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Film student wanting good but inexpensive steadicam

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#1 Connor Van Looveren-Baines

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 02:16 PM

Hi, I'm a film student wanting to buy a cheap but good steadicam as well as if it would be better to buy a rig or perhaps both. I want a steadicam to improve the look and feel of my short films, as well as wanting to learn how to use the basics with basic equipment before i move onto more professional equipment. Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks


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#2 Alan Rencher

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 02:29 PM

I know it's easier to ask this question than doing your own research, but reading through the newbie section archives will answer all of your questions.

Edited by Alan Rencher, 24 October 2013 - 02:30 PM.

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#3 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 02:31 PM

Hi Connor, welcome.

The thing that most will recommend here is to start with a workshop to learn the basics and make sure that steadicam is what you want to do. Steadicam does not come cheap and it takes a lot of practice to get a decent shot, a workshop will help you if this is what you want to do or if you are better off hiring someone the day you need it. You can also try and contact a local operator and ask him to try his rig/do a private class for one day. 

As for buying a rig, the workshop will be a first step into discovering them, they often bring a variety of models and brands for you to try. I would definitely stay away from the cheap Chinese knock offs, they will break in no time and you will have lost your money. Buy it right, buy it once. For an entry line, I would recommend a Steadicam Pilot or Flyer, you can find some used ones on the marketplace on this forum.

 

All the best, and fly safe.


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#4 Connor Van Looveren-Baines

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 02:42 PM

I know it's easier to ask this question than doing your own research, but reading through the newbie section archives will answer all of your questions.

It's not that i haven't done research i'd just like to know what professionals thought 


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#5 Jens Piotrowski SOC

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 02:56 PM

Believe me, you don't want to know what we think...
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#6 Kris Torch Wilson

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 06:11 PM

Cheap and good don't go together very well in the professional market. I have been the defender of newbie questions in the newbie section for some time, but it is increasingly more difficult to not respond with scorn when we see the same questions every week. Please do yourself a favor and scour this section. Read every post remotely connected with your questions.
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#7 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 08:26 PM

If you want to try out Steadicam, Flyer (used) or Pilot (used or new). Anything cheaper is probably a waste of money. And take a weekend workshop ($500 or so) or at least buy the Operators Handbook and EFP training DVD. You'll need several months' practice until you begin to be happy with your shots.

 

If your goal is simply to up the production value your films with Steadicam, collaborate with a professional. Often, up and coming or even seasoned operators will be willing to give special rates for worthy student projects. Reach out to local professionals.

 

Good luck.


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#8 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 08:27 PM

This thread will not end well


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#9 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 10:07 PM

"This thread will not end well"

 

Oh, Eric, I have to confess, when scanning the subject matters and noting you were the last person to post, that was my exact thought!  Alas, I will merely state "there is nothing to see here; move along; these are not the droids you're looking for."
 

I forgot who started this thread and asked the question... suppose I could scroll up and learn your name, but since you clearly have done ZERO research, I ask why I should I?

 


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#10 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 11:55 AM

I'll ask again, why is there not a sticky to answer these recurring newbie questions and/or instruct them on the forum etiquette re: research?

 

For all the irritation is seems to cause a few folks, that would actually be a constructive step. Surely if the forum can put up a sticky warning people about MK-V service issues, a sticky about the newbie section seems like a no-brainer.

 

I understand that a few people do enjoy the target practice.


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#11 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 02:52 PM

I'll ask again, why is there not a sticky to answer these recurring newbie questions and/or instruct them on the forum etiquette re: research?

For all the irritation is seems to cause a few folks, that would actually be a constructive step. Surely if the forum can put up a sticky warning people about MK-V service issues, a sticky about the newbie section seems like a no-brainer.

I understand that a few people do enjoy the target practice.


I agree 100% let's write a draft with valuable answers and links for this including:
Welcome, where to start
Resources handbook, DVD
Workshops
Which rigs (I know this will e a tuff one but I'm thinking to list the good small rigs)
Financing options?
Then maybe people can add their own experiences in the following posts.
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#12 Elliot Gabor

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 03:45 PM

I started on a merlin and wouldn't change a thing.  The merlin taught me the basics of balancing a steadicam and it gave me real precise control.  Upgrading to a full size rig is bit of a learning as far as balancing but from an operational standpoint the merlin has made me a much better operator.  Now that the solo is coming out (very close to the price of the merlin) It could also be a very afforadable rig to start out on.     


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#13 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 07:36 AM

I recently helped out on a student shoot that was using the school's handheld Flycam.

 

I really tried to give it the benefit of the doubt but it was junk. The gimbal was so far off-center (and non-adjustable) that, when I it vertically balanced and turned 90 degrees, it literally went 45 degrees off-vertical. It was horrible.  The "vest" and comfort brace or whatever they call it were worse than useless for any walking shot, restricting motion and transferring any vibrations or hip motion directly to the sled.

 

A knockoff of a knockoff built by people who apparently don't understand the basic principles behind camera stabilization.


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#14 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 02:01 PM

The pilot and the scout have the benefit of being shaped like a big rig, so you don't need to relearn as much when switching from it to a larger rig.


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#15 Dave Gish

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 08:25 PM

Hi Connor,

 

Welcome to the forum. 

 

For your first rig, it probably doesn't matter that much.  If you're serious, you'll end up replacing it. 

 

I compare Steadicam to skiing.  You can learn the basics in a couple of months, but if you want to compete at a professional level, it will take years.  It isn't the equipment.  It's your experience that makes the difference.

 

Having said all that, I would recommend the Steadicam Pilot for starting out.  It's the least expensive Steadicam, with a sled, vest, and monitor.

 

And like others have said, take the workshop.  Best money I ever spent.

 

Hope this helps,

Dave


Edited by Dave Gish, 13 November 2013 - 08:34 PM.

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