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operators using an assistant?


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#1 SanderMuller

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 06:26 PM

Calling all ops!

Just wanted to know if any of you are using the helping hand of a steadicam-assistant. Perhaps for building up your rig, putting it in low mode, run like hell to get you youre botlle of water or just for releaving you of some nasty PA tasks.

If you are using an assistant, what quality's do you want them to have?... i can imagine that anticipation is one of many quality's..?!

thanks in advance..... :blink:
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#2 James Puli

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 10:18 PM

Hi Sander and everybody

I am a Specialist Steadicam Assistant as well as being a 1st and 2nd AC based in Melbourne Australia.

Alot of being a Steadicam Assistant is simply knowing the gear. Your assistant must know your system and cases really well and know where you keep all the little things that you might need when working. (if the operator asks for his angled d bracket for example you dont want to be asking where is that again?)

Generally I let the Steadicam Operator I am working with build and balance the system (at least on the first day of the shoot) mainly because every one likes their rig set up differently (drop times, monitor placement, etc). If I havent worked with the operator before I will always arrange a time to check out all their cases and formiliarise myself with their gear, just so theres no suprises. Generally on set I end up pulling focus for the Steadicam anyway, but other Steadicam Assistants can end up not doing too much work during the day. Once the rig is set up and the operator has his/her on set bag or case under their stand with extra batts, drink bottle, plus all the usual bits and pieces its pretty smooth sailing.

Like a clapper loader, a Steadicam assistant is very much a luxary for operators here in Australia, plus most of the focus pullers know their way around the system these days any way.

Would love to hear how this differs to what goes on in the US.

James Puli
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#3 Jason Torbitt

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Posted 05 January 2005 - 03:22 AM

I do like working with an assistant - it can be a two man job at times. The last guy I worked with did a really good job, I'm sure he won't mind me saying so. I prefer to be able to set the rig up myself so I know exactly what is going on. I like to have someone who can guide me when walking backwards, cable bashing where neccessary, and on hand with the water bottle and docking stand when needed!

As you say, anticipation is important - if you are struggling with anything, then having someone at hand who knows what to do to solve the problem is important.

Having a regular assistant, or even being given a dedicated crew member to assist you by the production company, is a luxury as you say. As is finding someone who knows about Steadicam in enough detail.
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#4 Wicked_Chicken

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Posted 05 January 2005 - 04:46 AM

Assistants! Oh yeah. Big time.

I usually always have at least one. I say one because I like to have a guide, then another if they have to pull focus. I thought this was overkill until I had to shoot in an alley full of potholes. It's also nice to have someone to hold the sled once and a while :D
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#5 JobScholtze

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Posted 05 January 2005 - 05:12 AM

It depends. Mostly one, how pulls focus and is also assistant. Like concerts and so. Use 2 when it's a difficult walk to guide me. Building up the rig, i like to do it myself, so i know what's going on. I am working with a puller now, how i think will be my puller forever. Nice chap and knows my way of working. Been to my home for 5 time's to check out the gear and bits and pieces. So he is the one i called first.
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#6 Jeff Muhlstock SOC

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Posted 05 January 2005 - 12:03 PM

Always use an assitant ! Always have someone spoting you ! These are non negotiable items. Obviously, if space is an issue, then fly solo and leave behind your spotter, but never leave home without your focus guy / AC. This is a deal breaker for me. I never work without a focus puller, never, ever ! In fact, I wont even travel without my regular guy. If production doesnt get the importance here, then chances are, the production isnt worth it. I understand this becomes a huge economic choice in TV work, but with HD becoming reality, focus becomes more critical. Once you work alone, you will be expected to work alone always. Look at he big picture here, you will earn greater respect, your work will be better, and you will end up getting better gigs if you stand tall on this issue. Dont let the temptation of just getting the gig, over rule your integrety. Good luck. 15 years later, I still fight and win this battle.

Jeff
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#7 SanderMuller

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Posted 05 January 2005 - 12:32 PM

:) was asking this because of the fact that i want to try and walk "alongside" an experienced operator and learn the fundamentals of steadicam operating in field....

If one of the Dutch or Belgian operators needs an assistant? :rolleyes:
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#8 JobScholtze

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Posted 05 January 2005 - 01:55 PM

Sure man, no problem. Give me a call
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#9 Mark Sayers

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Posted 07 January 2005 - 09:12 AM

:) was asking this because of the fact that i want to try and walk "alongside" an experienced operator and learn the fundamentals of steadicam operating in field....

If one of the Dutch or Belgian operators needs an assistant?  :rolleyes:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I'm looking to do a similar thing in the UK. Any operator looking for an assistant fresh from the Optex course please give me a shout.

Mark Sayers

mrmarksayers@aol.com
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#10 L.Bauer

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 01:53 PM

Hi James,
I am interested in working as an AC in Australia. I've lived in Sydney, but currently I am in the States studying film at Montana State University. Does Melbourne seem to host more of the Australian industry or where do you do most of your work? Is there a large quantity of work in the industry right now? I just have a lot of general questions. Thanks, anything you can tell me is greatly appreciated.
-L.Bauer

Good luck to you Sander.
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