Flying Defy G2 Gimbal Stabilizer w/ BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera

   

After unboxing the new DEFY G2 Brushless Gimbal Stabilizer along with recently receiving the new BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera, it was time to pair them up for a test drive. Here are the first results, which I know can be improved with additional practice.

First impressions:

I’ve heard that these brushless gimbals are a lot simpler to learn than traditional stabilizers like the Merlin or Glidecam but that is absolutely not true in the case of the Defy G2. Yes, balancing is simpler and doesn’t take more than a few minutes but I found getting a nice stable image to be just as hard if not harder than the Merlin or Glidecam.

The Defy G2 is simple to set up. It comes in a nice laser cut Pelican case, pre-assembled and ready to go. Just attach your handles, plug in your batteries, balance your camera and your up and flying in minutes.

The Defy G2 can look great once you figure out it’s kinks and limitations.

I found the Defy G2 worked best when I moved slowly and taking advantage of the flexibility of being able to do up and down movements that I couldn’t do with traditional stabilizers.

Oddly enough, I struggled with the G2 when doing very simple moves like simple following shots where I would get micro-vibrations with every few steps. I called customer service and showed them some test footage, wondering if it was a balancing or rigging issue. They said it wasn’t a balancing issue but the way I was operating it. They told me to hold the handles too tightly and to walk heel-to-toe. They even told me that it might be the shoes that I’m wearing.

So I did what they asked and began “cradling” my G2 instead of holding it, began walking heel-to-toe, and wore the most comfortable Nike’s I own. I did notice some improvements but it didn’t eliminate the vibrations.

I’ve had the G2 now for almost a week and my footage has been gradually improving but I don’t think any amount of practice will eliminate some of its limitations. I don’t think I’ll be able to able to run with it in a full sprint without any vibrations, I simply don’t think it was made for that type of camera work. I think it works best doing slow calculated movements.

I’ll continue to work on my handling and footwork and hopefully get the best out of my G2.

For information about the DEFY G2, check out my previous article: http://procinematools.com/unboxing-the-defy-g2-brushless-motor-camera-stabilizer/

defygimbal-case-1373317005
DEFY G2 / G5 Brushless Motor Camera Stabilizers

Canon-vs-GH3-vs-BlackMagic-Pocket-cinema-1
BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera
.

eBay Products – Brushless Gimbal Stabilizers

FeedWind

, ,

14 Comments

  • ken says:

    I think your walking issue is a software issue. I’d bet the Movi is easier to use…the BTS stuff doesn’t show them being very careful….

  • Russ says:

    $3200 for this sh**** KILL ME!

  • Marlon….really Intersting evaluation. Sorry to hear about the vibration thing. I think you have what I would think is a killer combination with the pocket black magic. Unfortunately there really aren’t any wide micro four thirds image stabilized lenses. Otherwise that might help.

    Thanks for posting you test and please let us know if you get any satisfaction with the issue. Be interesting to do a side by side with the movi.

    Norman

  • jonpais says:

    @Marlon I own a GH3 and two Vario X zooms. I mostly shoot videos of life on the streets here in Saigon. Both the uncluttered appearance and the promo videos convinced me I needed the G2, but your comments have made me think twice – especially now that the G2 retails for $2,600 USD. I did try out one of Flycam’s stabilizers at the shop over the weekend, thinking maybe I could economize a couple thousand dollars, but the camera was wobbling all over the place. I’m afraid I’m not the most coordinated guy in the world, and I thought I might never learn to make steady shots. At this point, I’m considering giving up on the whole idea of a stabilizer and picking up some more lenses and a monitor or EVF instead… Do you have any experience with a stabilizer/gimbal that is easy for a novice to pull off smooth looking shots that doesn’t cost a fortune?

    • Marlon Torres says:

      All stabilizers need practice to get good at. Sorry there is no quick fix other than practice and experience.

  • Andy says:

    Hi Marlon

    Im looking at purchasing the Defy G2 to fly my GH3 and BMC pocket, can you recommend this gimbal ? on your review, seems a lot of doubt, has your opinion improved ? want to fly it on a drone aswell, so if its completely rubbish will buy a specific gimbal for a drone. Just a lot of money to spend of something that may be not be useable.

    All the best
    Andy

  • Augusto Silva says:

    Hi Marlon:

    The reason why you have those “micro” vibrations is due to the lack of weight on the camera. If you used a viewfactor cage you would see a world od difference. The problem is common to all the stabilizers not only Defy. The lack of weight leads to lack of inertia…see it as a car with a really hard suspension and without any weight on it, or even over inflated tyres. In those cases the shock absorbing is a disaster very bouncy and vibrating….try mounting the câmera on a cage before mounting it on the gimbal. You surely have noticed it is almost impossible to shoot handheld with the BMPCC right? Again everything changes with the cage.

    Good luck and please share the results.

  • Steve says:

    This is actually not terrible. Okay, it’s not as steadicam-smooth as the official promo videos (which look like they were all shot with an ultra-wide lens), but there are no micro jitters that you would get from basic hand-held. What focal length were you using?

    You can tell it was a very windy day which is another factor. The footsteps of the operator do seem to be a bit stop-start and a smoother walking movement would probably help, or maybe put the operator on a bike or sat in a wheelchair. Overall I’m quite impressed and I think with a bit of practise one could achieve very decent shots from a G2. Defy claim to be releasing an upgrade kit for $350-500 which will allow the G2 to handle up to 4lb (so you could add your cage). They’re also talking about a power bar which may alleviate the need for a V-mount for things like the Redrock Microremote.

    I do think this is an incredible technology that will enhance filmmaking, particularly low-budget shoots. Of course it would be better to wait a year to see what else comes on the market, but the G2 looks very lightweight and simple compared to other options (G5, BeSteady One), where people are talking about needing an EZ or Atlas rig to use it for anything other than short bursts. Defy have confirmed to me that you can add longer handles to the G2 without affecting balance, to get it closer to eye-level. This may be a better option than the inverted mode on the BeSteady.

    But until I get one in my hands, take all this with a pinch of salt.

    • Steve says:

      Sorry, I see that you were using the Panasonic 14mm which is equivalent to around 40mm on full-frame.

      BeSteady released a video using a Canon 5D and 100mm lens and it looked very smooth and filmic indeed, but I’ve yet to see any videos from Defy that use anything other than ultra-wide angles. The official videos look like they were all shot using 28mm (or wider) FF-equivalent which would be around 10mm on the pocket camera – options for this are limited.

  • Joey says:

    Sadness!

    I only found this site AFTER purchasing the Defy G2 AND discovering the micro-shakes described. The lack of weight in the micro 4:3rds camera I am currently using makes sense but as someone pointed out, using a cage would likely max out the weight of the G2 currently.

    Unlike some people, I have some experience (about 1 1/2 yrs) using a glidecam, but can’t run with it. So how I walk and what I shoot is already fairly smooth from that horrendous learning curve.

    All this to say, it didn’t help with the G2 so far in eliminating the micro-quakes. It’s almost like it’s having seizures and it definitely shows up on video. The only way I can see to eliminate it is to be SURE it’s not quaking in the scenes you want and run it all in slow motion to extend the length, per usual for most glidey shots.

    I current have a Sony NEX but will be switching to a Panasonic GH4 when it arrives with a larger lense (and more weight). We’ll see what happens.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>