Running around with a Steadicam is possible, but besides tiring out the operator, it's also hard to get rid of that stomping movement. Roller Blades are clever, but it's not something that will travel through grass or gravel. The more popular solution for fast movements with a Steadicam is the Segway (as seen above). A big issue with a Segway (besides cost) is being able to transport this to your location. It's not something you can just throw in the trunk of your car.
Self Balancing Gryo Stabilized - Solo Wheel
So for those who don't plan on spending serious cash on a Segway, check out the new Solo Wheel. It's a self balancing gyro stabilized electric unicycle-like transport that works much the same as a Segway except it's extremely portable.
It can climb fairly steep grades, hit speeds of 10mph, travel a distance of 15-20 miles, and weighs only about 26lbs. Seems very agile, and it would be very interesting to see some Steadicam footage from something like this, but comes in at an $1800 dollar price tag. You can find some additional information on the product page. (click here for Solo Wheel on eBay)
I want to say when these things were first released they were over $200 dollars. Ridiculous pricing if all you plan to fly is a cell phone. They have since dropped down in price, and while they are listed at about $180 dollars elsewhere, this month they're on sale at B&H (click here). Not bad if you could possibly do much more with it.
[Update] here's the video
With one of the smoothest Gimbals on any stabilizer ever, I decided to pick one up and see if it can be pushed to carry much more than a small GoPro. So far the Gimbal is made with a metal bearing, and the frame is mostly a lightweight metal. If it's possible to modify the frame to add more weights, then you're looking at an ultra smooth Gimbal on a Merlin-like stabilizer for almost 5 times cheaper than the Merlin itself.
There's a million different little stabilizers on the market, but about a month ago (maybe a bit longer), the Steady Dragon brand upgraded the Gimbal to a universal joint. This type of gimbal provides the maximum amount of range compared to the little Ball-and-Socket type like found in the Hague MMC. The Steady Dragon seems to have all the right parts with front and rear counterweights, side to side weights, and adjustment of the camera forward and back.
With the optional camera plate, you can also add side to side from the top stage. A Tripod mount is also available so you can dock your camera. There's ways to create your own stabilizer with U-Joint from a Traxxas RC, but If you're not the DIY type, this little stabilizer looks like a good start for small cameras and under a hundred bucks. The Steady Dragon states it's rated to balance cameras just around 3 lbs and you can find some demo videos following the link (click here).
Preparing for a last minute shoot today, I found my Steadicam Merlin Vest had cracked on the upper chest piece. Crap. The quick fix for me today was to use the top portion of the Konova Vest and mate it with the Steadicam Merlin Arm (which is held on with the waist area). There was a bit of hackery, drilling, and modding, but it managed to all come together in the end. The reason I needed to stick with the Steadicam ISO Arm is because the rig I had already built up was fairly lightweight. The Konova requires a good payload to be effective, but the Steadicam arm can be dialed to fly lighter sleds. So for today's shoot i'm Frankenstein-ed out with a vest that consists of a Konova Chest Piece, Steadicam Arm, and Glidecam sled...
Here's a couple of quality videos from Vimeo member FilmCyfrowy showcasing some Skier DSLR Video equipment. Skier is fairly new and is still building up their product line. They have an unusual cage-like design that wraps over the camera lens, a Follow Focus, ViewFinder, Small Transformer rig, and a Merlin-like stabilizer which seems to perform well.
Droppin' dollars into Glidecam gear is quite an investment if you're not familiar with how one works. In fact, you might even find that 'flying' a camera is not something you're quite into. If you already own one, maybe your thinking about testing out the arm brace or Vest system? Don't forget that you can save a ton of cash when you rent gear, and the lineup of products available is growing over at Borrow Lenses. One piece of advise is to rent something as early as you can and get some practice in. You don't want to be figuring out how things work 'the day of'. If you're satisfied with the tools, it gives you a better idea on what to invest in.
The BL company takes your order and ships it 'NetFlix' style along with very simple return instructions when you're done. From RedRock shoulder rigs, to LED Ring lights, to Phillip Bloom's Pocket Dolly, and Glidecam vest systems. There's much to check out at the ever growing site (click here).
Testing out some new gear here. Purposely a very poor image with badges erased. The vest and arm are very impressive, but we'll see how the actual stabilizer performs. It's not a Steadicam or Glidecam brand name. Unless you can tell which one this is by the image, i'll have a review on this item up in time..
Thanks to an email from Matt, The Tokina 11-16mm is back in stock. This was my first 'Tokina' brand lens I picked up because of some excellent reviews and I admit this thing has become one of my favorite wide lenses for cropped cameras like the T2i, T3i, 60D, or 7D. It is possible to mount this lens to a Full Frame camera like the 5D Mark II, but only when it's zoomed out to it's 16mm. When used in that manner, this thing is wicked wide.
The Tokina 11-16mm is one of my favorite lenses for Flying with a Steadicam / Glidecam stabilizer (many others favor this lens too for flying). Unlike Canon's 10-22mm, the Tokina can also maintain a nice wide aperture of F/2.8 throughout it's range for low light imaging. The lens has a solid build and very sharp, so if you're missing this super wide range in your lens collection, this is definitely the lens to get (click here).
Wondlan's new Leopard Stabilizer system comes in along with some of the cheapest Dual Arm Vest + Stabilizer kits. How well does it work? Hmm..There's a few videos that are showing up over at Vimeo for you to take a look at. One demo above, and an instructional type video showing how to assemble the entire kit and balance (below). So far, nothing else online from an actual 'owner' especially here in the US. I'm more interested in how comfortable the vest is and if it might be available seperately. The spring design and dual arm looks to be of very high quality and much better than the Flycam junk vest stuff.