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Steadicam Workshop vs SOA Workshop?

any differences?

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#1 brett.mayfield

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 02:02 PM

hey yall

i have been looking at both the SOA workshop in Pennsylvania and the Steadicam workshop in Lake Arrowhead.
Are there really any differences in the instruction, rigs, time with rigs, instructors, operators nights...anything?

Just wondering if anyone has attended both or either and can give their two cents. Im planning on going to the Steadicam workshop in March, but Garret Browns video on the SOA page makes me think I should go to Pennsylvania.

I figure either is gunna be great. I just wonder if theres one or the other is more highly reputable or recommended

Anyways, yalls thought are always appreciated. Have a rad one!

brett.
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#2 Jerry Holway

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 03:27 PM

Brett-

Garrett and I are the lead instructors for both courses, and the content is similar. Each venue has its differences, but both are held at great facilities, and the instructors are all top notch. I suggest you go to the one that suits your schedule and pocketbook best.

Jerry
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#3 Jameson Johnson

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 08:56 PM

I attended the Lake Arrowhead workshop in March of 2010 and thought it was great. As I recall though, there are a few things that can be done at the SOA workshop but not at the Tiffen one. Jerry, do you still do the flying man at the SOA workshop? I seem to think there were a couple other demos there not done at Lake Arrowhead.
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#4 Jerry Holway

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 11:24 PM

We generally don't do Skyman any more (the best tree for one of the attachments died..) - we keep looking for another run but haven't found one yet. We do have a crane and several other vehicles at the SOA workshop, but all workshops we teach have some vehicle work. That's about the only difference.
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#5 John Stout

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 09:09 AM

I thought that the other difference was that the SOA workshop allows you to bring your own rig and camera if you desired, where the Tiffen workshop did not allow it.

Is that correct Jerry?
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#6 Jerry Holway

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 12:50 PM

At both workshops we encourage participants to bring their own vests, but in both cases we use various Tiffen rigs. The SOA workshop is sponsored by Tiffen, and they provide sleds, vests, arms, Tango, etc.

Students can bring their sleds and arms or accessories for evaluation, consultation re mods, etc., but we generally do not use participant's gear in the course.

Part of the course structure is to work with a variety of rigs (small, medium, and large size), and working with them all (and with the rigs in various configurations) tends to speed the learning process.

Jerry
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#7 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 01:21 PM

Translation, this is a concentrated sales event and we don't want you to see the benefits of the competitors rigs
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#8 Erwin Landau

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 02:05 PM

I saw my first PRO during my Cinema Products Malibu workshop... I learned there that I couldn't stand the Master Series... nor the Ultra...
And that there was an alternative... actually alternatives. And the following week I was standing in George's shop... and another 3 months later I took the PRO workshop...

I learned a lot at every single workshop that I took (six in total !!!)

Take as many as you can and can afford. Every instructor will teach you something new or approach the way of operating slightly differently... The more the merrier... If you can afford them, take both!

Fly safe,

Erwin
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#9 Jerry Holway

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 04:41 PM

Alternate translation: You go to a driving school sponsored by Mercedes or McLaren, taught by people who know that brand. You do not drive BMW's on their track, but you do learn to drive.

I agree with Erwin- every instructor teaches something new or approaches operating differently - it's part of our approach to have multiple instructors with varied backgrounds and interests, with the focus on operating, not on the gear.

Jerry
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#10 Jameson Johnson

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:32 PM

I do remember that PRO was spoken of very highly at the workshop I attended. I don't recall much speak of Tiffen products being better than others - as Jerry said the focus was primarily on operating and developing good habits, regardless of manufacturer.
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#11 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 12:03 PM

When I took the 2 days workshop in New York with B&H and Tiffen, we had the sale talk in the middle of it with mister Tiffen. Nice meeting him but all the participants has that look on their face.

is there a workshop where you can compare multiple brands, i.e. test a G70 arm and a Pro arm the same day on the same rig etc... so you can get an idea of what you like the most? Or is that more at the NAB sort of thing?
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#12 Jerry Holway

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 12:39 PM

Victor-


One of the things I’ve found in teaching over 100 workshops is that a lot of different gear in a workshop puts more focus on the gear and less focus on real operating.

As an example, when we used to have production film or video cameras on the rigs for the whole workshop, people would spend some time going over (or just enthralled with) the cameras, lenses, and accessories, rather than focusing on Steadicam operating.

It’s one of the reasons why we now use small video cameras and cages for most of the course work – to keep the focus on operating. An added benefit using cages and small cameras is the ability to change the focal length to suit each individual exercise, and also to record one’s work for instant playback. We can also quickly change the “camera” weight and/or inertia, and do it all without the worry of damaging expensive equipment.

At the end of our workshops, we typically show one or two production cameras on rigs to demo how all the bits and cables go together, and this is an important part of the course. But we’ve found it less useful, distracting, or worse to use production cameras the whole time.

I think it is best to look at different gear after a workshop. I suggest you go to trade shows or directly to the manufacturer. Do it when you want to learn the differences between one manufacturer’s gear and another’s, not when you are learning how to use the gear for the first time.

Jerry
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#13 Ken Nguyen

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 01:23 PM

There are steps one should know:
1. Take driving school first to get your driver license.
2. Go to the dealer to look for your dream car based on your budget.
3. Once you have a car (whatever it is), practice and make money out of it.
4. Save money for your Rolls-Royce or your dream house.
5. Once your skill is top-notch, equipment will be less important.

Do one thing at the time guy.

Cheers,

Ken Nguyen.

Edited by Ken Nguyen, 18 January 2013 - 01:24 PM.

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#14 brett.mayfield

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:52 PM

Good deal yall. I havent had the fortune of trying out anything but Tiffen products, so I welcome the chance to try out the PRO system, but I havent found any information on upcoming workshops. I spose I should just contact them through their website, but does anyone know exactly who I should be in touch with?

I also suppose that one of the best ways of tryin out the different rigs is to just make an appointment and go to the workshops to try them out, right?

Ive been operating for a few years, but Ive been using the Archer-2 owned by the company at which I work. Ill be starting my freelancing career in the next week or so, and I am looking to have my own rig. I think that Ken's list is a great way to approach this.

I'm in to any and all suggestions yall have about testing rigs, asking questions etc.

have a rad one!

brett.
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#15 PeterAbraham

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 05:00 PM

The more workshops you take, the more different points of view you can draw upon. Balance that with the fact that most people wish to take one workshop initially and then work on their core skills. Both SOA and the two Tiffen Classic Workshops held in the USA as well as the Gold Silver and Bronze Workshops held in Europe are extremely focused on skills.

I taught all of the 2 Day and 3 Day Workshops in North America for 5 years for Tiffen. Did we use only Tiffen Steadicams? Of course. Did I refuse to help out a student who needed guidance on how to wring what they could from another brand? Nope, never.

If you are committed to pursuing this as a career, then take comprehensive training. That is to say, take a workshop from Instructors who are Operators with careers that reflect an immense depth of experience. It's irrelevant whether or not they shot a movie in the last year. What is most relevant in taking training in any complex pursuit is to make sure that you are learning from masters. From people who have invested decades in not only perfecting their own skill set but in working through the ONGOING ( and always fascinating ) process of deconstructing the skill set.

How you are taught and the depth of information and experience brought to you as a student is infinitely more valuable than the brand name on the side of the gear. Ask around. Find out who has trained with deeply seasoned Operators who also are superb Instructors.

No one person can dictate what training is right for you- nobody has that right or power and equally importantly, only you should decide what first steps you should take in pursuit of our noble craft.

Feel free to email me with any questions !

Best to all,

Peter Abraham, S.O.C.

peter@steadicamproductionservices.com

26 Years Steadicam Operator
20 Years Steadicam Instructor
Recent Credit: Presidential Inaugural Broadcast. 3 Days Ago. :)
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