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selfmade steadicam operator newbie


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#1 Matze-s-l

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 10:54 AM

hello everybody!

i´m from germany so my english is not the best. i just start my engineering studies at the TUHH in Hamburg. 3 months ago i decided to build my own steadicam. i have never seen one before except for the internet. in the meantime the system ist complete with a selfmade followfocus an a (not very proper) video transmitter and a case with tft, reciver and batteries. the system can take cameras with max 25 lbs. here two fotos:

http://www.hosting-p...ad/PICT1852.JPG

http://www.hosting-p...ad/PICT1876.jpg

i will send more an a little show reel two show, wat´s possible with this system an me as its operator.

in the future i want to build a better video-transmitter and correct some things on the system. so possibly in two or three years, if i realize that this is my business, i will buy an used proffesional system.

to come to the point: the first shots i took were not bad and the shots i took for the showreel were much better given the self-made equipment. but with a 17lbs camera i can keep up only about 15 minutes. then i have to have a breake until the next shots. i´m neither in the worst shape nor in the best for a operator but is it only training or is it possible that the vest or sth else dosn´t fit well for example?


matze
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#2 joe mcnally

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 05:51 PM

Dont worry about taking a little break.
It gives everyone else a chance to catch up with you.
Not many shots are 15 minutes long anyway so if you can keep going that long you are OK.
However to answer you question yes if everytning is not in perfect balance and fit then your body will be compensating and using extra energy to keep things in balance.
You should be able to stand up reasonably straight with the rig on and it should not pull to one side or back or forward.
Be sure yo are not over straining any muscles as you can do bad long term damage.
try to find an operator with good gear adn see how they fit it all together for leat stress.
Good luck with your project and look forward to seeing some movies.
Prost
joe
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#3 Christopher T. Paul- SOC

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 07:17 PM

Quite a deal building your own rig... rather impressive, so congrats! Can you pull of the eyepiece and mic from the camera in the picture to save you some weight? I always strip the camera apart to the barest of necessities so as not to carry around the extra weight.

On another note... once you get onto a TV show or feature you may find that your stamina increases. Some days I don't feel the rig at all, but of course there are other days when I question the sanity of anyone who would do what we do because it feels so damn heavy!

Best of luck from a fellow countryman!

Chris
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#4 Matze-s-l

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 02:32 AM

do anybody have a good idea of training (except real shots of course) to make smooth shots? i have a dog and took it outside and tried to follow him while playing with him. are there any other good ideas?
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#5 JobScholtze

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 04:09 AM

how about following a blond small nice girl?
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#6 Matze-s-l

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Posted 17 August 2005 - 02:24 PM

are their any training videos? living in germany, it is difficult to go to the workshops.

matze
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#7 Afton Grant

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Posted 17 August 2005 - 04:39 PM

are their any training videos? living in germany, it is difficult to go to the workshops.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


There's a video published by "Award Winning Workshops" entitled "Advanced Steadicam Techniques". It's the only training type video on Steadicam that I know of. Unfortunately, I couldn't tell you if it's worth its price ($90USD). Perhaps someone else here has actually seen it.

My best suggestion would be to read every post in the "Operating" section of these forums. You'll get a very good sense of the things that take the most practice, the things you want to avoid, as well as the things that even the seasoned ops still strive to perfect. Often there will be a suggestion on how to practice it on your own. But as long as you know what to look for and what to work on, you can easily invent your own drills.

Hope this helps!
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#8 Richard James Lewis

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Posted 17 August 2005 - 04:59 PM

The EFP training tape with Jerry Holway, and the late great Ted Churchill is a fantastic introduction to Steadicam. See if you can get hold of a copy of it from somewhere.
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#9 LeighWanstead

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 05:52 PM

are their any training videos? living in germany, it is difficult to go to the workshops.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


There's a video published by "Award Winning Workshops" entitled "Advanced Steadicam Techniques". It's the only training type video on Steadicam that I know of. Unfortunately, I couldn't tell you if it's worth its price ($90USD). Perhaps someone else here has actually seen it.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I own that video. It is worth the price.

Regards
Leigh
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#10 Matze-s-l

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Posted 27 August 2005 - 10:55 AM

hello

here my first reel, three shots from last weekend projekt, 100% steadicam. these are some of my first shots ever and with my selfmade rig so will be glad for some comments:

http://www.nostra-de...gang/steady.mov


matze
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#11 Matt Mouraud

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Posted 27 August 2005 - 11:49 AM

Your selfmade rig seems to work pretty well ! The only way to improve and not to getting too much bad habits would be to take a workshop ! There's one in Paris in 3 weeks...
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#12 Charles Papert

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Posted 27 August 2005 - 12:46 PM

Matze:

Congratulations on jumping right in to it--those are some pretty complex shots for your first project!

As you transition from rig builder to operator, now you can forget all about the equipment and focus on the shots themselves. Think of every sequence as being made up of a series of still frames, and they should all be well composed (that's the hard part!). In the bathroom sequence for instance, the girl goes to the sink and you had a great opportunity to include her complete reflection in the mirror if you had panned right just a little bit. The best time to think about these sort of things is when you walk through the shot without the rig on in rehearsal (get yourself a little director's finder to assist with this). All of this will come in time, so keep practicing and studying your results and thinking "what could I have done to make this better/more interesting?"
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#13 Matt Mouraud

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Posted 27 August 2005 - 01:25 PM

Charles, you're a great inspiration for us, it's always great to read your comments that make us want to work harder and harder at mastering the Noble Instrument... :)
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#14 Matze-s-l

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Posted 27 August 2005 - 02:30 PM

thanks for the hints. @Charles: you hit the point: i´m not a director of photography. most of the steadicamoperators are dop an have some experience with the camera. i´m only 20 so i don´t have any experience with operating. so i have to learn how to operate not only the steadicam but as well the camera. however, do you have some hints about operating the steadicam? what about the "smoothness" of the shots, can someone mistake them with an profesional rig? what can you say about the quality of the selfmade rig compared with an prof. rig when you see only the shots. thats the point at this moment, where may i upgrade the system.

so its not very easy for me as i have to learn both parts.
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#15 Achim Girnth

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Posted 28 August 2005 - 03:31 AM

Hi Matze,

really good job for a first-time Operator. Your rig seems to be really solid. Give me some additional data:
Which Cam was used and hoe was the payload of your setup?
Are you interested in testing the rig in a professional environment.
Send me an email, as I am located in Germany, lke you are...

Really: Congratulations!

Achim
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