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Rollerbladers?


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#1 Benjamin Joseph Corwin

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 05:42 AM

Hi everyone,

I was curious if anyone has ever heard of any requests for a rollerblading Steadicam operator? I have been shooting action sports on my skates for 12 years now and I feel like rollerblading could have a lot to offer if it was combined with Steadicam. To support my point, in the last few years the X-Games decided that the best way to capture sporting events on the street course was by using a rollerblading camera op to follow the athlete. I have also noticed in several demo reels of Steadicam operators that actors have visibly faked their running speed in order for the Steadicam operator to keep up. I see this especially when they are running face forward with the camera. In this instance, I feel like the speeds you could accomplish with rollerblading without having to increase your leg movement could fix that issue in some cases. I have also noticed how the introduction of the Segway into the Steadicam community has been used as a vehicle to cater to some of these problems. Still though, I feel like the Segway could not be as agile as a skilled rollerblader. Anyway, that's my thoughts. Let me know what you guys think.



P.S. If you would like to see me rollerblading in action, I have a section posted on YouTube here ----->
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#2 Philip J. Martinez SOC

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 08:41 AM

Type rollerblade into the search box in the top right of the page. A lot of stuff comes up about it.
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#3 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 08:56 AM

Yep. I do it all the time. With a full sized rig it has limits but it does allow for a cheap quick and easy leading a running actor shot. With a smaller rig and a mini dv or dslr camera you can actually kick a little ass and fly around with it.

The biggest problem is that you have to be a pretty good skater to even try it and there are not a lot of people that are that good at skating and also operate steadicam.
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#4 RonBaldwin

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 11:51 AM

imho you will never be asked to do a shot with rollerblades while working with professionals on features or tv. I don't do sports events or reality shows so I don't know specifics about those types of shows (though it seems the dp's/directors/producers that do them often don't know the limitations of professional gear or how to budget time to do the shots they are trying to replicate that they just saw in the latest action movie). While I respect and admire the skill it takes and the ops that can do this it is risky for the operator and other people that might get in the way, not to mention the gear. Even running with the rig is usually dangerous and almost always looks like doo-doo anyways. Even on the hands-free the op's attention is split between operating the camera and driving the thing. That being said, I'd still love one.

Riding on anything pushed/pulled/driven by someone else is always the best scenario so you can concentrate on good operating instead of just trying to stay vertical and not die.
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#5 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 12:08 PM

imho you will never be asked to do a shot with rollerblades while working with professionals on features or tv. I don't do sports events or reality shows so I don't know specifics about those types of shows (though it seems the dp's/directors/producers that do them often don't know the limitations of professional gear or how to budget time to do the shots they are trying to replicate that they just saw in the latest action movie). While I respect and admire the skill it takes and the ops that can do this it is risky for the operator and other people that might get in the way, not to mention the gear. Even running with the rig is usually dangerous and almost always looks like doo-doo anyways. Even on the hands-free the op's attention is split between operating the camera and driving the thing. That being said, I'd still love one.

Riding on anything pushed/pulled/driven by someone else is always the best scenario so you can concentrate on good operating instead of just trying to stay vertical and not die.



I agree 2000%
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#6 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 07:53 PM

imho you will never be asked to do a shot with rollerblades while working with professionals on features or tv. I don't do sports events or reality shows so I don't know specifics about those types of shows (though it seems the dp's/directors/producers that do them often don't know the limitations of professional gear or how to budget time to do the shots they are trying to replicate that they just saw in the latest action movie). While I respect and admire the skill it takes and the ops that can do this it is risky for the operator and other people that might get in the way, not to mention the gear. Even running with the rig is usually dangerous and almost always looks like doo-doo anyways. Even on the hands-free the op's attention is split between operating the camera and driving the thing. That being said, I'd still love one.

Riding on anything pushed/pulled/driven by someone else is always the best scenario so you can concentrate on good operating instead of just trying to stay vertical and not die.



imho you will never be asked to do a shot with rollerblades while working with professionals on features or tv. I don't do sports events or reality shows so I don't know specifics about those types of shows (though it seems the dp's/directors/producers that do them often don't know the limitations of professional gear or how to budget time to do the shots they are trying to replicate that they just saw in the latest action movie). While I respect and admire the skill it takes and the ops that can do this it is risky for the operator and other people that might get in the way, not to mention the gear. Even running with the rig is usually dangerous and almost always looks like doo-doo anyways. Even on the hands-free the op's attention is split between operating the camera and driving the thing. That being said, I'd still love one.

Riding on anything pushed/pulled/driven by someone else is always the best scenario so you can concentrate on good operating instead of just trying to stay vertical and not die.



I agree 2000%


um, no.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0004426/

http://www.mikemcgowan.net/

If you can skate really good it's actually safer in some ways than running. And when your doing action, you get asked by some arguably pretty professional people to do all sorts of things.

"Riding on anything pushed/pulled/driven by someone else is USUALLY but not always the best scenario so you can concentrate on good operating instead of just trying to stay vertical and not die."

I agree with most of what you said but this is an artistic as well as a technical medium and there are not really any rules when it comes to art, at least none that can't be broken with some pretty awesome results.
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#7 RonBaldwin

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 08:53 PM

If you think what we do is art...I want some of that koolaide! Like I said I respect the ability to shoot like that, but there's no way you can convince me that there's not a safer/betterway to shoot (maybe not as exciting or as innaccurate though!).
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#8 William Demeritt

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 09:09 PM

I think a lot of the argument over this will be the people who are really strong on rollerblades voicing their confidence that they can do it versus the people who perhaps aren't the best skaters voicing apprehension that anyone is really THAT good.

Perhaps both sides have a point. Why are my own legs and skates any more or less reliable than a Handsfree Transporter in a given situation? Maybe I hit a pebble, or perhaps the transporter can't maneuver around an obstacle as nimbly as I can on skates?

To Mike or other operators who have tried skating while flying, how did you handle finding "the stance" while skating? I've always found the most comfortable position for lockoffs is with feet at an angle, and achieving that while stationary on skates seems easy. However, I would think that after pushing off, if you coast with feet parallel, you're just rolling and the rig is in no position for your legs to hold the weight; just your back.

I'm basically asking how you skate safely while flying the rig? As a soon-to-be owner/operator whose spent more than half of my life on rollerblades, I'm eager to determine how to do this safely, even if I relent using it on set.
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#9 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 09:29 PM

lol, well first, were not arguing, just having a spirited discussion!

like i said above, it's a case specific, person to person situation. doing a back flip on a dirt bike seems like an insane operation to me but to somebody who can pull a double back flip, a single is a piece of cake.

if you happen to be a fantastic rollerblader (i won a state freestyle championship when i was 20), skating with a rig is not much different than walking with one.

there is a national commercial on right now (like literally turn your tv on now to a network, watch for half an hour and you will see the spot) for sonic burger. the spot is 'from where im skating' playing on the fact that the car hops at sonic skate to bring you your food. if you watch the spot, you will see that every single shot is moving a fair distance at a decent speed with skating talent. that spot had a reasonably big name commercial director and dp (and i acknowledge the difference between commercials and features and television) and a big budget. i was flown in and paid a pretty big chunk of money to skate with a steadicam for two days. it was pretty much one of the only ways to shoot that spot and achieve that specific look.

so is it right for everybody, hell know. is it less safe than standing still, yes. is it a good way to shoot 99% of the time, not really. is it a handy skill to have, in my book, yes. i think if you look at the old book by ted churchill, the 'steadicam operators manual' you will see a pair of rollerskates in his kit.
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#10 Brian Freesh

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 10:06 PM

(maybe not as exciting or as innaccurate though!).


Just cause you're always drinking Ron, doesn't mean the rest of us are!
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#11 RonBaldwin

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 10:38 PM

um, no.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0004426/

http://www.mikemcgowan.net/



I didn't check the imdb listing, is there something we should be looking for? I was expecting some balls out running stuff zig-zagging through a crowd or some serious serpentine moves on the reel...which shots required skating? Point deduction for a picture of yourself at the head...but almost makes up for it with the inclusion of a hummer!

and yes Brian...being drunk helps!
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#12 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 10:43 PM

Some great stuff, Mike.

I'm curious if there are any skating shots on the reel?

imho you will never be asked to do a shot with rollerblades while working with professionals on features or tv. I don't do sports events or reality shows so I don't know specifics about those types of shows (though it seems the dp's/directors/producers that do them often don't know the limitations of professional gear or how to budget time to do the shots they are trying to replicate that they just saw in the latest action movie). While I respect and admire the skill it takes and the ops that can do this it is risky for the operator and other people that might get in the way, not to mention the gear. Even running with the rig is usually dangerous and almost always looks like doo-doo anyways. Even on the hands-free the op's attention is split between operating the camera and driving the thing. That being said, I'd still love one.

Riding on anything pushed/pulled/driven by someone else is always the best scenario so you can concentrate on good operating instead of just trying to stay vertical and not die.



imho you will never be asked to do a shot with rollerblades while working with professionals on features or tv. I don't do sports events or reality shows so I don't know specifics about those types of shows (though it seems the dp's/directors/producers that do them often don't know the limitations of professional gear or how to budget time to do the shots they are trying to replicate that they just saw in the latest action movie). While I respect and admire the skill it takes and the ops that can do this it is risky for the operator and other people that might get in the way, not to mention the gear. Even running with the rig is usually dangerous and almost always looks like doo-doo anyways. Even on the hands-free the op's attention is split between operating the camera and driving the thing. That being said, I'd still love one.

Riding on anything pushed/pulled/driven by someone else is always the best scenario so you can concentrate on good operating instead of just trying to stay vertical and not die.



I agree 2000%


um, no.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0004426/

http://www.mikemcgowan.net/

If you can skate really good it's actually safer in some ways than running. And when your doing action, you get asked by some arguably pretty professional people to do all sorts of things.

"Riding on anything pushed/pulled/driven by someone else is USUALLY but not always the best scenario so you can concentrate on good operating instead of just trying to stay vertical and not die."

I agree with most of what you said but this is an artistic as well as a technical medium and there are not really any rules when it comes to art, at least none that can't be broken with some pretty awesome results.


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#13 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 10:55 AM

lol, i was just making an attempt at humor saying, "ive done a big show or two and i was asked to use my rollerblades"

and yes, super cheese on my picture but that is kind of how i roll :D

just checked and not a single rollerblade shot on my current reel. like i said 99% of the time there is a better option but they do come in handy now and again.
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#14 Kevin Andrews SOC

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 11:35 AM

This video was posted a few months back, but it seems a good time to bring it back. It's just all around cool.

7D on Glidecam 2000. Could not imagine doing this with a big rig. Small handheld unit seems ideal for blades because there is much less counterbalance that needs to be done with your body.


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#15 RonBaldwin

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 11:57 AM

This video was posted a few months back, but it seems a good time to bring it back. It's just all around cool.

7D on Glidecam 2000. Could not imagine doing this with a big rig. Small handheld unit seems ideal for blades because there is much less counterbalance that needs to be done with your body.




I missed this one the first time -- very impressive stuff. I totally agree about the small handheld stabilizer being the way to go when moving like this.

Mike, post some of your footage...now I'm all hot and bothered.
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