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Live TV & Sports Outside Broadcast Operating


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#1 Phil Thomas

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 05:40 AM

Hi,

I'm pretty new to world of Steadicam, I completed a 5 day course in June and I loved it, now just need to get more experience and some jobs!

I was just wondering about operating for the world of live TV (sports and other) and about how operators go about not tiring themselves out. On my course I flew an Archer with a reasonable sized camera for over an hour continuously but with a master I only managed 22 mins, Now for Live TV I guess you'd need a big rig to fly the OB cams and wireless links, does anyone work in OBs, what rig/camera setup do you commonly use? Which brings me onto with the big rig I only lasted 22mins, now I realise that the more you op the stronger your back gets but surely a whole 45min half for football (soccer) plus all the tunnel and celebration bits would be way to much for any operator? So I was wondering if ops dock up at any point and take a rest out of the rig or do they just chuck it in the rest position when the play's at the other end? Is this a conversation you'd have the director/producer first, saying "if you see sky don't worry about it you'll have a shot when the ball comes back".

Lastly I never see assistants/spotters with the ops when the appear in the background of other shots, do they just not bother with them on the live stuff?

It would be useful to have opinions on how this is done from the UK and Europe (where I am) and how this is gone about in America too.

Final thought (this may seem ridiculous) has it ever been known for a Steadicam Op to start off on Steadicam doing all the walk outs onto the pitch etc, dock up and take the arm off leaving the vest on, then operate a static cam for most of the half then re rig just before half/full time to get the walk off and celebrations?

Cheers
Phil
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#2 Chris Callarman

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 11:57 AM

Hi Phil,

I regularly shoot sports TV on a hard/handheld camera, and once in a while on my Steadicam. I rarely do both on the same show, but have done so on occasion. Generally the directors I work with don't want to lose a camera while the Steadicam is working.

I was wondering if ops dock up at any point and take a rest out of the rig or do they just chuck it in the rest position when the play's at the other end? Is this a conversation you'd have the director/producer first, saying "if you see sky don't worry about it you'll have a shot when the ball comes back".

Early on, I learned the hard way that being strapped in and shooting nonstop for hours can wreck your back. Nowadays
I rest as much as possible, but sometimes that can be a challenge on a live show, so yes, talk to the director and explain that even small rest periods (on a stand ideally, but even in the resting position) can keep you from killing yourself. That said, I work for a director once or twice a year who even though I told him what I am doing, thinks I am offering a tilt from the sky when I am resting! LOL, it's always fun racing to get the rig of my shoulder before he comes to me.

I never see assistants/spotters with the ops when the appear in the background of other shots, do they just not bother with them on the live stuff?

I have always had an assistant/utility with me. If you are cabled, you will need someone to pull cable for you. If you are wireless I could see where you could end up by yourself, but that means you will not have anyone to watch your blind side, run for batteries, or grab your stand. So it is doable but not ideal. As far as having an assistant for pulling focus, that has never been an option, nor would I want that because I don't want to give up that control while shooting most live shows. I use a zoom/focus controller attached to my gimble for that.

Cheers.

Edited by Chris Callarman, 07 September 2011 - 12:03 PM.

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#3 Phil Thomas

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 11:16 AM

Thanks for the reply Chris, there's some useful information there. I've been looking at the zoom/focus controllers, there's a lot going there with the zooming and focusing with gimbal hand as well as the rest of the operating.
When you do live stuff do you try and keep your DoF as large as possible by working with the NDs to have the engineers keep you f stops up in the high numbers?
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#4 Rob Vuona SOC

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 01:13 PM

Hey there Phil,
Live work on Steadicam takes two people, tethered or not tethered your still a team. At least over here that's how it is, unlike an AC or focus puller the duty of your assistant / Utility is to coil the cable behind you and keep you out of harms way. I have 3 or 4 guys that I use almost exclusively and I know I can run as fast as I want, head up onto stage and go into a 360 around the subject and I won't have to worry about the cable tripping me, tripping the artist or being seen on camera and they always get a hand on me going up and down the stairs if need be. These are people that are working just as hard as you are and your putting your trust in them, they learn your quirks and make your ability to do your job that much easier. Because of this speciality they get a higher rate than a normal utility.

Zooming and focusing, is another story, you have a few choices out there , the majority of us live guys use the Stanton, it's durability has kept me using it all these years. As for the Depth of field you were talking about, sports is almost always a 5.6 or higher during the event. Entertainment is almost always at a 2.8, needless to say, walking from the back of the house up onto stage into a tight ecu the focus gets tricky.

M2c
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#5 John Perry SOC

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 03:34 PM

Hey Rob,
Did you see your picture on the new Phantom-V Literature that Tiffen is putting out? Classic! ...although I would have gone with the diamond earrings instead ;)
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#6 Rob Vuona SOC

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 04:52 PM

Hey Rob,
Did you see your picture on the new Phantom-V Literature that Tiffen is putting out? Classic! ...although I would have gone with the diamond earrings instead ;)

Dude those pictures where on an hours notice, so they get what they get . . . . .and don't be knocking my earings, your just jealous cause you can't Rock them =}

Say hey to Miss Universe for me she'll be around Darios room later . . . . bahahahahaha
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#7 Rob Vuona SOC

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 05:41 PM

John,
when does your new Phantom-V come in?
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#8 John Perry SOC

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 06:23 PM

Actually Dario was after Ms Ecuador. He taught Merriweather to say "Shut up and drop your pants" in portugese, except Merriweather thought it meant "Have a nice day" He got a few mean looks from the girls ;)

2 of the Phantom V's should be ready in about 2 weeks or so and i'm waiting on the 3rd one. Looks like with a purchase of a Phantom-V they are now including the same return monitor that I have...the 16:9 one.

Also, I spoke with Stanton to see about them making another run of our zoom/focus handles. They are doing the math and will let me know how many we need to order for them to make another run. They though about 10 was the number but will let me know this week. I've already got several guys who would buy another, including me and Freddy. I'm up to 5, so I need a few more guys to commit to buying one. Would you be interested in buying a new one..as a backup at least, since this will probably be our last chance to get one? They will be the same price.
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#9 Rob Vuona SOC

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 06:34 PM

Actually Dario was after Ms Ecuador. He taught Merriweather to say "Shut up and drop your pants" in portugese, except Merriweather thought it meant "Have a nice day" He got a few mean looks from the girls ;)

2 of the Phantom V's should be ready in about 2 weeks or so and i'm waiting on the 3rd one. Looks like with a purchase of a Phantom-V they are now including the same return monitor that I have...the 16:9 one.

Also, I spoke with Stanton to see about them making another run of our zoom/focus handles. They are doing the math and will let me know how many we need to order for them to make another run. They though about 10 was the number but will let me know this week. I've already got several guys who would buy another, including me and Freddy. I'm up to 5, so I need a few more guys to commit to buying one. Would you be interested in buying a new one..as a backup at least, since this will probably be our last chance to get one? They will be the same price.

Nope not me,
I have 3 already . . . .

Is Tiffen/Steadicam making the mountin back for the little 16x9 return monitor ? I still have milled out mine yet

Oh and sorry Phil we shouldn't be conversing on your thread . . .
John email me
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#10 Phil Thomas

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 05:49 AM

Thanks Rob,

Alot of OB units round here run with the Sony HDC-1500 which is obviously a reasonably large camera once you get a wireless unit and everything on it but has anyone shot on Steadicam with a Sony HDC-P1? at only 1.7kg for the body you could stick that on a much lighter rig and wear it for hours on end surely? Any experience with that? It says it's controllable by the same CCU that runs the rest of the HDC series but doesn't seem to have a fiber I/O, so guess it would need some other connectors.

Also anyone tried separating the wireless from your sled using a backpack or attaching it directly to your vest?

Cheers
Phil
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#11 Alfeo Dixon SOC

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 07:44 AM

Dude those pictures where on an hours notice, so they get what they get . . . . .and don't be knocking my earings, your just jealous cause you can't Rock them =}

Hey Rob... nice pic.... but why is the rig taller than you Posted Image
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#12 Alfeo Dixon SOC

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 07:56 AM

I was wondering if ops dock up at any point and take a rest out of the rig or do they just chuck it in the rest position when the play's at the other end? Is this a conversation you'd have the director/producer first, saying "if you see sky don't worry about it you'll have a shot when the ball comes back".

Early on, I learned the hard way that being strapped in and shooting nonstop for hours can wreck your back. Nowadays
I rest as much as possible, but sometimes that can be a challenge on a live show, so yes, talk to the director and explain that even small rest periods (on a stand ideally, but even in the resting position) can keep you from killing yourself. That said, I work for a director once or twice a year who even though I told him what I am doing, thinks I am offering a tilt from the sky when I am resting! LOL, it's always fun racing to get the rig of my shoulder before he comes to me.

Thats funny Chris... I just did a three day (8 - 30min shows) live to tape gig, 2 shows day one and 3 shows day two & three. When I zapped to the end of the lens, to check focus... I would here the director "and take steadicam!" So I'm screaming at the top of my lungs (inside my head voice) Noooooooooo and having to hold the shot... so just make sure that you have bad composition when you check focus! Now, when I would sneak over to the dock, I always went very wide and gave him a perspective that the other cameras didn't, still with good composition and I would here him take my docked rig a few times during the shows.
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#13 Kevin Andrews SOC

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 09:10 AM

Started to dabble in live football and have had the director take my camera almost every time I "offered" the sky during a short rest. Always used two utilities. One loop guy, one corner guy. During the second half, corner guy also becomes the "stand" guy since the legs get weak towards the end. On Steadicam days, I am just the Steadicam guy, and on Ped days, I am just the Ped guy. Can't imagine splitting the two.
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