I have been a videographer for 15 years but have recently been tasked by my employer to run a steadicam for an upcoming conference. We purchased a steadicam scout and will be flying a Canon C300. I watched the provided DVD's and also some youtube tutorials. I feel that I have the system is pretty well balanced, but my first question is, should I be feeling any weight in my vest? The system begins hurting my back after only about 5 minutes of use. What am I doing wrong? Second, I am not receiving a signal to the monitor. I know it is an SD monitor and I am feeding a SD signal out of my cam, but am still not receiving a signal. Any thoughts? I have by passed all wiring and tried everything I can think of. The provided remote control doesn't even work. Third, for this particular conference, I will be attached by cabling for live IMAG. Any suggestions on wrapping cable so that it doesn't affect mobility? Any help from experienced operators is appreciated.
Brand New Steadi-Cam Scout Operation Questions
Posted 03 June 2014 - 06:47 AM
Don't mean to sound harsh but everybody here is going to give you the same response and if you had read any posts in this forum before posting yourself you would have realized this.
You and your employer are misguided to think its a good idea for you to have purchased a steadicam for a shoot when you have zero experience operating. You wouldn't buy a 6K voilin and give it to guitarist to play would you? In case you are feeling defensive now remember, this has nothing to do with your ego as a camera operator, Steadicam is an instrument plain and simple. While you can follow insturctions to get it initially balanced, It takes hundreds of hours of practice to achieve acceptable results and to even have a feel for what a proper balance is. You could also easily wind up in a situation where something goes wrong and you won't know how to fix it on the fly.
My advice would be to hire a steadicam operator, watch him/her, ask questions, and practice on your own and on projects that aren't important enough to go out and purchase a steadicam for. Also take a steadicam course and buy the books that are recommended in almost every thread in the steadicam newbies section.
More specifically answering your questions:
Assuming your vest is setup properly no your back shouldn't be hurting after 5 minutes, especially with a lightweight rig like the scout with a C300. Your technique is most likely flawed which is causing uneven distribution of weight in the vest. Proper posture is something you would be practicing and will get more of a feel for how the steadicam is being distrubited over time. Operate with the rig close to your body (not stretched out) and practice standing and walking slowly without even holding the steadicam, trying to not let the rig get away from you. This will give you a better feel for how your posture effects the steadicam and soon enough your body and legs will naturally support the weight as apposed to you fighting the weight with your back.
If I recall, there might be a setting in the C300 that has to be enabled for SD output. Try hooking it up to a different SD monitor that you know is working to see if it's the camera or the monitor itself.
It's going to be hard enough for you to operate as a begginer let alone be tethered, however, normally you would use cable that is as leightweight as possible. Tie it down to the rig so its not shifting while you operating and feed it down and off the gimbal, holding it with your right hand. Don't tape it down to the gimbal since you will need a little slack in your hands for when the steadicam is turned or tilted. You should have a PA that can unrival and wind up slack as needed so that it doesn't effect your steadicam operation. Practice working like this beforehand.
Edited by Elliot Gabor, 03 June 2014 - 06:51 AM.