Jump to content


University training or other sorts

  • Please log in to reply
4 replies to this topic

#1 Chauncey Lockwood

Chauncey Lockwood

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 3 posts
  • Inland Empire, CA

Posted 22 February 2014 - 03:19 AM

Hello all,


This website rocks. You have all helped in every way possible. 


Ive been scouring this website and others like it and am wondering about your training. I have been raising funds to go to the Steadicam workshop in PA. A friend of a friend said he had a fantastic time. As well as every experienced op here.


However, I am also wondering about film schools. Im 23 and I live in Redlands, CA. My older brother went to a newer San Fran one year school where 13 students made about 7 films each, all working on the others' projects in different fields of film. His experience was great and he has been working with a big tv crew for awhile moving his way up slowly thanks to the schools' contacts. He does say the other crew members who went to longer schools know more about gear. 


To become a dedicated operator, do you recommend the workshops only, and to then build a rig to constantly practice on? Or would the schooling be helpful in the long run because of the longer training period in all of the aspects of filmmaking. 


Thank for your help,

Chauncey Lockwood

Edited by Chauncey Lockwood, 22 February 2014 - 03:20 AM.

  • 1

#2 Brian Freesh

Brian Freesh

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 922 posts
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 22 February 2014 - 10:03 AM

Welcome to the forum, Chauncey.


Everyone has their own path, and all but the luckiest will struggle for a while.  These days I wouldn't pretend to know which way is best towards your goal, even if it was more specific. The industry has become much more of a 'make your own way' place than it used to be. Kids are coming out of college, buying rigs, and calling themselves operators.  And some are succeeding at this.


That said, I personally believe the best education is still that of climbing the ladder.  If you want to do scripted TV/feature work: PA, Camera PA, Loader/Utility, 2nd AC, 1st AC, Operator.  You don't have to hit every rung by any means, or spend a ton of time in any particular position, but the education along the way is priceless. You'll learn set etiquette, how to organize things, how to build the camera in a myriad of ways, how to respect the equipment and your co-workers.  You'll learn how different ACs, operators, and DPs like to work.  You'll learn about composition and lighting, you'll get opportunities to practice, etc...  All without the pressure of doing it right the first time you operate, and all on real sets, doing things the way they are done in the field, not the way they are done in a school.


Now, that used to be the way everyone did it.  Such is not the case any more and you may find it takes longer than you'd like to get to operating that way. But it is the best education in my opinion.  It also gets you on set as soon as you can find your first PA gig.


School though, it offers you a stress-free chance to make your own movies and F them up.  A comfortable place to just learn with friends with little responsibility.  Those friends turn into network contacts as you all leave the school. And as you mentioned, the school itself may have useful contacts for you as well.


As to steadicam, you should also look into the Lake Arrowhead workshop.  It's closer to you and will teach you the same things. Also The Stabilizer Workshops (banner on the right side of this page).  To be a good steadicam operator you need to be a good operator first.  You need to have a good sense of framing and timing. You need to know what pieces of a story need to be included in a shot, and how the editor is going to use them. A steadicam is just a tool, an immensely complicated tool.  Learning to use the tool before learning the craft is very, very difficult.


Photoshop is a complex and useful tool, but no matter how well you know how to use it, you're not going to produce good paintings for a long while if you've never painted before. But a painter can make an awesome photoshop painting on their first day of learning the program.

  • 0

#3 Chauncey Lockwood

Chauncey Lockwood

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 3 posts
  • Inland Empire, CA

Posted 24 February 2014 - 07:51 PM

Thanks a lot Brian. I really appreciate your response. it pretty much covered every thing I was wondering about perfectly. Im looking into the Arrowhead workshop, that would seriously be amazing because of how close I am. Hopefully I can make it into the March one coming up. 

I'm in LA often, so if you need any help from a quick learner, I'm always available to learn from people who have a foot in the door already. Thanks again

  • 0

#4 Chauncey Lockwood

Chauncey Lockwood

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 3 posts
  • Inland Empire, CA

Posted 25 February 2014 - 12:12 PM

Can anyone help me out on what else I would get out of the week with the rigs and trained guys through the workshop? Do they teach you how to go about getting small start up jobs? Do they share contacts with you and help you in other ways of just using the rig?
It's such an investment I would like to know a little bit more about the business side of things so I can get a plan going. I How should I go about becoming an assistant to someone already working with steadicams? Getting that foot in the door ya know
  • 0

#5 Robert Starling SOC

Robert Starling SOC

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 1134 posts
  • Las Vegas, NV

Posted 25 February 2014 - 02:10 PM

Hi Chauncey and thank you Brian for the recommending the Stabilzer Workshops.


Chauncey, you are very smart to focus on getting training related to how to get in the business and stay in the business. After all, without clients how can your afford or justify the expenses of the gear, much less pay your bills? All the training and the best equipment in the world won't make your phone ring.


The Stabilizer Workshops are small groups of 2-4 students maximum or private workshops where we have time to not only provide hands on training with real rigs and real cameras, we also offer specific private courses in business development tailored to your situation; two days all about you and your business plan. The instructor ratio in never less than two students per instructor for stabilizer training and always one on one in the business course.


Take a look at these links and give me a call or shoot me an email if you'd like to discuss.







  • 0

Omnishot Systems

Paralinx LLC



Wireless Video Systems

PLC Electronics Solutions

PLC - Bartech


rebotnix Technologies

GPI Pro Systems

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Ritter Battery

Boland Communications

Varizoom Follow Focus


Betz Tools for Stabilizers

Engineered Cinema Solutions