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Steadicam just started, but a serious target = Earthquakes


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#1 MarcusZ.

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 04:46 AM

Dear Steadi-Pros,

 

it sounds maybe a bit strange, but can I document the happenings during an earthquake with a Steadicam guided film camera?

 

Thanks in advance for your honest help,

 

Marcus


Edited by MarcusZ., 15 February 2017 - 04:47 AM.

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#2 Keith Wood

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 01:02 AM

Your idea is to mount a Steadicam arm on a wall, put a camera on that, then have it not move with the building shakes in a quake?

 

Interesting idea.  Mechanically, I think that it would work, but I'm new here myself and one of the experts may have other ideas.

 

I don't know if this would be any better than having a firmly-mounted camera, though. 


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#3 chris fawcett

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 10:26 AM

Marcus,

 

Welcome. This is a real-name forum, so please change your profile to show your whole name. You might get more answers that way.

 

I think Steadicam might be a great way to film earthquakes—if you just happened to be in the rig at the time, which is ridiculously unlikely. The Steadicam system would isolate the camera to a great extent from the quake, so you'd see the ground moving relative to the camera. However, if you did chance to be wearing the rig, you'd have the risk of falling down and hurting yourself. Attachment to a wall is tricky, especially if the wall falls down. If you are thinking of wall mounting, as Keith suggests, look at Flowcine's Black Arm instead. Steadicam needs hands-on attention.

 

Come back with more information, and we'll try to help you further.

 

All the best,

 

Chris


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#4 MarcusZ.

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 05:23 PM

Hi Chris,

 

sorry that I haven't signed in with my full name. Unfortunately, now I couldn't figure out how to change it.

 

First I want to let you guys all know, in the event of an earthquake I help others first before doing a movie! I only would make a documentation of the events if it is actually feasible.

Anyhow, thank you so much for your quick introduction into the issues and your suggestions!

This will help me to find the most optimal solution for the problem of operational readiness and secure operation.

 

If its allowed and appropriate, I would send a few results of my work in Tokyo/Japan at a later date.

 

Take care guys and all the best as well,

 

Marcus Zeller


Edited by MarcusZ., 17 February 2017 - 05:25 PM.

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#5 chris fawcett

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 03:34 AM

Hi Marcus,

You're welcome, and for sure, we'd like to see and hear more about your workespecially if you do use Steadicam. I'd advise you to get in touch with a local operator to discuss its use. I do a lot of Steadicam documentary work, and I can attest to its usefulness.

All the best,

Chris
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#6 Keith Wood

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 08:30 PM

If you mean using a Steadicam rig for documentary or newsgathering, ABSOLUTELY.  I thought you meant having it record the actual quake (known in the field as an "event") as it was taking place.

 

You will want to wear personal protective gear, such as kneepads, gloves and hat or maybe even a helmet, with dust mask and goggles handy for when you need them.  I would also suggest that you have someone with you to act as a guide dog and watch your surroundings for threats that you aren't noticing.


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#7 chris fawcett

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Posted 19 February 2017 - 12:35 PM

Markus,

 

If you intend to operate yourself. Please consider taking a workshop. Steadicam is not something you can learn well on your own. Better still, employ someone that has.

 

All the best,

 

Chris

 

Chris


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#8 EH Marshall

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 09:29 AM

Speaking just in safety terms, there is no excuse to make a movie if there are people in need of immediate help. I'm not sure if this point was misrepresented in translation, but safety is always number, one as any professional crew can attest to.


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#9 Keith Wood

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 04:32 PM

Speaking just in safety terms, there is no excuse to make a movie if there are people in need of immediate help.

 

Unfortunately, this is not always true.  Sometimes it's more important to get a record than to provide help.  It depends largely on two things -- the extent of need, and the capability to fill that need.  If you can't do much to help, but may save lives through documenting the event for later evaluation, you keep shooting.  One example was the guys who shot photos in the German concentration camps, rather than joining in the effort to give immediate help to the survivors.

 

Following an earthquake (I've been through a few myself), getting records of extent of damage may make a difference in the future.  Or imagine the video from the 9/11 attacks, which showed the extent of damage to the WTC immediately following impact, and the inability to make rescues in certain areas or above certain floors -- these are things which could not be reconstructed later, after the buildings came down.

 

There are some survivors of the Tohoku event whose only path to closure of their loss was video showing their loved ones being swept away.  I would consider providing such a service more valuable than putting down the camera to give first aid.

 

This is a hard decision, and one that I never want to have to make, but it is far from the cut-and-dried assumption that there is no excuse to keep shooting.


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#10 chris fawcett

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 04:54 AM

Well put Keith.
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#11 Keith Wood

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 12:09 AM

Well put Keith.

 

This was one of the things that I had to learn doing newsgathering -- we are designed to want to help, to want to talk, but a professional has to BE a professional, and weigh the consequences of each option.  This is one of the two biggest differences between ENG and field production -- the other is also a mindset issue, that being knowing that in ENG, you get one chance, so you have to think about the mechanics of getting the shot, rather than concentrating on what is IN the shot.

 

I have never had to decide between a camera or a victim.  Fortunately, I have given it some thought, and have a general set of conditions already "programmed in."


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