How to Balance a Glidecam , Steadicam, Flycam DSLR Stabilizer
December 8, 2010
Ok, just to say I tried, here’s a video trying to explain what I do to balance a stabilizer like the Glidecam or Flycam. This is one video I never wanted to do, because there are so many good ones already on the web. If you can find the videos on how to balance a Glidecam, that’s pretty much the same thing for the Flycam. There is one thing those other videos don’t talk about, and you’ll hear me stress this several several times in the video. This most worthy tip comes in after 5:20 when I talk about moving the sled slightly upwards to reduce that awful rocking motion while you walk. The biggest problem with people trying to balance stabilizers is that they believe they need to really load up on the bottom weight to get the camera to stand upright. That’s not true at all. You’ll notice I begin to dial things in when my stabilizer is slightly at an angle. Once the stabilizer is at an angle, DO NOT ADD MORE WEIGHTS! Start adjusting the top stage to center the camera. If you can’t seem to balance the camera by moving it on the stage, remember that the bottom weights can also be shifted back and forth to get the camera to stick upright.
Ok, now that the camera is upright and you think you have it ready to fly, check to see if it starts swaying. If the stabilizer is swaying side to side (like a boat in the ocean), then move the sled just millimeters upwards. Try try again and do it by just millimeters at a time. For the Steadicam Merlin – you will need to adjust the ‘arch’. If you own one, you’ll know what i’m talking about. The Arch is similar to the Glidecam Sled. Lower it and you’ll be making it more bottom heavy. Close the Arch and you’ll make it ‘less bottom heavy’. For the Steadicam Merlin and Steadicam JR, you can also ‘unthread’ the Gimbal Handle. This is a design that Steadicam uses to change the center balance ever so slightly by unscrewing the handle. Balancing stabilizers takes patience and practice. Of course a few prayers and a three wolf moon shirt might help you get there faster.
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