Just had to jump into this. I have a VX-1000 and Steadicam JR which I have used a lot, well an awful lot, over the last year and a half. I haven't used the Glidecam or Steadicam DV, but I can't imagine doing this kind of work without a monitor for framing. To me the Glidecam is worthless w/out a monitor. You could rig up a little Casio liquid crystal pocket TV or something I suppose. To get really great shots you just have to be able to see what you're doing IMHO.
The JR holds up to 4 lbs and the VX-1000 w/a wide angle on it and an internal bat. is on the heavy side. I usually use a seperate bat. The NRG cable is light enough that it's possible to still Steadicam with it though you do tend to have to fight it a bit. (anything touching the camera has a major influence) The DV model handles up to 6 or 7 lbs if I recall. The Canon with the long lens is probably too heavy, but I checked the weights a while back and with the wide angle it should be okay. I am wanting a rig like that for my next camera. A friend just got an XL-1 and it is really a great camera. Picks up where the VX-1000 leaves off. Except I wish they wouldn't have made that section of the body red. Draws too much attention. That is what the VX is still great for - lets you get away with looking like a tourist in customs.
> points out, he has used the Steadicam "an awful lot," which is
> critical to developing a smooth technique. Seriously, to get a
> professional look WHILE maintaining good framing takes many hours
> of serious work. I see a lot of Steadicam work around my neck of
> the woods, and most of it is pretty awful (rocking, inconsistent
> pace, choppy pans, etc.).
Yes, Steadicam is kinda like learning to ride a bicycle. It seems impossible at first. (also, setup and trim is hugely important - the instruction video that comes with the JR is good at teaching this, but I've seen some guys who are not at all mechanically inclined buy them and never "get it" which, of course, makes it useless) Does take a lot of practice to get usable stuff, but once you get in the groove it's, well, groovy!
> So, my view: if you are using the Steadicam very frequently and
> are willing to really put some work into technique, and/or if
> your subjects are relatively predictable and slow moving, then
> the monitor will be of benefit. If you are moving fast and
> having to keep track of other action around you, or if the
> Steadicam is only an occasional part of your shooting, I would
> find the monitor to be more trouble than it is worth.
> By the way, to prove to yourself how well you can frame without a
> monitor, try this: place a W/A lens or accessory lens on the
> camera (21-24mm equivalent - that would be a .5 or .6 on the XL1
> or VX 1000), and hand-hold the camera to point and shoot a
> fast-action scene without using the viewfinder. You may find
> that you are better-able to keep good framing while keeping a
> much better sense of the overall action. IMHO, you are in a much
> better position to direct the viewers attention to the really
> critical parts of the scene, because you have a more complete
> picture of what is going on.
Points well taken. And for the kinds of fast action situations described, I'd fold up the Steadicam and do it as Greg has described. Still, most of the time, I want my monitor.