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How to get into the Steadicam world?

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#1 Patrick Verhey

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 12:58 AM

Hi everybody,

I´m a total newbie in the steadycam world, but don´t worry I don´t want to get all your secret tips and tricks. Not yet... ;-)

I actually want to check out my realistic chances to work as a steadicam operator in europe, especially in TV buisiness. The last 10 years I was working as Lighting Designer and Operator for event and TV including all new technical features as well as mediaservers, video and camera gear. But at the moment I get totally bored about my job and thinking about something different to do. As I have some experince working with cameras and a lot of general experience in the TV area including picture settings and video techniques I was wondering if I would have a chance to work as Steadicam Operator.

I know that it takes a propper training and good gear to get started and I´m willing to invest the necesary money, time and work. I´m very realistic, so I know that it will be a hard time with a lot of work to really get started.

But I want to be sure not to invest a 30.000 Euros and a lot of work to find out that I will never earn any money with it. So can you give me some advices and ideas how the steps can be? Do I have a chance or is it totally dreaming? Does anyone know the market situtaion in germany especially in TV business?

Thanks for a lot of information, and please be honest. I´m not a dreamer and I want to take this serious.


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#2 RobVanGelder


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Posted 15 September 2009 - 02:04 AM

Hi Patrick, you will get a lot of replies telling you that you have to do a workshop first, only after that you can have an idea if this is something for you.

Besides that, being a good Steadicam operator means that you should have not only a good physical condition , but most importantly you need to have a good eye for composition.
Here is the problem where I have seen some guys going wrong: they made some money doing some job but did not have real camera experience and set experience.
Then bought a Steadicam set and started to operate but the director and DoP were then not happy with the shots they made, not in composition , timing, performance.

So please check yourself, be honest and confirm yourself if you can make nice shots, because when using the Steadicam you are almost a one-man crew: the operator, dolly-grip, and often director too. Only you can make the shot at that moment and you will see the (dis-) approval afterward.

Besides, the 30.000 is only a start, once you get deeply involved in the high end market you have to invest much more, but the returns might be higher too.
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#3 Patrick Verhey

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 09:38 AM

Hi Rob,

thanks for your answers. I know that I need to do a workshop to get started. And of course a lot of training with the sytem and also for my physics. I think this will be the first step, even before I buy a system.

I had the luck that I was working on the IBC Show in Amsterdam the last week. So I had time to try some rigs the showed there to have at least a feeling what it means. And it was so much fun to fly a big broadcast camera in the exhibition that I´m very very exited to do more.

The point regarding the composition is very important. Actually I do a lot of still photography, also underwater and a friend of mine who is 1st Camera at the WDR, one of the biggest german TV Stations asked why I not work more in that area. He told me that the composition of my photage is very well and that it would be breat for me to work more with camera. That actually the main reason for me to get started in camera business. And as I am working a lighting designer and video compositer for TV shows I have a lot of experience in studio work.

Beside my wish to really start working in this area my main concern is how to get into it. I know that the investment to take is very high, and I´m also aware that 30k ist just the beginning of the list. And this is mainly the reason why I do some research how to get started.

Do you think it will work to take shots with a rig, put them togeteher as an image clip and send them to several producers and companies? Could that be a way to spread? Or should I try to get some low budget work for the beginning just to get a reference list and more experience?

I´m happy about all advises, as I´m very realistic and honest with my self.

Thanks a lot

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