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Workshop w/ Curt Schaller & the Artemis


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#1 Dean Smollar

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 09:36 PM

Hey guys!

This weekend, the Createasphere Expo hosted a 3 day workshop with Curt Schaller, who I figure you guys know is the inventor of Sachtler's Artemis line of stabilizers and who is an incredibly amazing operator. I did my first real workshop almost a year ago when I got the new rig, and even though I've practiced almost every day since then, I know there's only so much I can do by myself. That's why I was so happy when, through a couple of lucky circumstances, I was able to get a seat in Curt's workshop in Burbank.

There were about a dozen people in the class, pretty much all of whom were union cam ops or AC's. Also, I met an awesome steadicam operator named Tony Foresta, who I think was there to check out the gear. The guys (and one girl) in the class have all had lots of experience in the industry, so it was really cool listening to their stories and the advice that they had to give for a kid like me who's only been in LA for about a year. It was kinda cool that, towards the end of the workshop, many of them asked for my card. I took it as a sign of respect for my operating abilities (or at least my work ethic).

Curt was a great teacher. I came into this workshop expecting at least half of it to be a sales pitch for his gear, but that was not the case. He really focused on the craft of operating with all of us, and gave us a lot of individualized instruction over the 3 days. When I told him I had my own rig, he told me to go get it; I ended up spending equal time in both his rigs and mine. One of the guys brought in a Steadicam Pilot and Curt gladly worked with him on that rig too. He wanted to make us better regardless of what we flew or would end up flying.

He brought 4 rigs with him: 2 Artemis EFP's with slightly different configurations, 1 Cine HD and a prototype rig with a 1.8in. post that won't be on the market until december. I thought his rigs were really cool, and they flew well, but I won't be doing any reviews of the gear except to say that I felt really comfortable even in his biggest rig.

Okay, I lied, I will make one review: his vest is AWESOME. It's the most comfortable, form-fitting vest I've ever put on. Curt originally designed it because he was too small to fit in what he called "American vests," and he made it so customizable that it can fit most anyone. There's a great picture that was taken at the workshop of me in his vest (5'11", 260 lbs.) standing next to a guy in the class who was about 5 in. shorter and probably 100 lbs. less than me, and they both fit us great (I did need to extend some portions though :P) He showed us pictures of a tiny Japanese girl who demos his rigs in Japan, and an almost 7 ft. European operator who is a popular op for soccer because he can take one step for every three the players take.

He spent a good portion of one of the days talking about dynamic balance and the mechanics behind it, and he set out trying to teach us how to achieve it. Naturally, we didn't, but it was still a great learning experience. He also made a couple of suggestions about quick adjustments to my rig to improve my chances of achieving dynamic balance. I've been trying them out since, and my whip pans have gotten better.

Another thing he really worked on with me was my footwork, specifically "the switch" and getting me to avoid crossing my feet. At first I was struggling to understand why I couldn't get it without tripping myself up. I was getting frustrated, and I took off my rig for a few minutes, and when I went back to it, I got it in 2 tries. Curt said, "Beautiful! You get an A+" which was hillarious. I kept at it for another 20 minutes just to try and imprint it into my brain.

We got to play around with some fun stuff as well. He busted out a C-Motion digital system wireless follow focus and hooked it up to one of the RED cams we were flying, so for some of the exercises we had another person pulling focus. It was a good opportunity to feel what would happen to a rig when you pull focus on a lens that breathes. Also, Tony brought in a Model One for a little history lesson, and we watched a bunch of clips from some legendary operators (and a great clip of an epic steadicam fail on the british version of Big Brother). He even showed a little bit of Russian Ark, which is amazing to watch (although a bit tedious).

After it was over (and we all had exchanged cards), I sent a big thank you email to the people who helped me get into the workshop. I really think I've improved tenfold from working with Curt, and I'm grateful to have gotten the opportunity to work with him.

Dean

PS: I'm working on getting some pics from the workshop to post
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#2 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 11:22 PM

Remind us again what he's "invented"
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#3 Dean Smollar

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 11:51 PM

Remind us again what he's "invented"


Apparently he's got about 5 or 6 patents out on stuff in his gear, mostly related to the vest and the bottom stage of his sleds. Like I said though, I'm not really talking about the gear, just the training. I apologize for the improper choice of words. I should have said "creator" instead of "inventor."
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#4 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 12:34 AM

Remind us again what he's "invented"


Apparently he's got about 5 or 6 patents out on stuff in his gear, mostly related to the vest and the bottom stage of his sleds.



Again, for what?
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#5 Jens Piotrowski SOC

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 12:53 AM

Remind us again what he's "invented"


Apparently he's got about 5 or 6 patents out on stuff in his gear, mostly related to the vest and the bottom stage of his sleds.



Again, for what?


Hi Eric,

he indeed carries a couple of patents for his improvements, like the patented „dual dynamic balance“ at the lower sled, both batteries front and aft are moving independently among other things. Now "used" by Tiffen.

BTW, The new rig features another first, a keyed! carbon fiber inner post. Eric?

Again, just like everybody who came after Garrett, not reinventing but improving.......

Best,

Jens
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#6 Dean Smollar

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 01:01 AM

Remind us again what he's "invented"


Apparently he's got about 5 or 6 patents out on stuff in his gear, mostly related to the vest and the bottom stage of his sleds.



Again, for what?


Hi Eric,

he indeed carries a couple of patents for his improvements, like the patented „dual dynamic balance“ at the lower sled, both batteries front and aft are moving independently among other things. Now used by Tiffen.

BTW, The new rig features another first, a keyed! carbon fiber inner post.

Again, just like everybody who came after Garret, not reinventing but improving.......

Best,

Jens


Thanks Jens, there's no way I would have been able to answer that question well :) I just heard he was a great operator and that he'd work with me on my own rig. Now I'm just gonna start saving for the week long SOA workshop!
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#7 Pedro Guimaraes SOC

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 01:23 AM

the keyed post on the new cine is a great feature...I checked it out a cinegear....also the hotswap on the battery stage.....

my .02 cents
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#8 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 01:28 AM

the keyed post on the new cine is a great feature...I checked it out a cinegear....also the hotswap on the battery stage.....

my .02 cents



Hotswap has been around for a LOOOOONG time, XCS has had it since day one
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#9 Janice Arthur

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 07:05 AM

Dean;

So glad you had a great time. If this is your second workshop and then you're on your way and I'm not sure you need a third workshop.

Time to fly young man! (Literally.)

I have lots to say about your information about the workshop but others are covering big parts of it. The Steadicam Op. Association has had this model for thirty years and leaders just focus on Steadicam, and its accessories, hopefully yours was the same.

I did look at part of Curt's website briefly and the names are great on the credits.

Good luck Dean and you can have my business card any time you want it.

JA
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#10 Jens Piotrowski SOC

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 10:17 AM

the keyed post on the new cine is a great feature...I checked it out a cinegear....also the hotswap on the battery stage.....

my .02 cents



Hotswap has been around for a LOOOOONG time, XCS has had it since day one



HOT SWAP, agreed nothing new, still nice to have.....BTW, Sachtler is a sister company of Anton Bauer. Vitec is their parent.
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#11 RonBaldwin

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 10:59 AM

Not sure what the big deal about it is...can't any rig with multiple batteries do a hot swap? I did it on my pro1 since before some of you were born and have been doing it on my pro2 more recently (there are multiple routing blocks that come with the sled to do this with batts in different positions).

having front/rear bats that move independently of each other is a great feature -- I have rigged a way of doing it on my pro but I wish the sled could do it out of the box.
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#12 Jordan Hristov

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 11:01 AM

It smells like there maybe Lisigav involved.

Edited by Jordan Hristov, 04 November 2010 - 11:04 AM.

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#13 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 12:56 PM

"The new rig features another first, a keyed! carbon fiber inner post."

I assume by keyed, you mean a slit or grove cut into the inner post. If that is the case, it is an invitation for colossal failure when it comes to carbon fiber. If you just mean printed lines, XCS has been doing that for years.
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#14 Rich Cottrell

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 02:15 PM

One think I first saw on a artemis rig was a monitor bracket that not only telescoped but also tilted.
inovation or invention?

I could be wrong...
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#15 Rich Cottrell

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 02:17 PM

One thing I first saw on a artemis rig was a monitor bracket that not only telescoped but also tilted.
inovation or invention?

I could be wrong... maybe they were not first... but I think they offered that feature first.
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