I'm posting this thread seeking help from local operators. I'm looking for an operator who has already done one of the 5-7 day workshops and is willing to meet with me and give me some hands-on training in steadicam.. I'll pay you 50 bucks an hour. I'm willing to drive, I'll buy you beers, lunch, ect..
I purchased a Pilot 4 months ago and flew it about five times before realizing I needed to more weight capacity. I currently own a Flyer, and have funds saved for an analog bartech (When one comes up in the market place here.)
I am slowly making my way through the steadicam handbook.
The tiffen workshop and Rob's stabilizer workshop have not responded to any of my emails, messages, or phone calls. I know a few local operators, but they've been busy and it's difficult to get a hold of them. This is why I'm reaching out here.
Steadicam to me is a ton of fun. I hope to make a career out of it one day but I'm not exactly sure where to start. Or if I'm even wearing the damn vest right.. So, some hands on training would be very appreciated.
I'm still waiting on dailies from over half of the productions I've been on, but I was able to make a short reel that I would appreciate critique on:
Even if you aren't local, any advise would be appreciated!
I could go on and on about my story, but I'd love to hear yours. If you're willing to help me out message me or email: email@example.com
Currently all of my Intro to Stabilizer Workshops are booked solid with a wait list through April and the next level workshops are booked now until the week after CineGear Expo 2015.
There used to be some regular practice sessions going on in LA among some of the operators there and there still may be. Maybe someone like Will Demeritt, TwoJay, Andrew and Brian Fresh could chime in here?
I won't critique your reel but looking at it I'd say you simply need to stay in the rig 2-3 times a day for about 30-45 minutes each time. Practice the basics of starts, stops, switches and lock-offs over and over until you no longer think about them and they are completely muscle memory. Watch your headroom and keep in mind it takes years and years to acquire the skills and build a client base.
Hawaii must be pretty darn relaxing, you can only remember Will's last name!
I was just thinking about setting up another practice session. Dunno if they were ever regular, save for the brief period I was trying to do them weekly. During that time they were regularly once a month or so, for at least 2-3 months!
Neal Bryant seems to practice regularly as well. I'll hit him up and see if we can't start something. Chris send me your email, PM is fine
By the time I finished Will's name my second sip of espresso was starting to open up a bit and jogged the memory. Actually I debated his last name because there is another Will (Arnot) on the forum but there are other Brians on the forum too but only one TwoJay. The good news is you're all "originals" in your own special way!
There are other workshop options available, from short two and three day ones to intensive 5.5 day ones. I'm speaking of the various Tiffen sponsored ones happening all over the world. The 5.5 day workshops include (the incomparable) Garrett Brown as one of the instructors, as well as other talented operator/teachers, vetted by the head instructors.
For instance, we just finished an amazing Steadicam Operators Association workshop in Chester Springs, PA (outside of Philadelphia, where both Garrett and I live), complete with vehicle work on an ATV, camera car, Steadiseg, rickshaw, and Skatedolly. We had a shot with a crane step on and off. We also had shots with the Tango, and practiced regular, goofy, high low, super high and super low mode shooting, using a motorized sgage. We had everyone experience using the Exovest, as well as several other vests (and some brought their own vests, including some from other manufacturers). Our 150 year old venue is amazing for a wide variety of visually interesting and difficult shots. We used a multiplicity of instructors and helpers, had great catered food, and presented video lectures you get nowhere else. Long exhausting and intensive days. Great fun.
I talked extensively with the students about all different brands of rigs including Tiffen, Pro, XCS and Sachtler. I own a Pro/XCS. I regularly help and instruct at the workshops with Jerry and the crew and I don't ever push gear of any brand on anyone and neither to any of the other instructors. Each person requires and prefers a different rig based on everything from money to travel to camera and shot needs. While there is talk about gear and rigs at the workshop, the best thing about it is just what Chris says, learning to operate the Steadicam from a technical and aesthetic perspective no matter what rig a person ends up in. The value of a good workshop should be based in operating and how the gear fits into that, I try to keep gear talk to a minimum at the workshop and focus on the shot and operating. Yes we talk gear and Tiffen and Pro and XCS and beyond because it is a huge part of Steadicam obviously but if there was a hard sales meeting feeling behind any of it I would have a hard time instructing there as many others might as well. I would also believe lots of students would come out of the workshop and let everyone know how they did not learn anything, but they were just getting Tiffen products shoved down there throats. And I have not seen that in the past 11 years of being involved. It's a good workshop. Early on in learning most all workshops will be of value to start ops on the right foot.
k. since no other newbies stepped in here to add another perspective, I feel I should chime in.
Ive attended Tiffen's Annual workshop last year, week long one with Garrett, Jerry, Chris, and Dave.
extremely nice group of people, and Ive also made lots of friends.
and I ended up bought a PRO rig due to lots of reasons. but I don't feel there were marketing/branding Tiffen's rig during the workshop at all, and Jerry specifically mentioned "lets not talk about prices, lets focus on learning how to operate steadicam" in the very first lecture of the class.
and.... I don't see any how buying a tiffen rig is wrong. they make fantastic rigs and keeps announcing cutting edge steadicam related technologies almost every year.
and I don't ever believe you can't do a specific shot because you bought a tiffen rig.
Thank you for the very informative responses and private messages. The steadicam community is incredible and I definitely feel very blessed to be able to communicate and network with the people who've taken the time to post in this thread.
@Robert, I'm glad your workshops are still popular and you have a big waiting list. This is encouraging, the art of steadicam is still alive and there's still lots of interest in it! Hopefully I'll be able to take one of your workshops one day! I appreciate the advice and agree with every word of it.
@Brian, I sent you a PM and look forward to your response. Hopefully I can attend a few practice sessions with you guys and learn from your wealth of knowledge.
@Shawn, thanks for the PM. It was great hearing your story and opinions.
@Andy, thank you for the contact info.. I guess I could have found that on the SOA website huh..? haha. I'll be emailing him shortly.
I could use a bit of advice from some of you guys. A local op is selling his Master sled/arm/vest for 13k with quite a few accessories included. From my research, this is a pretty good deal, and will allow me to fly just about every camera there is. However, this investment will pretty much empty my savings. (My girlfriend's parents are willing to do a 5k loan as well)
I will not be able to purchase a FF or transmitter if I do make this purchase. So what are your opinions? Big Rig with no FF or Transmitter? Or keep my smaller rig for now to fund a Bartech and workshop?
and also think about it this way are u currently in dement of flying big cameras ? I owned master for year but sold it because all I was flying were DSLR, BlackMagic, RED EPIC etc .. pretty small cameras. When you buy bartech u will keep it for later even with big rig and it will make you money on rental .
Thank you Chris, I'd love to have you in one of my workshops one day. Meanwhile, if you can get a spot with Jay Kilroy he's an excellent instructor and a great guy to learn from. Also, LA op Steve Fracol does small intensive workshops occasionally between shows and he is an excellent source for instruction locally and someone with a very clear picture of the LA market and what it takes to work there.
Used rigs are a great way to get started, especially used big rigs. If finances are so tight you'd not be able to outfit it properly you might just want to wait a while and save your money while getting some experience under your belt. Keep in mind too that as long as you have several sources for accessories you can always rent a Bartech, Preston or transmitter. That will cut into your rig rental money but if you are under capitalized it may be your best choice. The fundamentals of flying a smaller rig are the same as those of a big rig and maybe even more so since you do not have the advantage of the stability more weight brings to the equation.
Don't jump the gun on gear so quick that you are not able to get professional instruction.