Going over the video footage from Matsuricon 2014 shows the Glidecam XR-2000 is a very picky and difficult piece of equipment to use and keep balanced. After some practice, it is easy to get the balance to be very close, but fine tuning get more and more difficult and the balance will change without any changes being made to the camera or the Glidecam. Perhaps this is why all the professional how-to videos I find are of the HD-2000 version.
Today offered more time to practice, so I took the Nikon D7000 and the Glidecam XR-2000 to Harbin Park in Fairfield. It was sunny, but not too warm with a good breeze to keep cool. I walked up and down small hills, in and out of trees, down narrow paths and wide, in and out of the wind. Sometimes the Glidecam was being used truly freehand, sometimes using the three finger method around the gimbal, and others holding onto the area where the weights are attached.
The Glidecam XR-2000 likes to move all the time. The slightest breeze will cause it to spin. Put the lens cap on after balancing and it will tip as though a huge weight was placed in the front. No matter how well balanced the unit is, when walking the camera will wonder left or right and up or down. Stop and the camera will continue to move. Very frustrating.
What about holding the pole??
Some guides say to use a thumb on the gimbal and two fingers in front of it. The touch is to be light. This doesn’t help. Any shake introduces by the arms or hands will be seen in the video. Hold too lightly and the camera will still move about as though you are not holding at all.
What about holding the weight plate??
Again, this will introduce shake and variance to the video. There is just no getting away from it. No matter how well balanced, the Glidecam XR-2000 will not stay steady.
Several times I held the pole as I walked from one area to another of the park without filming. Once in a new area, the entire rig had to be rebalanced. Sometimes the mounting plate had to be moved. Sometimes the weights at the bottom had to be moved. The settings on the camera for focal length and focus stayed the same. Why is there any need to balance it again?
When compared to other stabilizers for DSLR cameras, the Glidecam XR-2000 is inexpensive, but it is far more difficult to use. Ugh. More practice I guess.