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Zephyr newbie training

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#1 Nathaniel C. T. Jackson

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 03:49 AM

Hi Guys n Gals,


I have previously been using a hdge n podge glidecam for a fair while to reasonable success for my own things and then moved onto a 1st gen Steadicam Flyer. I have now got myself a Steadicam Zephyr and I am keen to increase my skills.


I have the Steadicam operators hand book, read it through a bunch, don't do enough practice as I might. So I am keen to improve but want to aslo do it the most efficent way possible. Not trying to be lazy but I just don't have a lot of spare time.


I love doing steadicam, I don't aim to be a steadicam op for other peoples productions, really just my own. My day job is I run a small production company in Sydney with a few employees. We mainly make corporate videos and TVCs. Last year in colaboration with some industry friends we made our first feature and we are keen to do more. This is what I'd like to be able to be a decent steadicam op for, our own low budget features.


Most often the feedback I see is to do a workshop. I'd love to, thing is after speaking to Brett from Tiffen I get the impression that there is not much chance of a workshop in Sydney. So...


1. I bumped into a Steadicam Op at Lemac recently and got chatting. Is it a good Idea to hire some one like him to come and give a day lesson? Is there any pitfalls with that idea that I havent thought of & how do you determine who will be good at teaching you?


2. Are there any workshops going on in Sydney that I have not found yet that you peeps know about?


3. Any tips for improving other than Workshops, The hand book, and keep practicing?


What I currently have trouble with:

Offten I have a slight side to side wobble trying to keep the frame centered.

Getting dynamic ballance I find very frustrating and some times elusive.

A sense that I could be set up better/I am making simple mistakes I am unawear of.


I feel that the glidecam route of learning has imbued me with bad habbits or areas of miss information.


Any advice is appreciated. I have read through alot of post on this forum so happy to be pointed in the direction of something I have missed.


Nat J

Edited by Nathaniel C. T. Jackson, 04 August 2015 - 03:55 AM.

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#2 chris fawcett

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 05:16 AM

Hi Nathaniel,


You're right. Taking a workshop is the way to move forward. I'll be talking to Brett tomorrow about the possibility of organising a 2016 workshop broadly in your region, but my advice to you is to sign up for the next available place on a workshop anywhere. In the meantime, by all means hire a fellow operator to give you some tips, and get a copy of the Steadicam EFP training DVD.


To your problems:


Your side-to-side wobble might be too tight a grip on the gimbal handle. It's hard to tell without seeing you work.

See if this helps with your DB www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9W8bOZLM9g

Post photos of your setup, and I'm sure you'll get plenty of comments from fellow Zephyr users.


All the best,



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#3 Louis Puli SOC

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 06:23 PM

Hi Nathaniel 

I will be in Sydney from the 12-22 of August working .If I can help just let me know.

I would agree with Chris that your control with your left or right hand is to tight a grip and is reflected in the frame moving .


Nothing beats Practice, Practice, Practice. 


Chris DB is great Its all very simple when he lays it out on the floor .Well done mate .


If you need another instructor for your next w/shop I am available ok .

Talk soon 


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#4 Nathaniel C. T. Jackson

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 09:25 PM

Thanks for taking the time to help Chris, your video does make it seem a lot clearer. I have re ballanced this morning and am getting better at it. Still will take a lot of practice to do it quickly and efficently, as you say. Ill get my self a copy of the EFP dvd as you suggested.


Hey Louis, I was just talking to James last night over FB and he told me about your Sydney visit. We are unfortunatly shooting in a mine up in Gunnedah during that time. But after the 4th sept Ill be giveing you guys a call for sure :)


One of my guys has inherited my Flyer so he would be keen as well.

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#5 chris fawcett

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 01:09 AM

Sure thing Louis!
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