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#1 Iain Marcks

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 02:58 PM

hello, all:

my name's iain. after much deliberation i've decided to sign up the Eastern Classic Workshop in Atlanta this december, with the aim of entering the market as a Steadicam operator around this time next year.

my background is in newscamera operation for CNN Los Angeles, and also as a freelance DP. right now i'm a writer for American Cinematographer Magazine. i'm pysched about becoming a Steadicam operator, and am even using the six months between now and the class to start preparing physically... running, working out, taking acrobatic balance and movement training.

i'm going to put everything i've got into it, which includes learning from the pros around the boards. you'll be seeing more of me around soon!

i've got a question to kick this off:

what's the biggest misconception about Steadicam operating?

i'm looking forward to hearing what you've all got to say.

best,

iain

Edited by Iain, 30 May 2011 - 03:01 PM.

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#2 David M. Aronson

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 09:48 PM

I've actually got a few pieces of advice.
1. It's not something that you can do every once in a while, You need to practice... A LOT!

2. If you use a smaller rig with a smaller camera, It's easier on your body, but harder to keep the camera stable; If you use a bigger rig with a bigger camera, it's harder on your body, but easier to keep the camera stable

3. If the director ever says something along the lines of, " We don't need to put the camera on a tripod for this next shot, you can just hold the camera still on your Steadicam!" Hit him/her over the head with the largest object posible Politely sugest that they put the camera on a tripod, the shot will turn out a lot better. (and then give them a "You must be crazy if you think I'm doing that" look)

4. Avoid bumping into things, people, and large aquatic mammals (small aquatic mammals such as dolphins and platypus are okay)

5. You will spend almost as much as the rig on accessories. It's somehow become agreed upon that Steadicam ops need to supply things like Bartechs (sometimes you need 2-3 for things like iris and zoom), power cables for every camera ever made, wireless video transmitters, batteries, vehicle mounts, more batteries, etc.

6. Have fun doing it. If you don't end the day exhausted, but with a smile on your face, you did something wrong.

Edited by David Aronson, 30 May 2011 - 09:50 PM.

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#3 Amando Crespo

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 06:39 PM

[quote name='Iain' timestamp='1306785492' post='66460']
hello, all:

my name's iain. after much deliberation i've decided to sign up the Eastern Classic Workshop in Atlanta this december, with the aim of entering the market as a Steadicam operator around this time next year.

my background is in newscamera operation for CNN Los Angeles, and also as a freelance DP. right now i'm a writer for American Cinematographer Magazine. i'm pysched about becoming a Steadicam operator, and am even using the six months between now .............................................................................................................................



what's the biggest misconception about Steadicam operating?


Questions, questions, questions... Answers, questions...Moore answers...

You, Mr.lain, have a question...
what's the biggest misconception about Steadicam operating?

..For me, I´ve an easy & quick answer for you:

TRY-IT!.

Yes, try to fly a STEADICAM ... You will find your answer about...what's the biggest misconception about Steadicam operating?

Fly safe!
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#4 Craig Kovatch

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 12:35 AM

Hi Iain.

I'm in the same boat you are. I bought a Zephyr about a month and a half ago and I can say that flying is not what I expected. It's a lot more difficult than I though. I'm already seeing progress after six weeks, but it's a FAR cry from what you see on tv. The biggest misconception? It looks easy.

If you haven't picked it up already, you should get The Steadicam Operators Handbook. One of the ops on here recommended it to me, and it's loaded with info. I'm taking a workshop in Toronto at the end of June, so i'm trying to digest everything I can beforehand.

Good luck!
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#5 William Demeritt

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 12:40 AM

Biggest misconception I've found: moving is difficult, standing still is easy. No joke, I've had productions tell me they don't have anything "too crazy" planned, only to find out they're right. Nothing "too crazy", or too moving, or too couldn't be done on tripod.

Or, nothing "too crazy" involved a long walk around a house, up some crappy wooden stairs (up two flights), and into a bedroom lock-off.

Biggest misconception? Chances are, unless your DP was a Steadicam operator or has used them before, they're going to misconceive how to use you.
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#6 Gus Trivino

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 04:40 AM

Great 6 points David!!! :D
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#7 James Davis

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 07:51 AM

Without a doubt the biggest misconception is that it's easy, or that you can learn it really quickly.
I think you will very quickly come to the realization that 5 months will not be enough time for you to be ready to enter the professional market.
Even if you had all the money required to fully kit yourself out, with a decent rig...all the necessary accessories, the incredibly expensive cables etc etc...I still think you need to be spending time in low-budget/Indie world, so you can really cut your teeth on stuff where the stakes are a lot lower, and where mistakes won't be so critical.
For me personally it took a year of regular training, a workshop, and regular access to a rig before I really felt that I didn't completely suck, and I can honestly say it was only when I started training on a weekly basis around 9 months ago (soon after I bought my first rig), that I really saw the big leaps in improvement that I had hoped for in the beginning.
Now nearly 2.5 years in I am working on I guess what most would call mid-budget jobs, promo's, music videos, corporate etc etc and I am starting to reach a standard that I am happy with, not content...as I am continually critical of my own errors, but I feel I am certainly more competitive as an operator.
The second biggest misconception is that you have to be an ex power-lifter/wrestler/athlete (delete as appropriate) to be good at Steadicam.
Sure good core strength and all round fitness count for a lot.....but good technique and regular training in the rig is irreplaceable.

My two pence.

James

Edited by James Davis, 01 June 2011 - 07:51 AM.

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#8 Iain Marcks

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 11:15 AM

2. If you use a smaller rig with a smaller camera, It's easier on your body, but harder to keep the camera stable; If you use a bigger rig with a bigger camera, it's harder on your body, but easier to keep the camera stable


thanks for the advice! i've been practicing with a smaller rig (the Glidecam X-10 with a Canon 5D) and have been very frustrated with how UNsteady it is.

If you haven't picked it up already, you should get The Steadicam Operators Handbook. One of the ops on here recommended it to me, and it's loaded with info. I'm taking a workshop in Toronto at the end of June, so i'm trying to digest everything I can beforehand.


thanks! just added it to my reading list.

Without a doubt the biggest misconception is that it's easy, or that you can learn it really quickly.
I think you will very quickly come to the realization that 5 months will not be enough time for you to be ready to enter the professional market.
Even if you had all the money required to fully kit yourself out, with a decent rig...all the necessary accessories, the incredibly expensive cables etc etc...I still think you need to be spending time in low-budget/Indie world, so you can really cut your teeth on stuff where the stakes are a lot lower, and where mistakes won't be so critical.


i totally understand this. my plan has always started with indies as a way to help pay off the rig and to build it and my experience. my realistic expectation for “going pro” is more like 2-3 years after working as an indie operator.

thanks to everyone for the helpful feedback!
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#9 David M. Aronson

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 10:48 PM

thanks for the advice! i've been practicing with a smaller rig (the Glidecam X-10 with a Canon 5D) and have been very frustrated with how UNsteady it is.


Glidecams are notoriously crappy. They have a really bad balancing system, the gimbals and arms are really high friction, and they're vests are uncomfortable. (I think I ended up throwing my Glidecam 4000 out of a three story window)
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