Camelot Industrial Park
130 Camelot Drive, Bldg. #4
Plymouth, MA 02360
August 7, 2003
Just thought I'd drop you a line to let you know how our Gold Series rig has been performing in the nearly one and a half years since taking receipt of the complete package.
I just want to say that I can't be more pleased with the rig's overall performance. No matter what the application or environment, the Gold has met the challenge. In this business, working around equipment limitations is simply an inherent part of the job yet, when it comes to the Gold rig, this is rarely even a consideration. Practical experience has afforded for me the confidence to devise virtually any shot (requiring camera stabilization) without pause or reservation. Of course, the true litmus test is determined by what shows up on the raw footage reel. In that regard, the only possible limitation is that of the loose nut "inside" the vest. Um, that would be ME!
As you already know, prior to acquiring the Gold package, I perused the industry for quite some time searching for that one rig (or combination of components, therein) that would best service my companyâ€™s production needs AND meet my own demanding style. To be honest, I was not too thrilled with my options. Then I discovered the Glidecam Gold. The design was especially intriguing and appeared to be amongst the most versatile of those stabilizers intended for professional videography yet which could also accommodate a film camera. At the time, however, the Gold Sled was still going through trials. I elected to wait for the production model. Iâ€™m very glad I did. After putting the entire package through its paces these many months, I am convinced that the Gold Series rig is the best value in the industry today.
The Gold Vest is not only robust itâ€™s extremely comfortable. Regardless of whether I choose to operate in the typical offset orientation (sled to the weak-hand side) or am relegated to â€œgoofy footâ€ for a particular shot, the socket block adapter plate can be swapped from one side of the vest to the other in a matter of seconds in order to accommodate. Likewise, compensating for any lateral sled drift is made quick and easy via the blockâ€™s two adjustment screws. I also like the vestâ€™s adjustable ratcheting system. With it, I can not only get in and out of the vest quickly but am able to achieve an unencumbered yet snug fit, which is vitally important in eliminating the awkward weight distribution problems caused when docking with arm and sled.
Iâ€™ve found the Gold Arm to float quite fluidly when set to proper spring-load tension for the given on-board package (camera, monitor, etc). It is not nearly as rigid as so many other arms on the market nor does it have that annoying clutching action when being extended to its extreme limits. Iâ€™ve found both swing and pedestal movements to be very smooth in all circumstances. I must say, the titanium springs and the intrinsic design of the arm are superb. The only on-the-fly tool-assisted adjustments that are ever really necessary come into play when I swap from the ultra light LCD monitor to the much heavier CRT green screen. In which case, adjusting the springs to compensate for the weight differential is no problem at all.
I canâ€™t say enough good things about the Gold Sled either. Needless to say, a quality gimbal is perhaps the most vital element of any sled design. Congratulations! Glidecam has come through with one fine offering. To date, Iâ€™ve encountered very little in the way of â€œsticktionâ€--a telltale sign of true gimbal quality. Likewise, the precision yoke complements the gimbal in the 3-plane axis by performing equally as well. Combine these two factors with a comfortable yoke handle and you have a sled that (when in proper dynamic balance) requires minimal input from the weakest link in the chain--the operator. Um, that would be ME, again! (Of course, being a good op requires 3 essentials. Practice. Practice. And, more practice.)
The onboard electrics built into the Gold Sledâ€™s D-Box, J-Box and telescoping center post are invaluable. This is the type of thing typically available only on the ultra high-end cinema models (costing at least twice as much) or which exist as custom upgrades. On the Gold Sled, itâ€™s â€œstandard equipmentâ€. The DA and other extras afford for me the opportunity to attach a second monitor, an on-board wireless follow focus and/or video transmitter without the need to encumber the rig with additional â€œexteriorâ€ hanging cables or phantom packs. The potential configurations beyond that of a standard camera setup are numerous.
Well, anyway, I could go on all day reporting my experiences and offering my accolades.
Enclosed in this correspondence are a few (extremely rare) on-set pictures from one of our latest productions. This is a widescreen digital project for a defense/law enforcement contractor that focuses on an innovative new technology that is now being deployed and already in use by the military in the Middle Eastern war zones and by tac-op teams throughout the free world. As seen in the photos, much of the script centers around cinematic situational sequences (my particular forte). One of the groups involved in the film is JeffCo (Denver) SWAT. The Gold rig has been utilized quite extensively in many of their scenes. Despite some pretty tricky terrain and very tight building interiors, I was able to instill the intended tension, mood and pacing that I desired with transitional shots that only a good camera stabilizer like the Gold Series could achieve. Funny thing, since the Columbine tragedy, JeffCo has become one of the most prominent and well-funded tactical operations units in the entire country yet, despite all their fancy high-tech gadgets, the Gold rigâ€™s precision engineering and the results its produced on tape absolutely mesmerized the team members. I canâ€™t say that this is the first such occurrence, however. Actually, the intrigue surrounding your product draws considerable attention at virtually every film location. This has even included clients who are engineers of multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art equipment in their own right. â€œNewtonian physics, huh?â€
Before closing, Iâ€™d also like to thank you for your outstanding customer support. You guys have always been extraordinarily responsive, even when my 7â€ LCD went down. I was on-location in the midst of a production and you were at NAB. Yet, I received a new monitor the very next day. Now thatâ€™s service! Lucky for me, I have the CRT for backup (night, direct sunlight, etc), but it wasnâ€™t really needed. Thanks.
As far as Iâ€™m concerned, the Glidecam Gold has earned its wings with me. As a matter of fact, I plan to begin principal photography on my first feature-length motion picture from an original screenplay within the next year or so. You can bet the Gold will figure prominently in the scheme of production and scene structure. Thanks for the outstanding product and keep up the good work. Say hello to Thomas for me.
All the best,
Patrick T. Ware