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Super slow walking


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#1 Matt Mouraud

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 07:41 AM

I am working on a 52 minutes feature about Ramatuelle, a wonderful village in the South of France. Anyways, I'm a little bit in pain because I struggle with super slow walking. I just can't seem to find the right pace and it shows. My foot techique is wrong and it bothers me no end that I can't find a proper way to get it right. The director is asking a lot and I take pride in doing pretty much what he asks, but that super slow walking is just bothering me. What kind of pattern do you guys use ?
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#2 RobVanGelder

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 01:25 PM

Use a dolly? :)

Steadicam is in my opinion a tool for moving, and for imitating a slow to super slow dollymove it is just not the right tool!

Like riding a bicycle on super slow speed, you can not do this in a straight line. It means you need a certain speed to reach some kind of stability.

Also, a man's movement is never a constant speed, just because we are not build like wheels. We can go very far in imitating a wheel, but below a certain speed you better go for a dolly.
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#3 Charles Papert

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 08:00 PM

It's helpful to tuck one foot behind the other when walking backwards (for me the right foot goes behind the left) to keep in a straight line.

The important thing is to focus on moving the rig at a constant speed independently of your feet. This becomes a function of your hands' positions--concentrate on having the gimbal hand (not the one on the post) driving the rig like it's on a conveyor belt.
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#4 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 08:10 PM

I'm glad Charles chimed in here because he is unbelievable at the slow stuff, perhaps the best I've seen. I've seen shots of his that DO compete with the subtlety of a dolly.
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#5 Charles Papert

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 03:42 AM

It's only because I'm too lazy to walk quickly, really.

(thanks Alec!)
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#6 Matt Mouraud

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 06:44 AM

Well thank you guys ! I'm just going to keep practicing more and more to get the dolly look. Didn't think I could get beaten at the lazy stuff, being Corsican... :ph34r:
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#7 Charles Papert

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 09:57 PM

Yup, it's just another of those dastardly "practice makes perfect" Steadicam things. Do the "cross on the wall" exercise, and walk as slow as you possibly can--forwards and backwards--and repeat ad nauseum. There is always a great tendency to hustle around when practicing because it seems more fun and Steadicammy to go hurling through doors and whip the camera around, but the the more time you practice holds and slow moving stuff, the easier it is to do the faster stuff (because your body will have internalized the balance that is required).
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#8 PeterAbraham

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Posted 16 August 2005 - 04:25 PM

Word, gents. I am a big advocate of very slow work. Charles is being unduly modest. Working fast with a Steadicam is astonishingly easy. Making a very slow gentle start, slow deliberate path ending in a clean gentle lock-off is always the goal. It is the hardest work we are asked to do.

Just check out someone's demo reel some time. If it is totally devoid of lock-offs, that tells you something. It means that they may have trouble starting and stopping gently. Similarly, a reel filled with running or off-horizoned music video shots tells me that there may be a lack of cleanliness when it's needed.

Maybe, maybe not. But as a rule of thumb, as you start working on your chops to become more and more expert with our Noble Instrument, slower and more precise is the key.

In addition to Charles' last remarks about how moving slower will aid you when moving faster, there is a mechanical element to consider. The Steadicam arm ( in general- there are a few flavors of arm now ) will work beautifully if it's reacting at 50 rpm's ( rebounds per minute ) or at 20 rpm's. Where your clean good work really shows is when you are using a firm right hand grasp of the Steadicam arm to keep sure that the vertical placement of the arm remains perfectly even as you move. Not too firm, but firmly enough to stop any vertical displacement of the rig. It's an acquired taste and one that folks work on from day one in Workshops.

Frequently, it takes a while to learn to get out of the way of the arm's excellent absorption characteristics.

Fast is easy. Perfect fast. Slow is hard. Perfect slow first. Luckily ( unlike some Steadicam work ), this can be done alone in even a small apartment. Chose a shot that's just stupidly boring and simple. Work it out. Then make it last 20-30 seconds instead of the 5-10 seconds it might take when moving at a normal pace.

God, it's difficult. As you work the same shot over and over, you will discover the minutae of very fine Steadicam Operating. Time...and attention to detail. :)

Peter Abraham
New York
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#9 Matt Mouraud

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Posted 16 August 2005 - 05:45 PM

Guys, I just can't thank you enough for the time you're spending answering simple newbie questions. It's very humbling yet it feels like talking to your big bro'. Kinda like when I was a Flight Instructor...
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#10 Matt Burton

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Posted 16 August 2005 - 06:07 PM

Guys, I just can't thank you enough for the time you're spending answering simple newbie questions. It's very humbling yet it feels like talking to your big bro'. Kinda like when I was a Flight Instructor...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Yes indeed this forum should come with every steadicam ever bought !

I just bought a remote controll helicopter and its amazing how much it's like flying a steadicam.
Oh and yes the slow stuff is harder with the heli too.

-matt
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#11 RobinThwaites

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Posted 17 August 2005 - 05:30 AM

Hi Matt

Told you!

Robin
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#12 PeterAbraham

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Posted 17 August 2005 - 09:05 AM

Yes indeed this forum should come with every steadicam ever bought !

I just bought a remote controll helicopter and its amazing how much it's like flying a steadicam.
Oh and yes the slow stuff is harder with the heli too.
matt


Glad to help.

By the by, how can those big sharp blade thingys go round and round and round in circles, and yet the helicopter, it can go up and down instead of just going in circles like the blades do?


:D
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#13 Matt Mouraud

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Posted 17 August 2005 - 10:45 AM

Have another cup of tea, mate ! :ph34r:
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#14 Charles Papert

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Posted 17 August 2005 - 11:45 AM

And I will add this to Peter's fine points:

Slow moves are where the distinctions between rigs really manifest. The precision (or lack thereof) in particular of the arm and gimbal will become immediately apparent when moving at a snail's pace--any signs of friction in the arm and stiction in the gimbal will cause you to "fight" the rig and result in wobbles, pogoing or small erratic motion in the frame. Ironically, the more advanced an operator one is, the more one is probably able to overcome these deficiencies--but it's the less-experienced operators who are more likely to be paired up with the lower-performing rig.
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#15 Chris Haarhoff

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Posted 22 August 2005 - 08:45 PM

Try this as one of the many little things that will help you.....

adjust the arm so that it is slightly weak, ie so that it requires slight up force to place the camera at the desired height. This forces you to remember the importance of participating in the path that the rig takes rather than letting it float along randomely.
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