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To Steadicam or not to?


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#1 jayvitela

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 10:33 AM

Hi All, Here's my story; I've been booked for a major concert at the end of this month as a handheld camera op. I've talked the director into letting me shoot with my steadicam, he agreed as long as we don?t mess with the integrity of the show. Here is my dilemma, we're not sure if I'll be able to get on stage or shoot from down front (awaiting artist production manager). I've shot many concerts as a handheld guy and know the great shots I can get being handheld however, I'm not sure I can get the close ups with a steadicam. If I'm not allowed to shoot on stage and get stuck shooting from down front then I think I'll use the steadicam, if I can shoot on stage then I'll go with the handheld. Comments please.
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#2 Brad Hruboska

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 10:54 AM

You'll find that the low angles are somewhat unflattering, and with the steadicam they are looking for that motion when they cut you in , otherwise there's really little point. Zoomed in its tough to follow a performer and pull focus remotely. I have one or two assitants who can really do it, and I try and get them on the preston whenever possible. On stage, The steadicam its like the jib/crane, it can obliterate other shots, so if your cut into program, make a move , and you gotta do it clean and get out, cuz theres no cover, its not as discrete as a blacked out op with a dark camera in the wings, or in the pit. It can bea challenge in the pit to with kids grabbing at youor gear , falling on yoou , I did Systenm of ADown which is a reall rowdy crowd and they grabbed handfulls of whatver they could, broke the jib, grabbed cables... fell on the operators stage diving, mosh surfing,my spotter was quick though we dodged most of the falling kids...
try to be invisible....like ninja. :ph34r:
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#3 jayvitela

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 11:21 AM

It a "Tim McGraw" concert at Minute Maid Park, so I don?t have to worry much about the mosh pit, and I don?t think there going to let anyone on the field. I'd love to use the steadicam which would look great on my resume however, I'm all about great shots.
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#4 Nikk Hearn-Sutton SOC

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Posted 21 January 2004 - 01:00 PM

Brodo's right. If your in the pit the only thing that you can do is dolly side to side. Now if you're on stage I can see nice orbits going to fro Mcgraw coming from the sides "Just Like A NINJA.....WHAJAWOHHH" and abig concideration is how much room will you have if you do use your rig <_< But besides that the shots would just static
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#5 PatrickvanWeeren

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 02:07 PM

Don't do steadicam for your resume;
Do it for the quality of the production!!!


A director and producer will not give you more "credit" when your steadicam work didn't add to the show. (practice on student films etc. ) When you're a good hand-held, don't spoil the relationship. Always be shure to have a proper reason for the steadicam. Discuss with the director about specific features , shots, movements before the rehearsal day.

The director(s) will appreciate the quality more than the trouble. Think from his/her point of view...

By the way; get yourself a focus puller for close-ups etc.
better pics and gives your brain some extra spare time to operate properly!

Good-luck


Patrick van Weeren
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#6 Erwin Landau

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Posted 27 January 2004 - 01:30 AM

A director and producer will not give you more "credit" when your steadicam work didn't add to the show. (practice on student films etc. )


It's very easy to turn off a DP or a Director to use Steadicam.
I spend a week on a feature (because the Producer wanted me) just sitting around as the DP didn't wanted to use Steadicam, because his past experience were very bad... He came up with new ways of avoiding Steadicam at all cost until he ran out of excuses to the Producer, that was actually paying me NOT to sit around.

He had to use me and it seams that I restored the picture of the Steadicam and he is calling me back since then...

What's my point?

Only do jobs, that you are absolutely sure you can handle... It's very easy to get on somebodies shit-list that will never hire you again... Also don't burn any bridges with old employers...

Makes sence? Good Luck!
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#7 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 27 January 2004 - 05:26 PM

Hi,

I would beg to differ on the "old employers" thing. Old employers who book you one day before a job, swear at you, don't feed you, work you eighteen hours then don't pay you can be told where to get off. Unfortunately this entirely describes the Steadicam experience if you're not Erwin Landau!

Phil
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#8 Bryan Trieb SOC

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Posted 27 January 2004 - 11:12 PM

Call me crazy but I've never tried to shmooze a director into using my steadicam on a concert once I've been booked either as handheld or jib...or whatever. In my experience if the director / producer doesn't have a steadicam in mind when in pre-production then there's probably a reason. Limited space or hiding space on stage...or no room in the pit...etc.
I would also agree with Patrick....we all know the importance of sometimes just doing what's asked....and do it very well...and not spoil any business relationships.
You don't want to acquire the label as the great handheld op who keeps breaking the director's balls to use the rig before a big show...ya know?
If you do end up using your rig....best of luck...and be all over the staging/carp crew to make sure your pathways are as clean as possible.

Cheers!

Bryan
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#9 Erwin Landau

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Posted 28 January 2004 - 07:37 AM

Unfortunately this entirely describes the Steadicam experience if you're not Erwin Landau!



Ooooooooh, Somebody needs a hug....
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#10 jayvitela

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Posted 28 January 2004 - 04:26 PM

Thanks All for your input; I would not ever jeopardize the integrity of a show for my benefit. I'm a great hand held camera op and don?t want to loose that reputation either, I'll let you all know how it turns out. Anyone have a request from Tim? Other than his good-looking wife!
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#11 AdamKeith

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Posted 28 January 2004 - 10:42 PM

If you end up on stage the director need to let you finish your move and go to a camera that allows you to walk off with out crossing the camera thats on the air.

Adam Keith
Q Video Services, Inc.
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#12 jayvitela

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 11:21 AM

got it , thanks
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#13 MattB

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Posted 30 January 2004 - 08:33 PM

Good luck with whatever you decide but there are a couple of things to think about that I don't think anybody mentioned. First, if it's a multi-camera shoot (and I assume it is) make sure production is using triax cables. I've been able to avoid those lovely, large multi-pin cables when doing Steadicam. Second, get or make a tally light relay so you can see when your online. It's very easy to not hear the director giving you the all clear when you're 6-inches from a guitar amp rack. Since you will possibly be on stage make sure you have ear plugs along.

Hey, if you need another camera op on this show send me an email.

Matt
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#14 Bryan Trieb SOC

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Posted 30 January 2004 - 10:51 PM

Good point Matt......hey, doesn't Peter have some tally lights for sale at a good price?......
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#15 jayvitela

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 06:45 PM

Well, we decided to go hand held. All went well, Tim says hi, just kidding!!

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