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I can see my steps, what's causing it?


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#1 Emily St. Pierre

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 02:37 PM

I'm pretty new to steadicam. I have an archer 1 rig with a G50 arm and a Walter Klassen vest.

 

I haven't  had much trouble balancing the rig and setting up the arm so it's not coming at me or pulling away from me and when i'm shooting everything feels okay but looking at the footage I can see some of my steps.  I'm not sure if it's a vest issue ( I do have hips a little larger then normal for my body size) , arm issue or a walking problem. 

 

Here's a link for reference

Disclaimer: I know my framing and lock offs are not great yet. 

 


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#2 William Demeritt

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 04:03 PM

Assuming the arm is fine and your vest is fitted properly:

 

In my understanding, a few simple things can cause big problems when it comes to seeing steps of the operator in your shot. Here's the short rundown: 

  • hips move in a "camel back" motion rather than maintaining uniform height from ground
  • excessive weight shifting while walking (left to right)
  • too strip of a grip on your gimbal arm and gimbal
  • shifting weight while standing still

When you're still getting used to the weight of the rig, there's a tendency for the rig to "wag the dog" or "wag the operator" a bit. You gotta be the anchor, and the rig is the "kite" that soars around your body. Further, don't think of your legs as the solid pillars on which your body rests. Imagine your core/waist is the "solid core", and your legs are the springy suspension system that keeps it all smooth. In the end, your strength will match what the weight of the rig requires, and the steps will become less obvious. Smooth operator, smooth rig. 

 

Your lockoffs will benefit once you get a handle on your CG and weight shifting.


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#3 Jason Tan

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 04:25 PM

Also if you have an original G50 you should get the G50X modification.
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#4 Brian Freesh

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 05:46 PM

Honestly, this early in the game, it's just practice.  We could pick apart this one thing, but it's normal for a beginner.  We could spend as much time picking apart your lock offs to give you suggestions.  The important thing is that you get the right training before you get into bad habits, after that just keep going and you'll get better.  And (this is so unlike me to say) honestly, even if you get in to bad habits, so long as you aren't damaging your body but are achieving great shots, who cares? (says a guy who can hold an awesome lock off while on his toes with his legs crossed, and sweats it every time.  Good footwork is not to be overlooked, I promise you)

Practice, Practice, Practice.  Do those 3 things and you'll be great.


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#5 Chris Loh

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 06:02 PM

  And (this is so unlike me to say) honestly, even if you get in to bad habits, so long as you aren't damaging your body but are achieving great shots, who cares? 

I've been told this over and over by so many veteran operators.. Experiment with what works for you! What works for one operator may not work for another. As long as it doesn't harm your body, keep doing what helps you achieve the best shots possible!


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#6 Martin Stacey

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 06:12 PM

Looks like you may be lifting the rig a little. Loosen your grip on the gimbal handle and let the rig float a little more to stop it rising with your body.
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#7 Michael Wilson

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 07:27 PM

You should circle around your docking post and shoot the docking bracket.  I had a g50 arm once and the docking bracket would bounce up and down in the frame a lot.  You can also just stand there with the camera pointed at the docking bracket and push the sled away from you and back to see how much frame moves up and down.  That's to rule out the arm.  Their is also the tip toe test.  


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#8 Nathan Chapman

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 07:38 PM

Michael, can you explain the tip toe test? Is it literally operating like a ballerina?


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#9 Michael Wilson

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Posted 18 January 2015 - 08:14 PM

I believe this is how it goes.  Stand with your rig just like normal.  Start flat on your feet.  Move to your tip toes rapidly.  If the arm moves up and takes the rig with it then you have too much friction in your arm.  I heard about this long ago.  Not sure if what I'm saying is correct though.  


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#10 Sam Law

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Posted 19 January 2015 - 12:17 AM

if a part of your sled isn't well secured, it can make a jitter when you take a footstep.  The way the  cinetronic yoke mounted onto my mk-v bracket involved about 5 separate parts.  Together small amounts of slippage between these parts added up to show footsteps occasionally.  With some help from Tom wills,  I have it mounted so the yoke now screws directly to the km-v bracket instead.  it isn't as easy to assemble/dissassemble for transport, but its solid as a rock now.  A good test to see if its the sled, is to hold a flashlight light so theres a specularity on your monitor while its turned off, and the rig is docked.  tap various places throughout the sled, along the post, at the batteries, where your monitor mounts, etc, anywhere that makes the specularity on the monitor look like its jittering, more than tapping other areas, is a potential source of jitter in your frame. its a pretty noticeable difference, in how much the specularity moves depending on wether the area you tap is solid, or a potential risk.


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#11 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 19 January 2015 - 01:00 AM

Hi Emily,

 

There are some very solid comments here. The "tip toe" test is one indicator and there are volumes written here about problems with the old Tiffen G50 arms. Search the forums for that.

 

You really should take a workshop and then another and another. While there's not only one way to operate, there definitely are some widely accepted methods and practices with good foundations as to why we do things a certain way.  There's no substitute though for quality instruction and having the eyes of a professional operator on you to help you move up faster and safer.

 

Telegraphing your footsteps can have one cause or can be the combination of several issues both mechanical and in technique. Operating and operating well is not just mimicking a series of canned "dance steps", it is a melding of technique, style and personal vision and telling someone's story.

 

Check the mechanical bits but don't overlook the operator and proper training.

 

Robert


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#12 Chris Van Campen

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Posted 19 January 2015 - 04:35 PM

Hi Emily, tons of great info from ops here on this thread, and in these older ones too:

 

 
 
 
As Alan mentioned the other day on another topic, it's a lot easier to use Google to search this forum.
 
Don't forget to practice at lower speeds too... good luck!

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#13 Mark Stitzer

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 08:57 PM

I agree with others in that it is probably your weight shifting and hip movement on the socket block side that adds the vertical bump. But, I would say that arm friction can be a big culprit too. I see steps much more when I use smaller arms like the Scout system I sometimes use. My old model 2 arm, however, is much smoother and I don't notice steps. I have found that having a heavier build(more inertia) helps a lot in overcoming the friction in an arm.
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#14 Amando Crespo

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 09:33 PM

Also if you have an original G50 you should get the G50X modification.

Hi!.

It can help, but isn´t the answer for walk effect.


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#15 Chris Van Campen

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Posted 22 January 2015 - 03:07 PM

I agree with others in that it is probably your weight shifting and hip movement on the socket block side that adds the vertical bump. But, I would say that arm friction can be a big culprit too. I see steps much more when I use smaller arms like the Scout system I sometimes use. My old model 2 arm, however, is much smoother and I don't notice steps. I have found that having a heavier build(more inertia) helps a lot in overcoming the friction in an arm.

 

That's a good point regarding weight and smaller systems. With a G50 I would think you need to have a camera build that's at least getting the arm into its midpoint load-wise to behave well. Not sure what you're flying up top?

 

With my little Zephyr arm, I've found it to work best at least 2/3 into the load capacity, if not almost maxed. The arm rides better, and the gimbal naturally ends up closer to the top stage, thereby reducing any angular effects.

 

Maybe add a weight plate or some AKS up top...


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