Hey gang - I've been done with steadicam officially for over 6 months now and I'm very happy with my decision to walk away when I did. My back is in a much happier place, and I've been very fortunate to have kept extremely busy since making the transition to doing conventional operating full-time. The best part of my new role is finally getting the opportunity to work alongside steadicam operators that I've known forever, but never worked with (George Billinger, Victor Macias, Simon Jayes, Chris Cuevas). I've learned a lot from them, and only wish I'd had the chance to do it sooner while I was still carrying the rig, so I could swipe some of their tricks!
I had the opportunity to direct an extremely low budget music video for Sean Danielsen of the band Smile Empty Soul in the small gap between projects. I really admire fellow steadicammer BJ McDonnell for his directing efforts on the three Slayer videos (soon to be a 4th), and I wanted to do something interesting while dipping my toes in the water of directing. The pre-production phase was an absolute nightmare because there wasn't money in the budget to hire a producer. Booking locations, lining up a crew/insurance/craft service/smoke machine/retractable syringe and all the other little things one never thinks of (how many butt cans will I need?) really took a toll, but the day on set was an absolute joy. We somehow managed to get footage on the cards of my Red Dragon, and the finished piece turned out great.
I was planning on doing the operating myself until my DP started talking about steadicam. I was assuming the entire show would be handheld with the exception of two technocrane shots (thanks to Christian at TCC for the help with the 17' Moviebird), but Ric Griffith came out to save the day. He ended up operating the entire video, and it was very liberating to be able to sit back and watch the actors instead of deal with having a camera on my shoulder while trying to judge their performance. Ric did an amazing job (we didn't end up doing much steadicam) and it was great to watch someone else interpret what I'd had in my head when I was writing the treatment.
Anyway, I finished coloring the video on Friday, and I wanted to put the finished product out there if anyone was interested in seeing it. Here is a link to the video: , as well as a link to a behind the scenes video if you want to see Ric do his thing: https://www.youtube....h?v=TF7wRO0byyE.
All the best, and thanks to this great community for all of the support - both during my steadicam career and after.