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Nicholaus James

Glidecam X-45 Sled

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Hey guys, I've been looking all over, and can't get any info on this.

I know this sled has been out for a while, and yes, I know there are more prominent brands such as Steadicam, GPI PRO, and XCS, but how does this sled fair for the price they are offering it at? The gimbal quality? The electronics?

 

This sled seems to be in the budget I'm in at this point in time. Building a system is a journey, not a destination, right?

 

Any in put on this would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

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Hi Nicholaus,

 

I had an X-45 sled a few years ago, which I bought used. I can tell you that it was a competent sled. That is to say the gimbal was fine, you can balance it yourself if it gets out of shape, and the electronics are fairly rudimentary. Just plugs, really, 12v power (only) to top and bottom of the sled, through 2 pin lemos and 3 HD lines, which are nice. As you may know, those connectors on the upper are positioned up front, in a breakout box, EFP sled style, so make sure all your cables are long enough to reach it!

 

There were two things I didn't really like with it, which was the stock monitor mount, which is kind of a scissors type mount...wasn't bad, but could be more rigid, especially if you're using heavier monitors, or monitor/recorder combos...or monitor/battery combos.

 

The battery hanger was a pain, especially when trying to dynamic balance. The battery hanger telescopes, yes...but the locks that release the battery hanger, are also the locks that secure the orientation of the battery mounts, which tilt up and down (+/- 90 degrees vertical). So when you move the hanger fore or aft with one hand, you also need to secure the battery mounts with your other hand to keep them from flopping around...which means two hands on the bottom of the sled...which can mean it can be difficult to make small, measured adjustments while your sled is on the balancing pin of your dock. That being said, it balancing can be done, you just learn to live with it the way it is.

 

Something else to consider -- it's not what many would consider modular. That is to say, you won't find anyone making any third party parts that fit this sled. Once you're in with the system you're pretty much stuck with it. It has an odd 1.75 inch post, which, while rigid, won't take any 1.5 inch gimbals...you MIGHT be able to get a 2" gimbal to fit, but you'd need to custom make a sleeve of some kind that fits that 1.75 post. Popular donkey box options also may not fit, so you're kind of stuck there too. And of course the batter hanger situation doesn't get much better either. Same goes for monitor mount, although, it might be possible to find someone to fab a sleeve that will fit that post.

 

I looked up the price of a new x-45 sled...if none of the issues above bother you...and if you NEED the size/weight capacity of an X-45...you MAY want to consider looking to buy a used Master Series sled or, if you can find one, a good, used EFP sled for around or close to the cost of a new X45 sled. You do get some of the same problems (in the case of the Masters sled, not totally modular) but proven design and build quality. Plenty of people make parts that fit the old EFP...from Donkey boxes to batter hangers, and gimbal options to monitor mount options, and HD upgrades..and it has a "standard" 1.5 inch post to boot...

 

The other option...is just build it from parts. There was a time when a lot of PRO ops were switching from their old Pro1/2 setups to go Cinelive, and there were parts to be found on the forum...the advantage of PRO being their systems ARE modular and expandable, as it were...you can find people that can convert SD systems to HD, for example..building takes time,and research, and will probably cost more money, but you MAY end up with a sled that you can grow in capability, as your grow as an operator..and retain cash value...

 

Anyways, hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions!

 

Beau

 

The other option is...build your own sled from parts, which is possible. I did it, and

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Wow wow wow! Thank you soooo much for the advice! So much to chew on, but so informative!!

Thank you Beau for taking time out of your schedule to answer my question in-depth.

Lots to think about for sure! Much appreciated!!

 

 

Nick

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I once owned a V25 when they first came out, which was very similar. It was a pretty decent rig for the money. As mentioned, the monitor arm wasn't the best. The battery hanger isn't perfect, but does allow a lot of flexibility in positioning. This is important when moving through tight spaces, such as the isle of a theatre.

 

It's not a rig that will grow with you, but great for learning and taking on some smaller jobs.

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I decided to pull the trigger on the X-45 sled. Tom at Glidecam was running an incredible deal on it with $1000 off. as a year-end sale. He also worked with me by taking the monitor, monitor arm, and case off the package, as I am looking into the CamJam Quattro Monitor mount/yoke to use on the system because of your guys' advice on the Glidecam monitor bracket.

 

You guys are correct. The battery hanger isn't great, but it isn't terrible.

I'm quite impressed with the build quality of it, and think it was a steal for getting it for $4500 brand new.

 

Once the CamJam Quattro comes in, plan on mounting a SmallHD 702 to it. With those 2 components, the sled will have run me about $6500. A sled that will support 45lbs at this price bracket, I feel like it was a great buy. And I should get a decent amount of life out of it considering steadicam-oping isn't my sole line of work, but an addition to the services I provide.

 

Got the Steadicam Fawcett Exovest and the G-50x arm on the way to complete the system. And then I'm looking into putting the Ronin 2 on it by summer time to give me a "poor man's" Arri Trinity system.

 

I'll let you all know how it works out!

 

I really appreciate the detailed and open feedback. It really helped me in the purchase! This community is great!

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Just got in my Cam-Jam Quattro II monitor bracket!

Got the version 2 that has just been released. I have a SmallHD 702 monitor, so purchased that monitor kit, but didn't install the battery plate on the bracket, as I will just continue using my Canon LP-E6 batteries.

 

Had to order a custom ring to keep the clamp snug to the center post as it isn't a standard size.

If any one is looking into this set up, I had it measured with a digital caliper with a measurement of 40.8mm that I sent them.

The bracket fits nice and snug on the post!

 

The Quattro II is built very well and the customer service at Cam-Jam was top tier. This bracket was not cheap by no means, but was worth the money. Highly recommend!

 

With the sled, the Quattro, and the SmallHD monitor, I spent well under $8000 for this sled set up.

With the specs that this sled is capable of holding, I think this was a steal of a deal.

No, it's not modular, and there's not much else I can do to it, but I still see great value in this set up.

 

Next step will be adding a Ronin 2 system to it to provide me with a "Poor Man's Trinity" system.

The center post doesn't extend too far out, compared to some other sleds out there, but I have a clever idea to help counter the top heaviness of a camera/Ronin 2 set up at the top of the sled.

Stay tuned for that!

 

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Hi,

 

Just wanted to know how you got on with this sled in the end? What are you up to these days, and have you sorted out a poor mans Trinity?

 

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Sorry about the looooong delay to respond. 

I did get the camera set up as a "poor man's trinity," but still need to work out some kinks as it was WAY TOO HEAVY for me.  Almost ripped my back out.  lol

Here is me missing with it through a rehearsal walk-through:

 

Still testing things for it.

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On 3/23/2019 at 11:50 AM, Kevin Kisling said:

Hey! I also wanted to follow up and see how the sled has held up! Is the dovetail plate the same size as the other big rigs?

 

I'm not sure if the dovetail plate is like other big rigs, as I haven't had access to one.  I would assume not as Glidecam likes to march to the beat of their own drum.  The sled is pretty good for the value.  It's not perfect, and not really upgradeable and/or modular, but it gets the job done for my work, at this point in time. 

For it's load capacity at it's price point, it's a great entry into a big rig system.

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On 3/30/2019 at 11:20 AM, Nicholaus James said:

I'm not sure if the dovetail plate is like other big rigs, as I haven't had access to one.  I would assume not as Glidecam likes to march to the beat of their own drum.  The sled is pretty good for the value.  It's not perfect, and not really upgradeable and/or modular, but it gets the job done for my work, at this point in time. 

For it's load capacity at it's price point, it's a great entry into a big rig system.

Thanks Nicholaus! The dovetail question might be a direct one for Glidecam. Thanks for your comments on the rig, that's exactly why I'm interested in the rig, I'd like to get a big rig at a decent price!

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Totally understand.  Yeah, they are really great to talk to on the phone (Glidecam).  Give them a call and they should answer all the questions you will have.  Thanks for following along!

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