Aaron of Winnipeg shows us how he mods the IndieHardware Video Camera stabilizer. This is one of the cheapest stabilizers I've reviewed on this blog that was able to balance a 5D Mark II + Sigma 20mm Lens. That's about all I was willing to push, but Aaron's managed to practically double that up while still using the stock Gimbal. The mods to add a Lilliput 7" monitor to the little stabilizer allows Aaron to add more weight to the top with a T2i + Battery Grip and 17-55mm F/2.8 IS lens (nice lens). He's also added a new handle which is one of the most common complaints on this particular stabilizer, replacing it with one from an old Flash Bracket . The video is a bit long, but all good information, so stick through it and hopefully get some ideas. Also note that the IndieHardware stabilizer is always in and out of stock, but you can check current pricing and if it's available below.
Now that Panasonic has announced the GH2, i'm sure this is going to open up a market of new Panasonic shooters. If the GH2 shares the same form factor and weight as the GH1, this might be a Panasonic GH2 video camera stabilizer worth looking at. I posted an earlier article on this website with Vimeo member Choon Ean showing off some Hague MMC skills with a GH1, but here's another one that should sell it as a capable GH1 / GH2 steadicam. Lots of panning and full on jogging shots while maintaining great results in this video. Remember, this isn't on flat smooth ground, but more on an uphill run in some uneven terrain. Good job showcasing the product on this one.
[Thanks - Choon Ean]
The Hague MMC can be found here: Hague Mini Motion Cam Video Camera Stabilizer
click image for pricing on Hague MMC
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.
I'm not going to show off any fancy video making skills. This review is mainly to compare the IndieHardware Stabilizer vs. The Hague MMC. This is my first attempt at balancing the IndieHardware Video Cameara Stabilizer. I was able to balance this thing fairly quickly. I might not have it dead on, but it is possible to balance a Canon 7D + Sigma 20mm or even a Canon 5D Mark II + Sigma 20mm. I tried this same setup over on a Hague MMC, it just couldn't handle it.
The limited range of movement in the handle is going to prevent you from performing hardcore running shots, but for very smooth patient walking movements, the handle works. The Hague also suffers from a limited range of movement (they have almost the same design), but the Hague MMC has a longer handle. Having a longer handle 'appears' to have more range. It's like when kids cut the stick shift in their car, same stick shift, but feels like you're throwing it shorter when changing gears.
There seems to be 2 different versions of this stabilizer, so make sure you contact the seller to be clear about what camera you are trying to balance. The one I have has support for 2 weight stacks. There is another one that has only 1 weight stack similar to the Hague. I guess this is for really light camcorders. More weights means you can support a heavier camera. Can you just add more weights to a Hague? Not really, the IndieHardware gimbal is larger than the Hague which means it can balance and control that weight much better too.
This isn't a Steadicam Merlin or Glidecam HD, but the price isn't $400-$800 dollars either. If you're work consists of only a small percent of 'Steadicam' type shots, and you're not ready to invest into something expensive, you might want to try this one over the Hague.
Shown (left) is the IndieHardware Stabilizer and (right) is the Hague MMC - Mini Motion Cam Stabilizer. As you might know, i've showcased the Hague MMC a few times and the most popular video of mine is the T2i Demo on the Hague MMC. Well I do mention that it's just about at it's limits with the stock kit lens 18-55mm and wouldn't be able to balance anything more. I've seen the IndieHardware Stabilizer many many times, but obviously both designs look similar, so I put it off as just another replica. Looking more carefully at the information within the auctions on eBay for the Indiehardware stabilizer, details claim it's beefier and can carry much more weight. So of course an actual smack down review between the two was necessary.
After receiving the item today, the first thing I noticed was it was indeed beefy. It looks to be a 1/4" thick aluminum with a very clean bend. The handle doesn't have the range of a Steadicam Merlin, but it does attach via a retaining clip (unlike Hague), so it appears there's no way this handle is coming apart. A big problem with the Hague handle if you pull it hard enough it just pops right off. Another big difference is the double weight stack (seen in my images above). Wow, this thing looks like it's going to balance double the weight compared to the Hague MMC. The price also lists for similar if not 'Cheaper' than the Hague MMC and for us USA guys, the IndieHardware ships from the United States so it's less shipping costs and faster to receive. So far IndieHardware doesn't just marginally beat out the Hague, it should be in a class of it's own 'above' the Hague MMC.
I'm not a fan of the raw polished aluminum (i'd rather black) but I guess something has to differentiate this from a Hague. Also an anodized coating or powder coating of black can run up product costs quickly. I can always put a coating of flat black myself and still save a ton of dollars rather than stepping into a Steadicam Merlin (approx 6 times the price). I'll get some video footage up soon with a couple of different cameras, and let you all know how that goes. You can find the IndieHardware DSLR Camera Stabilizer and prices through this link here.