Tutorial on using a Glidecam with a DSLR

My friend and assistant has been using the Glidecam for 2 years. I have one myself and am still struggling to master it, mainly due to lack of time.

The Glidecam varies in price from around $350 to $550. You don’t need a support vest when using a DSLR, but it will get heavy…It’s  a lot easier to balance than the Steadicam Merlin and of course cheaper. Cristina who along with Jon Connor run CanonFilmmakers.com have made an excellent tutorial on which one to buy, how to balance and basic movement. She is currently working on a follow video for more advance moves. I really recommend watching this video if you are thinking investing in a steadicam style device for your DSLR or even if you have one and are struggling with it.

Glidecam Tutorial Part 1 from Cristina Valdivieso + Jon Connor on Vimeo.



  1. Great tutorial.

    One important step I missed, however. How to determine where to attach the quick release plate on the top plate of the Glidecam. I’ve been told that you have to find the center point of your camera with lens by gently placing it on top of a tube or the side of your table. Of course, you can manipulate the centerpoint by turning the knobs on the top, but it’s always better to start of correctly.

  2. nice find Philip, gosh I remember buying this full rig for the Canon XL series years ago.. I can’t remember the name of the company but geesh was that thing tough to balance.. It was such a sloppy beast of a rig + it was 5k.. so glad I don’t own it anymore.. These however look like fun.. I wonder how long your shoulders/arms will last.. I guess there’s nothing wrong with having a super buff right arm : )

    love and aloha, Kalani-

  3. Cristina
    Fabulous presentation. The clearest one I have seen so far. While I will probably opt for the 4000 Pro to begin with, you may the set up process easy to understand. And the simple shot suggestions at the end were also extremely helpful. Thanks for putting this together.

  4. I have never used a Glidecam and have been fortunate enough to have been spoiled by Steadicam’s intuitive controls, and although this seems like a great starting tutorial, it’s worth mentioning that there is much more to balancing a sled than just static balance (the only balance technique shown in the video). Achieving dynamic balance is a little more difficult but equally important, if not more.

    From the Dynamic Balance Primer:

    “A Steadicam is in static balance when, at rest, it hangs with the central post vertical, regardless of the position of the gimbal on the central post.”

    “A Steadicam is in dynamic equilibrium if, when rotated about the central post, it pans consistently on that axis.”

    “A Steadicam is in dynamic balance when it is in dynamic equilibrium and also in static balance. Both conditions must be met for dynamic balance.”

    Happy flying,


      1. Hey Cristina,

        In a pinch, in windy situations, I’ve added more weights (actually all of them) and put the pole to the furthest length.
        It’s not ideal and it can lead to overshoot, but if you’re in a crappy windy situation, the best thing to do it lower it’s center of gravity, and increase it’s momentary action.

        try it ! 🙂 it does work.. I can provide some footage… if I can find it.



  5. This is very clearly presented and very helpful. It will not however balance your gliecam bevaude it does not explain the adjustment to the length of the main pole. This is how you determine the speed of the drop test.

  6. Hey all,

    I use my Glidecam ALL THE TIME.. I use it much more than I thought I would.

    I bought my Glidecam back in the ‘old’ HVX-200 days, and 2 things I can definitely say about the older Glidecam-4000

    1- If you loose parts they are easy to replace from any hardware store (even more important if you in, say, Africa)

    2- They might look fragile, but they can TAKE A BEATING !! Mine has been through hell. (dust and falling out of trucks in Tanzania, being crushed by 108,000 people at the Dodgers stadium in Texas….. ahh the pain)

    I do not mean to plug my work, but in this video, I got totally wiped out, but the camera remained balanced.. I got a cut on my leg, but apart from that I kept on going. Indeed, the Glidecam’s simple approach to design, gives it a robust, tiny footprint.

    Overall, I know there are more stylish and groovy looking stabilizers out there, but if you want a solid workhorse, you wouldn’t go wrong with this.

    Also, there’s a sleeve with a metal support that goes on your arm incase you’re in situations where you can’t have the ‘suit’ on, and I’ve also found this very workable for limited times.. It also enables you to get into really small spaces, like tight corridors, and still glide away.

    Have a look 🙂



  7. Hi Cristina,

    Sorry i skipped the hd version as i have the Pro and therefore missed the part about pole extension. Thanks for this video its really very helpful.

    I count 3 secs on my drop time is that too much. Also do you ever make minor adjustments at the bottom by slipping the weights slowly or always from the top. (i have the pro 200)

    Do you spread the 2 sets of weights out at the bottom as far apart as possible aswell?

    Thanks in advance and i look forward to part 2. You can see a very short test i did awhile back if you like http://www.vimeo.com/11476389 but im aiming on shooting some new stuff using your help this weekend


    1. Hey Matt,

      Typically you want the drop time between 2-3 seconds.
      I rarely adjust the bottom weights on my 4000 pro… I think if they were easier to adjust I would use them but I prefer to stick to adjustments on the top 🙂 On my 4000 pro I have the weights at the end but not hanging over. Does that make sense?

      1. thanks cristina,

        I shot some stuff last weekend and wasnt pleased but with your help i have concluded that the wind really didnt help. Do you get good results in the wind?

        1. Hey Matt,
          I’m gonna go into that on the next part cause a lot of people have asked about the wind situation… I limit the kinds of move I do in super windy conditions and I tend to rely more on my other hand guidance 🙂

          1. Hey christina,

            I have a question i hope you can answer. I shot some stuff this afternoon which although is smooth and you cant see my walking movement there is a definite fast up and down issue going on. I shot with a 7d and L series 35mm 1.4 lens. I also used my fader ND which i noticed has a small amount of play/movement in the dial you twist to set the exposure. Could this be my issue or am i doing something very wrong?

            Ive read that some people use rubber in between there baseplate and the camera!

            Im doing to shoot a test next with my 11-16 tokina which i cant use with the filter beacuse its vignettes.

  8. Hi!
    Thx for the greaet tutorial. My HD 4000 came yesterday – and I have begun balancing it out to fit my Canon 7D with Tokina 11-16 and Roede stereo mic.
    It is still a bit “lively” I think when I stop my moves. Will moving the bottom sliders do the trick?

    Kind regards Henrik

  9. Sorry but i’m not convinced with that stuff. The main problem you encounter when moving with it, it’s a inertial phenomen. I mean if you look carefully to your movements at the end you’ll see roll on everything you’ve done. I’m OK it’s really tiny and better that not having a glidecam but the problem is that it’s visible and for exemple you see the vertical wall line is rolling and is not stricly fixed.
    I don’t know why but the version with the belt (much bigger price) does not seem to be affected by that rolling and i think it’s the one used in any budget production.
    For myself now , i’ve built a diy crane which permit some cleaner movements than any glidecam or steady cam i saw around. No cheap solution when moving although.
    fucking rolling effect.

    1. I have the Glidecam 4000 HD but would like to buy the same quick release plate that was featured on this video. Do we know which quick release plate is the best for a Canon Mark II 5D?


  10. Good stuff. Must admit – my arm begins to tremble after about 10 minutes – which certainly doesn’t help keep the shot steady.

    Too poor at the moment to invest in a sleeve or the vest. Anyone know of any DIY vest / sleeve solutions?

  11. This was perfect. I was looking to purchase a Steadicam Merlin. After watching this and seeing that Philip stands by Glidecam, I think I’ll be purchasing an HD4000. Thanks Cristina! Philip, Cristina, or anyone for that matter have any last words about Steadicam vs. Glidecam before I purchase?

  12. Great tutorial, best one I’ve seen yet. Really helped out a lot. Any chance you might do a part two on “guiding” I’ve got my HD4000 balanced but my end result always seems choppy.

  13. I need help with the drop time. I have a Canon T2i with a 50mm f/1.4 USM. I have 2 weights on both sides, and my drop time is immediate. I tried taking a weight off on both sides, still the same, and i tried using the knob on the left side, still the same. any idea how to fix this?

  14. hello,

    Forgive the newbie question but I’m debating between the hd4000 and the hd2000.

    For the HD2000 Do you think I can get away with a 7d, 50mm lens, battery grip, and a monitor?

    Or will that put me straight into Hd4000 territory. Also what’s the best recommendation for mounting a monitor to it? I can’t seem to find a “go-to” accessory that solves this problem. thanks!

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