Balancing your DSLR on a Glidecam

First off, our sincere apologies on the delay… We initially shot this in Orlando with our good friends Matt Buchman, Michael Buffa, and Ed Ballardt but due to a few corrupt audio files we had to reshoot.

So, we’ve received tons of questions about how to setup and use your Glidecam so we decided to put this together. We’re planning on doing another video that will go more into specific techniques so please let us know if you’d like to see anything else or if you have any questions.By no means do I claim to be an expert on this subject so any comments are welcome.


Glidecam Tutorial from Cristina Valdivieso + Jon Connor on Vimeo.


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28 replies
  1. Bryan Tosh
    Bryan Tosh says:

    VERY NICE you guys. Thank you very much for this. I LOVE that you gave us some personal tips about various movements with the glidecam. I have been personally having difficulty just simply getting used to the mechanics involved.

    I also have questions regarding camera settings. Just basically what you guys have found to be the best settings for the most common scenarios. For example, I recently used my Glidecam at the Philly Half Marathon and it was SUPER bright that day. It was a Gorgeous day, but had trouble keeping the exposure down.

    Again, thank you very much for finding the time to make this for everyone. Glad to hear you guys are keeping busy. Keep up the great work.


    • Cristina Valdivieso
      Cristina Valdivieso says:

      Oh crap! Did I forget to call you/email you about that… I’m SOOO sorry!
      Alright so, I TRY to keep my shutter at 1/50th all the time but sometimes it gets tough in bright sun. Since I’m usually not wanting shallow depth of field unless I have no other choice (ie. night time), I’ll go all the way to f/22 if I have to. If I do want shallower depth of field then I’ll bump up my shutter.
      For me, it’s getting my aperture as high as possible so that it’s somewhat easier to keep focus while gliding however, sometimes I do have to go to f/1.4 on the 24mm. When you say you were having trouble keeping your exposure down do you mean that the light was changing while shooting? Cause that’s a pain too! That falls into planning your shot and anticipating your final scene… I usually practice my shot once to see how the light will shift and have everything set for the final scene, for example, going from shadow to no shadow. Unfortunately, when you’re operating a glidecam by yourself, you have no way of shifting exposure during a take. Does that help?

      • Bryan Tosh
        Bryan Tosh says:

        Thanks for the response Cristina and no worries about emailing. I completely understand with how things have been going.

        YES, that does help me, thank you. About trying to keep my exposure down, what I meant was I was having trouble with over exposure because it was so damn bright. Everything looked blown out, at least the highlights.

        I was trying to keep my shutter at 1/50th as well and sometimes 1/125th when shooting 60fps. Thanks again for the tutorial. Looks great as well.


        • Darryl Gregory
          Darryl Gregory says:

          Bryan, are you using a ND filter?
          You can not shoot video @1/50th in the Daylight without one, I would suggest getting a variable ND Filter or a Fader ND.

  2. LT
    LT says:

    Nice post and video. Years ago I spent some quality time with a full size steadycam with broadcast camera and realized I could never do it full time. However your glidecam video has got me scratching my head. Maybe I need to get one of those?

    thanks for the information

  3. Marcus X
    Marcus X says:

    Hey Cristina+Jon,

    Love this tutorial! I have an HD-2000 and it has been working wonders for me on some projects. However, I find that when balanced with my 7D with it gives a shorter stem (without extending the stem). So I may go to a HD-4000 in the near future just to have some length to work with and lighten the load on my arms…Ha. But in all, I love the HD-2000. Awesome rig! Kudos Cristina. Braveheart for stepping out and representing for the CFLive team! Great job!

  4. Richard Numeroff
    Richard Numeroff says:

    Hey Cristina,

    Really lovely intro to Glidecam set-up and a great ad for the HD version(s) – having used both like you i can’t really recommend the pro version… here in NY its hard to have that extra half hour…;-)… May be worthwhile recommending a few hours setting up and practicing for the first time… there are so many knobs to tighten down and the position of the Manfrotto QR is pretty important to get in the range… you were very generous about the “pro” version…

    I’ve been using the Glidecam 2000HD with the 550D… perfect combination – very lightweight… also no prob with 7D… but agree its right on the edge… I just like to keep things light after abusing my arms with heavy cameras for so long…;-)…

    I’m a longtime DOC DP and Director/DP – ( loving the DSLR revolution – (I also own and usually work with full size HD camcorders) I waited for the 7D – for me the “full” frame “Academy 35mm” plus small and light and HD HDMI out and 60FPS… a no brainer…

    Will you do a primer on using the Glidecam… the things one should try as a beginner, not to get discouraged and how much to practice etc..? I’ll bet it would be very popular…

    Have you seen the SmallHD 6 inch monitor?…

    Checked out

    I think you would like what you see…

    keep up the great work and the sharing!

    many thanks!

  5. Manahi
    Manahi says:

    Hey Cristina,

    Great to meet both you and Jon today at Vimeo Festival. I really appreciated this tutorial. I bought the HD4000 recently, and I absolutely LOVE it. But without question, it takes some practice. I wish I had seen your tutorial earlier–I would have saved me a lot of time trying to figure out that two plate set-up was the ideal for my 5D Mark II. Plus, I really appreciated some of the extra tips you gave at the end.

    Thanks very much for sharing, and keep up the good work!


  6. Lou Kulynych
    Lou Kulynych says:

    Hey Cristina and Jon, You both did an awesome job!!! Cristina you’re a natural at presenting Bravo!!! Now I gotta take my chinese steadicam/glidecam contraption and start practicing with it.

  7. Sura
    Sura says:

    Hey Cristina,
    Saw your tutorial 5 days after ordering 4000Pro and wish I had ordered the HD. Thought I’d send it back since I miraculous never knew about the HD version before. However, I found out it takes almost $220 to send it back all the way from Nigeria (never knew it was going to be a heavy package). Guess I have only one option. Now, I’m making the best out of it. Like you said the Pro will get the job done and your video took out the myth in balancing the rig.

    One quick question, once I balance, I tend to experience some sort of gentle pendulum movement. Its always very subtle, but its there. Is this normal?



  8. Raymond Hinst
    Raymond Hinst says:

    Alright, this is now my #1 site to check. I am so appreciative that you are sharing your experience. That was fantastic. Your response to Brian Tosh’s question was incredibly helpful. I have been struggling mightily with operating my 2000 hd with an older GH1 on it. The GH1 is a feather. Your video on balancing is great. If you use an IS lens, should you turn off the IS or does it not affect the balance? I need help with the second “steadying” hand technique. Every time I operate I feel like a bull painting teacups. Hurry up, please, with the next operating tutorial. Thanks.

    Your loyal and dedicated fan

  9. machu
    machu says:

    Hi Cristina,

    Ive checked out your setup video and its really helped me alot. I shot some stuff at the weekend with your help but im not sure im dong everything I should. If you can could you help me by looking at these 3 shots please . On the day i thought it seemed steady but now im unsure. (its not steady)

    Thanks in advance.


    P.S You have already helped me out via philip blooms posting so thanks.

  10. Nick Mansveld
    Nick Mansveld says:

    Hi Christina!

    Great tutorial! I received my Glidecam 2000HD today and i’m balancing it right now. It seems to be proper balanced, although, when I do the walk and stop test the glidecam seems to swing just a little. Does this mean that it’s still a little bottom heavy? I tried to slide the central post in many positions but it doesn’t seem to work. Any suggestions?


  11. Patrick Fisher
    Patrick Fisher says:

    Great video. Better than the one by Glidecam Industries. Thanks.
    I’m a 2000 Pro / 7D user and wanted to add a little trick of my own. I almost always use the same camera, lens, glidecam setup, so this trick works for me. I use my quick release plate to adjust my foward/backward balance. Anyone else try this, or know why I shouldn’t.?
    hyperlink color

  12. Jacob
    Jacob says:

    Hey guys! That was an awesome balancing tutorial! When I first got my Glidecam 4000HD, it was just plain luck that I got it to balance mediocrely. It came unbalanced, and this was an awesome way to learn how to balance it correctly. Thanks!

  13. Emil
    Emil says:

    Thanks for the great video on balancing!
    I’m currently deciding between the HD2000 & HD4000.
    Is 4 lbs really the minimum weight for the HD4000? The two setups
    I’m considering are 3 lbs & 4lbs. Is it possible to get perfect
    balance on the HD4000 if my setup is only 3 lbs? (t2i + lens +
    battery grip + ND fader) I want to keep the total weight low but also have the flexibility to use heavier cameras if I need to.
    I’ll be using it without the vest.

  14. Georgia
    Georgia says:

    I JUST got the Glidecam HD2000 for my 7D. I’m trying to balance it, and it seems to sway a ton when I’m walking around. Is this indicative of too much weight at the bottom? I can’t seem to find any information on this issue.

  15. matt
    matt says:

    In theory this all works great but im getting frustrated with balancing the hd2000 with my 7d and a canon 10-22 lens.

    First off, 4 weights total is too much, even with the telescoping post all the way in, can’t get more than 1sec drop time. With 2 weights, it goes upside down. With 3 wights (2 in front, 1 in back), the whole balance gets messed up, in every direction.

    Then, even if i were to achieve camera balance by adjusting the screws on the metal plate, i still need to extend/shorten the metal post for the drop test later which messes up the baseplate balance if i accidentally spin it just a bit (which is unavoidable when extending/shortening).

    I just spent 2hrs trying and im frustrated wtih it. ANy further advice would be much appreciated.


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