How to Balance a Glidecam Using a Canon XL2 Camera

By Marques Williams

  • Overview

    Glidecams are a great tool for smaller budget productions to have more freedom and variation with camera movement. Similar to a steadicam, a glidecam connects to a harness and allows the camera operator the have the freedom of a hand held shot with the steadiness of a tripod. Below are instructions on how to balance a glidecam with a Canon XL2.
    • Step 1

      Attach the counter weights to the base. Your glidecam will come with counter weight disks and you should add these to the base of the glidecam. 5 weights should be enough for each side of the base for the XL2, but adjustments may need to be made later. After attaching the weights, secure them by placing a washer and a nut over them.
    • Step 2

      Attach camera to the post. You do this by attaching the head plate to the bottom of your camera by screwing the camera mounting screw into though the plate and into the "thread insert" on the base of the camera. Then, you secure the head plate to the midplate with the thumb screws. The head plate has several holes, so just pick the center hole to screw the mounting screw through for now and adjust later if necessary.

    • Step 3

      Balance the horizontal axis. Lift the glidecam from a flat surface and see if the camera is standing straight up. If it is, the camera is balanced and ready for operation. If it isn't, check where the imbalance is occurring. If the camera flips upside down, then more weights need to be attached to the base. If if tilts more in any direction, adjust the camera on the head plate in the opposite direction. This moves the center of gravity. For example, if the camera leans forward, move the camera backwards on the head plate.
    • Step 4

      Balance the vertical axis. Grab the handle and tilt the central post until it is horizontal. Then, release the handle. The post will go vertical, to it's original position. The post should go vertical in 2 to 3 seconds. If not, adjustments must be made. Either adding counter weights to the base or adjusting the length of the post must be done. Keep adjusting until it only takes 2 to 3 seconds to go from the horizontal position to the vertical position.
    • Step 5

      Rebalance the horizontal axis. After adjusting the vertical axis, the horizontal axis may need to be readjusted. Check to see if the post stands straight, just like in Step 3.
    • Skill: Moderately Easy
    • Tip: Some people find using the second to last middle hole on the head plate, with the length of the plate facing forward to the camera, is best for optimal balance.
    • Warning:
    • Make sure the glidecam has been built correctly. Make sure it is secure before attaching your camera.

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