Glidecam have a reputation for filming equipment and camera accessories that allow independent filmmakers to produce films to a high quality that wouldn’t be out of place on the silver screens of Hollywood. The variety of different units come designed to be used in different situations and with price tags to match. The Glidecam HD 4000 and the Glidecam XR 4000 are two units that are perfect for those looking for a slightly more robust gimbal that is slight lightweight and reasonably priced.
The Glidecam HD 4000 is a lightweight unit that has a load capacity of between 4lbs and 10lbs. This makes it ideal for filmmakers who intend on user larger cameras with heavier lenses. The control knobs on the Glidecam HD 4000 have been ergonomically designed so that they are comfortable for users and allow filmmakers to make simple and precise adjustments.
The Glidecam HD 4000 measurse 8.75 x 5 x 1 inches making it a compact piece of filming equipment and weighs just 3.3lbs making it easy for users to operate for long periods of time without getting dead arms too quickly. The Glidecam HD 4000 comes with a camera mounting plate that has both standard ¼ inch and 3/8 inch mounting holes so almost any camera type can be affixed to it.
The base platform of the Glidecam HD 4000 also has ¼ inch mounting hole for the inclusion of an optional LCD monitor attachment, so the operator can see what is being recorded much more easily as can those who are not operating the Glidecam HD 4000. The base platform expands and contracts thanks to the adjustment system and is part of the dynamic balance feature of this Glidecam model. Being able to expand and contract the base platform means that you can increase or decrease the rotational pan inertia of the system. The Glidecam also comes with an additional 12 counterweight plates so that you can customize the stability of the unit even further.
The Glidecam HD 4000 has a three axis gimbal system that allows for tilting, running, panning or even booming without sacrificing on quality. The unit is stable enough that you can run upstairs operating the Glidecam HD 4000 and still take a smooth and precise shot.
The Glidecam XR 4000 is not dissimilar to the Glidecam HD 4000 in that it has been designed to support the same load capacity, 4lbs to 10lbs, so if you are simply looking for a gimbal that is strong enough to support the weight of your camera, lens and accessory set up, it comes down to what you are willing to pay for the unit.
There is a dynamic camera mounting platform on the Glidecam XR 4000 that is equipped with ¼ inch and 3/8 inch mounting holes so that almost any model of camera can be mounted on the gimbal. With a free floating, 3 axis gimbal, the Glidecam XR 4000 offers users precision shooting with adjustable convergence, which is helpful when experimenting in filmmaking. The telescoping central post requires no tools in order to be adjusted, meaning that you can save precious time of set and it also makes it a lot easier.
Like the Glidecam HD 4000, the Glidecam XR 4000 comes with an adjustable base platform that allows the user to control inertia and the base platform also comes with a ¼ inch mounting hole so that you can attach an LCD monitor. There are also rubber feet under the base platform, so when the unit is stood, it won’t slip part way through a shot and ruin it.
The Glidecam XR 4000 comes with a padded foam handle grip that is comfortable to hold whilst operating the system. There are also precision bearings placed at the vital points in the rig design so that it will provide more stability and be easier to maneuver and even balance.
The Glidecam XR 4000 is a little lighter than the Glidecam HD 4000, weighing just 3lbs without counterweights, though it does come with 12 large, 2.75 oz counterweight discs and 4 small, 1 oz counterweight discs that allow you to customize the stability of the unit to suit your needs. The Glidecam XR 4000 is designed to be able to tilt, pan, boom and even be operated whilst running and still provide great, smooth shots as an end product.
Both the Glidecam XR 4000 and Glidecam HD 4000 are lightweight designs that can support multiple types of cameras. The Glidecam XR 4000 does offer more precise counter balancing given that it comes with more small and large counterweights than the Glidecam HD 4000.
The Final Verdict
As there are so many similar features between the two models, there are only going to be a few deciding factors for consumers. Price is the dominant factor as most independent filmmakers don’t have a lot of money to throw around; the Glidecam HD 4000 is the more expensive of the two models but for the weight of the model and the stability it provides, it may well be worth spend the extra money. Both Glidecams eliminate the need for having tripod and dolly rigs when filming so the money saved on that equipment into buying the better Glidecam.