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Is it too early?


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#1 Marcella Krings

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 06:28 PM

Hello everyone!

My name's Marcella, I'm 17 years old and from Germany.

I've been interested in Steadicams for about one or two years now (depending on how you define "being interested in something").
I consider going into film business as camerawoman or Steadicam operator later, but I'm not totally sure yet whether or not it really is the right thing for me. I love filming things with my group of friends (we make live shows and stream them on the internet or in our local TV), it's nothing "big" though.
Whatever, I've got to finish school first anyway. I still got two years to go.

When I first came into contact with Steadicams they caught my interest right away and during the last months I've been thinking about buying one. It doesn't have to be a big one. I’ve come to the conclusion a Pilot would be the right choice for me.
I have only once tried the Glidecam of a friend before (the vest was too big for me though, it didn’t fit properly and hurt after a while). I still loved every minute of it.

Anyway, do you think it might be too early for me to get a Steadicam with my 17 years? Should I save the money for when I’m older and more experienced in filming and get a big rig then?
Or do you think it’s a good time getting one now and starting practice earlier?
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#2 Osvaldo Silvera SOC

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 07:05 PM

Hello,
Read the Steadicam book by Jerry Holway and also get the DVD from Tiffen about the EFP with Ted Churchill and Jerry Holway. This will give you tons of information which is useful with every type of stabilizer. Then you will hopefully know if you should go out and take a course before buying a rig. If you want to buy something to play around with, grab a Merlin, not the whole thing, just the handheld portion, to fill your time with the small cameras while you learn more. Good luck
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#3 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 09:17 PM

Anyway, do you think it might be too early for me to get a Steadicam with my 17 years? Should I save the money for when I’m older and more experienced in filming and get a big rig then? Or do you think it’s a good time getting one now and starting practice earlier?



Read the Steadicam book by Jerry Holway and also get the DVD from Tiffen about the EFP with Ted Churchill and Jerry Holway. This will give you tons of information which is useful with every type of stabilizer. Then you will hopefully know if you should go out and take a course before buying a rig. If you want to buy something to play around with, grab a Merlin, not the whole thing, just the handheld portion, to fill your time with the small cameras while you learn more. Good luck


And I don't agree with that.

There is so much more to being a steadicam operator than being able to sling the rig around. Jerrys book won't help you and neither will the DVD. We should be first and foremost OPERATORS, Story tellers, Friend of the Editor, The DP's conscience, the Directors inner voice and the confidants of the actors. That only comes with life experience and unfortunately at 17 you need more of that. You need to go to school to learn the rules so you can break them later when the scene calls for it. You need to have relationships to understand what an actor may be trying to convey

Learn to be an operator first then worry about steadicam.
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#4 RonBaldwin

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 09:19 PM

Eric forgot the ability to woo extras and stand-ins...need a few more years of chops for that
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#5 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 09:31 PM

Eric forgot the ability to woo extras and stand-ins...need a few more years of chops for that



That one goes with out saying
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#6 Lars Erik

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 02:02 AM

Hi Marcella,

Welcome to the forum. Great to hear that someone as young as you show an interest in Steadicam.

I think Eric's post is spot on. There is so much going on in the front of the lens in addition to operating, that one should usually be a seasoned operator before embarking on Steadicam.

But maybe you could contact some of the German ops on this forum. Perhaps they could let you assist them a few days? This would allow you to
get a more hands-on experience and see if this is something for you.

Good luck!

All the best
LE
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#7 Stefano Ben

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 08:57 AM

Finally, Lars Erik said the right words. No one said: "Hi!" or... "Welcome and enjoy our family!"

So... Hi Marcella. Welcome! You are in the right place to know what you need to know.

Like LE said, be honest and contact some operators close to you for have a first Set experience such assistant or "stand carrier"

Then,

have a steadicam workshop,
rent a rig,
trying yourself,
read books, manuals,
watch dvds, film

but... first of all... as soon as possible, be on a Set!

There you will understand so many things that no one book or manual can teaching you!

Remember... "There's no other way to learn the carpenter job than in the carpenter shop"

Best, Steve.
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#8 Marcella Krings

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 09:29 AM

Thank you all for your quick answers!


Read the Steadicam book by Jerry Holway


If you mean the Steadicam Operator's Handbook, Osvaldo -- I got that one for christmas and find it really interesting! It has answered me many questions already and I'm not even halfway through.
As for the Merlin, I thought about that option, too, and I think I'll go for it. I have to think it all through again, though.


Eric, don't get me wrong, I don't think Steadicam's about "slinging the rig around". I understand that there is much more to it. Operating a Steadi is often compared to dancing, right? I am a dancer and I felt it when I had the rig on for the first time. Every dance has a story to it, so in a way we are storytellers, too. (I'm not saying it's the same just that it goes in the same direction.)
Anyway, I get your point with the life experience.


Lars, thanks for the welcome! I will try to contact some of them.
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#9 Jerry Holway

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 09:31 AM

Marcella-

There are lots of ways to learn to be a great operator, and passion for the moving image is critical to becoming great.

There are many operators who have taken the path suggested by Eric. There are also many, like, for instance, Jimmy Muro, who started out at 17 (or earlier) and followed their dream. Others have started at 55. Age isn’t a factor for when the time is right for you, nor is a particular type of prior experience.

We all learn a lot along the way (one hopes) and become better operators; and each life and career is different. At 17, you’ve got a lot of time to learn along the way. Lucky you!

We all learn differently as well; so use all resources are available to you, including my book and the DVD I made a long time ago with Ted Churchill.

Listen carefully to all the advice from friends and fellow operators, but most importantly, just do it. Pick one up, play, practice, practice, and try again. Don’t be intimidated by anyone.

I’ve known plenty of great operators who don’t do Steadicam, but respect what Steadicam operators do: operate with an amazing tool.

I’ve had the pleasure to meet hundreds of great Steadicam operators who have never been on a movie set – their work lies elsewhere – but they operate will skills, intellect, and artistry second to none.

Ignore all negative advice. Work hard, and Steadicam will teach you a lot about operating.

Best of luck.

Jerry
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#10 Marcella Krings

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 09:35 AM

Finally, Lars Erik said the right words. No one said: "Hi!" or... "Welcome and enjoy our family!"

So... Hi Marcella. Welcome! You are in the right place to know what you need to know.

Hello Steve, and thank you! :-)
This is exactly the point why I'm here, to get answers no one else can give me. I haven't found anything about "When does it make sense getting into Steadicam business?". So I thought I'd try it here.
My problem is that I don't know any Steadicam Operators near me. I'll have to take a closer look and ask around more. Starting here. Thanks for the advice!
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#11 Marcella Krings

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 09:41 AM

Thank you so much, Jerry! I really appreciate your advice and I'll try my best!
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#12 Kevin Andrews SOC

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 02:11 PM

I started with a Steadicam JR which is today's Merlin. Never too early to start developing the eye. Be humble and learn all you can.
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#13 Marcella Krings

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 02:35 AM

Thanks, Kevin, I will try!
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