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New Member & the International Steadicam Workshop


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#1 J Brenizer

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 09:53 PM

Hello everyone! I would first like to introduce myself as a brand new member.

Who am I?
I am an American who just left his old career behind (software engineering project management) for film-making 9 months ago and moved to the south of France with his wife. A strange place for a career in film, I know, but my wife's work brought us to Europe and we just could not pass on the opportunity. Yada, yada.... like anyone wants to hear the details.

A question instead (with a tiny preface).
Most of my experience is in acting (is that a dirty word around here?) and sound recording. I have very little experience behind the camera (a few shorts to my name). With this in mind, would the International Steadicam Workshop near Munich (or something similar) be appropriate for me to begin learning all things Steadicam?

Thanks in advance for your replies.

Jason Brenizer
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#2 Stephen Press

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 01:29 AM

Honestly I would learn how to shoot before you even think of doing a SteadiCam course. In my opinion too many people try to fly before they learn how to crawl. Lighting and camera operating need to almost happen subconsciously if you are going to be able to give flying the rig your full attention. I often find as I?m settling the rig down I?ve already set focus and exposure, checked for shadows and obstacles without even thinking about it.
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#3 J Brenizer

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 05:06 AM

Honestly I would learn how to shoot before you even think of doing a SteadiCam course. In my opinion too many people try to fly before they learn how to crawl. Lighting and camera operating need to almost happen subconsciously if you are going to be able to give flying the rig your full attention. I often find as I?m settling the rig down I?ve already set focus and exposure, checked for shadows and obstacles without even thinking about it.



Fair enough. I appreciate the candid feedback. I was worried about having too many variables to worry about at once, hence the question in the first place. I suppose I will keep crawling for a while before I try to fly.

Jason
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#4 Lars Erik

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 05:12 AM

You have to start somewhere, and if you really want to do steadicam. Do the course. It's what you do AFTER the course that's important.

Even though as cameragod states, that he sets exposure and focus etc. in most cases, you have a DP or some sort of head technician who does this for you. Depending if it's for tv or film. But then again, if you are the only camera personell on the set, you'll have to do this for yourself. That said, it is really important to get to know the instruments you are working with. (cameraes, lenses, lighting etc)

Personally I'd do the course if you know you want to be a steadicam operator. But you have to follow it through. Get to know steadicam operators in your area. Get hold of a rig and practice. If you don't have your own rig, get in contact with someone who has one or has access to one. Let producers know you can operate. If they don't know about you, they can't hire you. If you are not willing to invest in this, I'd stay away from the course.

Whatever you do, good luck.
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#5 J Brenizer

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 05:57 PM

Thanks again for posting your thoughts. It helps.

Incidentally, I was just notified that the January Intl Steadicam Workshop is full, so I have to look for another similar workshop for later in the year. I believe there is one in Sweden in April, and one near Philadelphia in May. This gives me a little time to work more on my composition and general technical camera skills with a non-moving camera.

I am thinking cameragod was suggesting that I work on this for a couple of years insted of a couple of months. I understand the danger - if I can't compose one position very easily how will I be able to compose a fluid moving shot with 5 key positions in time with the blocking of the talent (who may or may not hit their marks the same way each take)?

Well, maybe a workshop in Paris next fall is more appropriate ....

Jason
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#6 Norbert von der Heidt

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Posted 23 December 2005 - 11:50 PM

Thanks again for posting your thoughts. It helps.

Incidentally, I was just notified that the January Intl Steadicam Workshop is full, so I have to look for another similar workshop for later in the year. I believe there is one in Sweden in April, and one near Philadelphia in May. This gives me a little time to work more on my composition and general technical camera skills with a non-moving camera.

I am thinking cameragod was suggesting that I work on this for a couple of years insted of a couple of months. I understand the danger - if I can't compose one position very easily how will I be able to compose a fluid moving shot with 5 key positions in time with the blocking of the talent (who may or may not hit their marks the same way each take)?

Well, maybe a workshop in Paris next fall is more appropriate ....

Jason


I agree with Stephen and then some. Do yourself a favour and learn something of the various other major production areas as well as camera before next year's Paris workshop.
For me, a cameraman should above, all have an eye for composition, you're either born with it or it comes from a lengthy apprenticeship behind the lense. Sure, the basics can be quickly learned from books or arts courses but if the process isn't natural and instinctive then compromising the production with trying to fly a rig seems a little silly.
When I got my first rig two years ago I was quickly able to become proficient because I only had the nuances of the rig to worry about and not how to run a camera and frame it etc. because that was already second nature to me. I started out as a gopher with an indepenent video production facility in 1978 and over the next 2 years learned the basics of every major production area until I found my niche in camera/lighting/tech. I was a grip, a sound recordist, camera control op, VT editor, lighting director and cameraman, sometimes all in one week. I took a two day course in Toronto more than ten years ago and within the first hour I knew what I wanted to do more than anything else as a cameraman. Unfortunately, it took another decade before I could fulfill that dream.
Now, not to say that you fall into this category but, film/video production has more than enough hero's who are in it because either: "dad bought them a Betacam" or it's "cool", it's "glamorous", the "chicks dig it", without having a love for the biz. I got sucked in by the whole production process of creating something and have never stopped learning! I love it!
Good luck with your endeavours. :)
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