Besides the affordable price, the new Wieldy has several features the Glidecam HD series stabilizer don't provide such as an adjustable Gimbal, non-rotating sled, and carbon fiber post. Other popular features found on the more expensive Glidecam HD like fine-tuning knobs (trim), adjustable sled weights, and quick release stage has been designed into this Wieldy almost exactly. Overall a great product for the price, and it performs well. Additional information, photos, and other video examples of the Carbon Wieldy Stabilizer in use can be seen following the link to the product page via eBay (Click Here).
Wieldy DV Pro Iron Triangle Stabilizer
You can also find the Wieldy bundled with a dual arm stabilizer from another seller. It's being rebranded under the name 'CAME' (terrible name). A few listings from this seller show the dual arm vest bundled with this same Wieldy Carbon Fiber stabilizer (Click Here).
Dual Arm Support Vest with Carbon Stabilizer
For reference you can find various Glidecam HD Series Stabilizers for sale via B&H (Click Here).
The entire sled design and even counterweights are also cut to a similar shape that resemble the Glidecam. If not for the Carbon Fiber post of the Wieldy, I could easily mistaken this for either the Glidecam HD2000 or HD4000.
Here's where a few differences are with the Wieldy. The Wieldy DV Pro Stabilizer states it can collapse to a minimum height of 15" which is similar to the smaller HD2000, but can telescope to about 29" which is about the max height of the largest Glidecam HD4000. The Wieldy gimbal (unlike the Glidecam) can also be repositioned on the post allowing for another fine tuning adjustment, or to use the stabilizer upside down for very low mode flying.
This video is complete rambling about different feature sets of a few 'Small Camera stabilizers' I use. I have quite a few very large ones as well, but for now i'm just touching on these specifically because they are so close in what audience they are intended for. The three small stabilizers i'm showing are the Flycam Nano, the Glidecam HD1000, and the Skyler MiniCam (new and old). If you're not interested in knowing about the differences of such products, I suggests you skip this video since it's quite lengthy.
I'll start by saying that it's possible to get excellent results from ALL of these stabilizers. Don't be fooled to thinking you'll be achieving excellent results on the first day, even if you wanted to spend thousands of dollars on high end gear. With any stabilizer, it will require practice, practice, and even more practice. This video will probably generate more questions, but hopefully it's an insight of the different things to look for when shopping for a stabilizer.
The Flycam Nano does not have the best fit and finish as the other stabilizers, so obviously it will be much cheaper. It also does not carry the fine tuning knobs of a Glidecam HD series stabilizer. The Flycam Nano does not come with any type of Quick release system to make packing up and re-balancing more convenient.
Glidecam: The Glidecam HD1000 has a quick release system, fine tuning knobs, and has better overall build quality and aesthetics. The quick release system will help you remove your camera from the stabilizer when you need to pack up, and makes it easy to get the camera back in the right spot for rebalancing. The fine tuning knobs help get very accurate alignment. Note: Recently Glidecam released an XR version of their stabilizers which is cheaper, but will lack the QR plate and fine tuning knobs. (click here to see Glidecam XR-1000 via eBay)
Skyler MiniCam: The Skyler MiniCam is the most expensive of these three small stabilizers. It's also the smallest and lightest, but yet can still fly just as much weight. You can remove all of the parts from the Skyler for travel and set it back up without having to rebalance. Everything falls perfectly in alignment. It also offers a quick release stage - not only for packing up, but it can be used to move your camera to a tripod, slider, cage, rig, etc with the included 'mounting base plate'. The design of the lower sled makes it easy to adjust up and down for weight compensation, and does not have the same potential to shift (like the Glidecam and Flycam models). Build quality is top notch.
If you're just starting out, doing it as a hobby, or just curious about flying camera movements you could start on the lower end. The actual practice of flying a stabilizer is more important than the stabilizer itself. Sell it off later when you're ready to upgrade or try renting one for a weekend to see if it's something you're interested in, and how often you think you'll be using it. If you're already flying a stabilizer and need more of the convenience of fine tuning knobs, quick release plates, compact for travel, and ease of rebalance, then look for the higher end models that offer some of those features like the Glidecam HD or Skyler Minicam.
These are two of the most popular and smallest DSLR stabilizers. I'm not going to say one is better than the other when it comes down to the actual video footage. End results between these two micro flyers would be the same once you have them fine tuned and balanced. The main differences to consider between these two is cost, quality of build, time to balance, and handling.
First no surprise here, the Flycam Nano can come in about three times cheaper than the Glidecam HD1000. The Flycam Nano comes in a bit smaller than the Glidecam but this also means it won't handle as much weight. If you want to stick to the smallest flyer but are concerned you might be pushing the limits too much, then the HD1000 might be the safer bet. The Flycam being the smaller stabilizer can pack down smaller for traveling. Of course the Flycam Nano can easily handle a 7D + Tokina 11-16mm (and then some), which is about the average weight needed for most entry level flyers. The Flycam might be a better choice for smaller cameras like the Sony SLT-A55 or Panasonic GH2.
The Flycam build quality isn't as polished as the Glidecam. Cheaper materials, painted metal instead of anodized plating, lack of fine tuning knobs, tiny handle, and non-professional looking weights. That's what helps keep the cost down. The Glidecam is far superior in build quality, but fancy plating alone doesn't make it a better flyer.
The Glidecam handle is much larger and more comfortable to grip. The Glidecam handle is the same width as it's larger HD2000 and HD4000 siblings making it possible to use the HD1000 with a full Vest. The Flycam has a much smaller and shorter handle designed to be used with an optional Flycam Arm Brace.
The Glidecam HD series stabilizers also have fine tune knobs. The fine tuning knobs allows micro movements of the stage making exact placement of the camera much easier and faster to the center of balance. This is a great feature for anyone who seems to change out lenses, cameras, or accessories that require the entire stabilizer to be rebalanced. If you're pretty much set with the camera + lens combination for flying, a Flycam Nano with a quick release adapter should do the trick. No need to rebalance.
After posting up my BTS footage of the Glidecam HD4000 with the Steadicam Merlin vest found here: http://cheesycam.com/glidecam-hd4000-bts-with-canon-60d-steadicam-vest/, I've been getting quite a bit of emails on how these two different products 'mate'. I'm sure this blog is quite cluttered with random articles, so here's the DIY video dug up from the archives posted 8 months ago. The reason I have this setup is because I used to fly a Merlin, so I had the vest already. I found the Glidecam design to be more flexible and the HD4000 can also carry a heavier load. The Glidecam was very heavy and I didn't want to invest into another Vest. It turned out to be a great cost saving idea since you have a 'dual arm' (two spring things) vest for about $1499 + Glidecam HD4000 for about $600. If you were shopping for a Glidecam Vest, the Dual arm for Glidecam runs more than the Dual Arm of the Steadicam Merlin. Some also argue that the Steadicam Merlin vest is a better design, much more slim profile, and of course cheaper cost. That's all opinion, and I just want to make it clear that I was just trying to make products I already owned work together. So even though it wasn't pre-meditated, there's a bit of cash savings using this method and as you can tell i've been very very happy with my whole system for a very very long time. You'll catch my reference to 'mating' the Steadicam Merlin arm with the Glidecam HD4000 Handle in this video..... Enjoy.
I posted a short sample of some BTS footage with a Glidecam HD4000 Stabilizer about a week ago. The reference to this project can be found here: http://cheesycam.com/3-canon-60ds-music-video/. There were some weird movements and I even flipped the Glidecam upside down. (I don't recommend doing this, but I do it all the time). Some people were asking if the footage was actually usable. I'll leave that up to the editors to decide if a few seconds of this footage would be used, but here's some side by side samples.
On the left is the movement of the Glidecam HD4000 Stabilizer on a Steadicam Merlin Stabilizer Arm and Vest with a Canon EOS 60D flying. On the right is an uncut look at what this RAW footage will look like. Again, we'll just be looking at quick cuts and a few seconds here and there. We'll be mixing it up with other hand held, Crane shots, dolly / slider shots, as well as very static Tripod shots. From what I understand, this music video will be cut in with actual footage from a new movie being released soon. So the movie will be more of the narration and we'll just be highlighting the band periodically. BTW, this is not my usual flying setup and I just rented this lens. So without practicing on this setup, these are the results I got.
A while back I did a demo using a Glidecam HD4000, and my most recent video the Glidecam HD1000. I found that if I wanted to fly a bit more weight than the HD1000 and less weight than the HD4000, my next stabilizer review would be the in between Glidecam HD2000 (right smack in between). I did do a short video on the Glidecam 2000 Pro which totally misses the mark on the fine tuning knobs available on the HD series.
Michael Sato over at DSLRUniversity.com beat me to an official Glidecam HD2000 review. He's got a sample BTS video out on the Raley Field - Sacramento Rivercats where he flexes his 'strumph' flying without a vest. I think my knees would have given out on me if I tried that for very long. To follow up, he's got a full page article written up with more detailed information about the Glidecam HD2000. So between the few reviews i've shown for the HD4000 & HD1000, and the DSLRUniversity.com review on the HD2000, you should have enough resources to find out what might work best for you.
As soon as I announced I was going to test the Glidecam HD1000, many people have been leaving me messages waiting. So here's my quick run through, i'm sure you all know how to assemble and balance these things. There's already plenty of video tutorials on balancing, so i'm just going to show you sample use of the HD1000. Thanks for my sister-in-law for allowing me to chase her around while she (not very skilled) rides a skateboard around to show fast moving shots. Yes I was lightly jogging with the Glidecam HD1000 and Canon 5D Mark II + Sigma 20mm F/1.8.
I did a demo of the Glidecam 2000 Pro, and now I normally fly the Glidecam HD4000 which is a beast, but truly a top performer when loaded up. I love the Glidecam HD4000, but sometimes it's a bit overkill. The way I have the Glidecam HD4000 setup, I wouldn't want to run that way without my Steadicam Merlin Vest. So I wanted to really push the smallest Glidecam to see how much weight it can carry. It can balance the 5D Mark II + Sigma 20mm F/1.8 using all the available weights (compact mode). If you extend the base further down, you can shift the center of balance making it more bottom heavy and possibly add-on a very small LED light or Sennheiser MKE400 microphone.
Can you fly with LED light, Microphone, and Zoom H4n + Canon T2i + wide prime lens? Don't quote me on this! I've flown the Glidecam 2000 pro, the HD4000, and now the HD1000. The gimbal handle on the Glidecam stabilizers are very very strong and very fluid even when loaded up. In fact, I think they fly better when they are pushed to their weight capacity limits. Although they won't suggest this I really think you can further 'modify' this unit to accept even more weights at the bottom and really fly a heavy setup with accessories. Yes you can easily move up to the HD2000 or HD4000, but i'm looking for the most compact video stabilizer solution possible. So if it's possible to really load up this HD1000 then i'll be stoked, because you can see how nice and tiny this thing is, making it perfect for travel and tight locations.
Again, this is a bit more pricey than those other stabilizers i've shown, but it's really the best bang for your buck. Most people either don't like flying footage, or don't shoot enough of flying footage to justify the price. If you really like the look, want or need something super fast to balance, you can get away with the HD1000. If you'll be adding some further accessories and added weight this will push you to the HD2000 at least. So don't quote me on the HD1000 being able to handle everything, this is something i'm still working on, and hopefully i'll demo that soon. Glidecam makes great stabilizers. If you've been following my videos, I started with my DIY stabilizer, moved to the Steadicam JR., then to the Steadicam Merlin, tested the Glidecam 2000 Pro, Hague MMC, IndieHardware Stabilizer, Glidecam HD4000, and now Glidecam HD1000. I've tried many and i'm very satisfied with the quality, price point, and fast balance design of the Glidecam HD stabilizers. (HD version! Not Pro models, those kinda suck to balance).
NOTE: Besides being able to carry more weight, the handle has a much broader range of movement. You'll notice several 'Tilt' shots in this video as I point downwards going down the stairs, or point downwards at the skateboard. This type of Gimbal handle also allows for shots pointing upwards or sideways. This was one of the main reasons I left the Steadicam Merlin since it couldn't support these type of shots.
Glidecam has made it very easy to choose from 3 different DSLR stabilizers depending on your needs. I'm not an expert, you should always consult support with the respected manufacturers, but if you have any questions i'd be happy to try and answer them. Here's a link to the Glidecam HD1000 if anyone is interested in dishing out a paycheck to grab one.
If you are planning to balance heavier setups, you can find more information about the other Glidecam HD series stabilizer, how much weight each stabilizer can carry, along with prices following the links below.