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Jarred Land
11-27-2005, 01:17 PM
Click here for the article:

http://www.dvxuser.com/articles/VZflowpod/

pookie_old
11-27-2005, 09:08 PM
Hmm.....

Good writing, nice pictures, thorough review.

But, you're better off saving your money for something else.

Jack Daniel Stanley
11-28-2005, 12:40 AM
Barry_S: "I found both the FlowPod and DV Sportster to be excellent, professionally constructed camera stabilization rigs for small form factor cameras like the DVX100. Both the FlowPod and the DV Sportster are designed to be flexible in terms of stabilizer configurations."

Pookie, what more do you want -- especially at this price point?

3 minutes to balance with the c clamp thing ... 5 minutes to put on the rig ...

Arm stabilization, body shock absorption, little to no fatigue!

All I know is I'm buyimng one today. Tom at varizoom was super cool enough to let me apply the retail value of the zoom controller I won from them in Zombiefest to this setup, so I'll walk out the (metaphorical) door with this system for a ridiculous amount.

I never thought a stabilization system like this would be anywhere near within my means -- a $2K, $4K, $10K system is just out of the question and not crucial for light weight DV cameras.

And that monopod feature is fantastic for run and gun work
Chase scene: -- running running -- ok now get his closeup - POP, your mono pod is down and you are ready for a stagnant shot. I can imagine a day of shooting where I hardly take the thing off -- use the monopod except when a tripod is essential and then glide all over the place the rest of the time.

Barry says it gets the job done
It does things that nothing else in this price point can
Done and done.

I'll user rate it this week.

EDIT:
And oh yeah, Barry I have that exact case in it does work great for the DVX.

engr
11-28-2005, 06:03 AM
Would u be able to demo with some footage? The price is definately attractive! I am thinking about the merlin steadycam as well..

Jack Daniel Stanley
11-28-2005, 08:19 AM
I don't know about Barry -- but if you are asking me, I'll put some up as soon as I get the thing and feel I've mastered it enough to not make them look bad due to my inexperience :)

Jeremy Ordan
11-28-2005, 08:59 AM
Great article Barry. I was actually checking this thing out last night and found it to be a pretty interesting piece of equipement. I like your comments regarding the quality of construction, the balancing issues, as well as the time investment required to become comfertable with the unit. In this price range there is so much competition it is nice to see a thorough review of one piece. I look forward to a shoot out of the various competitors in the >$2000 price range. Great article and good work!

Jack Daniel Stanley
11-28-2005, 10:11 AM
Yankee -- what other competetion has arm articulated vest and stabilization for less than $1250?
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=383596&is=REG&addedTroughType=search
(before EVS DVXuser discount or anything)
especially including a low angle bracket and cases -- and don't get me started on the monopod thing again :)

This isn't one of those "screw you, it does too rock!" rhetorical questions -- this is an I'm about to buy one of these in the next hour or so question, its going to be hard to beat for me I think with the additional discount I'm getting from Tom -- but I hadn't seen any vest SYSTEMS for less than $1250 -- just vests by themselves for like $1400 and up ... ?

So watchu talkin' 'bout, Willis?
http://tvphotogalleries.com/data/576/1DS05.jpg

pookie_old
11-28-2005, 10:36 AM
With all due respect to Barry and his review, and to those of you who find the "price point" a major selling point, it's still, in my opinion beter to save your money.

The Varizoom FlowPod and DV Sportster, while yes it will "get the job done", is simply too lightly built a rig (i'm referring to the arm/vest).

The arm isn’t double articulated, a major problem in any Steadicam type design, and one of it's major failings. As jdanstan has said "Chase scene: -- running running -- ok now get his closeup", this is a misunderstanding of the design. This isn't a 'running rig", that is a double articulated arm setup, this is a single arm, and while it will help to cut some of the movement when using it for a fast shot, it will not give you the smooth look that people associate with Steadicam type shots.
Since I think most people want one of these types of rigs to use as they see in the "movies", the Varizoom rig will prove both frustrating, and dissapointing in this area. You won't get a smooth running shot without a double articulated arm, the single arm simply cannot, and isn't designed to absorb the motion, and it's in this area that the light build will show itself, becoming increasingly difficult to handle, and the stress on the arm and mount will show.

If you're looking for a good rig, that can handle running, as well as basic Steadicam type shots, a single arm rig isn't for you.

As a "basic" unit, for "basic" shots, if you're looking at a low cost rig, the Glidecam Smooth Shooter, while still a single arm rig, is a far superior product, in both build and use.

Jack Daniel Stanley
11-28-2005, 10:42 AM
OK, thanks Pookie, i will check into that. Varizoom has some demo Navigator vests on sale and i think they were 2 arm so I'll look into that too as I'm cuckoo for the monopod and have an extra discount at varizoom -- thanks.

Jack Daniel Stanley
11-28-2005, 10:48 AM
Okay the GlideCam Smooth Operator is $1500 dollars for the VEST/ARM ONLY, no stabilzer, no low kit, no cases, (and again no monopod). VS. $1250 retail (not street price) for everything.

I can't believe Barry would go on about how solidly built and effective this thing was if that was not the case -- I mean we know where he lives so to speak :cheesy:

But I am definately going to look at the extra dough for that two Arm navigator vest when I call varizoom.

pookie_old
11-28-2005, 10:51 AM
Ok JD, I just think it's important for anyone wanting a stabilizer like these to understand, if you "want it to look like the movies", it "has" to be a double arm rig, or disapointment will set in.

Jeremy Ordan
11-28-2005, 10:52 AM
Pookie is the man regarding these stabilizers, so I would take his advice over anything that I have to offer. Personally I have been planning on just doing the glidecam plus the steady shooter. The steady shooter is going for $1400 through authorized retailers. I don't know if it is better, worse, or equal to this unit. Furthermore, I don't know the differences between these units. I have been wanting to get a stabilizer system for a while, and since my credit line with pookie seems maxed out, I have decided to just wait and save up. As of right now I look at the demos of the Tiffen Steadicam rigs (can get a mini for $3500). I think that there are Varizoom rigs that are in the $2500 range also that act more like the traditional steadicams. One of my big issues with the handheld route was proved to me yesterday when I took a 20lb dumbell and just tried to walk with it extended. I know these rigs dont weigh 20lbs, but honestly it gets heavy pretty damn quick. The thing with the vest that I wonder is will it do what I need it to do. Now Pookie's advice can be misleading. Here is someone flying an $8000 Steadicam and a professional flyer. Does that mean that he doesn't know his stuff? No. Does it mean that he doesn't respect the lower end units? Actually, from PM's seeking advice he has always been honest with me in making recommendations. He has never once tried to talk me into getting an $8000 rig and has always advised based on what will work best in my budget. This all being said, I think the Varizoom product could fit a nice niche, but if you are serious about implementing running, chasing, and more elaborate movements, then I think there is something to be said for other products.

Now my disclaimer: I don't own any stabilizer (with the exception of a $14 steadicam I built [that cost me $40] and a tripod). I am not a pro, but this is from the knowledge I have gained.

Jack, sorry I couldn't point you in a better direction. Pookie or Mikko are the ones who have the answers to your dilema.

pookie_old
11-28-2005, 10:54 AM
Whatever.

Jack Daniel Stanley
11-28-2005, 10:56 AM
Ok JD, I just think it's important for anyone wanting a stabilizer like these to understand, if you "want it to look like the movies", it "has" to be a double arm rig, or disapointment will set in.
I hear ya ... (but just looking at the Glidecam site some more) and add $370 - $500 for the stabilzier and $190 for the low kit and you've got a
$2250 system vs a $1250 system
I thought the arm was mainly for fatigue and if you know how to bend and do the duck waddle then you can get glass like results from just the hand held
But again -- thanks for looking out an I will look at the varizoom two arm vest :thumbsup:

Jack Daniel Stanley
11-28-2005, 11:00 AM
Whatever.
lol, Yank, I never doubted the Stedi Master -- I know pookie does know his shiznit :grin:

And thanks Yank -- just looking at all the gear you get for the price -- still looks pretty good to me :)

Jack Daniel Stanley
11-28-2005, 11:12 AM
Ok, firts to clarify -- the VariZoom Navigator vest/arm i was talking about is single articulation.

But it's the same system ans the DV sportster only for heavier (up to 10 lbs camera).

So here's a clip of the NAVIGATOR with the flow pod - so this is an example of what a slightly more expensive single arm can do from the same manufacturer.

Seems like results would be comparable for the DV sportser / Flowpod for 5 - 8 pound camera -- I'll see if I can get them to swear to that when I call.

At anyrate -- if I can get motion like this I will be more than sassified :shocked:
http://www.varizoom.com/movies/vzGT.wmv

j
11-28-2005, 12:13 PM
How about the magiqcam? The series 1 at $1450 includes the vest, arm and stabilizer.

http://www.magiqcam.com/steadycampackages.html

-j

Jeremy Ordan
11-28-2005, 12:14 PM
Jack,

From my understanding from talking with Rush at EVS about different stabilizers, it doesn't matter which unit you buy, unless you are willing to invest time into training with the unit, you are not going to see any results. From what I understand, learning to operate a stabilizer, regardless of whether it is handheld or vest based, it just takes practice.

For the money, it might be that this set up is ideal. I still don't understand the difference between the single arm and the dual arm, what the benefits are or anything like that, but I would venture to say that with these things it comes down to practice, more practice, and then you can start to get decent results. I guess the point I'm trying to make is don't expect to see this incredible functionality right out of the box. I think it will take some time, but after that hopefully you can get some good stuff out of it.

I know cost is an issue, you should also look at the steady tracker as I think that is the lowest cost unit available and I have heard some good things about it.

Jeremy Ordan
11-28-2005, 12:16 PM
How about the magiqcam? The series 1 at $1450 includes the vest, arm and stabilizer.

http://www.magiqcam.com/steadycampackages.html

-j


That says that it only supports units up to 5lbs. A DVX with a high cap battery wont work on it because you can't balance it.

pookie_old
11-28-2005, 12:16 PM
Ok, firts to clarify -- the VariZoom Navigator vest/arm i was talking about is single articulation.

But it's the same system ans the DV sportster only for heavier (up to 10 lbs camera).

So here's a clip of the NAVIGATOR with the flow pod - so this is an example of what a slightly more expensive single arm can do from the same manufacturer.

Seems like results would be comparable for the DV sportser / Flowpod for 5 - 8 pound camera -- I'll see if I can get them to swear to that when I call.

At anyrate -- if I can get motion like this I will be more than sassified :shocked:
http://www.varizoom.com/movies/vzGT.wmv


As long as you understand the limits of a single arm rig, and it fits into the type of shots you're after, go with whatever you think will work for you and your bank account.

pookie_old
11-28-2005, 12:19 PM
But I still wouldn't recommend the Varizoom.

mikkowilson
11-28-2005, 12:30 PM
I'm goign to share Pookie's basic line on this one.

I agree that it is a good review (thanks Barry, Jarred), albeight a couple of typos (2 t's in Garrett and it's "Steadicam" - with an 'a' [and an I not Y engr]) and as a really compact carry around rig "that will do" in a pinch I'm sure it's fine.

Though I've never tried it, the Flowpod does seem like an intersting solution, a monopod that stabilizes with a gimble too if the need arises.



Furthermore, I don't know the differences between these units.

Unfortunatly that pretty much sums up what so many companies rely on for selling their product.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not docking varizoom or their rigs, I've never flown one. But I am saying that be sure to always do your reasearch. It's still a couple of grand however you swing it.

The demo video looks intereting.. it actually says a few decent things about the rig, as it is full of "newbie" mistakes (so that statement about using the rig for only a week could be accurate), but the footage doesn't show many signs of vibration and large jaring or bumps (all signs of a poorly built rig).

Bottom line:
As a monopod with stabilization capability I'd seriouly consider the Flowpod.
But for an mainly handheld rig I'd go for something much lighter (like the Merlin, which will fly the DVX, and possibly (hopefully) the HVX).
For a full rig I'd definatly look to spend a little more an a beefier system, with a dual arm with a proper spring system and socket block.

"bang for your buck" is great, but don't forget that you still "get what you pay for". :beer:

- Mikko

Jeremy Ordan
11-28-2005, 01:32 PM
OK, this is what really bothers me about this. We have Mikko and Pookie, bother experienced flyers with lots of knowledge of the products available from handheld to vest. I think what would be most beneficial to most of us would be something along the lines of a complete BIASED anaylsis of these models. I know it is asking for a lot, but for many of us here, dropping $1000 is a lot of money. I would like to hear the opinions of the stabilizer devices from the Glidecam 2000, 4000, and their vest systems, the Steadicam Merlin to the vest systems, and the Varizoom products. I think if something were organized just by price and features it would help a lot of people to see where the money is really going when you are investing $3000+, plus the difference in results.

The general consensus is that handheld systems are a nice toy, but because of the weight and no one wanting to turn into the Hulk they are not the most logical purchases. Well, at that point, what becomes the most logical purchase? The Steadicam Flyer is not an option for most people coming in at what? $6000? $8000?

I guess I am just asking for an opinion on the available units out there. I know it's a lot to ask for, but still, that is what would benefit me the most and most likely a lot of people here.

From my reading it looks as if Pookie and Mikko are in the opinion that this Flowpod, even with the vest system, is limited in what it enables you to do because of the arm. Well at what price point do you get into a steadi-type system that is functional as well as practical for real world applications?

Jarred Land
11-28-2005, 01:48 PM
I havn't used this System, its Barry's review so I dont have an opinion to if it works or not..

But i think there are two markets we are talking about here, and its important not to get them confused.

The Sportster isnt trying to pretend to be a Stedicam, as pookie pointed out it can't compare. What the Sportster, and the Glidecam Smoothshooter, are trying to do, is offer low cost solutions to the problems people have with gimble type monopods. This vest isnt gonna make you shoot smoother video than you could with a Glidecam 2000.. its just gonna make it less painful.

So i think you need to look at all these single arm solutions just as back savers and not Flying rigs.

Jack Daniel Stanley
11-28-2005, 02:00 PM
Right -- so If I have a sense of what a hand held unit can do, via my home made poorman's steadicam, I should be really pleased with the upgrade to a flow pod, and the body vest will add at least some dampening which will make it even smoother, and will keep me from getting fatigued, which will make it smoother still.

I have the walk pretty good I think as well, since my fig rig shots are acceptably smooth -- at least to me :) and that's all arms and legs, period.

EDIT: Tom Mcaky at VariZoom has been great BTW. he was cool about letting me use my prize value as a credit from Zombie Fest to get a great deal. :beer: woohoo!

Jeremy Ordan
11-28-2005, 02:16 PM
Jarred,

I see your point, and I understand that pretty much what we are looking at here is a handheld stabilizer without the arm strain. I think that the two markets cross though especially when you are looking at how close the options can be in price range and then the discrepency in functionality.

For what it is, the Flowpod looks interesting to me (plus I'm thrilled to see hardware accessories reviewed). I just want to know what the actual results of my $1000 would be with it when compared with investing twice the dollar figure into a different unit.

Jack Daniel Stanley
11-28-2005, 02:18 PM
Remember it would be 1250 or so ... I used my credit from winning the Rock DVX zoom to get that 1K price.

Jack Daniel Stanley
11-28-2005, 02:20 PM
For what it is, the Flowpod looks interesting to me (plus I'm thrilled to see hardware accessories reviewed). I just want to know what the actual results of my $1000 would be with it when compared with investing twice the dollar figure into a different unit.

remeber that it would actyually be $1250 or so ... I got that 1K price by getting credit for the Rock DVX zoom that I won in Zombie Fest.

Curugon
11-28-2005, 03:41 PM
I use the Flowpod regularly, I love it. Like any piece of equipment, there's a learning curve, but it's definitely worth it. Nothing better in this price range.

Jack Daniel Stanley
11-28-2005, 03:49 PM
Ok well if Curugon digs it then I'm back to looking forward to it arriving on Wednesday again ... whew http://www.smileys.ws/smls/grinning/00000043.gif

pookie_old
11-28-2005, 04:09 PM
Well, lets
look at a stabilizer in terms of "most" shooters, including DVXUser members.

Do you actually "need" a full rig...:undecided

No.:)

Do you shoot continuous running scenes...:undecided

Not likely.:)

Do you shoot "short" shots (1 minute or less)...:undecided

Probably.:happy:


What stabilizer is the best "bang for the buck" you ask?:shocked:




The Steadicam Merlin.:thumbsup:


99+% of the people wanting a full rig, are never going to use it enough to ever get a return on the investment. Given that even in "Hollywood" movies, at best, being very generous here, it's maybe 5% Steadicam work. Mostly, the shooting is tripod, lockdown, dolly, handhead or vehicle mounts, so you've got to want to shoot Steadicam before spending the big bucks. At the moment, the only serious "entry level" Steadicam rig, equipped properly will run $6-8 thousand, so a $800 Merlin is a deal. Bwt, a Glidecam 2000 or 4000 is also a good buy.

Jeremy Ordan
11-28-2005, 05:11 PM
Good post Pookie. I actually agree with your points through and through, but I guess my question is, since the Merlin can only hold 5lbs. if you use a large capacity battery, have the mic mounted on camera, and use a matte box ... well isn't the Merlin ruled out?

EDIT: I just looked at the item specs on these units and it is pretty astonishing, so I guess you do get what you pay for: The merlin weight 12.8 OZ. The Glidecam 4000 weights 3.1lbs (without counter balance weights), and the Flowpod weighs 4lbs. (without counter balance weights). I guess that sums up the price difference.

My question still remains, can the DVX with a high cap battery be used with the Merlin though? Seems to me like too much weight.

mikkowilson
11-28-2005, 05:19 PM
Darn it Pookie.. you keep beating me to the replies.

Pookie <--- What he said.



- Mikko

pookie_old
11-28-2005, 05:45 PM
LOL Mikko.....

Now Yankee.

I shall refer you here: http://www.merlincookbook.com/

Just use a standard battery.

Barry_S
11-28-2005, 06:02 PM
Thanks guys, I think there's some good comments here. There's a lot of choices in the stabilizer market these days, but I think the FlowPod/DVSportster occupies a fairly unique niche in terms of the price and functionality. It's not a full on Steadicam rig, so it won't offer the complete range of movement and damping that a double -articulated heavy metal rig has--but, it offers a nice chunk of that functionality, plus some functionality a dedicated Steadi-type rig doesn't have.

The ability to detach the FlowPod "sled" and use it alone as an unsupported stabilizer and a high quality monopod open up some nice options for lean and mean filmmaking--typical DVXuser type stuff. You can't underestimate the value of having a compact, lightweight, and flexible rig. I've only used a full Steadicam rig once, and it's a whole other world. Big, heavy, and a serious committment--I'll leave it to the pro operators. :)

The DV Sportster alone would be great for someone that already has a Glidecam and wants to keep it, but doesn't want to spend a lot of extra money on a completely new rig. The Merlin looks like a work of art, but it only flies a 5 pound camera package--and it's unsupported. I think it'll be cool for what it is, but it's a different niche. All in all it's nice to have some choices, and I think the FlowPod/DV Sportster is a piece of gear worth considering.

pookie_old
11-28-2005, 06:10 PM
I remember when your choice was between Steadicam and Steadicam.

Much easier to choose your manufacturer.

But, as with all things, it depends on the bank account, and/or the wife.....

jazzx
11-28-2005, 06:24 PM
I've been my self looking for camera stabilizer options and for now I haven't seen something better constructed, versatile and better "equiped" for my needs than the Steadicam Merlin which by the way is in the <1200€ range and that's basically going by byer's instinct, I know nothing about camera stabilizers.

Just a small heads up to everyone, though the merlin brochure, manual and pricing are available on the tiffen website, tiffen has not started mass producing or selling any merlins and will not start before mid-late january.

Jeremy Ordan
11-28-2005, 09:21 PM
Too many damn options when you start into these accessories. I have researched everything and all it has gotten me is a nasty headache. Right now the $4000 Steadicam mini set up sounds like the best option, but since I'm not a pro that seems like a complete waste of money... I hate this crap.

Jack Daniel Stanley
11-28-2005, 09:26 PM
well that's another plus for the dvsporster master kit-- get ALL the options for $1250 so you don't have to hurt your head picking them out, lol.

well ok maybe not an lcd monitor for low mode but that's about it!

tbanucci
11-28-2005, 10:34 PM
If anyone is still looking for the "Flowpod" component at a used price, I still have mine for sale in the marketplace:

http://www.dvxuser.com/V3/showthread.php?t=28397&highlight=flowpod

AshG
11-28-2005, 10:44 PM
After messing with the flowpod I deduced it was for wedding guys. That is not an insult but rather a testimony to its versatility and quick adaptation. It did not do well at all with the XL2 and I found it generally just average with the DVX. I got a used Hollywood Lite GT, same unit as the demo footage from the Varizoom GT above. It only has a single arm but it is very sturdy and is great at flying the XL2. I will get getting a Merlin as well to fly my DVX and I am willing to be it gets used 10 times for every time I pull out the HLGT $3000 unit...



ash =o)

Tom McKay
11-28-2005, 10:57 PM
This is Tom McKay from Varizoom. I wanted to address some of the points made in these posts.

Re: Weight of handhelds

Yankee's comment about weight of handhelds really should be addressed. (Mikko you could have beaten Pookie on this one)

The weight of a handheld support of any kind is insignificant until it is loaded with a camera. Even if a stabilizer weighs nothing and you put a 5 pound camera on top you will be adding a few pounds of weight underneath to counter balance the camera.

Yankee's examples of various handheld stabilizer weight would be much different and more valid if they were fitted with the same cameras and were properly counter balanced. The stabilizers that weigh nothing would require more weight then the heavier ones.

In the end they would all weigh very close to the same weight once fitted with cameras and counter balanced.

The FlowPod which has a built in monopod (my patent) is going to require very little additional weight because of the weight of the monopod.

Re: Merlin

The Steadicam Merlin which is very similar to the Sachtler Artemis I bought 7 years ago can also be mounted on a Dv Sportster. My Artemis worked fine and I am sure the Merlin will too.

Re: Sportster

The DV Sportster is a very strong and sturdy little arm it is more than adequate to support the cameras and small handhelds it was designed to be used with.

It is a $799. product that has sold very well ever since it was introduced and has been problem free. We have a heavier unit called the Navigator that is $1499. and is also upgradeable to a $3,000. system called the GT. Beyond that we have Dual arm stabilizers that range from $3,800 up to $7,000

These stabilizers are tools and not everbody can afford the best model so we make different grades and capacities to make a little money and TRY to make everyone happy.

If you have to bust out a slab of concrete you can do it with an 8 pound sledge hammer for $10.00 or you can rent or buy a $2,000. jack hammer or a $40,000 backhoe. If you don't have the money to get the heavy equipment you can bust it out the hard and cheap way with the 8 pound sledge.

It is the same with stabilizers and other tools. You don't have to buy the biggest and best to get some benefits.

We got a big booth at NAB 2006 and everyone is invited to come by and try out all of our gear.

Tom McKay
11-28-2005, 11:11 PM
Ash,

This is Tom from VariZoom. The FlowPod should never have been recommended to you for the XL2 as it is far too heavy for the FlowPod. If you have time please call VariZoom and ask for me. I am interested in your comments about use with the DVX.

Jeremy Ordan
11-28-2005, 11:13 PM
Tom,

I really appreciate your comments regarding some of the concerns I have with this unit. For me right now I have just been on the fence. I like your analogy regarding the concrete, but the fact is that with all the different models not only available from your company, but also from competition a stabilizer is a very big purchase and something to be looked at from different angles. I like the fact that your flowpod design is a very affordable product, but more importantly I like the fact that it seems to join together several great functions into one. For the price point I think it is a great value.

I do wonder how the flowpod with the vest compares to the $3000+ units.

pookie_old
11-28-2005, 11:26 PM
Glad to see a manufacturer adding to a thread.

Nice to see you Tom.

There is a problem with the "blurb" for lack of a different term in your, and in fact almost all stabilizer manufacturers info. A single arm rig is not going to give you the type of shots people associate with "Steadicam" type shoots. They will give very nice results within a specific range of usage, but not, as most buyers would assume, all uses. In order to achieve a true "Steadicam" result, you can only get it with a double articulated arm, not a single arm. This small but important fact is never mentioned, and I do find that to be a confusing fact for people looking to buy. If someone sees a $1200 stabilizer, obviously a tempting offer when conpaired to needing to spend $6000-$40000, they will expect the same "type" of results, albeit at a lower quality etc, and they're going to become increasingly frustrated at their inability to recreate that look. Given that a savings of $5000+ will indicate some lack of features, the difference does need to be explained up front. I would not want to see the reactions of people buying a single arm rig, and (assuming) they could use it as a running rig, the build of both the arm and vest would not support that use for long before failure. A hand held unit, being an actual double articulated arm rig (biological version) would actually give better results than a single arm rig used as a running rig. It would be nice to see these small but important details pointed out by all manufacturers.

Jack Daniel Stanley
11-28-2005, 11:26 PM
Tom,

I really appreciate your comments regarding some of the concerns I have with this unit. For me right now I have just been on the fence. I like your analogy regarding the concrete, but the fact is that with all the different models not only available from your company, but also from competition a stabilizer is a very big purchase and something to be looked at from different angles. I like the fact that your flowpod design is a very affordable product, but more importantly I like the fact that it seems to join together several great functions into one. For the price point I think it is a great value.

I do wonder how the flowpod with the vest compares to the $3000+ units.
well I'll try to get clips up and you will certainly see ity in action during zombie fest ( I hope)
....

I'm surprised we haven't had a bitter post yet, though, about how which one is better or what's "sufficient enough" doesn't really matter as buying stedicams and 35mm adaptors and hi def cameras will not make your 24pa video truly look like film and that content is king and buying that stuff won't make you orson wells ... come on ... hahaha .... somebodies asleep on the job here, lol!

drdimento
11-28-2005, 11:33 PM
Are these the same folks that make the lanc cords? aren't they called vari-zoom too?

Jack Daniel Stanley
11-28-2005, 11:33 PM
...A hand held unit, being an actual double articulated arm rig (biological version) would actually give better results than a single arm rig used as a running rig. It would be nice to see these small but important details pointed out by all manufacturers.
that's interesting -- so you could still use the vest for walking and general steadiness and then take it off to run down the hall for short takes with rest inbetween.

I thought that the single arm provided "some dampening" while principally gaurding against fatigue -- are you saying that because it has a limited range of motion do to its one jointedness that that will actually hinder smoothness while running rather than just helping what you can do with your arms and body a little bit more?

Jeremy Ordan
11-28-2005, 11:34 PM
Glad to see a manufacturer adding to a thread.

Nice to see you Tom.

There is a problem with the "blurb" for lack of a different term in your, and in fact almost all stabilizer manufacturers info. A single arm rig is not going to give you the type of shots people associate with "Steadicam" type shoots. They will give very nice results within a specific range of usage, but not, as most buyers would assume, all uses. In order to achieve a true "Steadicam" result, you can only get it with a double articulated arm, not a single arm. This small but important fact is never mentioned, and I do find that to be a confusing fact for people looking to buy. If someone sees a $1200 stabilizer, obviously a tempting offer when conpaired to needing to spend $6000-$40000, they will expect the same "type" of results, albeit at a lower quality etc, and they're going to become increasingly frustrated at their inability to recreate that look. Given that a savings of $5000+ will indicate some lack of features, the difference does need to be explained up front. I would not want to see the reactions of people buying a single arm rig, and (assuming) they could use it as a running rig, the build of both the arm and vest would not support that use for long before failure. A hand held unit, being an actual double articulated arm rig (biological version) would actually give better results than a single arm rig used as a running rig. It would be nice to see these small but important details pointed out by all manufacturers.


Well maybe someone can answer. What is the real difference between the single and dual arm? Does it just come down to being able to adjust the height of the camera? Just doesn't really make sense to me I guess...

Tom McKay
11-28-2005, 11:38 PM
Yankee,

The more you spend the better it gets. For $1,250. your a step above handheld but certainly not as good as a unit costing 2 1/2 times more. But you can use it get the hang of the walk etc. Later if you ever want to sell it on Ebay you can probably get 75% back of what you paid 2 years down the road.

So if you look at it that way you can get a unit and use if for 2 years for $300.

Send me an email with your location and maybe I can find a user or dealer near you that can let you try one out.

Barry_S
11-28-2005, 11:43 PM
A double articulated arm is better able to dampen motion and depending on the design, it can also be capable of a wider range of motion.

pookie_old
11-28-2005, 11:45 PM
If you use a double arm rig, you can literally run with it, and the camera will remain entirely isolated from the users movement. So running, going up and down stairs etc is possible.
A single arm rig, used it the same way, will basically shake both the camera and the used to death.

A simple example. Hold your camera in your hand, and walk around keeping the shot as smooth as you can.
Now, do the same shot, but this time, keep your upper arm held tight against your body, again walking around keeping the shot as smooth as you can.

Now repeat both, but this time running, or going up stairs.

One is smooth, one isn't.

Thats the single vs double arm difference.

AshG
11-29-2005, 12:28 AM
I agree with the single versus double but the double arms are very expensive. Nobody recommended the Flowpod for the XL2, I just tried it out. As far the DVX, I have not found anything that will fly it really well for a long time. My best luck has been with the arm handle type units but those get tiring. I dont dislike the Flowpod at all, just didnt work for what I needed.


ash =o)

Tom McKay
11-29-2005, 12:36 AM
Pookie,

I don't think anybody expects a single arm to perform as well running as a double arm. I think it is obvious when a customer looks at a price range of $500- $7,000. they can figure it out. The more you spend the better it gets.

Ash has a post up above where he seems very pleased with the performance of his used single arm GT. He could just as well be talking about a single arm "Steadicam".

You seem to make the assumption that everyone wants to "run" with these things. We sell these units everyday and many people calling want to track at a walking pace or better. We tell them if that is all they want to do they can get by with a single arm just fine.

If they want to run get a Running Rig, Black Hawk, Aviator, Steadicam Flyer, Pro Rig

I think because you are dedicated Steadicam operator with a keen eye you tend to hold the bar a little high for the videographers that are just getting started with the stabilizers. I think most start out with a less expensive rig. Did you start out with the best dual arm stabilizer?

Even in my latest ads we have "good" "better" "Best" best being a dual arm stabilizer. I think this points out the differences very clearly.

I think many people already know that Ned and Garry that build all of my arms and vests use to build them under the Hollywood lite name. Prior to that they both worked for Cinema Products and were involved in the manufacturing of the Steadicam arms for years.

I appreciate your attention to detail and one size does not fit all. People should always try to compare products before they buy.

We have plenty of detailed pictures, close ups, on our web site so people can see what they get.

For the record two arms are better than one.

I know you are a knowledgable guy Pookie and I enjoy reading your posts where you share your experience.














Glad to see a manufacturer adding to a thread.

Nice to see you Tom.

There is a problem with the "blurb" for lack of a different term in your, and in fact almost all stabilizer manufacturers info. A single arm rig is not going to give you the type of shots people associate with "Steadicam" type shoots. They will give very nice results within a specific range of usage, but not, as most buyers would assume, all uses. In order to achieve a true "Steadicam" result, you can only get it with a double articulated arm, not a single arm. This small but important fact is never mentioned, and I do find that to be a confusing fact for people looking to buy. If someone sees a $1200 stabilizer, obviously a tempting offer when conpaired to needing to spend $6000-$40000, they will expect the same "type" of results, albeit at a lower quality etc, and they're going to become increasingly frustrated at their inability to recreate that look. Given that a savings of $5000+ will indicate some lack of features, the difference does need to be explained up front. I would not want to see the reactions of people buying a single arm rig, and (assuming) they could use it as a running rig, the build of both the arm and vest would not support that use for long before failure. A hand held unit, being an actual double articulated arm rig (biological version) would actually give better results than a single arm rig used as a running rig. It would be nice to see these small but important details pointed out by all manufacturers.

pookie_old
11-29-2005, 12:42 AM
Thanks Tom,

I'm not trying to pick on you at all.

I just have run into students who buy a single arm, not knowing (or wanting to accept) the differences, and are very frustrated. I do follow these things are ackward to describe and sell, esp. to raw beginners who want to make their "break-through" feature....LOL.

I just thought I'd throw it out to you, to take as you may.

Jeremy Ordan
11-29-2005, 12:50 AM
I'm one of those beginners when it comes to stabilizers and I can say that of all the threads that have existed on this board, this seems to be THE thread for this topic. It is interesting once you start looking at the different models available and the functionality between them.

This has turned into a great discussion, and I don't think anyone is bashing Tom's product, just trying to get down to the grit of what will work best for them.

Jarred Land
11-29-2005, 12:52 AM
Yes.. we have some talent here. Pookie is probally the biggest Stedicam operators most of you guys will ever get a chance to talk too, and Tom Mckay mr. Varizoom himself.

Its nice to sit back and take it all in, some very good info going back and forth.

mikkowilson
11-29-2005, 01:21 AM
*sigh* I hate time zones. I go to bed on page 4, and wake up 2 pages later.

I agree this is some really good info in here. - I look forward to trying out the varizoom gear when I get the chance (missed you guys at IBC this year..)
I am really glad that a lot of people are asking questions and there is comparison going on. And that the differences are beeing explained. Mis-information is, as Pookie mentioned, the enemy.

Interestingly enough: the Merlin handle has a hole in it too (just like the JR) - so the Sportster should work fine with the Merlin :-)

Tom, great information, though I don't know if I agree with your statement of the weigth of the bare rig beeing insignificant.
It's very true that a sled that is heavier at the bottom will require less counter weights, but any extrta weight above the gimble, like in the camera mounting stage, will go agains't you.
And either way, it's still extra weight that adds to fatigue.

What I'd like to see if a comparison of the wights of the systems fully loaded to shoot - see how they compare then.


Pookie, grate example about the double arm holding your arm to your chest.

Any steadicam operator will agree that a hand held rig is by far the most versitile, as you can move it totally freely with your arm. Pity cameras are so heavy we have to put a mechanical arm in there.


Oh and the rumor about the Merlin not beeing available untill January. Not true at all. They should be available in stores very soon now (days).

- Mikko

pookie_old
11-29-2005, 01:26 AM
Some random links.

http://www.garrettcam.com/index.shtml
http://www.alien-revolution.com/
http://www.pro-gpi.com/index.htm
http://www.artemis-hd.com/
http://www.stabicam.net/brazo.htm
http://www.fsprostabilisateur.com/
http://www.glidecam.com/
http://www.whitehouseav.com/steadica.htm
http://www.steadicam-ops.com/
http://new.steadicamforum.com/forums/
http://www.steadicamline.com/
http://www.steadicam-ops.com/soamanual.shtml
http://filmmakerstore.com/steadicm.htm#top
http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/bookdescription.cws_home/675911/description#description
http://www.anthrazit-design.com/
http://www.mk-v.com/
http://www.bassonsteady.com.ar/shop/index.asp
http://www.steadicenter.com/
http://homebuiltstabilizers.com/index.htm
http://www.steadicam.com/

pookie_old
11-29-2005, 01:31 AM
[quote=mikkowilson
Tom, great information, though I don't know if I agree with your statement of the weigth of the bare rig beeing insignificant.
It's very true that a sled that is heavier at the bottom will require less counter weights, but any extrta weight above the gimble, like in the camera mounting stage, will go agains't you.
And either way, it's still extra weight that adds to fatigue.
- Mikko[/quote]

Good point Mikko, I was wondering about what Tom was saying, and I can follow the reasoning, somewhat, but it doesn't quite work the way he's described it.

j
11-29-2005, 11:53 AM
Re: Magiqcam

>How about the magiqcam? The series 1 at $1450 includes the vest, arm and >stabilizer.
>http://www.magiqcam.com/steadycampackages.html

>>That says that it only supports units up to 5lbs

Oh yeah, good point. That's another thing to consider, I'm sure most people on this list are planning (at some point) to get an HVX. I think it's prudent to consider if this think will carry one of those will with a MB, FF and decent battery...

-j

RMI Studios
11-29-2005, 11:58 PM
why don't these manfacturers (varizoom, glidecam, etc..) post similar footage for each of their rigs? walking, climbing stairs, and then running?

-chris

engr
11-30-2005, 01:13 AM
I've been looking footages of those!!

mikkowilson
11-30-2005, 07:11 AM
Beucase there is much more to it than the rig!

..Now if they all had the same operator shoot the comprisons. (with a blindfold so s/he couldn't tell what rig they where using) ..that would have some merit :happy:

- Mikko

Jack Daniel Stanley
11-30-2005, 09:23 AM
lol, blindfolfed on a basketball court or something so he wouldn't run into anything -- now that would be some silly looking footage -- :grin:

Jeremy Ordan
11-30-2005, 10:13 AM
Hey jack, aren't you supposed to get your flowpod today? 2 day shipping if I remember correctly. How about doing a little first impression post and then a follow up post after you've had some time with it?

Sad Max
11-30-2005, 01:30 PM
I have pretty much the exact setup Barry reviewed, and so far, I'm very happy with it, and with the results I'm getting (improving with continued practice...)

Although I am starting to see it as an 'introductory' system, to learn enough to make the eventual transition to something more sophisticated.

But boy howdy, does it ever impress the heck out of clients...

Jack Daniel Stanley
11-30-2005, 01:44 PM
Hey jack, aren't you supposed to get your flowpod today? 2 day shipping if I remember correctly. How about doing a little first impression post and then a follow up post after you've had some time with it?
yeah -- its tracking as on time -- I bet it will show up at 5 or 6 though :)

But can't post today probably. I'm in on online screenwriting class and my draft was technically due three hours ago -

Maybe I can post tonight - but I'm a little wary of running through the french quarter at night with an expensive piece of equipment these days. :shocked:

Jeremy Ordan
11-30-2005, 03:19 PM
I'm impressed that you went back. I had friends who lived in the Garden District and ended up just leaving everything because they had no renters insurance and just moved to Baltimore.


I'm not saying it needs to be today, but just a first impression review would be nice as well as some follow up reviews if your time/schedule permits. I think it would give a lot of us a better idea of how this product is for real world applications.

Good luck with that screenwriting class, btw.

Jack Daniel Stanley
11-30-2005, 03:25 PM
Where the hell is it?!!:angry:

It got to New Orleans at 1:48AM last night.

Come on on Brown don't let me down.

I mean New Orleans isn't that big ... and it's not like they have to drive around fallen trees and debris with a reduced staff or anything -- oh wait -- nevermind :cheesy:

Jack Daniel Stanley
11-30-2005, 03:26 PM
Where the hell is it?!!:angry:

It got to New Orleans at 1:48AM last night.

Come on on Brown don't let me down.

I mean New Orleans isn't that big ... and it's not like they have to drive around fallen trees and debris with a reduced staff or anything -- oh wait -- nevermind :cheesy:

prezorg
12-01-2005, 08:09 PM
I wanted to share some of my thoughts on stabilizer rigs for those of you who may be about to make your first purchase, becuase my first purchase was only 6 months ago.

When I first got my glidecam 4000, none of my shots looked like steadicam shots from a movie. But a majority of my bad glidecam work was still awesome compared to trying to get the same shots just going handheld. If you have solid shooting experience, it won’t take that much practice to get great shots. Remember, a shot doesn’t have to be perfect to be great. Within a week of using my glidecam, I recall thinking, “Even if I never get shots any smoother than this, this is still a very useful tool to have.”

A couple of months later I purchased a monitor to mount to the base of my glidecam 4000, and that improved the usefulness of the system 2 fold. The monitor on the base allows you to hold the system on either side of your body and still view your framing. In addition, you can see your feet and the ground in your peripheral vision. Not only is this safer, but it helps you see your system relative to the ground, so that you are more aware of how smooth your shot is.

The shots I was getting with my DVX and Glidecam 4000 inspired my work to get a Glidecam V-20 for our Varicam. Jumping from the 4000 to the V-20 was good and bad. The Good was that I could now use my body to support the camera, and both hands and arms to guide the camera. The bad is that it is very heavy. Yes my arms don’t get fatigued, but the rest of my body does. I can carry the 10 pound system on my arm much longer than a 50 pound system with a vest. (imagine walking around concentrating on shooting a DVX handheld with a 50 pound child sitting on your shoulders.)

Both myself and my work are considering a DVX/HVX and a Glidecam smoothshooter setup as a more versatile combination.

My last comment is on single vs. dual spring arms. If the spring is adjusted to the camera and sled weight, a dual vs. single shouldn’t make too much of a difference. A mix of spring, gravity and inertia shouldn’t be that much worse then a mix of spring, spring, gravity, inertia. Otherwise we would see systems with tri- and quad- spring arms.

-Ian

pookie_old
12-01-2005, 08:12 PM
"If the spring is adjusted to the camera and sled weight, a dual vs. single shouldn’t make too much of a difference".

Unfortunately, wrong.

Jeremy Ordan
12-01-2005, 08:29 PM
I wanted to share some of my thoughts on stabilizer rigs for those of you who may be about to make your first purchase, becuase my first purchase was only 6 months ago.

When I first got my glidecam 4000, none of my shots looked like steadicam shots from a movie. But a majority of my bad glidecam work was still awesome compared to trying to get the same shots just going handheld. If you have solid shooting experience, it won’t take that much practice to get great shots. Remember, a shot doesn’t have to be perfect to be great. Within a week of using my glidecam, I recall thinking, “Even if I never get shots any smoother than this, this is still a very useful tool to have.”

A couple of months later I purchased a monitor to mount to the base of my glidecam 4000, and that improved the usefulness of the system 2 fold. The monitor on the base allows you to hold the system on either side of your body and still view your framing. In addition, you can see your feet and the ground in your peripheral vision. Not only is this safer, but it helps you see your system relative to the ground, so that you are more aware of how smooth your shot is.


Nice contribution, especially regarding the difference the monitor can make, that was something that did not cross my mind. Then again, after researching the single/dual arm difference, I have to agree with Pookie (not that my agreeing with him adds any more credence... it's like me saying that I agree with Steven Spielberg casting someone in his movies... point made). I like the monitor idea though.

Jack Daniel Stanley
12-01-2005, 09:09 PM
"If the spring is adjusted to the camera and sled weight, a dual vs. single shouldn’t make too much of a difference".

Unfortunately, wrong.
While I can't compete with Pookie's brevity -- his argument for two arm vs one does make sense, its the fact that there is joint period that absorbs the shock while one arm just moves the camera up and down. Its not an exponentailly increasing phenomenon of the more arms the better, its the presence of absence of a shock absorbing joint in the bar sticking out of your chest - which is an either / or phenomenon, one set up has that absorber the other doesnt.

Now having said that that theory makes sense - I don't know shit from shinola - my dv sportster rig is sitting in the corner where I unpacked it 4 hours ago - I've just been too busy to play with it and I've never worn a vest system.

Jeremy Ordan
12-01-2005, 09:22 PM
While I can't compete with Pookie's brevity -- his argument for two arm vs one does make sense, its the fact that there is joint period that absorbs the shock while one arm just moves the camera up and down. Its not an exponentailly increasing phenomenon of the more arms the better, its the presence of absence of a shock absorbing joint in the bar sticking out of your chest - which is an either / or phenomenon, one set up has that absorber the other doesnt.

Now having said that that theory makes sense - I don't know poo poo from shinola - my dv sportster rig is sitting in the corner where I unpacked it 4 hours ago - I've just been too busy to play with it and I've never worn a vest system.

Damnit Jack, I've been waiting for two days to hear your review. Get with the program and hook a brotha up already:grin:
-jeremy

Jack Daniel Stanley
12-01-2005, 09:26 PM
well the poo poo looks super solid state just like barry said - I mean that's impressive right of -- but you may have tio be patient because everybody says it takes a while to master these things right -- but believe me I want to play with it mopre than you -- but U went to bed at 7 am to finish my screenplay for class then had to read the other students revisions, then met with a prodeucer all day for my sci fi -- I'm actually in that online class right at this moment and I'm being a bad student gotta go! :cheesy:

prezorg
12-01-2005, 09:46 PM
If the spring is adjusted to the camera and sled weight, a dual vs. single shouldn’t make too much of a difference. A mix of spring, gravity and inertia shouldn’t be that much worse then a mix of spring, spring, gravity, inertia. Otherwise we would see systems with tri- and quad- spring arms.



To make myself more clear, I mean to say that the above is stated "In-Theory". I haven't used both single and dual spring arms, and therefore would trust someones practical experience over the mechanical engineering and physics that I attempt to figure out in my head.

I am curious as to WHY and more importantly HOW a dual spring arm is better than a single spring arm. Could a dual spring arm just be more capable of handling rough terrain and running compared to a single spring arm? Would you see a difference in the footage between dual and single spring arms during generic walking and standing?

The physics involved in these systems really aren't all that complicated, so I am betting someone out there has a "theory" that better matches practical knowledge.

Only being out of college a couple of years, I still have plenty of time left in my young career to test this out myself someday.

~Ian

Jeremy Ordan
12-01-2005, 09:50 PM
To make myself more clear, I mean to say that the above is stated "In-Theory". I haven't used both single and dual spring arms, and therefore would trust someones practical experience over the mechanical engineering and physics that I attempt to figure out in my head.

I am curious as to WHY and more importantly HOW a dual spring arm is better than a single spring arm. Could a dual spring arm just be more capable of handling rough terrain and running compared to a single spring arm? Would you see a difference in the footage between dual and single spring arms during generic walking and standing?

The physics involved in these systems really aren't all that complicated, so I am betting someone out there has a "theory" that better matches practical knowledge.

Only being out of college a couple of years, I still have plenty of time left in my young career to test this out myself someday.

~Ian


I asked that same question a couple of days ago on this thread and Pookie & Barry S chimed in to answer it. Scroll back, they explain it.

prezorg
12-01-2005, 10:03 PM
its the fact that there is joint period that absorbs the shock while one arm just moves the camera up and down. Its not an exponentailly increasing phenomenon of the more arms the better,

Looks like I got my answer before I asked. Thanks jdanstan.

The V-20's single spring arm that I use at work can do both of those well on their own, but probably not as well at the same time. Not a huge limitation for all shots, but very important indeed. And probably more important for the work I'd like to be doing someday, and not as important for the work I am doing right now.

~Ian
:)

mikkowilson
12-02-2005, 12:12 AM
Head's up about the tri-arm coment.. It's been tried...it doesn't work.

With a multi-section arm, the key is to keep the arm sections 'syncornized' - paralel - so they they are at the top, middle and bottom of their ranges at the same time. With a 3rd arm sectoin there is no way to syncronize the 2 end sections because of the isolation of the middle section.

- Mikko

jonahlee
12-04-2005, 05:57 PM
Read the whole thread and Pookies info as well, but I already have a Glidecam 2000 I have well balanced to my camera. I was watching some video of the Glidecam Smooth Shooter and it looks like it's arm is much better articulated than that of the varizoom DV shooter, and looks like it can bend up and down. What is the comparison on these 2 units when used with a Glidecam 2000? I like my Glidecam, but it is pretty heavy with DVX2100 on it, and my arm starts shaking pretty quickly just because it gets so tired! I am interested in getting a body mounted brace for my Glidecam, which of the two is better. I like the affordability of the DV Shooter, and don't really have $1500 to spend, but if it is really superior in movement it is probably worth the extra $750. Any opinions?

Jeremy Ordan
12-05-2005, 09:52 AM
I would PM Pookie or Mikko with your question (unless they happen upon this post). In general, from my conversations asking the same exact question, I have heard that the Smoothshooter is a superior product, but as to whether it is worth the additional funding, that's something I'd ask Pookie.

Jack Daniel Stanley
12-05-2005, 01:27 PM
From what I have gleaned:

for up and down stairs and RUNNING over all kinds of terrian = smoothshooter

a much more portable light weight rig that's as smooth as smooth shooter for walking / nearly running (really fast walking) = dvsportster

both are top notch - they were just designed with different end users and price points in mind

Jeremy Ordan
12-05-2005, 02:37 PM
Hey Stanley, where's my first impression review, buddy? :laugh:

Jack Daniel Stanley
12-05-2005, 02:38 PM
patience grasshopper

MrBirdBoy
12-05-2005, 10:39 PM
Hey Guys,
Truth is that all of the less expensive rigs or half-rigs are still toys. Ebay has used Steadicams of older Glidecam that would be a much better choice then a handheld with a vest and baby arm.

Steadicam Op is a fine art of skill & machine. They are both important. Save up for a real rig & save yourself much disappointment & frustration.

Steve

PS. But boy that red head is cute !!

dougspice
12-05-2005, 11:19 PM
Just chiming in to echo prezorg here. On a recent shoot of a TV pilot, I convinced the director it would be useful to have a stabiliser for some shots, so we rented out a Glidecam 4000. I got a day or so to practice before we flew out to shoot, and my results were... not stellar. Still much smoother than handheld, aside from the times when I would make a basic mistake and bump everything out of whack.

However, by the next day, I had it down to handle the basics. So much so that the director decided we would simply shoot the entire show that way. The result was that after 4 or 5 more days of mostly continuous shooting, I had it pretty much under control, enough that I could start taking on some more interesting and complex moves. My arms hurt pretty bad after the first day or two but I got used to it (and also used the BodyPod whenever possible). I just yesterday shot a 4-minute backwards tracking shot using the same system. The shot involved going up and down stairs, following characters into and out of frame, moving both parallel and perpendicular to the action, doing aperture changes at 2 points, and occasionally jogging backwards at high speed. We did 8 takes and 3 of them were totally perfect as far as camera was concerned. So yes, there's a learning curve, but once you start to get it, it levels out pretty quickly. Of course, this is just a beginner's perspective with a 6-7lb system.

Not having used the FlowPod, I can say that it looks a bit better designed for the user experience than the Glidecam. The Glidecam is pretty fickle and it can take a frustratingly long time to get everything balanced. AFAIK, there is no easy way to do a Low Mode, although I'm sure you could rig one up. On the other hand, the FlowPod doesn't look like it has any real method of left-right balancing? That seems like a serious oversight. I find myself needing to do some regular adjustments to my balance arrangement whenever I shoot with LCD folded out vs. folded in, LCD hood mounted vs. not, headphones jacked, shotgun mic mounted, mattebox mounted... I would be extremely worried about the versatility of the system in that regard.

Essentially, if I was just looking at the systems side by side, I'd rather put the $600 into the Glidecam (and recently have) than what looks like a better-designed but much more limited product.

dougspice
12-05-2005, 11:21 PM
Oh, also, the title of the FlowPod page is "What do I need to edit HD?" Might want to change it. :happy:

Tom McKay
12-06-2005, 10:21 AM
Doug,

The FlowPod has and X and Y axis adjustment. That covers left, right, fore and aft adjustment for balance. It is sensitive too. If you balance the unit with the lcd monitor closed on your camera it will lean over to that side when you open it.

If it has a gimbal it must have a 2 axis adjustment for balance.

I have to take a look at the title you mentioned on the FlowPod page.

Thanks,

Tom



www.VariZoom.com (http://www.VariZoom.com)


Just chiming in to echo prezorg here. On a recent shoot of a TV pilot, I convinced the director it would be useful to have a stabiliser for some shots, so we rented out a Glidecam 4000. I got a day or so to practice before we flew out to shoot, and my results were... not stellar. Still much smoother than handheld, aside from the times when I would make a basic mistake and bump everything out of whack.

However, by the next day, I had it down to handle the basics. So much so that the director decided we would simply shoot the entire show that way. The result was that after 4 or 5 more days of mostly continuous shooting, I had it pretty much under control, enough that I could start taking on some more interesting and complex moves. My arms hurt pretty bad after the first day or two but I got used to it (and also used the BodyPod whenever possible). I just yesterday shot a 4-minute backwards tracking shot using the same system. The shot involved going up and down stairs, following characters into and out of frame, moving both parallel and perpendicular to the action, doing aperture changes at 2 points, and occasionally jogging backwards at high speed. We did 8 takes and 3 of them were totally perfect as far as camera was concerned. So yes, there's a learning curve, but once you start to get it, it levels out pretty quickly. Of course, this is just a beginner's perspective with a 6-7lb system.

Not having used the FlowPod, I can say that it looks a bit better designed for the user experience than the Glidecam. The Glidecam is pretty fickle and it can take a frustratingly long time to get everything balanced. AFAIK, there is no easy way to do a Low Mode, although I'm sure you could rig one up. On the other hand, the FlowPod doesn't look like it has any real method of left-right balancing? That seems like a serious oversight. I find myself needing to do some regular adjustments to my balance arrangement whenever I shoot with LCD folded out vs. folded in, LCD hood mounted vs. not, headphones jacked, shotgun mic mounted, mattebox mounted... I would be extremely worried about the versatility of the system in that regard.

Essentially, if I was just looking at the systems side by side, I'd rather put the $600 into the Glidecam (and recently have) than what looks like a better-designed but much more limited product.

Sad Max
12-06-2005, 04:49 PM
dougspice - the Varizoom does allow left-right balancing (I doubt that any rig could function without it); there are a pair of locking knobs under the camera mount that when loosened allow the camera stage to slide left-and-right, much as the side-mounted knobs allow the plate to travel forwards-and-backwards.

Not micrometer knobs, or even close to it, but, well, it works.

FWIW I find that I can readjust the balance very rapidly to account for camera-mounted extras, mic cables, etcetera...I think that after a while using it, you just sort of 'develop a feel.'

danm
12-07-2005, 05:21 PM
Click here for the article:

http://www.dvxuser.com/articles/VZflowpod/

check out that fitty.:happy:

pookie_old
12-07-2005, 05:44 PM
???? :huh:

Blaine
12-07-2005, 05:51 PM
We already had a Glidecam so we added the DV Sportster (to take the pressure off the arm and back). It worked out great.

Jack Daniel Stanley
12-07-2005, 06:00 PM
Pookie I think Danm trying to say the model is hot or something --

although i thought fitty was urban slang for $50.

pookie_old
12-07-2005, 06:12 PM
OK, I was wondering if there was a new word out.

Jack Daniel Stanley
12-07-2005, 06:25 PM
there maybe we'll have to hear back from danm or wait until BlackHawk logs on to know for sure.

mikkowilson
12-07-2005, 06:48 PM
"fit" is UK slang for "hot"

- Mikko

pookie_old
12-07-2005, 06:49 PM
The things you learn....

lscholl
12-09-2005, 09:09 AM
This product looks great, it has good reviews by professionals, but then there is the disclaimer "save your money" Those who write that don't say why. If this isn't worth the money what would be better? I will be shooting in the Amazon, a larger rig is totally out of the question. And perhaps a monopod is sufficient ... but then which would be the best monopod?

Thank you


Click here for the article:

http://www.dvxuser.com/articles/VZflowpod/

HorseFilms
12-09-2005, 11:44 AM
In the latest issue of DV Magazine (I think), Varizoom had an ad that showed a dual arm system. Has anyone seen anything more about that?

pookie_old
12-10-2005, 10:29 PM
In the latest issue of DV Magazine (I think), Varizoom had an ad that showed a dual arm system. Has anyone seen anything more about that?

Well, I've seen it.......

and.......

HorseFilms
12-10-2005, 11:01 PM
Enough said. :) Thanks, pookie!:beer:

Barry_S
12-10-2005, 11:07 PM
There are some varying opinions here, but I think the FlowPod/DV Sportster combination might work well for you.



This product looks great, it has good reviews by professionals, but then there is the disclaimer "save your money" Those who write that don't say why. If this isn't worth the money what would be better? I will be shooting in the Amazon, a larger rig is totally out of the question. And perhaps a monopod is sufficient ... but then which would be the best monopod?

Thank you

pookie_old
12-10-2005, 11:37 PM
The Varizoom people make some very nice products. Their lens controllers, tft monitors, pan/tilts are very good products. And now they've even included the DV Rig Pro to their list.
But, their stabilizer systems, while low priced, are not what I personally consider a good investment. The quality of their arms and vests are not up to the level I consider acceptable for any "hard: read serious" usage. The cost is too high for most (average) people to justify, considering the people who want a full rig are most likely going to be using it almost daily, as opposed to a $300 hand held.
If you're looking for a handheld stabilizer, there are a wide variety to pick from, and with a little practice, all will provide good shots. With a full body mount rig, you're in a different league from handhelds. Quality is first. Repairs or failures can kill a shoot, whether you're working on your own project, or are being paid to shoot.

Barry_S
12-11-2005, 12:13 AM
For one, both the Flowpod and DV Sportster are very well constructed. This isn't shoddy stuff by any means. For two, I think the prices are completely in line with the potential users. If you're using a full rig almost daily, there's a word for you--professional Steadicam Operator, and no, this isn't a product for you. Since 99.999 % of the users on this site are not professional Steadicam Operators, these products may be of some interest. As I mentioned previously, the FlowPod and DV Sportster occupy a unique niche for both function and price--that are in line with many of our users' applications.

pookie_old
12-11-2005, 12:14 AM
OK I give up Barry.

If anyone has any questions for me to answer, please PM me, I won't post here.

jonahlee
12-11-2005, 11:26 AM
I know for Glidecam, you can rent them in LA from Alan Gordon, and I think they have free glasses on how to use the Glidecam products, so you should be able to test one out.

Haku
01-25-2006, 02:18 PM
Ok, firts to clarify -- the VariZoom Navigator vest/arm i was talking about is single articulation.

But it's the same system ans the DV sportster only for heavier (up to 10 lbs camera).

So here's a clip of the NAVIGATOR with the flow pod - so this is an example of what a slightly more expensive single arm can do from the same manufacturer.

Seems like results would be comparable for the DV sportser / Flowpod for 5 - 8 pound camera -- I'll see if I can get them to swear to that when I call.

At anyrate -- if I can get motion like this I will be more than sassified :shocked:
http://www.varizoom.com/movies/vzGT.wmv

I just want to point out that the above link is misleading. That clip was shot with the Hollywood Lite GT rig (vest, sled and arm). I remember seeing that same clip on Hollywood Lite's website (prior to joining with Varizoom) a couple years back. If you look at the Varizoom FlowCam GT (http://www.varizoom.com/products/stabilizers/vzgt.html) page on Varizoom's website, you'll see that it references the same video demo.

I'm sure that footage achieved would be quite similar with the Navigator+Flowpod setup. I find it misleading that the Navigator page references the same video--implying that the video was shot with a Navigator+Flowpod setup.

I don't know if the Navigator and Flowcam GT are based on the same single arm design, or simply rebadged...it doesn't matter. I think the video demo footage on the Navigator page should at least be sourced from a Navigator+Flowpod shoot if not also with Glidecam sled.

Just lookin out! :)

Tom McKay
01-26-2006, 08:36 PM
Pookie I appreciate the kind comments about our VariZoom products but I respectfully disagree with your take on my stabilizer rigs. One thing I try to do with any product I put out to market is make it affordable and high quality. The other thing, if possible, is make it upgradeable. Navigator is perfect for this because you can up grade from the FlowPod to either an Aviator or Gt sled.

The Navigator has the same arm as the GT series. You will find ball bearings and needle bearing where others use brass bushing or no bushings at all. Just yesterday I was told that a D.P. used the FlowPod to shoot portions of a newly released movie "Throttle".

I am gathering up testimonials and we will keep adding them on the site soon so people can hear from people that own the rig.

Our vest pads and linings are made by the same company that makes Steadicams. The gentlemen that build these arms and sleds for me in Los Angeles both worked many years at Cinema products and were responsible for quality control and manufacturing the arms for Steadicam. Ned was the director of manufacturing for 7 years. Garry was a head machinist for 14 years. As well one of the design engineers (6 years) from the same company helped designed these same arms that you are referring to.

These units are made in quanities of hundreds and each part is milled exactly as the other and kept to very tight tolerances.

We had a gentleman that brought his arm in for a tune up yesterday in Los Angeles. First time he brought it in since purchasing it in 1999 and he was going on about how glad he was he bought the arm because the money he saved allowed him to A. Get in the business. and B. Afford accessories like a Matte Box etc.

These arms are not terribly complicated but the machining is critical. That's why when a do it yourself guy makes a rig with a screw gun and some hardware from Home Depot it usually does not work to well and will usually require a can of
WD-40 on the set.

Come down to my booth at NAB and bring your calipers and test gear. I welcome any specific criticism you have and if it has merit we will change it. We are there for everyone to compare our products to the competition.

We just shot pictures today of our new female model with the Navigator/FlowPod. I am positive you will like her more than the products.

If I can come back attach a new picture I will.

Best regards,

Tom












The Varizoom people make some very nice products. Their lens controllers, tft monitors, pan/tilts are very good products. And now they've even included the DV Rig Pro to their list.
But, their stabilizer systems, while low priced, are not what I personally consider a good investment. The quality of their arms and vests are not up to the level I consider acceptable for any "hard: read serious" usage. The cost is too high for most (average) people to justify, considering the people who want a full rig are most likely going to be using it almost daily, as opposed to a $300 hand held.
If you're looking for a handheld stabilizer, there are a wide variety to pick from, and with a little practice, all will provide good shots. With a full body mount rig, you're in a different league from handhelds. Quality is first. Repairs or failures can kill a shoot, whether you're working on your own project, or are being paid to shoot.

Tom McKay
01-26-2006, 08:46 PM
Haku,

You are right we used a GT clip. It is a GT arm on the Navigator so it will get a comparable ride in that application. But you are right it is not an exact representation. We will be getting it swapped out eventually and I appreciate you pointing this out.

Thanks

Tom

www.varizoom.com

http://www.varizoom.com/img/products/vznavigator_01.jpghttp://www.varizoom.com/img/products/vznavigator_03.jpg




I just want to point out that the above link is misleading. That clip was shot with the Hollywood Lite GT rig (vest, sled and arm). I remember seeing that same clip on Hollywood Lite's website (prior to joining with Varizoom) a couple years back. If you look at the Varizoom FlowCam GT (http://www.varizoom.com/products/stabilizers/vzgt.html) page on Varizoom's website, you'll see that it references the same video demo.

I'm sure that footage achieved would be quite similar with the Navigator+Flowpod setup. I find it misleading that the Navigator page references the same video--implying that the video was shot with a Navigator+Flowpod setup.

I don't know if the Navigator and Flowcam GT are based on the same single arm design, or simply rebadged...it doesn't matter. I think the video demo footage on the Navigator page should at least be sourced from a Navigator+Flowpod shoot if not also with Glidecam sled.

Just lookin out! :)

Tom McKay
01-26-2006, 09:21 PM
Pookie I appreciate the kind comments about our VariZoom products but I respectfully disagree with your take on our stabilizer rigs. One thing I try to do with any product I put out to market is make it affordable and high quality.

The Navigator has the same arm as the GT series. You will find ball bearings and needle bearing where others use brass bushing or no bushings at all. Just yesterday I was told that a D.P. used the FlowPod to shoot portions of a newly released movie "Throttle".

I am gathering up testimonials and we will keep adding them on the site soon so people can hear from people that own the rig.

Our vest pads and linings are made by the same company that makes Steadicams. The gentlemen that build these arms and sleds for me in Los Angeles both worked many years at Cinema products and were responsible for quality control and manufacturing the arms for Steadicam. Ned worked as a quality control and director of manufacturing for 7 years. Garry worked there 14 years as head machinist. The engineer that designed our arms also worked at the Cinema products as a design engineer working on the SK and Master Series.

These units are made in quanities of hundreds and each part is milled exactly as the other and kept to very tight tolerances. We just had a customer bring his unit in for a tune up. He purchased it in 1999 and it was still as good as new. He commented that he was very pleased with his purchase because
A. It was affordable and allowed him to get in to the business.
B. The money he saved allowed him to buy a mattebox and other accessories.

These arms are not terribly complicated but the machining is critical. That's why when a do it yourself guy makes a rig with a screw gun and some hardware from home depot it usually does not work to well and will require a can of WD-40 on the set.

Come down to my booth at NAB and bring your calipers and test gear. I welcome any specific criticism you have and if it has merit we will change it.
We are there to show our products and have them compared to the competition.

Best Regards,


Tom

mikkowilson
01-26-2006, 11:55 PM
Who puts WD-40 on a stabilizer?

- Mikko

Haku
01-27-2006, 01:35 AM
No problem Tom. I hope I didn't come across as being a Varizoom basher. Just trying to clear up any possible misinformation. I look forward to seeing some actual Navigator+Flowpod footage. I'm considering that combination if not a Sportster+Steadicam Jr/Merlin setup for light tracking work.

Cheers

Haku
01-27-2006, 01:38 AM
Who puts WD-40 on a stabilizer?

- Mikko
Haven't heard of anyone doing that. Graphite yes. I hear WD-40 is good for joint pain and arthritis. Gonna need it for a poorly made DIY rig! :grin:

mikkowilson
01-27-2006, 01:45 AM
...a lubricant would be better.

- Mikko

nan
02-25-2006, 06:14 PM
Please correct me if I'm wrong. Based on what I have read in this helpful thread -- not on my experience, I'm a newbie and looking for information how to invest in my new video taping business --

1. When well-mastered, a steadycam like Glidecam2000 or Flowpod operated in your own arm can result a better result than in a single-arm body support such as Smooth Shooter or Sportster, assuming that you can hold the weight without shaking. If most of your shooting is just about a few minutes, use your own arm insted of the mechanic one.

2. But because your arm will get tired soon and start to shake, you need a mechanic arm attached to your body to prolong the work.

3. If most of your work is in a flat terrain and you do not need to run or jump, a single spring arm body supporting system should be good enough for your job. A dual spring arm system will not make a big difference in this case but only get you tired sooner because of its heavier weight. But how about running slowly? And How about for up and down stairs? Does a single spring arm work nicely in this case too?

4. But if you are going to take action video in a bumpy terrain and you need to run swiftly, you have to get a dual spring arm system.

I think I will start with the one that will allow me to do some basic smooth shooting. I've already got a Glidecam 2000, and am thinking about to get a Sportster or Smooth Shooter. Most of my work is taking scenery video and it requires me to travel a lot. Here is a list of what I am looking for:

1. Light weight.
2. Easy to put on and take off.
3. It has to produce professional result for normal walking shooting

Any recommendation or comparison of these two products?

Invito
02-25-2006, 06:23 PM
Check out this dual arm stabilizer. I'm thinking of getting one. It's only $1495 for everything:

http://indicam.com/

Sad Max
02-26-2006, 09:31 AM
FWIW I've been working with a Magiqcam IIa dual-arm rig for a couple months, now, and the difference between it and my Flowpod/Sportster is beyond noticeable.

greg1957
04-28-2006, 01:00 AM
Whats the latest on dual arm steadycam? Is there a reasonable priced quailty unit new to the market?

vocare
05-03-2006, 01:46 PM
look good .
any shop that ship outside us, especially to singapore
and have a good price..looking foward to that

szarrr
07-26-2006, 08:01 PM
I agree with pookie's comments on single vs. dual arm. I've tried out the sportster once and was not pleased. With that option out the door, I'm looking to spend about 2 grand on a stabilizer system (vest, single or double arm, and sled) and wanted to get someone's opinion on what system would fit simple walking shots. I'm now looking at the Smooth Shooter or the Indicam. Its a toss up at this point. Any suggestions or other models you guys have in mind for about 2 grand or less? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

S

imageonepictures
08-12-2006, 01:09 PM
Hey,

Anyone know how much it costs? Does it provide shots as smooth as a Glidecam?