One of the best purchases we ever made for our wedding videography business was the the Glidecam HD2000. This tool alone has added more production value to our wedding video’s than any other single purchase: Even more than going from t2i, t3i, t4i to 5d Mark II did not add as much standout footage as did this steadicam. The picture to the left is my actual rig. You might wonder what is on top of the glidecam sled, that is a piece from a shoulder mount that I didn’t need; it allows me to quickly attach and remove my cameras throughout the day as I’m filming. I don’t use the Glidecam for the ceremony, but I don’t want to take more than three cameras to a wedding, so it’s nice to have the ability to easily hot-swap my gear. You could take this one step further and add a tripod head to the top so you never had to change tripod plates. If you are curious about the piece on the top and would like to add that feature to your glidecam, it’s a very cheap addition. Just purchase this <40$ shoulder mount and use the elevated bracket.
For the record however, I don’t want anyone to think that you will be able to simply buy the glidecam hd 2000 this Friday and be ready to use it on Saturday. This things takes practice, it really does. I’m sure if you are considering buying one you already have read that and I want you to know that what they say is true. I’d say it took me about 15 hours of gliding before I started to learn the walk. Moreover, if you are interested in purchasing one for wedding work, you already know how quickly things move on the day of a wedding, so learning to properly calibrate the glidecam also takes some practice. Even when I take the Camera off then put it back on thirty minutes later with the same lens and everything, I have to do some minor tweaking to the balance. It is something I’ve gotten fast at and am no longer completely flustered when I only have thirty seconds before they go cut the cake!
I love using the glidecam with DSLR cameras. It is a perfect fit. I find that the rebel line glides better when the battery grip is on; this adds a little weight to the rig. However, that weight can really get heavy when you are trying to film an entire first dance for three and half minutes. I also glide with the 5d Mark II and find them to be a perfect pairing.
What Lens to Use?
Keep in mind that the lens you use makes a big difference too. For the most part, the wider the better. As you know, the longer the lens, the harder it is to hold still when you are taking pictures or video; the same facts translate to gliding. A long lens will look less smooth simply because any slight bump or nudge will move the glidecam more dramatically. That said, the kit lens, 18-55 for wedding video, can be great. You just have to understand its low light short-comings, but for outdoor work in the day it is a really great and sharp glide lens. It also helps that it has a large depth of field so focus is not such an issue.