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some advise on practising with a steadicam.

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#1 Neil Hodgkinson

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 10:58 AM

I have an old steadicam that I’ve been practicing with for a while and have a question. I adjust the arm so it floats the camera to my side and slightly in front of me, or where ever, and though it works just fine the neutral space where it does not start pulling off to my right of left seems quite small, less than a square foot, and once outside of that space the pull is strong and requires a firm grip to control.


In many of the videos I’ve been watching the operators seem to be able to move the camera across their body and even slightly in front of them while still having a light touch on the arm. There’s that awful video of the guy breaking the arm with an Alexa on board but with my arm as soon as I let go, once it’s wandered about 8 inches in any direction in goes, and it goes fast and hard not like the way it just drifts away from the chap in the video.


I feel like the guys in the instructional videos have a much larger area of neutral space in front and to their side that they can use, there are only two adjustments to position the camera relative to the body as far as I can tell so I thought I’d come and ask here. Maybe the operators I’m watching are just very good at it and have strong fingers so it looks like the arms not pulling, though the guy in the dropped camera video doesn’t look like he’s particularly in control. Either way, more adjustments or just keep practising, it’d be good to know.

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#2 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 04:20 PM

Hi. What is the brand / model you're using? The behavior you describe doesn't seem to be normal. The sled should float in front of you when in resting position without having to hold it from flying away. You can adjust it with the two thumb screws on the socket block for the fore and aft and with a large Allen key to spin the bolts inside the socket block for side to side. If you feel like it accelerates, it might be that your vest is not firmly attached to your body and starts shifting on you, allowing the rig to fly away. Check that the center spar of the vest is straight and aligned with your body. If all this fails it bought be a defect in your rig. Also you can try to control your rig with your hips to keep it center, but you shouldn't have to hulahop while operating
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#3 Neil Hodgkinson

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 05:55 PM

Thanks for the help Victor. I'm just practising with weights at the mo and a friend told me I'd gone over the top, I had about 8Kgs on the top. So I took it down to about 5Kgs and spent some time fiddling with the knobs on the socket block as you said and now it's a bit better. I still feel like it's in a bit of a rush to escape, it's not pulling like before but I wouldn't take my hands if it and expect it to stay there. I tried positioning it with my hips as you suggested and this helped, maybe I just need to control it better.


This one I've been practising with is an old Floatcam but I've an old Steadicam Flyer too and I'll give that one a go tomorrow. I've just finished doing them both up. The Steadicam took quite a lot of work needing a completely new bottom bracket, battery mount, monitor mount ect and I'm excited to give it a try, hopefully by comparing the two any obvious problems will be quickly apparent, though they both mount on different sides of their respective vests, that may be a bit of a mind game going back and forth.

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