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#1 Jake Bulgarino

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 12:01 AM

Hello Everyone,

I have been thinking long and hard and have decided I want to become a Steadicam operator. Currently I own a Panasonic HVX200 with a Lettus lens kit am trying to figure out which steadicam I should invest in.

Will the Pilot not be able to handle that weight? Do any of you use similar rigs (lens adapters)? Right now I am up in the air between the Pilot and the Flyer and am trying to figure out which is more suitable. Other than weight capabilities is there any advantages of getting the Flyer instead of the Pilot. There is quite a price difference between the two.

Also there is a 5 day course coming up soon and was wondering if you all think this will help excel the learning curve with a steadicam and if it is worth the money.

Also what kind of rates do you guys charge?

Any other tips you guys have for me getting up to speed would be appreciated. Thanks for your time!


Jake
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#2 Thomas K. Jensen

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 01:34 AM

Hello Jake.
And congratulations on your decision on becoming a Steadicam operator...

I have been doing Steadicam work - not full time - for about 2 years and started out just training on my own - looking through the internet, getting all the info i could get from the guys in the game. But it only started make sense after I took the 6 day Steadicam Workshop in December in Atlanta.

I started out with a knock off stabilizer. And I think I would have chosen differently if I knew how much difference in quality there were. No doubt that Tiffens rigs are much better in quality than the one I got. But also more expensive.
And I would also have taken the workshop long before if I knew how much it payed off.

If I were in your shoes - I would start out with one of the 6 day workshops - and there you get to try out the big rigs as well as the Flyer/pilot. And not to mention, talk to the instructors, who are very experienced, and are able to answer your questions.

In my opinion, the Flyer LE is the best rig for the HVX200 with all accessories.
It handles up to 19 lb camera load.

Hope this helps you.
And welcome to the Steadicam forum

Thomas :-)
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#3 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 02:41 AM

Also what kind of rates do you guys charge?


As Much as we can
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#4 Jake Bulgarino

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 02:43 AM

Also what kind of rates do you guys charge?


As Much as we can



brilliant!
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#5 Philip J. Martinez SOC

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 07:10 AM

Hi Jake,

Take a workshop. The week long one is the best however the 2 day Flyer/Pilot workshop with Peter it GREAT!! If you are buying a smaller rig the $2,000.00 that you don't spend on the workshop could go to your new rig



I would buy the NEW Zephyr from steadicam! Looks likeboth the battery and monitor can be adjusted for balance. Of course the Flyer LEcan be balanced properly but this new one looks like it is better. I think you are past the weight limit of the Pilot.



Rates:

That’s a tricky question.



Charge at least 2x as much as you have been charging without the steadicam.



Call a local rental house. Ask what percentage of the purchaseprice they charge for a rental day on a camera. Then use that formula.



Good Luck!




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#6 Simon Wyndham

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 07:59 AM

The Steadicam courses are worth every penny. Don't even consider buying a rig until you have taken one. A five dayer might be a bit much for starting out, mainly because if you put on a rig and hate it you have to go through the full thing. That's the thing with Steadicam, a lot of people have an interest in taking it up, but then sometimes find that it really isn't for them. Some even find that they hate wearing a rig.

So definitely take a course of some kind. You'll also get to see what the best rig for you is and get to try it first hand.

Charge at least 2x as much as you have been charging without the steadicam


As long as the skills are there.

Edited by Simon Wyndham, 13 April 2010 - 08:00 AM.

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#7 Jake Bulgarino

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 10:35 AM

Hi Jake,

Take a workshop. The week long one is the best however the 2 day Flyer/Pilot workshop with Peter it GREAT!! If you are buying a smaller rig the $2,000.00 that you don't spend on the workshop could go to your new rig



I would buy the NEW Zephyr from steadicam! Looks likeboth the battery and monitor can be adjusted for balance. Of course the Flyer LEcan be balanced properly but this new one looks like it is better. I think you are past the weight limit of the Pilot.



Rates:

That’s a tricky question.


Yea I dont see why I would hate it. It seems like a blast but you never know. I wanted to take a two day class and just pay $500 but the one coming up is sold out and I have no idea how long till the next one is coming up. I would like to get started as soon as possible.

Yea I checked out the Zephry but no prices yet.

Thanks for your input.


Charge at least 2x as much as you have been charging without the steadicam.



Call a local rental house. Ask what percentage of the purchaseprice they charge for a rental day on a camera. Then use that formula.



Good Luck!


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#8 Jake Bulgarino

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 10:36 AM

Hello Jake.
And congratulations on your decision on becoming a Steadicam operator...

I have been doing Steadicam work - not full time - for about 2 years and started out just training on my own - looking through the internet, getting all the info i could get from the guys in the game. But it only started make sense after I took the 6 day Steadicam Workshop in December in Atlanta.

I started out with a knock off stabilizer. And I think I would have chosen differently if I knew how much difference in quality there were. No doubt that Tiffens rigs are much better in quality than the one I got. But also more expensive.
And I would also have taken the workshop long before if I knew how much it payed off.

If I were in your shoes - I would start out with one of the 6 day workshops - and there you get to try out the big rigs as well as the Flyer/pilot. And not to mention, talk to the instructors, who are very experienced, and are able to answer your questions.

In my opinion, the Flyer LE is the best rig for the HVX200 with all accessories.
It handles up to 19 lb camera load.

Hope this helps you.
And welcome to the Steadicam forum

Thomas :-)



Thanks for your help.
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#9 Andrew Stone

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 02:25 PM

A five dayer might be a bit much for starting out, mainly because if you put on a rig and hate it you have to go through the full thing. That's the thing with Steadicam, a lot of people have an interest in taking it up, but then sometimes find that it really isn't for them. Some even find that they hate wearing a rig.


I would agree with this Simon, if in the 2 day workshops they give the students the opportunity to try on full size rigs weighted up as they would be on a set. Of course they do this in the longer workshops.

If it is the original poster's intention to stay with the smaller rigs and use only small prosumer cameras then fine. He did state he wanted to be a Steadicam Operator this would infer using the big rigs eventually so he should find out in a meaningful way what he is getting into in terms of the physical, technical and artistic demand as well as the amount of money he will have to drop in order to be a real player in the biz.

I know Peter can cover a lot of ground in 2 days but the few grand invested for the longer course will pay dividends regardless of whether or not he chooses to pursue it. In other words, it could save him 10's of thousands of dollars right at the start, if he knows what he is really getting into.

-Andrew
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#10 Simon Wyndham

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 05:46 PM

Andrew, I agree with you 100%. The course I did was three days with Robin. I didn't realise that it was mainly only 2 days or 5 now. I'm in no way an expert at any of this, but one reason I suggested what I did was because sometimes people think they want to become SC operators with no prior experience in any shape or form. Luckily I had brief experience beforehand as to what would be involved. But putting on an Ultra rig is a shock even as a basic setup. Some people realise that they really hate it. To pay for a full length course when they have no idea what it is like to even supprt a rig even just standing there, let alone operating around a set might be a shock to the system enough.

My own personal suggestion would be, even if this costs more, to take a short course, decide if you like it, get a rig or practise in whatever means you have access to, then take a longer course.

I view Steadicam very much in the same way as martial arts. You need to be taught the base, VERY base techniques. Then you need to work on them over and over again (the stage I am at). Then once you can fully relate those base techniques and fully understand them take on a more complex course. I do a martial art called Wing Chun. It is very very simple in appearance. But in practice it isn't. However once you understand and can apply the very basic footwork, weight positioning, and angling, you are in good stead to learn the rest. If you try to take it in all in one go there will be problems. That's the angle I take with Steadicam.

Of course I accept that I am really a total novice at all of this as far as Steadicam goes, so I don't want to tread on toes. But I do understand physical learning as a result of 15 years of teaching people how to coordinate. A little often is a lot better than a lot all in one go. And it does take time. Your body has to adjust.
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#11 Nicholas Davidoff

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 10:00 PM

Also what kind of rates do you guys charge?


As Much as we can


If you're in a big city, your first couple years you'll have to pay people to hire you.
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#12 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 10:20 PM

Also what kind of rates do you guys charge?


As Much as we can


If you're in a big city, your first couple years you'll have to pay people to hire you.



That's pretty much my point, asking what rates are is a question with no answers. My rates are different from yours due to the projects I'm on and my experience. Your rates are different from Jakes, Etc etc
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#13 Michael Sutton

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 08:12 PM

As an operator having owned a Master Series, an EFP, a 3A, a Pilot, and a Flyer LE if I was to make a choice today (with budgetary concerns and the current crop of cameras used in production) I would look seriously look at the new Zephyr and the Archer2 if thinking of becoming a professional. Keep in mind you will need to keep some money set aside for a Wireless Follow focus system, Rods, bracketry, cables, a wireless video transmitter, plates, Velcro, down time between gigs (if necessary to pay the rent, lease, etc) a gym membership and your Chiropractors bills.

Mike
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#14 Jake Bulgarino

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 02:20 AM

As an operator having owned a Master Series, an EFP, a 3A, a Pilot, and a Flyer LE if I was to make a choice today (with budgetary concerns and the current crop of cameras used in production) I would look seriously look at the new Zephyr and the Archer2 if thinking of becoming a professional. Keep in mind you will need to keep some money set aside for a Wireless Follow focus system, Rods, bracketry, cables, a wireless video transmitter, plates, Velcro, down time between gigs (if necessary to pay the rent, lease, etc) a gym membership and your Chiropractors bills.

Mike



Hey Mike,

Thanks for the response. Well Fortunately I have the gym thing down I stay pretty active. Thanks for your advice it is very much appreciated. If you had to ballpark how much do I need to put away for accessories. Yea I dont think I am going to buy until I can get a class under my belt so until one opens up I will be waiting.(Gives me some extra time to save) Yea I own a panasonic HVX200 not but have the feeling I will be upgrading in the next 2 years. Thanks again!

Jake
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#15 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 04:18 AM

As an operator having owned a Master Series, an EFP, a 3A, a Pilot, and a Flyer LE if I was to make a choice today (with budgetary concerns and the current crop of cameras used in production) I would look seriously look at the new Zephyr and the Archer2 if thinking of becoming a professional. Keep in mind you will need to keep some money set aside for a Wireless Follow focus system, Rods, bracketry, cables, a wireless video transmitter, plates, Velcro, down time between gigs (if necessary to pay the rent, lease, etc) a gym membership and your Chiropractors bills.

Mike


Hey Mike,

Thanks for the response. Well Fortunately I have the gym thing down I stay pretty active. Thanks for your advice it is very much appreciated. If you had to ballpark how much do I need to put away for accessories. Yea I dont think I am going to buy until I can get a class under my belt so until one opens up I will be waiting.(Gives me some extra time to save) Yea I own a panasonic HVX200 not but have the feeling I will be upgrading in the next 2 years. Thanks again!



Well just as a point of reference I have over $13,000 of cables.... JUST Cables...
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