Long time lurker, first time poster. I've been a working 1st/2nd in Los Angeles for a year and a half now. And although I love what I do, I've always had my heart set on operating. And steadicam is the funnest form of it. I'm a novice in the realm of steadicam, but I have used a poorly maintained rig from my school. If memory serves, it was a 3A arm and sled and there was a couple classes that focused on steadicam/glidecam which I took at my school as well. I've firsted for a few steadicam operators who showed me a few things but some of their advice and knowledge didn't quite stick. I've been considering steadicam for a few months, and decided I should do this now and not later (More debt never hurt anyone, right?). So I've been diving deep into the forums here which as been such a huge help, and I think I've finally gotten a base understanding of where I'm going in terms of starting out. But I wanted to pose some questions to everyone here to clarify a few things.
I will be taking a Tiffen workshop, but probably not until next year. Most likely against everyone's better judgement, I'm going to get a rig and jump right in.
I don't have a budget 100% set, but I'm maxing myself at $20k. From my research, this seems doable for a used starter rig. In terms of which brands, that's to be fleshed out.
- If I was configuring a rig from different brands or styles, is there anything I should watch out for? Like don't use this arm with this sled or vest? I saw something about a Pro1 arm (??) needing a different bracket for a back mounted vest. Stuff like that.
- How closely should weight limits match between the arm and sled? Or do most midrange rigs sort of cradle the same weight limits? Just watch out for extreme differences in weight limits? Which would be the better option to handle more weight if need be?
- Preferences on front mount vs back mount vests. Does the arm lose any field of motion between either mounts?
- Setting the tension in your arm. I know that it matters on the shot, if you need camera higher = more tension, lower height = less tension so you aren't having to fight the resistance, but what about tension between either section of the arm? How do you know when you've set the tension properly on either side of the joint?
- Lastly (for now), any kind of preferences or advice about starting out? I've got a couple friends who are willing to crash course me on wearing the rig and operating, and I'm hoping to head to the Tiffen Steadicam office to possibly test some of their products. I found a thread that noted someone specific to call there, I just can't seem to find it again. Any kind of info about anything steadicam related would be appreciated and savored!
Also as it stands, I'm looking at an updated Master sled, Master vest, and either a 3A arm or Master arm as my first rig. Any insight about this would be great. Or any potential sellers too haha.
Thank you to anyone with answers, and I look forward to being a part of this forum!