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Question about how to start as a steadicam operator

Beginner Steadicam Lease Rent-to-own newbie loan sled upgrade GPI Pro

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#1 Sunny (Sangwon) Kim

Sunny (Sangwon) Kim

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Posted 10 August 2016 - 05:03 PM

Hello, my dear steadicam gurus.  I just graduated from film school, (I am 23 right now) and I decided to go serious about my carrier as a steadicam operator. 


I've made some mistakes along the way to start this business, such as buying CAME-TV steadicam as my first rig, and buy many 3rd party accessories to minimize my budget.  I know many of you criticize that this rig will not be acceptable in professional field, and initially I disagreed. However more research I do and more gig offers I get, I realize I do need better equipments that last long and perform effectively. In a way, I learned my lesson in a hard way.  


Now, as you can tell from the fact that I try to minimize my budget to start my carrier, I don't have much to start with, and especially not 30k-50k. I was about to give up on pursuing this carrier until I bumped into rent-to-own program and leasing options.   I was looking into GPI Pro rigs, because it offered rent-to-own program while offering solid service, and it was the same for Steady Rig although they only sell arm component.  Then as I research more, I realize I can talk to credit union to get loans if I want to get gears from other companies. 


This option will let me go on a track to be in the business, but as I am young and unexperienced with financial world, I am very concerned if I will be eligible for loans, so I am asking advice from folks who were also in same path as I was, I want to hear from your perspectives how you guys handled the initial budgets and which would you guys recommend me between lease, loans, and rent-to-own programs. 


On a different question, I am very new to upgrading sled with different components, so I want to know what is absolute feature in sleds that I should consider if I am choosing my first rig?  For an example, I realize both MK-V J Box center pole cable and GPI Pro HD center pole cable would not fit in any rigs that is less than 2' diameter.  So I know now that if I want to upgrade electric components in future, I must get a sled that is larger than 2' diameter.  That's one feature that I learned to consider, but I want to know if there is anything that is essential features in sleds if I am considering upgrading in future to minimize expenses in the future. 


Thank you teachers, and any criticism and advices are welcomed. 

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#2 Janice Arthur

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Posted 10 August 2016 - 08:04 PM



You have many things to consider; money available, not sure what you want exactly; and unknown potential of your area.

So my advise to you is to keep looking at the forum for parts that fit together and you can afford and let you keep educating yourself.

Along the way you'll figure out what you can make as an operator in your area, the type of cameras you'll need to work with and many others.

There is almost no way to say exactly what is absolutely needed on your sled, it can vary a lot and we can say one thing you need and there is no way you have the money for it so why even make you think that way.

You've done lots of research, keep going.

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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Beginner, Steadicam, Lease, Rent-to-own, newbie, loan, sled, upgrade, GPI Pro


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