1999

Have a look at the Camsling at: http://www.camsling.co.uk/
it's possible to film continuously for an hour at a time, obviously that's rarely required but it's an interesting acid test for how relaxed this particular piece of kit is, just try that on some of the other hand held mounts!

Des

Sony Z1 / A1E / PD100 - Avid Liquid 7.1 - 2.66GHZ Core 2 Duo / ATI 950 Pro / 2 x Iiyama 17" flat screens
Storage: 1 x 80GB / 2 x 400GB / Offline Firewire 1 x 2TB and 3 x 400GB

Stuart B-M
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Joined: Apr 6 2001

Hi Des,

Do you have/use one of these?
They do seem very well priced and i like the "microphone attatchment",

I can also understand the obvious support of "static shots" but how do they help when walking/running? wouldn,t the natural momentum of the body just accentuate the problem of trying to keep steady focus whilst on the move?

Or have i missed something?

Regards all.

Des
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Joined: Apr 7 1999

Stuart Hi

Yes I own a Camsling. You've hit the achilles heel - walking is almost ok if you practice a walk/creeep though hoots of derision can follow you and your life style is under severe question. Running is out.

I guess you cannot have everything, I compromised with panning, sweeping, following on and straight shots even at longish zooms. I have a Sony PD100 roughly the same as the TRV 900 and with the optical stabiliser on the conmbination is very good indeed. I've just finished shooting a film of a film and have 21 tapes - looking through them prior to editing it would have been very hard with any other support except for the top of the range stuff. A sweeping pan with a walk follow on is very good indeed.

Des

Sony Z1 / A1E / PD100 - Avid Liquid 7.1 - 2.66GHZ Core 2 Duo / ATI 950 Pro / 2 x Iiyama 17" flat screens
Storage: 1 x 80GB / 2 x 400GB / Offline Firewire 1 x 2TB and 3 x 400GB

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

Peter, you've hit on the one real limitation of all these pendulum stabilisers, they hold the camera horizontal.

If I want a tip up/down for only a few seconds, I generally just apply light pressure from my right thumb on the back end of the top plate. That will tip it a few degrees without losing much of the steadying effect. For more severe tips, I twiddle the fore/aft settings to rebalance it. That takes time so I don't often do it. If a shot's critical and I want more extreme tilt, I usually jam the whole assembly against a convenient wall or tree (i.e. fixing it), or abandon the stabiliser and use a tripod (always assuming I'd the foresight to bring it with me).