Indisystem Shoulder Rig SM
The shoulder mount is made up of 18” carbon fiber rods, shoulder pad and extendable handle system. It can also be used on a tripod and microphones, transceivers and battery packs can be attached.
The Merlin 2 is light weight; it weighs only 1.4 lb and handles cameras that are up to 5 lbs. The quick-release mount lets you instantly switch between your stabilizer and any tripod. This system utilizes a metal gimbal for smooth camera movement.
Manfrotto Fluid Video Head Monopod
The monopod has a maximum height of 6.56′ and a minimum height of 2.5′. it is very lightweight and the ergonomic pan-bar provides smooth panning and tilting. The three mini supports at the base bring even more stability.
Having used both the Glidecam HD-4000 and the Steadicam Merlin extensively, I can say that the Glidecam is the tool that I find myself most often using when filming weddings, music videos, and most other gigs. The ability to mimic smooth slider shots, whips, pans, and otherwise stabilize my camera all in one handheld package is wonderful. I use mine with a Canon 7D and a variety of lenses. In this review I will give you the pros and cons of the Glidecam as well as compare the Glidecam HD-4000 with the ($200+ more) Steadicam Merlin Steadicam Professional Video Stabilizers Merlin 2.
The first thing you need to know about the Glidecam HD-4000 is that it is the biggest Glidecam industries makes before you start getting into their several thousand dollar V-series etc. The HD series also offers more refinements than the Pro Series as far as balancing and build quality. This makes a HUGE difference and I really do recommend purchasing the HD model instead of the Pro. You will save yourself a massive headache balancing your Glidecam.
The HD-4000 is rated to hold cameras up to 10 pounds and itself weighs 3.3 pounds before counterweights. Once you have your camera, Glidecam, and Counterweights things get heavy quickly. If you tire easily I would highly recommend considering the Glidecam HD-2000 Glidecam HD-2000 Hand-Held Stabilizer. You will get an arm workout every time you use the HD-4000. If you’re really sold on the HD-4000 then I recommend purchasing the Glidecam Forearm Brace Glidecam Forearm Support Brace Accessory for the Glidecam 2000 Pro, HD-1000, HD-2000 or Glidecam 4000 Pro, HD-4000 hand-held Stabilizers, it will take a lot of the weight off your wrist and transfer it to your bicep so you can shoot longer. You also have the option of purchasing the Glidecam Smooth Shooter VestGlidecam Smooth Shooter Support Arm and Vest for use with Glidecam 2000 Pro, Glidecam 4000 Pro, Glidecam HD-2000 or Glidecam HD-4000. I wouldn’t recommend purchasing the vest if you are shooting many events such as weddings, where you have to change your gear constantly. The vest itself takes time to get in and out of and you’ll need help to put on the straps. If you’re shooting a long event with a Glidecam though, such as a music video, I highly recommend the vest as it kept me shooting for 6 hours straight in 105 degree heat (hello Texas) without tiring out my arm.
All this weight does have its benefits though. When shooting outdoors while it is windy it is often hard to keep smaller stabilizers such as the HD-2000 and Steadicam Merlin stable, while the HD-4000 stays rock solid. I’ve shot in high winds and had no problem.
If you’re shooting with a DSLR on your Glidecam I recommend buying a battery grip for your camera to add to the weight. The HD-4000 is made for heavier cameras than most DSLRs are on their own, so it is best to actually increase the weight. It really does make it smoother. If that sounds like too much, please see the above about the Forearm Brace.
To address another review where the reviewer said that the handle hits the plate at the top of the camera, I will say that this is possible if you are holding the glidecam very low to the ground and at an awkward angle. If the handle was further away from the plate the Glidecam would be off balance – it has to be there for the counterbalancing to work properly. Also if you are planning on holding the Glidecam that low you should be holding it differently, crouching, or using the Low Mode FX optionGlidecam Low Mode FX Package for the Glidecam 2000 Pro, HD-2000 or Glidecam 4000 Pro, HD-4000 Hand-held Stabilizers.
Now, about the Glidecam HD-4000 vs the Steadicam Merlin. If you look at images of the Glidecam vs. any other stabilizer Steadicam makes besides the Merlin, you will notice that Steadicam’s bigger, more expensive models actually resemble a Glidecam. So if you consider it like that, you’re getting a more expensive steadicam model for much cheaper. The Merlin actually relies on a crescent counterbalance system as well that works well for one handed operation, while the Glidecam requires two hands. Unlike the Glidecam HD-4000, the Merlin is not very good if there is wind present while you are filming. The merlin is also unable to pan up and down as easily because you are controlling it with one finger. The Glidecam on the other hand lets you pan and tilt very easily. The Steadicam Merlin must be laid down awkwardly on its side or on a special display stand, while the Glidecam can stand upright when you need to put it down. I always felt like I was going to hurt my camera unless I put down my merlin very carefully or dismantled it every time I wanted to set it down. Lastly, the merlin is also around 1/3 of the weight of the Glidecam HD-4000. Note that the Steadicam Merlin can’t hold as much weight though.
To wrap up this review, here is the pros and cons summarized of the Glidecam HD-4000 vs the Steadicam Merlin.
-Extremely well made, 95% metal.
-Ability to pan and tilt, get beautiful shots that you couldn’t otherwise
-Stays smooth in strong wind
-One Handed Operation
-1/3 weight of the Glidecam. Can’t hold as much weight though.
-Less Control than Glidecam
-Can’t put down easily
-Loss of control in wind
-Some parts plastic/feels more fragile than Glidecam
The resolution of the screen is phenomenal. It has 270 pixels per-inch, giving you HD video at a 1280×800 resolution. It also has a wide range of ports allowing you to use all standard ports like HDMI, component, composite and HD/SDI.