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Can I use one hand operating a dslr steadicam ?
  • hello All ,,

    his is my second post but i read and learned from all of the post here from years till now so thank You very much my Question is :

    Is it possible to operate a dslr steadicam with just one hand ( the hand that carry it ) only , and if so what is the recommended settings for this ( may be a longer drop time or or ? ) , and how to stop it from the small panning that happen some times with the strong straight forward movements ?

    what i want to do :

    what i want to do simply is not using my other hand ( The guiding hand ) on that steadicam , obviously i understand that i cant tilt and panning also will be limited to panning with my body , i understand and accept that limitations , since all i need is stable and simple shots ..

    Why i dont want to use my other hand ?

    that is a long story and to cut it short , i tried every thing for many weeks i tried to be so much gentle to the max gentle that i can ( i did what u can and can not imagine to get it that gentle ) , but no way whenever my second hand touch the post as described under the gimble , the shot become shaky and useless and i throw a whole days of shooting this way .

    info :

    to give u some info so that u can understand my situation better

    i am a director and editor not new in the field as i work from years but for operating a steadicam i am new in this just trying from less than a year , but for balancing the glidecam and other cheap rigs i have done it for little longer time for our low budget projects , but i didnt fly them by myself ,, i watched and read almost Tons of all ( Free ) steadicam Tutorials and documents ..

    sample of my tests :

    here is the model that i use it

    it is very expensive in where i live as i get it for about 450$ ( things are very mad priced in my town ) sorry for the long post and sorry for my English as it is not my based language thank You in Advance


  • 24 Replies sorted by
  • Buy a Came Single

  • For steadicam you need to use two hands. But you need good steadicam, good balancing and skill.

  • thank You all for u r help as for the suggestion of buying Came single ( if i can found it or similar to it in my town it will cost a Fortune , and i am not into buying more Equipment .. i understand that i need to use both hands but it will shake , and i dont know if mine is a good steadicam or not and i do balance it , and about skill i hope. i once road about someone balance his steadicam in some way and use one hand moving forward and back sometimes running , but actually i cant find his videos or info any more in the tons of videos and document that i save .

    plz be aware that both examples from my work was done with one hand only but to say the truth there are other tons of footage not working

  • Running with a steadycam is always a problem. It´s shaking already through the air resistance (and also through the inertia of the system). And you cannot touch the pole while running - That´s just not possible (it would add shakiness). I don´t know which solution you mean -> With only one hand. But I remeber a double handle solution, where the 2nd hand was then stabilised through the 2nd grip. So it added less shakiness gripping the pole AND removed also strain from the main hand. But that´s no real solution for your problem (as it was a DIY project which also takes time, money and resources).

    In your case try different positions for your 2nd hand. And try to gain skills (using it that way). You need to invest more time. Btw.: Also only touch the pole with two fingers - And walk as steady as possible, as the 2nd hand is directly connected to the pole. So your movements are more important than if you only hold the steadycam over your right hand (which get´s compensated in big parts over the cardan joint of the steadycam).

    Btw.: Overall a gimbal is way easier to use (and you can concentrate better on shooting). Altough: They are also more prone to dust (and sand)! So keep that in mind (if you plan to upgrade to one). You need to keep them as clean as possible (especially the newer models with 360° capable motors, which are running with "sliding contacts" - Not cables anymore) ^^.

  • @Tscheckoff thank You very much for Your detailed and useful reply , i will try u r advice , about the electronic gimbal it is already very very expensive for me and it costs a fortune down here to bring it from outside ,beside the fact that i lost a huge time getting info and training myself for steadicam , it will be very frustrating if admit that i fail and try to learn a new system .. but i can get some kind of loan and get the glidecam HD 4000 if that is the solution , the problem is i dont know if it will big improvement than what i already have !

  • For the shots in your test you can use a good 4k action camera which can be had for a couple hundred US dollars or less and a brushless gimbal which is cheap for that camera weight.

    Keep your stedicam for slower shots where you can control the movment, need a different lens focal length and if needed you can add digital stabilization when editing.

  • Actually you can use no hands at all, but you must do it like the guy in this video. Study this video - he is an expert.

  • @AlexOh thank You for u r help but the test shots are not what all i need to do and using 4k action cam made a very ugly footage b4 ( actually it depends on how u use it and what u use it in ) for me it will not meet my needs specially ( when trying to match it with my 5d and also in the low light narrative shorts that i do ) , beside all that it is a new system and must have it is own learning curve that i do not want to start in , i am just wondering if getting the Glidecam HD 2000 or 4000 will make my life easier ?

  • @matt_gh2 i hope this is not what u really follow

  • I do. I employ his shimy and hip wiggle technique as my primary steadicam moves. Always impresses the client.

  • Thank you @matt_gh2 for your wise advice. @Hisham_Aly1974 you should follow his very sensible suggestions, he is an expert.

  • @Hisham_Aly1974:

    Well - It´s not really helping that much if you go for the HD2000 or HD4000. Your actual one seems to be even more flexible according the cardan joint - As on the HD models it´s not possible to move it upwards or downwards for easier calibration. Though: The HD models offer very fine adjustments on the top plate (where you mount your camera). I don´t see it on the pictures you postet -> If that´s also possible with your model. But it seems like you achieved good balancing anyway - PLUS: It´s just adding convenience according the calibration of the camera on top - It´s not helping you with your problem / goal ^^.

    The only part you could upgrade in the future (and which makes more sense) is that you add a west and arm which are compatible to your glidecam / steadycam. But good west systems are also quite expensive - PLUS: It´s again not fixing your problem with the 2nd hand. You still need to use your 1st hand to guide the steadycam (hold it in place according rough direction and height) - And the 2nd hand is still needed for the small panning adjustments (and also for the tilting).

    So train your skills (starting with your actual equipment) ...
    And keep in mind: Very good steadycam operators get paid alot for a good reason. ^^
    (Though gimbals are replacing alot of the steadycam work in the lower budget projects lately.) LG

  • @Tscheckoff thank u very much , yes my stablizer can move the gimbal up and down and i use this feature a lot , i can balance my own rig and in the picture if u look close i have added a plate that is actually a 3d plate for mounting 2 cameras , but i use it for moving the camera side to side easy for more accurate fine adjustment ( as u mentioned yes i am good in primary balancing steadicams and in any shop i go they ask me to balance different rigs for new clients ) . as for the vest in my country we have just 1 vest in all of the cam shops and i do not know why ( actually it seems that they get it very cheap , on amazon they say that it is more than 800$ but they sell it here for less than 400$ !!!!!!! .. but when i tried to use it with my rig i found the arm very hard to push it down as if it needs much heavier rig or actually we couldnt use it at all , i tried with the tension knobs very hard but it still very hard to move it down i have to put very very much force to push it down , so i couldnt ever make it work

    about why glidecam i thought there gimbal itself is much higher quality isnt it ? You know i was trying to use a good steadicam that all people use smoothly , so if i couldnt then it means that the problem is in me and i have to quit , but for now i am not sure is it me or is it the rig that is fault !! thank You very much

  • The Plate that i Added above the quick release for fine Adjustment side to side easier

    IMG_20160907_081436 copy.jpg
    800 x 1139 - 645K
    IMG_20160907_081657 copy.jpg
    900 x 540 - 327K
  • Ah. Ok. I also know such plates for macro work. They work quite nicely. ^^
    If you have that too, then a HD2000 / 4000 model makes absolutely no sense.

    About the west: Hmm. Did you try to loosen up the weight adjustment knobs on both arm parts completely?
    (As you can see here at point 10 in the diagram:

    Btw.: Did you loosen them up while load was applied or without? (If you did it with load applied it maybe wasn´t possible because the springs where under load / strained. So the adjustment mechanism wasn´t working as it should.) I only found the max payload of 6kg - No minimum payload. But there are also many arms, which have a quite high minimum payload overall. Just a few are capable of carrying very wide payload ranges ...

    About your last block / the first sentence: I don´t understand 100% what you´ve written - But if I understand it right -> Yes. Steadycams add alot of quality to videos (and they are worth the effort). But they also need ALOT of training. Btw.: With glidecams it´s the same like with sliders - A few people are REALLY good using super cheap standard sliders (even together with fluid heads on top). But they also needed alot of practice to get to that point - It didn´t happen from one day (or one week) to another ^^. The same applies to glidecams. You need to invest more time training with it. Also try out different droptimes for example (to find the best setting for yourself - Or for certain applications).

    Btw.: Don´t give up that fast ^^ - It´s worth training & investing time according steadycams ...
    (Also watch as much as possible of the training videos which are available online.
    There you can also see how to properly walk and train overall for example.)

    Have a nice day! LG

  • @Tscheckoff thank You very much again for u r help . and about the vest yes i read it b4 trying it , but now when i surfed amazon i found something very strange i found that product it is the same really under another brand and it says it holds up to 30 pounds no min either and it is 200$ , and the point is there is someone reviewed it in amazon and says that weight adjusting knobs not working so take a look plz here is a part of what that man said "" I've got 15-20 lbs on my rig with the stabilizer(cowboy studio), camera(70D), heaviest lens(18-200), matte box, & follow focus, and the arm carries that well. There doesn't seem to be any effective way to adjust the tension of the springs. The dials they connect to seem to only be there as connectors, not adjusters.""

  • Well - Seems to be really one of the worse models.
    The Laing X-15 vest + arm system seems to be quite ok (and also works with lower payloads).
    But also not super cheap (and as you said - for sure not available locally) ...

  • Most simple is to use gimbal and vest, or gimbal + some spring mount to soften steps (or untain real skill to minimize them).

  • @Tscheckoff yeah i think so too this cheap vest needs a lot of DIY modification at least to change those hard springs and i am not that DIY man at all so i am afraid to do so , and as u mentioned the Laing is good quality but over priced to get it from outside ..

    @Vitaliy_Kiselev thank You for u r help , do u mean by Gimbal the electric motorized ones ? if so , it is actually highly priced and again it must have its own learning curve and it must have pro and cons etc , and that is too much to do now and it also means that i failed with steadicam , and i like as the members in this thread told me not to give up quickly and i should try more

    btw guys what do u think of single arm and vest , it is reasonable priced and even if it is low material the springs in many of them not that tight , i know it wont absorb operator movement but it must be a better way than handheld ? at least it will take my arm pain away and let me focus on composition

    is it a good choice some people say that handheld the stablizer is better than the single arm , other reviews says it is better than handheld and i am confused about it ..

  • @Hisham_Aly1974

    Stop spending money and start learning. Get Steadicam handbook (not hard to find), watch video by skilled operators. And learn day by day.

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev true what u said people like us may have addiction to buy gear . u r right i must try harder thanks for u r advice but if u have info about how much bad or good is the single arm i d like to hear if u have time .. thank You all for Your help i appreciate it

  • @Hisham_Aly1974:

    Well - A single arm is not helping THAT much. Better than nothing - Sure. But running isn´t really possible (as you need a two-armed-system to compensate for that). Plus: I don´t know how good those systems compensate for lower payloads (as they are not as widespread as the two-armed ones). Beside that they are also not super cheap.

    Maybe it´s a better ideo to check out the "Glidecam forearm brace" (or similar) instead. They are quite cheap available from some manufacturers and it´s also helping a little bit to remove the strain from your forearm. Beside that: Train, train and train again - And as Vitaliy mentioned: Check out a handbook and the online guides / videos according glidecam operation.

  • @Tscheckoff yes i have an arm brace and it is better than nothing , thank u for u r u info i think i will skip the vest issue for now and ill give a second chance for myself and ill Train train and train :) thank You