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#1 Rick Tullis

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 08:10 AM

Are there any tricks to holding a locked off shot in the style Matias Mesa's amazing work in "Elephant"? Is there someway to brace the sled without getting a bump when you unbrace it and start to move it?

Cheers,

Rick Tullis
Beijing
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#2 Brian Freesh

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 01:26 AM

Sounds like you're trying to over control it. Remember that it wants to be steady. Set the headroom and the boom height, and don't touch the sled. All of my lock-offs are done by essentially letting go with my left had (right hand if I was goofy). Naturally you should also be careful about swaying your body. If you are breathing heavily, becareful that you aren't introducing motion into your right (left if goofy) hand that could shift the sled to and fro.
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#3 Alfeo Dixon SOC

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 11:14 AM

as in martial arts... a solid and balanced stance will help. If you move, the frame moves.
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#4 Charles Papert

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 11:58 AM

Sounds like you're trying to over control it. Remember that it wants to be steady. Set the headroom and the boom height, and don't touch the sled. All of my lock-offs are done by essentially letting go with my left had (right hand if I was goofy).


Brian, that's a sort of dangerous way to put it--think about someone taking that literally, and removing their hand from the post entirely. Yes, you qualified this with "essentially", but it's easy to misinterpret this,. We don't let go on lockoffs, we minimize our influence on the rig to as little as possible to keep it stationary. Trimming for headroom is great but a given shot may have dozens of lockoffs, all at slightly different degrees of tilt so it's likely that some sort of operator feedback is going to be required for most shots.

Rick, the "trick" is, like so many aspects of Steadicam, practice. Over a long period time, your "human feedback" system learns what it takes to make solid lockoffs. It's important to find the right degree of bottom-heaviness, but there is no one exact measurement as the preference varies amongst operators.
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#5 Brian Freesh

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 12:47 PM

I don't know what you're talking about, Charles. I let go, wipe my forehead, grab a drink and chug it, fist bump my awesome AC, then make a couple phone calls regarding my next gig before putting my hand back to the post to continue the shot!

Doesn't everybody?

But seriously, thanks for the clarification, Charles. You are right that I was probably too vague. And frankly, the past week I have been having a lot of people misunderstand my statements, so it is likely me, and I likely did whatever I'm doing wrong in that post.
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#6 Ants Martin Vahur

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 02:27 AM

Hi, Rick an others!

As Charles said- practice. And I also add- more practice.

But firstly I would get the definitions straight..
I would call a "lock off" something that is a situation when you need to keep the frame static for a longer period of time.
I would call the situation you described a "starting and stopping the move". Totally? two different things.
For a latter one it is more important the operting hand work. How you affect the sled when it wants to be inert- wants to keep being static when you start the move, or wants to keep moving when you want to stop the sled. Obviously the issue is the "swinging" effect, because 99,9% of the times your sled will be bottom heavy to a any certain extent.

For a good "lock off"'s I would say the most important is the position of your feet and body- like in boxing. If you come to a lock off and realize that your feet are 3feet behind the sled and the actors still need to deliver 1,5 pages of dialogue, then you've made your life very hard.. :) Been there..

So.. to avoid swinging- practice your operating hand (left hand in regular mode) and for good "lock off"'s- take a boxing lessons.. No.. joke.. :) Just try to get your body position right, but try do that before the sled comes to a full stop. See Jerry Holway's "Steadicam Operators Handbook" for proper postures.

All the best!
Hope I could help
Ants Martin Vahur
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#7 Rick Tullis

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 10:44 PM

Hi All,

First, thanks for the advice. I'm always amazed at the wonderful people (particularly you Charles, and of course, Larry and Jerry) who care enough to take the time share their hard earned expertise with others. Thanks to people like you, I can make it that I appear that I almost know what I'm doing.

Back to the topic.

I think I should have put more emphasis on what was meant to be the key word in my original post. "Tricks".

Besides normal operating techniques, has anybody found anything else works to help lock off a camera?

For instance, in the past I have played with resting my left elbow on the top of my docking stand for a lock off and then easing my elbow off of the stand when I want to move. Very stable, but a bit tricky to get off of the stand smoothly. (I used my docking stand because that was the only thing I had with me that would let me adjust it's height to give me best advantage.)

In a steadicam community that championed great innovators like Steve Marts, someone must have come up with something like this.

Or I am just crazy?

Rick Tullis
Sanya, Hainan Island, China
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#8 Rick Tullis

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 10:48 PM

(I had a typo in the first version of this post. Sorry)

Hi All,

First, thanks for the advice. I'm always amazed at the wonderful people (particularly you Charles, and of course, Larry and Jerry) who care enough to take the time share their hard earned expertise with others. Thanks to people like you, I can make it appear that I almost know what I'm doing.

Back to the topic.

I think I should have put more emphasis on what was meant to be the key word in my original post. "Tricks".

Besides normal operating techniques, has anybody found anything else works to help lock off a camera?

For instance, in the past I have played with resting my left elbow on the top of my docking stand for a lock off and then easing my elbow off of the stand when I want to move. Very stable, but a bit tricky to get off of the stand smoothly. (I used my docking stand because that was the only thing I had with me that would let me adjust it's height to give me best advantage.)

In a steadicam community that championed great innovators like Steve Marts, someone must have come up with something like this.

Or I am just crazy?

Rick Tullis
Sanya, Hainan Island, China
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