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New to big camera steadicams. I have a few questions


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#1 Forrest McBride

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 09:52 PM

Im new to the site so ill give a little information about myself and then post my Questions

 

Currently I am in the Moving Image Arts program at ULL, which I'm graduating this December 20th (it doesn't teach film as much as i want it to but the degree is my back up plan for when I decide to quit film, ill be able to teach it)

 

Currently i just own a Glidecam 2000 pro and my cameras are a canon 6D and 60D

 

right now I am interning on a TV show to learn as much as film making as possible and Im driving 3 hours a day twice a week to intern and interned on one major movie and then a special coming out on a few networks in december, hopefully these interns will get my foot in the door so that i an become a camera PA, then 2AC to 1AC then to camera op, and the money i make will help fund a used rig.

 

and here is a recent video that i did with my steadiecam.

 

 

my questions are,

How many pounds should a professional rig be able to handle?. the cameras ive seen used were the Alexas and on one of the shows they used a Red epic.

 

Do i need to buy my own camera, or just the rig?

 

Im just curious but how much are wages, union and non-union (I really love flying the camera because its the most fun ive ever had to get shots, but I'm just wondering)

 

 

 

 

I would also like to say im getting mixed feelings about how to break into the business, I have one steadiecam op telling me to just buy the rig and go for it. He was the sole steadiecam op for this show and had been flying for 18 years i believe. Then I had a 1AC tell me that i need to work my way up, because if i just buy a steadiecam and become an op, the 1AC will just f@%# me over till i get fired. Then one camera op (non steadiecam) told me to come here and talk to y'all and to buy a used rig because its like buying a used car, it still works even though its been used... just cheaper.


Edited by Forrest McBride, 17 October 2013 - 10:01 PM.

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#2 Alan Rencher

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 11:11 PM

Hi Forrest. Welcome to the forum.

 

First off, look through the "Newbie" archives as thoroughly as you can. Many of your questions have been answered many times over, and you will most likely find answers to questions that you haven't even thought of yet.

 

If you want to learn Steadicam, you should get the Steadicam Operator's Handbook and look into workshops. Since you already have a Glidecam 200, you might try getting a vest and arm to learn with. You can get one through Glidecam, or use a Pilot/Merlin setup with an adapter (Berkey Systems makes one).

 

Be careful with internships. Many of them are illegal, so if you ever find yourself doing work that should be done by a paid employee, maybe you should ask some questions. I've also never worked on a show where there has been a camera PA or an intern on set. In fact, I remember hearing that interns aren't allowed on set due to insurance and legal reasons.

 

Some of the questions you are asking tells me that it is too early-on for you to be presenting your self as a camera operator or Steadicam operator. Take this time to do as many student films as you can. Do freebies, favors, and whatever will help you learn.

 

Being a Steadicam operator is not just being someone who can bring a rig to set. First and foremost, you have to be a great camera operator, so learn and practice the art of operating. In the meantime, you might have to find other work; not many people will hire someone so green unless it's for a student film.

 

- Alan


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#3 Forrest McBride

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 12:18 AM

well the plan is to go through the system to become a camera op, and as for the in intern, its just letting me learn what things are called, and im learning how to do the over under cable roll, how to set up the monitors. i do get the experience needed to get on  a set (in a businesses where you need experience to get a job and to get experience you need a job)

 

Eh i just read about the greedy interns on black swan, wow all i can say is im very grateful to learn to work instead of showing up first day on a real job and getting fired by the end of the day because i didn't know what i was suppose to do...

 

also, yeah the plan is to work my way up, camera PA, to buy a nicer car with a heater lol, then to 2nd ac (or a camera loader would be cool too) to 1st ac then to op.

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#4 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 12:44 AM

Get a bunch of experience in the business first, then in a few years worry about buying a rig

Until you have a deep background in what's what, we might as we'll be speaking a foreign language to you
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#5 Forrest McBride

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 12:50 AM

just going to start learning as much as i can early on so im not such a newbie when i am a newbie if that makes since, ive got about a year of experience on my glidecam, and have used a real rig before with a red epic, the shots cam out really good, been studying how to make film for 4 years now. ive got to start somewheres though. i know im not going to get hired right now as an op, but im going to be working for the next few years under the camera ops.

 

Also in a few years, i plan on making the investment buying a big rig, and just weighing the top down using my dslr and practicing everyday im not working on films, till i get good, and then when the day finally comes when im camera op and then eventually get hired to do what i love ill be better than if i didnt practice.

 

i know of the course in Maine for the school, its like a week long right?

is there any closer to Louisiana? its kind of funny that its in maine though since film is big in La, L.A. and New York


Edited by Forrest McBride, 18 October 2013 - 12:58 AM.

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#6 Alan Rencher

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 01:05 AM

Forrest, I take exception to what you said about the Black Swan interns. It will suit you week in the future to know when you are being taken advantage of, and what it means to be compensated for what you're worth.
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#7 Forrest McBride

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 01:39 AM

lets not call me an intern then, im really just there standing and watching. not really doing anything, but coming up with questions which someone will answer me. im not being taken advantage of but instead networking and getting credits.


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#8 Forrest McBride

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 02:24 AM

Should I sell my glidecam pro and buy a used stediecam LE or is there another good one out there?
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#9 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 03:29 AM

Should I sell my glidecam pro and buy a used stediecam LE or is there another good one out there?


I don't know, should you? It only a question you can answer

Might want to go back and read my previous answer a few thousand times....
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#10 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 11:28 AM

A used Flyer LE can be an excellent value, and is a huge quality step up from the Glidecam.

 

It is not a professional "big rig" for heavy cameras, however...think of it simply for practice, and use with lighter cameras on student projects, etc.


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#11 Forrest McBride

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 11:42 AM

Okay now we are getting somewheres :) I read on another thread that it's a good one to grow into, I know it's not exactly for big films, but would it be a good trainer for the bigger one, I've inly used one once and the operator told me it wasn't going to be like his, (he used a huge zoom lens on it which added like an extra 20 pounds, were everyone else used primes)

Also would it be good for low budget films, I know a non-union company that makes films for sy-fy channel, which is probably were I think would be a great place to learn the basics and the ins and outs of a film set since I would probably be doing multiple jobs were as on a union set I would be doing one thing.
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#12 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 03:10 PM

As a trainer, it's useful up to a point...but the larger cameras and rigs generate much more inertia and require more attention to posture and good form. But is a good way to learn operating basics that will translate, with some adjustments, to big rigs later.

 

As to your second question, depends what you mean by "low budget". On a professional set, even a "low-budget" set, probably not. Too much chance of exceeding the weight and powering limitations of the Flyer, thereby pissing off production and nipping your career in the bud. Not to mention that you shouldn't even think about trying to talk someone into operating Steadicam on any professional set (like this syfy contractor) until you have many many months or more of constant practice in your backyard. First impressions are everything, and word travels fast.

 

There are advantages to union and non-union sets. A union set allows you to concentrate on one job and learn it well, while observing a properly-organized set, developing relationships, and working your way up. Non-union sets may offer more flexibility in what jobs you can work, but they also can be chaotic, unorganized, unsafe, and hotbeds of bad habits and unprofessional practices.

 

Like I said, best to think of a Flyer and similar rigs as a trainer, and for working with students/friends/personal projects, where you have control or influence on the weight you carry and the level of skill that is expected of you!

 

I notice that you seem to be prone to generalization in both your questions and your assumptions. ("would it be good for low budget films?") Many of your questions will be answered by getting on sets, working hard, listening and learning, practice, training your eyes and your artistic taste, learning how shoots are run, defining and refining your goals, and discovering the answers that work for you.

 

Good luck.


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#13 Forrest McBride

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 03:51 PM

Thanks for the response, since im graduating im plaining on not really working on student films that often ive worked on a lot, and don't like them since the people at my university are that organized and its just frustrating, other than that my friends and I are in post for our senior project (film to show off how far we've come in learning how to make something look good) and after 14 hour days of unpaid work id now rather get unpaid on a real set lol,

 

I really do want a rig that i can practice with as much as possible. and with working on the set i am on i am learning a lot of stuff about the arri alexas camera from the first ACs. 

 

I would really like to buy a rig even before I become an operator so that i can practice to be the best that i can be. Everyone has to start somewhere and even though mine was with a glidecam, Im still trying to go through professional sets to learn and network. Ive met lots of people who look at me and say i will make it. and then ive met people who are bitter and just are assholes because i feel like since I want to work in Film thats one less job they will have in the future. (Though Majority of people are nice so far)


Edited by Forrest McBride, 18 October 2013 - 03:54 PM.

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