Jump to content



Photo

1st time shooting


  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 Sean Emer

Sean Emer

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts

Posted 22 February 2006 - 09:53 PM

Hello everyone!

I'm running into a bit of a dilemma here, and I was hoping some of you might be able to help. Here's the situation: My high school is working in conjunction with a director to do a live audience TV Show in the school's auditorium. It consists mainly of three guests and one host sitting on stage, with the audience in the seats watching. The difference here is that this presentation will also be a live-to-tape 7-camera shoot. We're going to have 3 or 4 static cameras (A wide shot, a headhunter, and some other establishing shots), then one or two XL1s cameras roving the audience. That leaves two more cameras. One, a Betacam SP, will be mounted on a 12' jib. The last camera, an Ikegami DV7AW, will be rigged on a pro-Steadicam. I'm not sure exactly what kind of Steadicam is going to be used, but supposedly it will be on of the heavier ones (I heard the phrase 'Type III' dropped at one point. Does that clarify anything?). Of the few students in the school involved with Video Production, I am the most advanced camera/composition-wise, so I've been placed on Steadicam duty.

The problem is that I have never in my life worked with a Steadicam rig, and I have heard that it is a difficult art to master. I will not be able to get a day of practice in before the show; the first time I put on the rig will be an hour or so before the show starts. My father, who is a lighting cameraman by profession, has used Steadicam rigs in the past, but the only piece of advice he could really offer me was that I can't manhandle the rig. I assumed this from the beginning. I'm here to ask you guys, the pros, if there are any starter tips for a novice (COMPLETE novice) Steadicam user? I've looked through the forums a little, and I've found a few useful tips, but I want to make sure I have as many bases covered as possible before I walk into this thing.

Thanks in advance guys!

Sean Emer
  • 0

#2 charlesneufeld

charlesneufeld

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 170 posts

Posted 22 February 2006 - 10:25 PM

Hey Sean,

Well I don't want to discourage you... but if you have never seen/used a rig I give you a 1% chance of even getting the rig put together in an hour - not counting balancing. There is too much to know.

I would pass on this show unless you can get your hands on it for a week or so, and get a experienced op to help you muddle through the basics - as I assume a workshop is not likely.

Sorry for the bad news :(
~C
  • 0

#3 RonBorden

RonBorden

    Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 12 posts

Posted 22 February 2006 - 11:45 PM

Sean,

Wow! You're in High School?

First let me congratulate you on your professionalism. Your post is first rate as far as laying out your situation. I also appreciate your understanding of what you face. You are in a tough spot.

My question is this: Where is the Steadicam coming from? Is it on loan from an operator who might be able to give you a quick clinic? If it's coming from a rental house, maybe someone there can at least assist you in building the rig. If someone can help you, you want to take your camera to the rental house and build the complete unit. Prep is key.

Charles is correct, aside from operating issues, there are a host of nuts and bolts set-up tasks that need to addressed and they can leave you frustrated before you even put the rig on!

As far as operating, you're not gonna be great on this show, but I'll bet you'll have a blast! Try, try, try to find an operator in your area who will spend an hour with you in the rig. It will make a world of difference. Then go to the show and have fun. In my humble opinon, a huge part of Steadicam operating is attitude. A confident, professional perspective coupled with adequate preparation will see you through. Your post indicates a wonderful sense of professionalism. The confidence willl come from knowing you can build the rig and it will work. You don't have time to learn the art of operating, but with a little help from your new firends out here, I'll bet you can pull off a one or two nice moves...

Sean, you inspired me to search out my forum password and reply to your post. If you were in the Atlanta area, I'd be proud to help you out. Mark Van Loon, Mike Smith, and a lot of people from rental house managers and techs to equipment vendors, helped me get started in the biz a long time ago, and I strive to return the favor whenever I can.

Good luck and let us know how things shake out.

Ronald Borden
  • 0

#4 Tom Wills

Tom Wills

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 384 posts
  • Philadelphia, PA

Posted 23 February 2006 - 12:09 AM

Hey Sean, welcome to the world of Steadicams. I'm personally learning to be an op, and I'm a High School Sophomore myself. I do ENG camera operating for sporting events for colleges as a job. You're not the only one in this boat my friend. Definetly don't expect to even get decent shots. Your shots will look slightly better than if they were shoulder mounted. I know that I'm no professional, but I can tell you that any type of Steadicam operating is hard, and especially strapping on a rig with a full-size ENG camera for the first time will KILL your back. Be prepared to take breaks. Plenty of them. You don't want to overstrain yourself. Also, see if you can get somebody else to balance it for you. Balancing is quite hard to do for the first time.

It baffles me that a real director would just shove a high school kid who's a good camera operator into a Steadicam, but then again, he is a director. :D

When is this shoot? I can probably help you some with some tips, some basic training and some information if I've got enough time. As I have said, I'm no pro, but I think that because I was in your position about a year ago, I might be just the perfect thing you need.
  • 0

#5 Nils Ruinet

Nils Ruinet

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 44 posts
  • Paris - France

Posted 23 February 2006 - 06:33 AM

Hi Sean,
Well I agree with everything that has been said before...
As Charles said, don't even think about trying the rig just 1 hour before the show. :blink:
I don't know how much time you have left, but try to find a rental house that could let you try one, and give you some advice...
If you can't, then I would suggest to go handheld :P Your shots will look better, and at least you'll be sure not to hurt yourself, or the gear.

I don't know how "strong" you are, but there are chances that the rig will feel awfully heavy to you if it's you're first time. Be carefull not to hurt your back. Always stand up straight, and have as much breaks as possible. If your back hurts, stop, maybe you're doing something wrong...

Another thing, if it's a live show, you'll probably have to deal with a cable coming down from your camera. Even if you have an assistant who pulls the cable (which you need to), this is a real pain when working with a steadicam, even for experienced operators.

And in the meantime, you should read the manuals that are on this page :
http://www.steadicam...soamanual.shtml
Especially the Ultra manual, even if you'll get an older rig, this will help you understand how a steadicam works, and most importantly how you set it up and balance it.
Theory is not nearly enough, but at least you'll have some clues of what to do when you get a real one.
There was also a great EFP training video tape, maybe you could find someone who still has it...
Balance is the key, you need to take the time at the beginning to achieve a perfect balance, this will help a lot. Read the Ultra manual to learn more about it...

But again, if you can't get some training before the show, I wouldn't do it :unsure:

Good luck !
Nils.
  • 0

#6 Kris Torch Wilson

Kris Torch Wilson

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 184 posts
  • Los Angeles

Posted 23 February 2006 - 01:28 PM

Sean...Couldn't stay quiet on this one. You really should consider not doing this. It's one thing to strap on a light rig and run around with a dv cam but if this is a IIIA and a 20 something pound camera you are putting yourself at RISK. I can't believe your father has ever strapped on a rig and is allowing you to do this. You can get tips and hints all day off the web but you need someone with experience to be with you the first time. This really is an accident waiting to happen and when it does you can be seriously f..... up. I remember how excited I was when I first started operating 23 years ago but my responsibilities as a DAD are greater than those of a fellow operator. Tell them no .. put the camera on your shoulder or sticks and have a great shooting experience.

Kris (the Torch) Wilson
Hollywood, CA
  • 0

#7 Sean Emer

Sean Emer

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts

Posted 23 February 2006 - 03:38 PM

Hey guys!

Thanks for all the responses; it means a lot to me! I guess I should have clarified the circumstances a little bit more: My dad tried to talk me out of doing the steadicam, but I really don't want to pass on an opportunity like this, so I'm at least going to try. The one thing I neglected to mention was where and how we acquired the rig. The rig will be supplied by a professional steadicam operator who does it for a living. He'll also be present at the show, so rigging and balancing won't be as big of an issue as I thought it would be (I too was recently under the impression that all we had was the rig. I'm sorry for not mentioning this in the first post). So at the show I'll have a steadicam professional to help me out.

I know that, frankly, my shots are going to suck. That?s why there are going to be six other cameras in the room. The point here is that in my experience I have already worked with headhunters and jibs, but steadicam is something I've never been able to play around with. I'm going to college soon, and I want to bring with me as many experiences as possible. I've always been fascinated by steadicam (to be honest, watching the steadicam guy at the Half Time Show in the Super Bowl was a lot more fun than watching the Rolling Stones), and if I have a good experience on this upcoming show, I might just buy myself a mini rig for my XL1s.

As far as getting early practice, I'll look around to see if there are any rental places that might let me try out a rig (Do you think B&H would?).

Thanks for all the input guys! (I think I've found a new favorite forum)

Sean Emer


Btw ? This show is scheduled for May 20, 2006
  • 0

#8 Kris Torch Wilson

Kris Torch Wilson

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 184 posts
  • Los Angeles

Posted 23 February 2006 - 04:03 PM

Sean.......Now I feel better. I really was concerned for you. I've done some pretty stupid stuff over the years and would hate to see a young ambitious operator get hurt. Best of luck to you.
Torch
  • 0

#9 Marc_Abernathy

Marc_Abernathy

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 533 posts
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 23 February 2006 - 09:26 PM

sean,

i understand you want to TRY but if you have never been in a Rig before and you plan on being in one for a couple of hours nonstop, your back is going to kill you. further, if your shots suck then this could harm your chances in the future for ever doing anything in this industry as word of mouth goes a long way.

you have a unique chance i will grant you that, and the fact you gor RON BORDEN to speak up means a LOT!!!

but, just because the opportunity exists does not mean you should take it. if your Rig is a MODEL III or a PRO film version Rig then you will find you have a lot of muscles in your back you did not know you had! this is a demanding job and it is extrememly rewarding but i just dont want you to set yourslef up for disaster.

now if the director does not care that you have zero experience then my post is moot but please be up front with them on every aspect of this production as your name will be on it.

man i was daydreaming about ted churchill and Steadicam when i was in high school and here you are getting the opportunity to FLY a rig... my how times have changed....
  • 0

#10 Alec Jarnagin SOC

Alec Jarnagin SOC

    Advanced Member

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPip
  • 1800 posts
  • New York City, USA

Posted 23 February 2006 - 10:19 PM

Sean,

When is your shoot? I noticed you are in NJ. I'm in New York, but out of town until text week. Maybe you can take a look at my gear, but I'm not sure when we could do that. Anyone else want to help out this young man? B&H will not have what you are looking for.

Sean, I'm impressed with your drive, but the counterpoints mentioned here are very valid. I wouldn't worry about ruining your career doing a freebie while in high school though, but health concerns are valid (although at your age you are still made partially of rubber).

Cheers.
  • 0

#11 Afton Grant

Afton Grant

    Advanced Member

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPip
  • 908 posts
  • New York, Boston

Posted 24 February 2006 - 03:47 PM

When is your shoot? I noticed you are in NJ. I'm in New York, but out of town until text week. Maybe you can take a look at my gear, but I'm not sure when we could do that. Anyone else want to help out this young man? B&H will not have what you are looking for.


I certainly don't have the experience of Alec, but I do have a full size rig that you're more than welcome to come look at and try on. I'm in Brooklyn. The concerns of the other fellows on this post are very valid, however. I can probably get you relatively comfortable with hooking things up, and perhaps the basics of balance, but operating is definitely going to be tough. Make absolutely sure you have a spotter.

Call anytime,
Afton
781-883-4235
  • 0

#12 Marc_Abernathy

Marc_Abernathy

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 533 posts
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 28 March 2006 - 12:56 PM

sean, updates?
  • 0

#13 AdamKeith

AdamKeith

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 143 posts
  • NY/NJ

Posted 28 March 2006 - 09:59 PM

Sean had his facts a little wrong.
I didn't want to post until I spoke with the Director who set this up.
I think he cleared things up.

Sean is a student at a high school NJ. A director I work with ask me to help him -out in recording a event at the high school. We are using some of the schools equipment along with cameras and gear from Jupiter Video/Richie Westline. I am bringing a 18' Jib with operator, my Steadicam and focus puller. We offered to let the students at the school who are in the video club to tag along. help out with the gear with the opportunity to try on the rig and fly the Jib around before the event.

Adam Keith
  • 0

#14 Jurgen Badenhorst

Jurgen Badenhorst

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 24 posts
  • Johannesburg RSA

Posted 03 April 2006 - 08:25 AM

Hey Sean

Jurgen from SA I did a Steadicam course in Germany for a week and my first shoot with the Rig was really really hard. But like all things in life you have to pratice as much as you can. I had to do a 10min shot on live tv and I can tell you my back killed me, I spend 2 days a week in a gym with a trainer and I still get tired...GOOD LUCK WITH THE SHOOT.....

Oh one more thing PLEASE STOP IF YOU FEEL pain...my girl is a loader she picked up a lensebox hurt her back and had to retire from the industry KEEP THAT IN MIND.....

Regards Jurgen Badenhorst, RSA
  • 0




rebotnix Technologies

PLC - Bartech

SkyDreams

Engineered Cinema Solutions

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Wireless Video Systems

IDX

Omnishot Systems

Boland Communications

GPI Pro Systems

PLC Electronics Solutions

Teradek

Ritter Battery

Paralinx LLC

BOXX

Varizoom Follow Focus

Betz Tools for Stabilizers