Q: Are Steadicam Arms & Vests sold separately?
A: Some of our vests and arms are and some are only sold as part of a package, let’s start with the Steadicam Vest models.
The Fawcett Exovest, is sold separately and available for any system from an Aero to an M1.
The Ultra Vest is sold separately, most commonly sold with with a Shadow or M1.
The LX Vest is sold separately and most commonly sold with an Archer or sometimes Shadow.
The Solo Vest is only sold as a package with an A-15 arm, or with an Aero-15 system or Steadimate A-15 system.
The Zephyr Vest is similar in that, it’s only available with a Zephyr, Aero-30 system or Steadimate A-30 system.
Check out the Aero and Steadimate system configurations and accessories here.
The Steadicam Arms, both the G-50X and the G-70X Arms are sold separately. The new X3 – 3rd Arm Extension – works with both the G-50X and G-70X Arms and is also sold separately. The 3X Arm Extension – which allows the G Series Arms to travel an extra 24 inches – is rear mounted only, so it’ll only work with the Exovest at the moment. One other Steadicam vest and arm tip is that people get confused when they hear – compact vest, it refers to the overall height of the vest, so a compact vest is a better fit for shorter people.
Q: I’ve been looking into getting a Smoothee to take some great iPhone video, one of my buddies has been using them and making some fantastic videos, now I see that you’re advertising a new handheld Steadicam for the iPhone called the Volt, what’s the difference?
A: The Steadicam Smoothee is a non-electronic handheld stabilizer for iPhones, Android phones and GOPRO cameras. Note, the Smoothee is now discontinued, but can still be found with some online retailers. At first glance you might think that the NEW Steadicam Volt has pretty much the same features as the Smoothee, the big standout feature is an electronically balanced gimbal, which makes it Steadicam’s first gyro stabilizer. You can use it as a smartphone stabilizer or a GOPRO stabilizer, either way, you’ll get awesome video stabilization. The Volt also folds to a compact size making it easier to transport.
A great feature of the Steadicam Volt that sets it apart from other electronic gimbal stabilizers is that even if the long lasting lithium ion batteries run out and you lose the gyroscopic stability, the Volt is still balanced on the 3 axis gimbal and you can continue shooting stable video on the go, like with a traditional Steadicam, (like the Smoothee). It’s the only handheld gyroscopic smartphone stabilizer to offer this.
Q: Do the Volt and the Smoothee come with carrying cases?
A: Glad you asked, the Steadicam Volt does come packaged with a pouch along with batteries, cable, charger, a GOPRO accessory mount, balance weights and instructions. A compact Deluxe Travel Case is which holds all the Volt accessories is available. The Smoothee comes with a belt clip.
Q: Why are there so many Steadicam models and how do I decide which one to buy?
A: Steadicam offers a full range of products from the high-end big rigs like the M-1, the first Modular Steadicam that is used mostly for larger camera packages in both film and broadcast to the Aero models. The Steadicam line of handheld 3-axis gimbal stabilizers use the same award-winning technology as the big rigs. These lightweight handheld stabilizers are designed to stabilize a variety of Smartphones, GOPRO cameras and even as a DSLR stabilizer. We also make the Steadimate, which is an adapter that can be attached to a Ronin or Movi motorized gimbal connecting it to a Steadicam Arm & Vest system, allowing the operator to stop camera shake and continue shooting with increased stable handheld video footage over extended periods of time.
Q: I am not sure what Steadicam to buy for my DSLR camera and lenses.
A: All Steadicam Arms have a weight pay-load rating. The thing to know is that it’s the total payload, meaning the Steadicam Sled PLUS the total weight of the camera built-out as you will be using it. Build out your camera, ideally as a worst case scenario, meaning with the heaviest lens you will be using and fully accessorized, now weigh your total camera package. The A-30 arm as available on the Aero and Zephyr, have a total payload of 30 pounds. The Aero Sled weighs 9.75 pounds which includes the Monitor and battery mount, but not the battery, so this arm will carry a camera package of around 19-20 lbs.
Q: What is a Sled?
A: The Sled is referring to the vertical post that connects the camera stage on top and Monitor with battery plate on bottom. The Sled attached to the arm via a Gimbal, which allows you to “fly” the sled with articulated movements. The Arm is attached to a vest, which allows the Steadicam operator to effortlessly shoot longer video over extended periods of time. The Steadicam M-1, which is the first modular Steadicam, is a good example to illustrate this. Steadicam’s Fawcett Exovest and G-70x Iso-Elastic Arm are two companion pieces to the M-1.
Q: What’s the advantage of using a Steadicam over hand-held or dolly camera shots?
A: Steadicam is designed to remove the jarring motion of walking from the camera image. It allows you fluid movements of the camera that are not achievable in handheld operations (meaning holding the camera by hand, as opposed to using a handheld Steadicam for DSLR, GOPRO, Android or iPhone video), while not limiting your artistic perspective and movements, as would be from a dolly mounted camera. We offer a variety of Steadicam Workshops focusing on Steadicam technique designed for raw beginners to experienced Steadicam operators.
Q: Are there any good videos about how to use a handheld Steadicam, tips to getting a balanced gimbal, etc.?
A: Yes, we have some great Steadicam YouTube videos about balancing, using handheld stabilizers and 3 axis gimbal techniques, here’s some links:
Steadicam Volt Quick Start Guide.
Steadicam Smoothee Balancing Guide.
Steadicam Smoothee Demonstration.
Steadicam Volt Demo featuring Garrett Brown!
Steadicam Merlin2 Demo.
Steadicam Curve Balancing Guide Videos.