NITSAN SIMANTOV. PHOTOGRAPHER. FILMMAKER.

East Grinstead photographer and filmmaker Nitsan Simantov. Wedding photography and commercial video production in London and West Sussex.

Filtering by Category: DIY IDEAS

The Glidecam HD-1000 is awesome (Sample footage + mini review)

I've recently bought a Glidecam HD-1000 for an important music video shoot that's coming up.. I got it a week ago and 10 minutes later I had it just about set up and balanced, not perfectly but pretty close. Please note that I've had experience with stabilizers before (including building two of my own 'DIY' designs) so for someone inexperienced with stabilizers it may take longer to learn to balance it or use it, but my point is that it's very, very fast to set up and balance.

I'm still learning more and more about how to use the Glidecam and how to get good shots with it. It's something that requires lots and lots of practice, as well as building up the stamina and strength to use it. Not something you need to worry about too much if you only intend to do one or two shots with it every once in a while, but if you intend to shoot live events on it or even just do a 3 minute long shot (for a music video or whatever) then you should get lots of practice with it and you will naturally get used to shooting with it for longer periods of time. One trick I'm trying to master is switching hands mid shot without shaking (or dropping) the camera because it gets very heavy on your wrist after a 10-15 minute shot. - it would be so easy if they made a longer handle.. I might have to DIY one.. If I do, It will be posted here and on my Youtube Channel

Another option is to use a vest or arm brace, However, good (and bad) vests are very expensive and very large too, the arm brace from Glidecam is also pretty large and not cheap either at about £150. You can opt for the Flycam branded arm brace although I'm not 100% sure that it will fit the Glidecam.

Another option is to 'DIY' an arm brace.. I'm going to try to make one from a skateboarding wrist guard I have similar to the one pictured below. Most of them are built with hard plastic on both sides of the wrist which should give a good mounting point for the Glidecam's handle, it should be strong enough as it's made for impact for the weight of a person but we'll see if it's still good with a hole in it.. I will post my design soon.

Here a video from my first day of using the Glidecam. I didn't have it perfectly balanced but still got some nice shots with it. Notice some of the shots have some downwards tilt, that's due to it being a little bit too bottom heavy, and one or two of the shots had a random sideways tilt because the Glidecam wasn't bottom heavy enough..

I will soon post a video tutorial on how to properly balance a Glidecam or Flycam because at the moment there is a lack of good tutorials on the subject. Watch this space..

DIY Glidecam/Flycam arm brace

If you had read my previous post from yesterday you may have been waiting for the DIY arm brace build - and here it is..

The problem with the Glidecam's design is that because the handle is not directly underneath the center of gravity like other stabilizers such as the Steadicam Merlin or the Blackbird Stabilizer the weight on your wrist increases dramatically. My setup weighs almost exactly 2.5kg (5.5lbs - 550D + 17-85mm + HD1000 with all weights - See note below) which can get very heavy on the wrist.

My first design did help a little with the weight but unfortunately it was very uncomfortable to use because the plate was on the side of the wrist rather than below the whole arm as with the factory-made arm brace.

I'd tried several builds yesterday and finally today I created a successful one. Although it did take me quite a while to design and build because I tried to make it as neat and professional looking as possible. I ended up with something that could sell well as a punk styling accessory - but doesn't look too 'DIY' and won't look completely stupid in public (when used in conjunction with a camera).

I have some proper straps to fit the inner side of the brace that will allow for super fast fitting and removal of the arm support, but I need to shorten them so for the photo below I have just used another lace.

Here it is with the Glidecam HD-1000..

It's fairly simple to build and also looks alright if you've got the patience for sewing the fabric over it. I've shot a video tutorial on how to make it, that will be posted soon along with some test footage and proper feedback on usability.

Note on weights: In order to have the Glidecam as heavy as possible for better results, I have put two weights on top of the camera and the other 6 at the bottom. My current camera and lens setup weighs exactly 1kg, which will happily balance on 4 bottom weights, so I imagine that you could use up to 2kg on the HD-1000 with all 8 bottom weights, and probably even more if you add more bottom weight. (That's just a guess, please follow the weight guidelines given by Glidecam)

DIY reflector or softbox

I think this material will be great for a DIY reflector, it's an emergency foil blanket. It may be a little too reflective for direct use (without diffusion) but I'll have to just give it a try and post my results.I found a set of two for 99p in my local 99p store. (The UK equivalent of a dollar store) But even online they're very cheap. Only £1.50 shipped.Link

Quick tip: When you're looking for a material for a really low budget DIY project (which, let's face it, most of them are) first check your local 99p store, pound shop, dollar shop, whatever you call it. You can usually find a suitable material in one of the products. For example, today I saw a yoga mattress that would be perfect for making a super-light-weight DIY matte box. (I'll make a video with a full tutorial)

Other things include metal broomsticks for a DIY boom pole or rails of some sort, LED lights (or standard torches) for a DIY video light (I'll try it and post a video if successful) and even simple things like velcro straps for keeping that rig tidy.