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View Full Version : GH2 Best hand-held stabilizer for GH2 ?



Julie_Freed
04-03-2012, 06:18 PM
Any recommendations? :) I've read about the Glidecam HD-1000 and the Flycam Nano. Can anyone vouch for those or any others? Are they hard to use if you plan to change lenses frequently?

Justyn
04-03-2012, 06:55 PM
Well Julie, the HD1000 is a cool little unit, just like the HD2000. But just in my honest opinion, these smaller rigs really are too small and light and they pendullum so easily. They are so hard to keep inert when you fly. When I was going to steadicam, I asked a friend who'd been doing it for a decade and the biggest piece of advice he told me was to get a heavy rig.. Or to plan on making up a rig with some weight. So with that being said, I fly the Hd4000 and I seriously weight down my rig, but I"m also using an arm and vest... BUT, for 6 months I did fly it handheld just like it. Man it was hard on the arms but hte shots are awesome, way better than what I've seen from the HD1000..

So that's just my .02.

seven.b
04-03-2012, 07:03 PM
I'm with Justyn- I also use the HD4000 with my GH2 either weighed down with the extra weights they give you, or just keeping it on my new 15mm rails setup + zacuto evf. I actually flew a 13lbs Red One setup on the HD4000 once (no vest). It was HEAVY, but man... those were some of the most stable shots I've ever seen from my Glidecam. Think of this way, you'll get steadier shots AND you future-proof your glidecam setup for heavier/bigger cameras in the future.

Justyn
04-03-2012, 07:22 PM
Indeed Steven... I see people fumbling with the smaller stablizers and just wonder why go through all that pain and hassel... It's just time to muscle up and fly a bigger, heavier rig... Now, I'm not going to go and fly a 40 pounder, but I've flown 12 pounds before... Not quite the Red, but man it was loaded down. HMC150 with weights and a teleprompter. Looked flipping awesome though.

seven.b
04-03-2012, 07:27 PM
No stabilizer defeats the laws of physics! I'm no physicist, but more mass = more inertia = less movement :D

colin rowe
04-04-2012, 05:18 AM
Are they hard to use if you plan to change lenses frequently?
Extremely, every time you change a lens you will need to re-balance the whole set up

daihard
04-04-2012, 05:57 AM
I got the flycam Nano, but having micro adjusters with the more expensive rigs is a real time-saver if you have different lens needs, while flying.
I threw on a quick release plate and use a pretty heavy lens on my GH2, its quite stable for the $150 bucks in all I paid, but if your flying a lot... then invest in a better rig i.e. HD models or an older used steadycam (+$250 are very smooth and stable, even with a GH2).
https://vimeo.com/33852054

I dont have an body/waist stabilizer... so if you can, spring for that little wrist stabilizer, if your planing on doing more "aggressive" movments... or buy some strap on weights (those jogging weights work well).

maranfilms
04-04-2012, 06:34 AM
I swear by the wondland Ares. I like it better than any other small handheld rig, including the merlin. The Blackbird is also a nice setup, but more money. The wondland is built like a tank, can take cams up to 5 lbs, but flies much better with something a bit lighter. Also has a spring in the handle which works awesome for running shots. I have full blown sprint with that rig, and it's smooth as can be. Only takes about a minute to set it up after getting your general balance dialed in. I don't even bother with the 4000 after using the ares. It's so much better.

OldCorpse
04-04-2012, 10:02 AM
A little expensive, but there's also this: Skyler Mini (http://cheesycam.com/skyler-mini-balancing-sony-nex-7-canon-fd-20mm/). I haven't tried it, but it looks interesting. Everyone talks about "heavier rig", but I'm not at all sure that's right - at all. From my - limited - understanding, it's not about a light rig being too touchy to be stable. The problem is not the rig, the problem is the imbalance between the weight of the rig and the camera. You got a problem with a camera that's too light for the rig, not the rig being too light. If you have a light camera, the answer may not be to weigh down the camera to make it heavier - that's bass ackwards - but instead, to use a lighter rig to match the camera. Bonus: with a lighter rig, you don't tire your arm/wrist as much. Of course, wrist and arm support is best, but if we're talking about just a few shots, it may make sense to go with a light rig for a light camera like the stock GH2 + pancake lens.

Anyhow, I'm by no means any kind of authority on stabilizers, so take what I say with a giant mountain of salt, but I thought I'd share what I've found from my reading around the net... just another data point to consider.

ipcmlr
04-04-2012, 10:06 AM
Changing lenses will throw any stabilizer off balance even the most expensive ones.

It depends on how you're planning to use them. I've had an hd-2000 and a cheap hague mmc stabilizer. hd-2000 is easier to stabilize plus you can set it up so that it points down or up but you need to add weights to the top, with the hd1000 i'm guessing you don't need to do that. You can also pan around by holding and rotating the tube in the middle of the stabilizer.

the hague is cheap and light. still quite easy to stabilize if you have a larger lens (small lens = disaster on this small stabilizer) but you can carry the setup for 5 minutes with no problem. With an hd2000 you'd be lucky to get 1 minute of stabilization before you have to put it down.

I actually shot a video the very 1st day I got the Hague. I tried balancing a 20mm 2x but it was too light so I tried the 14-140mm and it felt better. Wasn't balanced perfectly and I kept circling my wife just to check the balance. It worked OK I guess. I also tripped in the middle of the video so there was some rocking motion. Overall you can't go wrong with the price if you just want simple stabilization.

Video link is: https://vimeo.com/29543914

Justyn
04-04-2012, 11:32 AM
@maran... I understand your point cause in order for it to work, you have to be in great CG... but that being said, I've flown a lot of rigs over the past 2 years and the heavier the rig.. the better hands down. It resists the physics of movement and stays in one place and will fly the rig, because a good flying shot.. the operator is just guiding but very lightly... so the rig is just doing the work.. So when you see pro steadicam rigs, they are always beasts and rightly so... You have much less variance when you have more weight, than you do with less weight...


I'm also a bit of an odd bird when it comes to steadicam work, cause I do this for live events but also narrative. SO I'll routinely fly the rig for 90 minutes without a break. There's NO way you can do that with a handheld stabilizer.... and certainly not with the AF100 on there.. But I do this all the time. So length of runtime is something that I consider...


The two other points I'd like to bring up is that I've found that a lot of people don't use an external monitor on the bottom and I've found that to be a huge deal for a couple of reasons.. First of all, you have to see where you are walking, so if you are looking down at a monitor you can accomplish seeing where you are going, and also framing the shot... When I see others who don't, invariably they'll have an accident with a cable or a monitor, or something jumping out at that.. Again, more of an issue on event stuff.. but I see it all the time.

The last thing too is that it's very very very hard to shoot don juan with a handheld stabilizer. I find it really super hard to do that with the HD4000 to the point that when I did that before I always worked backwards.. and that's a problem for a number of things. And when you steadicam, people want you to shoot it Don Juan.. pointing towards the subject and walking away from them... I've not ever seen a handheld work well in this config cause it's not designed for that.. and you might also hurt yourself...


cheers and it's a fun process and it will change everything you do. Now that steadicam is a huge part of everything I do.. Sure I spent a lot of money but I have a wireless video transmitter on mine and also a HD monitor.. and I had it paid off the very first week of using it. Totally the way to do things!

Julie_Freed
04-04-2012, 01:55 PM
Great advice here, thanks everyone.

Another dumb question, do you need a lense with auto focus in order to use a handheld stabilizer?

ipcmlr
04-04-2012, 04:00 PM
No you don't need autofocus, although sometimes its useful.

But if you use manual focusing you'll need to preset it to the desired focus.
Usually for something panoramic you'll set your lens to infinity first then attach it to the stabilizer.

Kholi
04-04-2012, 04:43 PM
Glad this thread came up, was just about to get a Flycam Nano but now rethinking that entirely.

Seems like the only thing I'd be happy with is one of those bungee backpack deals, the name of which escapes me at the moment. As silly as it looks, I haven't seen anything that looks as cool and free as that.

Too bad it's expensive as heck.

Kholi
04-04-2012, 04:58 PM
http://www.google.com/products/catalog?client=safari&rls=en&q=Easyrig&oe=UTF-8&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=6147784085396944947&sa=X&ei=zN98T-OxNfHaiQLhtI30DQ&ved=0CFcQ8wIwAg#ps-sellers

For those that don't know what I'm talking about, the Easyrig.

That's what I would probably be happy with. And I like wearing a bookbag everywhere, anyway.

Kholi
04-04-2012, 05:48 PM
http://www.televisual.com/news-detail/Easyrig-brings-out-a-small-version-for-lighter-cameras_nid-1439.html

Was just directed to that, it's the newer version Maybe it'll be a little cheaper.

But, this is pretty much what I'd try to get. Plus one for GH2's articulating LCD, or being lightweight enough to add an external without breaking the payload limit on this thing.

L1N3ARX
04-04-2012, 05:52 PM
I have the flycam nano myself, and find it pretty useful. Check my sig if you want to see any video done specifically with the gh2 and the flycam nano. I found that after about a month, I could swap lenses pretty quick on it. The secret is to get just enough friction on the mounting plate as to make it possible to slide around until you find a balance. Like many others, I use to painfully make micro adjustments and then twist each knob securing the plate down with each little change, then testing, then more adjustments... big headache. But once you get use to it, it's pretty easy.

I even marked the mounting plate as to give me a "quick-start" guideline for swapping my most used lenses. Takes me about 30 seconds to make a change.

Kholi
04-04-2012, 07:35 PM
Roman, can you focus while using the Glidecam?

L1N3ARX
04-04-2012, 08:37 PM
Roman, can you focus while using the Glidecam?

Definitely not, however if I took one of your superseeds I might be able to :) but I have gotten really good at judging distance. For planned shots, it's perfect. For following a specific person around its great as well. For capturing random action and covering multiple people at different distances... Never. It has it's place, and to refocus, you cant without fiddling around with it for a couple seconds, which is by no means a "smooth" process.

After you get comfortable with the niche it fills, you'll be looking for excuses to use it all the time.

maranfilms
04-04-2012, 08:52 PM
@maran... I understand your point cause in order for it to work, you have to be in great CG... but that being said, I've flown a lot of rigs over the past 2 years and the heavier the rig.. the better hands down. It resists the physics of movement and stays in one place and will fly the rig, because a good flying shot.. the operator is just guiding but very lightly... so the rig is just doing the work.. So when you see pro steadicam rigs, they are always beasts and rightly so... You have much less variance when you have more weight, than you do with less weight...

@Justin, your post is spot on. I agree with everything you wrote. I should have explained better. The Wondland Ares, has a spring in the handle, but when you use a heavy rig, it compresses the spring till it loses the springyness of it. So with a bit lighter rig, you get the full range of the spring. Otherwise, absolutly what you said, heavier is better. My Ares, did come with a second spring, maybe for heavier cams, I just never got around to trying it out because I usually fly my dslr's. Anything bigger I use a bigger rig with vest.

@Kholi, It's tough to autofocus when flying because it's to slow. I use a very wide angle lens, usually like the 14mm, then I stop it down a bit if I can. It pretty much gives a very deep field of view, so most everything is in focus. Some guys use a wireless follow focus. I sometimes tie a string to my subject if it's a walk and talk where I want a more shallow dof, this way were teathered, and the actor cant really move out of the focus range. I use a few other tricks I have come up with over the years.

Kholi
04-04-2012, 09:31 PM
Yeah, I figured that's what everyone was doing. Hmmm...

I really want the ability to pull while operating, so I guess I've got to figure something out.

And lol @Superseeds -- I wish.

maranfilms
04-04-2012, 11:20 PM
Yeah, I figured that's what everyone was doing. Hmmm...

I really want the ability to pull while operating, so I guess I've got to figure something out.

And lol @Superseeds -- I wish.

I hear Jag35 makes A decent wireless remote control follow focus. I have never used it, so I can't say how well it works, but might be worth taking a peek at it. Redrock also came out with one at Nab last year, more money than the jag, but it looks top notch, I haven't used that one either.

Justyn
04-04-2012, 11:28 PM
Kholi..yep.. was going to say that. The Jag one is always out of stock though. THere's the really cool thing. I can attest to the briteview HD wireless transmitter as being the deal of the century. I've used it a bunch of times and it works really well. perfect for the 1st AC to pull focus with a 2nd HDMI monitor hooked up to the receiver.


But.. seriously, I was thinking of building an RC version. They have high precision servos and the lens gear are right there. Might be time to DIY it....

Justyn
04-04-2012, 11:31 PM
Although.. That's not to say after saying all this that I don't want to get a super cheap and simple handheld solution for if I'm truly going covert or uber run and gun... But, for now the HD4000 and the Steadicam Merlin arm and vest is the steal of the year. With a 5" HD monitor and batteries to run the whole thing, I spent just around 3 grand. But I'm able to steadicam for 3 or more hours without a break... That's huge if you are shooting an action film and time is money.. and I do a lot of that stuff, so it's a good option to have one ready at all time.

Bern Caughey
04-05-2012, 08:52 AM
Seems like the only thing I'd be happy with is one of those bungee backpack deals

Kholi,

I had a EasyRig Turtle-X, & ended up returning it. I love the EasyRig itself, but the backpack section was troublesome.

I tested it for a week, & finally brought it on a job, but of course that was the day the zippers misaligned making the storage section impossible to remove. I was carrying lots of gear in the storage area, & had to abandon using the EasyRig.

I picked mine up at 16x9, the US distributor, in Valencia, & during the demo one of the employees damaged a zipper, so I think it's a design weakness.

I think Indie, or whatever they're called now, rents the Turtle-X if you'd like to check it out.

Best,
Bern

mentatDUKE
04-05-2012, 08:55 PM
Justyn, is that a better option than the $2500 dollar one below?:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/584404-REG/Glidecam_HD4000_Kit_2_Stabilizer.html

Kholi
04-05-2012, 09:36 PM
Kholi,

I had a EasyRig Turtle-X, & ended up returning it. I love the EasyRig itself, but the backpack section was troublesome.

I tested it for a week, & finally brought it on a job, but of course that was the day the zippers misaligned making the storage section impossible to remove. I was carrying lots of gear in the storage area, & had to abandon using the EasyRig.

I picked mine up at 16x9, the US distributor, in Valencia, & during the demo one of the employees damaged a zipper, so I think it's a design weakness.

I think Indie, or whatever they're called now, rents the Turtle-X if you'd like to check it out.

Best,
Bern

That may be why they rebuilt it into the new outfit. The backpack thing was an interesting idea but it definitely looked flimsy.

The new Turtle replacement looks pretty stout. I think this is probably the only thing that's gonna suit my shooting style, to be honest, but I need to explore it with a decked GH2 rig, FS100, or AF100... maybe a C300.

Per Lichtman
04-05-2012, 11:12 PM
Has anyone compared it to the SteadyDSLR? I have been curious about it for a while but haven't talked to anyone that actually used it, so I am very cautious.

http://steadydslr.com/

alexmeadeint
04-08-2012, 11:01 PM
51530
Wasn't easy but the opteka steadyvid pro works.

blazer003
04-09-2012, 04:39 PM
Hey Alex, out of curiosity, what made it not easy? That rig looks bigger than what I've been looking at on Amazon. Do you have any modifications off of the standard item found here (http://www.amazon.com/Opteka-SteadyVid-Stabilizer-Camcorders-Supports/dp/B007FDE4Y8/ref=sr_1_1?s=photo&srs=2530064011&ie=UTF8&qid=1334012132&sr=1-1)?

plasmasmp
04-09-2012, 09:41 PM
That may be why they rebuilt it into the new outfit. The backpack thing was an interesting idea but it definitely looked flimsy.

The new Turtle replacement looks pretty stout. I think this is probably the only thing that's gonna suit my shooting style, to be honest, but I need to explore it with a decked GH2 rig, FS100, or AF100... maybe a C300.

Be sure to do a writeup if you get one. I've always been interested, but have never seen anyone use one of the backpack rigs.

Kholi
04-10-2012, 09:47 AM
Be sure to do a writeup if you get one. I've always been interested, but have never seen anyone use one of the backpack rigs.

I'm gonna try my friends out with the GH2. Will probably weight it down with an AB Battery setup powering the camera and the TV Logic.

If it turns out well, I'll either convince the company to invest in one or build a ghetto version. LoL.

SuperSet
04-14-2012, 02:41 PM
Great input from experienced hands in this thread.
Having tried the Hague MMC, SteadiGo and now the Wonland Magic, I can say that the Wonland has been the best so far! It took about a month to figure out how to precisely balance and then adjust my walking rhythm and now it's almost second nature. But, as others have said, the GH2's lightweight looks problematic since I'm using the 14mm/f2.5 lens. Adding a Rode VideoMic Pro helps although it'd probably be better to add some additional weights at the top.

alexmeadeint
04-18-2012, 02:46 PM
blazer003-

I added a Manfrotto 577 (http://www.amazon.com/Manfrotto-577-Connect-Adapter-Mounting/dp/B00009XV3M/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1334785390&sr=1-3) on it to make it easy to take the camera off and im using the Rewo cage which makes it substantially heavier. In general Merlin style stabilizers like this are harder to balance and more finicky than Glidecam but offer a better look IMHO.

hgf4
04-21-2012, 09:47 PM
I sometimes tie a string to my subject if it's a walk and talk where I want a more shallow dof, this way were teathered, and the actor cant really move out of the focus range. I use a few other tricks I have come up with over the years.
That is a very cool trick!

videotestground
05-13-2012, 09:51 PM
Absolutely. In fact, if you have a zoom lens -- every time you change the focal length even slightly, you'll have to adjust the balance...

videotestground
05-13-2012, 09:56 PM
I'm relatively new to using a stabilizer, but I've had pretty good results with Opteka SteadyVid Pro. I think it's a good unit to learn on, before possibly upgrading to a more rugged rig in the future.
Here's a sample video I shot with this stabilizer. As you'll see, it's pretty smooth overall, with a couple of glitches (which I can only blame on the operator...). I'm getting better though.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aBwzL2qnnU

Justyn
06-02-2012, 08:29 PM
With this footage you can see your steps... I think that there's a problem when using such lightweight stabilizers. The heavier the rig, the better it flies and also if you don't get an arm and vest it will be really hard to Don Juan your shots. I did the handheld thing with my HD4000 for a few months till I got the Arm and Vest... Makes all the difference in the world when it comes to shooting in virtually all orientations without fatigue and for extended periods of time.


cheers

ATL Media Group
06-07-2012, 11:00 AM
Flycam Nano.. great little flyer.

Bern Caughey
06-24-2012, 07:25 PM
That may be why they rebuilt it into the new outfit. The backpack thing was an interesting idea but it definitely looked flimsy.

The new Turtle replacement looks pretty stout. I think this is probably the only thing that's gonna suit my shooting style, to be honest, but I need to explore it with a decked GH2 rig, FS100, or AF100... maybe a C300.

Kholi,

Just revisited this topc, & saw your reference to the updated EasyRig. Ordered one on the spot, but haven't received it yet.

Did you ever test your friends?

Thanks,
Bern

Benibube
06-25-2012, 12:45 AM
sorry, but why do you answer ?

Bern Caughey
06-30-2012, 12:08 PM
I received an EasyRig Mini Strong, & it's a good fit for my 9.5 lbs camera. I like it much better than the Turtle-XS, & will most likely keep it.