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#1 Michal Wozniak

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 04:14 AM

Hi there.

Becoming a steadicam operator is not something that happens over night.
It is a very specialized field to be in, and you have to establish yourself as an operator amongst your peers to get known and get the jobs.

Wanting to start out is not easy without your own rig, and the price tag of a complete rig can be quite intimidating for someone who is wanting to pursue a career in steadicam.


So this is a plea to all you established operators, to please share your stories of how you got interested into operating steadicam, how did you finance your first rig, how did you operate before owning your own rig, and apart from maybe doing a workshop, did you have a senior operator mentoring you?

I think that other newbies, including myself, will happily receive your war stories, which will give us hope that if there is a will, there is a way.

Kind regards
Michal Wozniak
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#2 Afton Grant

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 05:39 AM

Go to this page and click on any name with "Q&A" next to it:
http://www.steadisho...t_operators.cfm
And here's to encourage any op on that list without a Q&A to submit one.
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#3 Evrim KAYA

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 07:40 PM

Hi there.

Becoming a steadicam operator is not something that happens over night.
It is a very specialized field to be in, and you have to establish yourself as an operator amongst your peers to get known and get the jobs.

Wanting to start out is not easy without your own rig, and the price tag of a complete rig can be quite intimidating for someone who is wanting to pursue a career in steadicam.


So this is a plea to all you established operators, to please share your stories of how you got interested into operating steadicam, how did you finance your first rig, how did you operate before owning your own rig, and apart from maybe doing a workshop, did you have a senior operator mentoring you?

I think that other newbies, including myself, will happily receive your war stories, which will give us hope that if there is a will, there is a way.

Kind regards
Michal Wozniak


Hi there Mikal,

i dont know if i can call myself established operator (only 4 years of experience, 2 of them before workshop) but as i just bought my full sized rig and i have somewhat steady client base, my experiences might help you.

before starting with the steadicam i was a camera assistant doing mosly 35mil film loading (in Turkey thats 2nd ac`s job) and occasional focus pulling for nearly 7 years. after the Red-one happened all is changed for me. as the new breed of ACs called data wranglers took all the digital jobs i had not enough jobs to sustain my life. and focus pulling jobs were not as much as i hoped. then i decided to invest myself on steadicam which always facinated me. i approched Ercan Yilmaz, the best operator in Turkey, who has 20 plus years under his belt also one of the participants on one of the first workshops years ago.

he mentored me on technical, professional, artistic and also social aspects of the job. he also passed me the lesser jobs that he doesnt want to go. after a while he told me that if i`m to become a real operator i should go and do the workshop. so i attended the 2010 lake arrowhead workshop which was a real eye opener. upon my return i practiced a lot and worked on every project that i could find, even convincing producers to use a steadicam by offering my services free of charge (but also trying not to perturbate the market with lower rates)

during this period a had acces only one rig whorthy of this name; my mentors MK-V nexus, pro arm, WK vest. but as this one was the main rig that he used i also rented several very old and very very ill maintained rigs, mostly model 3 base with model 3 arm or master arm and transvideo sd monitors. i always thought that by using these sub-par rigs helped me become a good operator. theese old ladies was not forgiving of any operating error. trying to get good images out of these forced me to be extra careful.

after i while i sensed that i grew out of these rigs and should buy my own and try and fly with my own wings. so i put all the money saved and also borrowed quite a bunch and invested on a used ultra2 rig from a fellow operator out of New Orleans. this brings us to today. i just came back from United States and on my first job with my own rig. already lined up multiple jobs back to back and feeling very confident.

i should tell you that other than Ercan helping me though the whole process, the limited stedicam operator population in Turkey helped me a lot to establish myself. but this situation never pushed me into mediocrity as Ercan was the first to point out any errors on my part. and the old equipment was never a good enough excuse!

i hope this story helps you.
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#4 Rob Vuona SOC

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 12:11 AM

Great last name, any relation?

Mike were are you located?
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#5 Michal Wozniak

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 04:06 AM

Thank you guys!

Anton, thanks for the link, it didn't answer all my questions but it was a good start and a resource I wasn't aware of.

Evrim, thanks for sharing your story, very inspirational and it made me realize that if I just give it time I can get there too.

Rob, no unfortunately no related to the Apple guy, I wish tho ;) I am originally from Poland but raised in Sweden, studied Film and Television Production in Sydney but located in Cape Town since 2010.

Luckily, steadicam is a niche market here, not too many operators however competition is hard when overseas productions come here and the more established operators get the jobs. Been trying to get to know the guys in hope that someone will take me under his wing. Hard part is to finance a rig but harder is to find a rig to dry hire. Only know of a Flyer rig, small but enough to practice with which I know is really the important part to begin with.

I keep my hopes up and keep dreaming of flying one day!

Regards
Michal
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#6 Afton Grant

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 05:02 AM

Thank you guys!

Anton, thanks for the link, it didn't answer all my questions but it was a good start and a resource I wasn't aware of.


No problem!

Best of luck,
Anton
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#7 Evrim KAYA

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 05:32 AM

you`re welcome.

small rigs as flyer are great to train the operating hand. there is less inertia which makes operating a bit harder but also trains your hand to do controlled moves over the gimbal. but be aware of the lightness of the rig itself! bad posture or crazy moves that you shouldn`t attempt with bigger rigs becomes doable as you dont get penalized on spot. dont get bad habits because the rig doesnt punish you. your first big rig will.

yesterday i saw buch of very heavily modified model 3s on the forums marketplace. most of them are already sold, but you should check it from time to time. model3 is very a good rig to start out and the prices are very reasonable.

i wish you best of luck
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#8 Fabian Meller

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 11:41 AM

Thank you guys!

Anton, thanks for the link, it didn't answer all my questions but it was a good start and a resource I wasn't aware of.


No problem!

Best of luck,
Anton


hahahaha - made my day :D
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#9 Michal Wozniak

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 04:38 AM

Btw Anton, great logo!
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#10 Afton Grant

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 05:55 AM

Btw Anton, great logo!


Thanks, Mitch!
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#11 Emre Tufekci

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 09:10 AM

Looks like the Turkish guys are going to dominate this thread :)

It was 1988 and I was 15 years old when i saw a music video of one of my favorite bands that had a very brief steadicam move (2:50).

http://youtu.be/UQWEAYu-KuI?t=2m48s

I was truly captivated with what i saw and what it had added to the energy of the scene with that brief dynamic motion of the camera. I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted be a steadicam operator from that day on. Of course in Turkey at that time options were extremely limited, if not impossible.

So I moved to Los Angeles to pursue career in film and worked my way up through the ranks, paying dues as we all do. Finally I had the time and finances to do a workshop and worked with Paul Taylor in a small private class. Paul was fantastic, very different approach then Jerry or Garret which is all great because you get such different methodology and technical prowess from such operators at their level.

I bought my rig from Garret which was also great bonus because I went up to his house in Pennsylvania and he gave a tour of his workshop and let us play with his first Steadicam designs and experiments.

After that, my big break?

It's hard to say somebody gave me break because I already had my company which was prospering and had great employees working for me. We actually generated our own work. Our clients didn't come to us asking for Steadicam work, we were able to draw people in by offering quality camera work that our competitors just couldn't do or they had to hire us anyway. Budgets got larger, we bought bigger rigs, we bought bigger rigs so we could fly bigger cameras, for bigger budgets.

It really is the cornerstone of every production we do and we train our staff to become operators themselves. I guess that's where they get their breaks....some make it, some fail.

Emre Tufekcioglu
Production Pit

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