Glidecam HD-4000: A Real Upgrade

Glidecam HD-4000

The glamour shot – note all the snow.

It was time for an upgrade.

My Glidecam 2000 Pro saw a lot of use with my GH2s in the last couple years. When I added the 7-14mm lens to my arsenal, it opened a door to really cool shot possibilities that I only ever scratched the surface of. The fact is, I never felt very competent with the 2000 Pro. I never felt like it was well balanced, it took a long (very long) time to rebalance, and it always seemed too wobbly – even with the ultra-wide lens. That being said, I do have some shots here and there that show that the Glidecam 2000 Pro is a viable tool for a wedding videographer, producing the smooth stable floating frame that looks professional and cinematic. But the headaches were legion.

HD-4000

A more refined tool.

It all came to a head the other day, when I was setting up for a shoot, and couldn’t find my extra weights for the 2000 Pro. Finally I did find a one, but then I discovered that the weights weren’t all of identical weight, so that the whole thing listed badly to one side. No good. With my hour of departure rapidly approaching, I dropped the whole thing to the side in frustration. It just took too long to adjust. In that moment, I knew I needed to upgrade, so I pulled the trigger. $602 and next-day shipping from Amazon Prime later, a surprisingly small white box was on my doorstep.

HD-4000 from above.

The Micromuff helps with the wind noise.

Immediately I noticed a difference. The design is smarter, more refined. The camera plate pops off with a truly ingenious design. The trim knobs are a Godsend of repeatability and micro-adjustment. With two weights on the bottom, pushed out a little bit extra, I was able to achieve better balance in half an hour with the HD-4000 then I’ve ever been able to get out of my 2000 pro. The whole rig is quite a bit larger and heavier, which has its pros and cons. On the one hand, I need to work out or my arm is going to fall off. I’ve got nothing on Joe Simon’s guns. On the other hand, all that extra inertia means that when I accidentally nudge the HD-4000, it doesn’t go off spinning in circles. It is definitely more stable.

GH2 and SmallHD DP4 on Glidecam HD-4000

The setup.

Right now I have a GH2 mounted to the rig, with a SmallHD DP4 behind it for the added screen size (really helps) and the 7-14mm lens on the front. I find that 10mm is a really great place to sit with this lens, a good balance of wideness and low distortion. I have the camera set to continuous auto-focus, which I find works great with the lens. I’ve also got a Micromuff Skinny on top of the camera, reducing the wind noise that comes from running around outdoors. I’ve only logged about 15 minutes with the rig so far, but more is to come, for sure.

SmallHD DP4 on the Glidecam HD-4000

The DP4’s acrylic screen protector is a bit reflective, but the monitor is essential.

The verdict? I’m looking forward to using the HD-4000 this wedding season, but I’m going to need to do some lifting first.

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