World Class Camera Stabilizers

Review of the Glidecam 1000 Pro


Article from the February 1995 issue of Video Magazine.
My camcorder smoothly and quickly glided down the stairs, then took a whip-fast swing around the corner. Suddenly, my image turned upside down for a view across the room, then instantly righted itself before beginning a mad dash outside and across the yard. Watching what I'd shot, I felt like I'd mounted my camcorder on the head of a fly. In fact, the shots were made possible by the Glidecam 1000 PRO, a new camcorder stabilizer.

Like the older Steadycam JR, the Glidecam achieves stability by using a gimbaled handle to isolate a counterbalanced camcorder from the operator. It works well with camcorders weighing up to 5.5 pounds, and is easy to assemble, balance and use. The camcorder is secured to a plate that rests atop a 16 inch aluminum rod. Depending on your camcorder, you'll add up to two pounds of washers to the bottom of the rod for balance. With a camcorder, the Glidecam's total weight ranges from about six to ten pounds.

The Glidecam's slim design also allows it to be operated close to the body.. Basic operation is self-evident. Just try it out. It's capable of such a wide array of movements that there is a way to accomplish almost any angle you can imagine, although the rod prevents very low shots. However you can use the rod to swing the camcorder into position for ingenious types of shots. For example, while running across a roof, I stopped dead at the roof's edge and dropped my upper steering hand to the rod's base swiftly arcing the camcorder into facing straight down over the edge to the ground. the footage feels like the camcorder jumped!

The Glidecam's handle is off-center, permitting several inches of vertical movement by a user. This absorbs bounces, as when you're running, without affecting camcorder balance. However, the offset handle also increases wrist stress which, combined with the overall weight, can make it strenuous to hold for long shots.

The Glidecam does not include a monitor, partly to hold down the pricing. But you won't miss it. The Glidecam, says the company, is often best operated in a point and shoot mode. If monitoring is desirable, you can attach a small field monitor to a fitting on the Glidecam's base, or take off your viewfinders eyepiece so you can at least check the camcorder's orientation.

The design makes the Glidecam awkward to pack without disassembly. However, it's so durable, day to day punishment is not a worry. The bottom line is it can expand the versatility of your shots and give your action footage a more professional look. 
World Class Camera Stabilizers