Tag Archives: Steadicam

115 Comments

I've been fortunate enough to operate many stabilizers over the years, and it's amazing how they continue to improve while at the same time become more affordable. Here's a look at yet another new product - the CAME H4 ultra portable Hand Held Video Stabilizer.

As a bonus, i've taken the time to walk you through the steps on how to balance most hand held stabilizers. During the (lengthy) balancing process in this video, you will learn the importance of many key features that will benefit you when shopping for any stabilizer.

Although you may find cheaper stabilizers on the market, many of them will lack a quick release plate with multiple mounting options, fine tuning knobs, an adjustable Gimbal handle, telescoping post, and folding counterweights. Without these features it would be extremely cumbersome to dial in perfect balance.

Cheesycam CAME H4 Hand Held Stabilizer Top StageCheesycam CAME H4 Hand Held Stabilizer

If you're looking for great example footage from this unit, hang tight i'm still working on this. For now at least I have a short demo in the video above. I can assure you that this CAME H4 Hand Held Stabilizer is as good or better than any portable stabilizer i've used in the past. The CAME H4 build is a combination of Carbon Fiber and Aluminum with a very high quality anodized finish.

For DSLR Cameras relative to the size of a Canon 5D Mark II/MarkIII, the baseplate fits nicely with access to the battery door. The stabilizer folds down to a minimum height of just 12" inches and comes with a padded travel case. For more information, visit the product page at http://CAME-TV.Com

Cheesycam CAME H4 Hand Held Stabilizer Compare
find-price-button CAME H4 Ultra Portable Hand Held Video Stabilizer

You can also find this product available via Amazon (found here) and for International eBay (found here).

78 Comments

Here's a little review on another new and affordable Stabilizer Vest System for lightweight camera setups to medium sized cameras. This is the Came / Laing X-15 Vest+Arm matched up with the Laing P-04 Hand Held Stabilizer.

The Laing products have been around for quite some time, and I hear about RED Camera operators using the larger Laing stabilizers as an affordable option for flying heavy camera systems. The kit I have here is pretty heavy duty, each part feels very solid, and the entire bundle comes with a nice padded carrying bag.

Laing-Came-Carry-Bag Laing-Vest-Arm-Kit-X-15-P04

The Laing P-04 Stabilizer handle matches up perfectly with the small post on the X-15 ISO Arm. If you're thinking about trying to match this up with a Glidecam, just be aware that the standard rotating post is pretty short. The bottom weights can shift forward/back on the sled, the bottom post is adjustable, and the Gimbal can be positioned vertically along the post. It's pretty much got every adjustable feature available.

Laing-Stabilizer-Vest Laing-Gimbal-Adjustment-Balance

The top stage has a quick release cheese plate and features all the fine tuning knobs you'll need to balance your camera. Just be aware that the top stage may require a bit of cork to keep your camera from shifting it's position.

Lower-Sled-Laing-P04 Laing-P04-Top-Stage

The Laing Stabilizer Vest can be adjusted to fit taller or smaller frames, and the Arm is mounted to a quick release socket block. Velcro straps adjust the vest very nicely and buckles are used to climb in and out of the vest.

Laing-Socket-Block Adjsting-Laing-X-15-P-04-BlackMagic

The X-15 ISO Arm can easily be dialed to support an even lighter setup than my Canon 5D Mark II + Sigma 20mm lens, but can also be dialed up to support heavier camera setups than the BlackMagic Cinema Camera. Hopefully that gives you a general idea of the weight range it supports to see if it will work with your current equipment.

Laing-Canon-5D-BMCC-BlackMagic-Stabilizer Vest BMCC-Cage-BlackMagic Design Laing X-15 Stabilizer Vest Kit Review Video Sample

I can say for DSLR Video Shooters or even BlackMagic Cinema Camera shooters this vest is good. Actually for the price you could consider it to be very very good. Is it as good as the real Steadicam brand? Well, with my lightweight DSLR camera setup I felt the arm wasn't totally as smooth as my Steadicam Merlin ISO Arm, but results were much better once I mounted a heavier camera system like the BlackMagic Cinema Camera. On it's own, the Laing P-04 Stabilizer works excellent, but it seems adding a bit more weight to the X-15 Arm and Vest will yield better performance from the arm.

For more information about the Laing X-15 Vest Arm and P-04 Hand Held Video Stabilizer System, you can find more details on the following eBay product pages (click here).

Came-Laing-X-15 VestLaing X-15 Arm VestVest-Stabilizer-Laing-X15-P-04
find-price-button Laing X-15 Vest w/ Laing P-04 Hand Held Stabilizer

Laing P-04 Stabilizers available now on eBay

15 Comments

Earlier this year, I showed off a Wieldy Stabilizer Vest system that finally met my needs to fly a lightweight camera setup. The vest was able to fly both my simple Canon 5D Mark III as well as my BlackMagic Design Cinema Camera. If you're interested, you can see that original video and article (found here).

Wieldy_Stabilizer_II_dual_Arm

I've been pretty happy with the system, and definitely worth the price for it's performance. Recently they've released a Wieldy Video Stabilizer Vest System version II. The vest has been completely redesigned along with the video stabilizer. (Their early version looks similar to a Glidecam HD4000). The new design of the stabilizer looks much more original, but still uses an adjustable gimbal that slides over a Carbon Fiber post.

Wieldy Vest Stabilizer Kit Video SystemWieldy_StabilizerII_dualArm_vest system

The Dual Arm has also been revamped now with a total of 4 smaller springs as opposed to the older version with 2 large springs. The Dual Arm quick release connection has also been upgraded and appears to have further adjustments at the base of the arm (similar to very high end vests). No real reviews on this product yet, just one random video on the product page. You can find the Wieldy Version II Stabilizer Vest Kits via ebay (click here).

Wieldy_Stabilizer_II_dual_Arm
find-price-button Wieldy II Stabilizer Vest System

Wieldy II Stabilizer Vest Currently Available on eBay



2 Comments

Like most 'affordable' Stabilizing Vests on the market, build quality isn't really an issue for me. The problem I have is that they require a very heavy 'minimum' amount of load weight to work properly. Here's a great review about the Wondlan Leopard IV Stabilizer System from YouTube member Landon Donoho [Thanks Landon], but you'll notice they had to add a 10lb block of weight to the top of their Sony FS700 to get these results.

Due to the fact that the Wondlan Leopard IV needs at least this type of weight to fly, this could be a very good unit for RED EPIC or Scarlet shooters. For more info on the Wondlan Leopard IV products, you can visit the product listings via eBay (found here).

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find-price-button Wondlan Leopard IV Camera Vest Video Stabilizer System

86 Comments

A few others have already received their Wieldy stabilizers and have also posted up little video reviews like YouTube member Nitsan Simantov and YouTube member Chrisbottrellphoto. I received my version quite a while ago, but am only getting to posting something now. Here's a closer look at what these new Wieldy Carbon Fiber Video Camera Stabilizers have to offer.

I compare it side by side against the more expensive Glidecam HD4000 which runs for about $569 (seen here), while this new Carbon Fiber Wieldy can be found for just $250 US (found here). In the video (above) I even show how similar the counterweights are, that they can be exchanged with one another. [Update: I noticed prices have gone up since my purchase]

Screen Shot 2012-11-27 at 11.15.41 PMWieldy stabilizer carbon fiber
find-price-button Wieldy DV Pro Iron Triangle Stabilizer

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 Iron Triangle DV Pro StabilizerWieldy Stabilizer Cheesycam
find-price-button 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).

Wieldy Carbon Dual Arm VestWieldy
find-price-button Dual Arm Support Vest with Carbon Stabilizer

For reference you can find various Glidecam HD Series Stabilizers for sale via B&H (Click Here).
Glidecam HD Stabilizer
find-price-button Glidecam HD1000, HD2000, HD4000 Video Stabilizers

40 Comments

Guess what came in the mail recently? It's that cheap video stabilizer load vest I posted about a few weeks ago. I've had a bit of time with the gear, and as with any product there's Pros and Cons.

Cheap Stabilizer Vest Cheesycam

Pros:
The cheap vest is a combination of snap buckles and velcro, while the Steadicam Merlin vest is based on just velcro. Constantly readjusting the velcro on the Steadicam Merlin vest causes the vest to wear out, not to mention it's a bitch for hangnails. I've already had to replace the velcro on my Steadicam Vest, but there is also a 'buckle upgrade kit' (seen here) I will probably do the next time I need repairs. I've been using the Steadicam Vest for a long time, and I find that the Cheap Vest is more comfortable than the Steadicam Merlin vest.

Single Arm Vest

Cons:
The cheap vest I received came with a few scratches on the paint. Only slight blemishes, and nothing compared to how my Steadicam Vest looks like today. The Steadicam Merlin vest can be dialed down to fly light camera stabilizers. The ISO arm on the cheap vest requires a heavier load than the Steadicam. When flying just my 5D + Glidecam HD4000, the setup was not heavy enough to bounce the arm. I ended up adding some addition weight on the stabilizer setup for the cheap arm to work better.

scratch 1 cheap vestscratch 2 cheap vest

It's no Steadicam Killer, but the Cheap Vest has really good build quality for the price. I find it more comfortable than the Steadicam Vest and it works to carry your Flycam or Glidecam Stabilizers. If you're planning on flying a very light setup, this vest will not operate as smooth as the Steadicam Merlin Vest. The ISO arm of the cheap vest requires a bit more weight to put the proper tension on the spring. Below is a video showing pretty much the exact same vest setup from YouTube member Kirk Saber, along with his example footage from the vest system.

If you look carefully, you can see the bounce in his step due to the spring tension requiring more weight. The Steadicam Merlin Vest is a dual arm setup, while the cheap vest is only a single ISO arm. The Steadicam Merlin vest runs almost $1600 and the Cheap Vest runs for just under $400 dollars. There's a new listing in which they are also offering a Carbon stabilizer as part of a bundled package via eBay (Click Here).

Vest_1Vest_2vest+stabilizer
find-price-button Budget Single ISO Arm Camera Stabilizer Load Vest

Steadicam Merlin Vest
find-price-button Steadicam Merlin Vest Arm

30 Comments

One essential tool for long Flying Video Stabilizer (Steadicam) type shots is a Vest system with an iso-elastic arm. The vest helps to take the weight of the camera off the arms and distributes the load over to the body. The flexible spring loaded iso-elastic arm keeps the camera level as the operator runs, jumps, or climbs a flight of stairs.

The problem has always been that the price of these vest systems were often out of reach. Here's a new Single ISO Arm Camera Load Vest System on the market that appeared recently. Quality, Style, and build looks much sturdier than the ugly Flycam Vest system (seen here), and this new vest runs just under $370. That's cheaper than a basic Rokinon Cine Lens. You can find the new vest available via eBay (Click Here).

Vest_1Vest_2
find-price-button Budget Single ISO Arm Camera Stabilizer Load Vest

1 Comment

Showing up now on eBay, there is another Steadicam Merlin-esque type video camera stabilizer called the Manyan. Build quality looks pretty good and seems to hold up a decent amount of weight. Some of the video samples at the product page are over 2 years old, so it's obviously been around for a while. Anyone use this Manyan before? Check out the other images at the eBay store (Click Here).

Manyan StabilizerManyan Video Camear Steadicam
find-price-button Manyan Video Camera Stabilizer Steadicam

66 Comments

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.

Flycam:
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.

Flycam-Nano
find-price-button Flycam Nano Video Camera Stabilizer

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)

Glidecam-HD-1000
find-price-button Glidecam HD1000 Small Video Camera Stabilizer

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.

Skyler-MiniCam
find-price-button Skyler MiniCam Video Camera Stabilizer Kit

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.