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Steadicam - Basketball?

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#1 Alex Kolb

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:18 PM

Hello all,

I'm talking with a local TV station who I work with often about some upcoming basketball broadcasts. Currently I'm booked to be the baseline op, handheld.

I also have done a lot of Steadicam with this network, which lead the producer to ask me if I'd be OK doing that instead. **Before anybody gets nervous, I would get my Steadi rate if I did steadi.**

My only hesitation is that I'm having trouble finding any example of a steadi being used for basketball broadcasts. Sure it's great for the teams coming in and out, but even in that regard, I've never found any use of it.

I thought I'd turn to the experts here and get an opinion. Yes, I feel I could do steadicam and make some use out of it, but I'm not sure how well it would work in a game environment. Obviously the top ESPN producers know more about this stuff than we do at our local level, and if they're having the guys on handheld, I figure there must be a good reason.

I appreciate the feedback.

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#2 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:25 PM

The reason it's not used is that the baselines are narrow and there are people that have bought the floor tickets and the last thing they want to watch is you blocking their view.

The court is small enough that a handheld camera is just fine
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#3 David M. Aronson

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:31 PM

Oddly enough, I agree with Eric. There's not a lot of space on and by the court and you'll have a misrible time trying to do anything Steadicam related. Stick with handheld.
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#4 Chris Callarman

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 05:24 AM

Shooting basketball is all about zooming, focusing, tilting and panning at a very fast pace while following action that is often half a court away. Handheld for sure.
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#5 William Demeritt

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 12:53 PM

I'll ask this guy:

Posted Image

I did 2 basketball games for a "street ball" game that did a season of 10 games in Northridge in 2011. 2 hours running up (well, quick stepping) and down a court, docking only for time outs or halftime (5 minutes without the vest). I think they've done another season this year, but stopped doing it multi cam and completely without a Steadicam operator. A basketball hit me a few times, and a referee ran into me while my camera was live (had to explain to the TD I broke my shot because the ref clobbered me).

The basketball game "league" was working with the video production company to make it BIG, and it was broadcast on Fox Sports, so I was actually encouraged/allowed to get beyond the out of bounds paint and breach the court when I saw fit (wasn't often). It was a hell of a test of stamina, and I do kinda miss it.

However, for the sake of discussion here, and in my honest opinion, Steadicam was the wrong tool for that job. Too much danger, too exhausting and nowhere near a worthwhile payoff for shot necessity. Sure, they got a few shots of me running alongside a breakaway and maybe more dynamic shots when someone on the break faced off with someone near me. However, that didn't happen enough to really make it worthwhile.

p.s.- nice greenscreen monitor! For anyone who asks: Pro2 sled pre-HD upgrade, Pro2 monitor, Sony P1 with Link system provided by AVS.
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#6 Osvaldo Silvera SOC

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 03:36 PM

Nice!, P1 with Link system cost more than our rigs!...If they had full telemetry...$150-180K
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#7 Alex Kolb

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:19 PM

Maybe I'll make a deal with them, I'll do Steadi if they give me a P1 instead of the cold-war era ENG camera I'm using now ;)

Thanks very much for the feedback, guys, I'll put a few notes together about what you said and talk to the producer after the holidays.
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#8 dash adamson

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 05:43 PM

Steadicam and basket ball, Oh the memories.... I was on that same Fox sports show it was a lot of fun and even more exhausting :). The only way steadicam worked for the game is being able to be in the court and not have to worry about the live audience. (I got knocked around and almost got run over a few times.) Now for the "show" Steadicam was very useful for the opens, transitions and closers, But i would have to say if you are covering a real game... Go hand held.

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