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Stabilized handheld gimbals - the state of the industry.

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#1 Patrick Kaplin

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Posted 22 May 2015 - 06:07 PM

Hello fine steadicam folks.


I'm a long-time lurker, first time poster here.  Have been flying a glidecam X-10 for the last 4 years and am really itching to make the jump to a proper rig.  Used Zephyrs are high on my radar.


But as I get closer to buying a rig, I began wondering if handheld stabilizers are becoming a serious competition to steadicam ops.  I'm well aware of all the benefits steadicam offers compared to electronic gimbals (zero-latency mechanical input versus motors, no issues with translation from body movement, heavier payloads achievable); however, I wonder if producers understand these benefits?


It used to be that green steadicam ops could cut their teeth on low-budget indies to learn and start paying off their rig investment.  Do you think these days are dying as low-budget indies are more inclined to rent a MOVI or Ronin opposed to paying an op?  Have you seen a decline in steadicam hire in your region, losing jobs to gimbals?  Anybody diversifying and purchasing electronic gimbals to adapt to the market?


I love operating steadicam, and am really itching to buy a rig, schedule a workshop and refine my skills.  However, I unfortunately need to be realistic about the state of the market.  Any advice on this manner is greatly appreciated.




Patrick Kaplin

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CANADA: +1.613.701.4667


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#2 Janice Arthur

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Posted 23 May 2015 - 05:39 PM


Is steadicam going to be around long enough for you to pay off s zephyr? Yes

Is gimbal device coming along? Yes.

Will it find a niche and impact Steadicam highly debatable but each has a use and many more production people know about Steadicam and its specific values so it will have a value for probably a long time to come.

Can u make a living at Steadicam? Yes, but it depends on where I live and how much u invest in gear. 80k in a town of under a million people is tough (those are not exact numbers but u get the idea). Can u pay off 15k and make a profit? Yes.

Will u probably do reg operating and DP work and other stuff? Yes, because it's s different world and we all have time and pick up other jobs. Why not, if I can fit something in to my schedule and make some money then I'm for it. Common sense.

Good luck and have a good summer.

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#3 Mariano Costa

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Posted 24 May 2015 - 09:12 AM

I think one of the changes that is happening is that we now have a similar situation like it was when the Steadicam came into existence. Back then directors and dops underestimated how extremely complicated Steadicam operating was, put the rig on and very quickly handed off to the pros. With gimbals we have the situation again, only that this time, thanks to smaller + lighter cameras and electronics which does most of the fine grained work the operator has to do before, it is doable and everyone seems to own a very capable rig. "Luther" and other shows are good examples. At this point it is very diffuse to tell what is going to happen.
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#4 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 24 May 2015 - 10:03 AM

Regardless of what equipment you use, the operator's eye and sense of composition is still the most important thing. Steadicam, Movi, Gears, Jib and other apparatus are tools on the operator's belt. Up to him to select which is the best option for the shot. 

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