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Finding Gigs / Trying to justify the expense


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#1 Paul

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 10:00 PM

First let me tell all of you, thanks for contributing to a great
website. I have gotten some great information off of the site.

The other week I was the behind the seen videographer on an Indi Film in New Orleans. I spoke with a Steadicam operator for the film and he got me hooked on the idea. He told me in
California (THAT IS WHERE HE IS FROM) there are many operators, but in New Orleans the field is not as crowded.

I have been a videographer for years now. I own 1 XL2, 2 GL2?s, wireless
mics etc etc. I would go a buy the v25 or the flyer tomorrow, take the
workshops etc, if I could justify the expense.

I guess the BIG question is how do you go about finding gigs/jobs specifically
for flying i.e. T.V./Film/Movies etc? I really enjoyed working on the film.

Thanks for any help

Paul
New Orleans, LA
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#2 Lars Erik

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 12:47 AM

Hello Paul.

First let me tell you, I'm new to this as well. Bought my rig (Archer) in December and been operating since. Had about 25 days of rental on it so far, have another 12 more coming up, including a feature. Yesterday, I also got a 2-day music video shoot on 16mm next week. So in that sense, my advice might work for you.

I started out as a camera operator and DP. After doing that for 8 years I did a steadicam workshop and bought a rig straight after that. I went the other way, most usually end up being a DP after doing Steadicam. Anyway, first thing I did, which I think you should do, since you have years of experience in the video industry, tell EVERYONE you know, you've have worked with, every possible contact, from PA's to producers, that you've bought or getting a rig. Make business cards, give them out. Let people know you've got a rig. This was the most important thing to me, I think. And the jobs are coming in almost every week for me.

But I have to tell you, there's not just the issue of the rig. There's a lot more you have to get. Wireless follow focus (a MUST if you're gunning for drama), don't know how this will be on a SK2 or a flyer, though. A good wireleless video system w/ a good monitor. Cables, batteries, rods, insurance, get a good one, there's a lot. I've invested in most of it. Will order the follow focus and the wireless video next week. (have a good monitor, but the wireless video is 2.4GHz, not that great). Then I have a complete rig. But as Jerry Holway told me; "it's not like you're wasting money, it's like putting the money in the bank." This is very, very true. Just take a look at some used rigs for sale, they don't fall much in value.

And if you get a rig, do every job you can. If they can't pay you full rates, make deals with them. I've done that a few times. I speak to the producer, and we agree on a sum of money both parts can live with. But, I also get a gentleman's agreement, that I'm the first one they call next time they need a operator. And then, not for the same rate, but more. In most cases this works. But not everyone does this. But in the beginning, as I see it, experience and training. That's what it's all about. You won't get rich the first year. But as you get more jobs, you will get better. Then new opportunities come along. Yesterday I did a 2 minute shot that was great. Started out in a big lit room, followed the person out in a darkish narrow hall, down steep, long stairs, into a new room. Through a long hallway and out to the courtyard. With severel switches and turns. And it look very good. Doing this shot 3 months ago seemed like a impossible shot to me. So you learn quickly.

If you can afford it, and you're gut feeling says you can get jobs on it. Get it. You will not regret. Good luck, Paul. Let us know if you're joining our community.

BTW, if you're not exercising, start doing it. At least 3 days a week. Running, weights, Yoga, swimming. This is very, very important.

LE
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#3 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 01:33 AM

I guess the BIG question is how do you go about finding gigs/jobs specifically
for flying i.e. T.V./Film/Movies etc? I really enjoyed working on the film.



Reputation and experience. Being in the union if you want to do the TV or Feature Work and having the right gear. A glidecam or Flyer isn't going to cut it on a feature, where you have to have a Follow Focus and video transmitter along with a 25+ lbs camera.
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#4 Dave Wowchuk

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 09:46 AM

I guess the BIG question is how do you go about finding gigs/jobs specifically
for flying i.e. T.V./Film/Movies etc? I really enjoyed working on the film.



Reputation and experience. Being in the union if you want to do the TV or Feature Work and having the right gear. A glidecam or Flyer isn't going to cut it on a feature, where you have to have a Follow Focus and video transmitter along with a 25+ lbs camera.



I'm really curious why the constant Glidecam bashing continues? It's almost like you're saying, "If you drive a Chevrolet, you really aren't in a car." If you mean to say that a V25 won't cut it ... say that. Don't say that just because you have a Glidecam, you can't work on a feature ... cuz that's a load of crap.

Isn't it ironic ... a local operator who uses a STEADICAM had to rent my rig because it wouldn't fly a larger camera. (This would be a good time to pause and reflect.)

Dave "Enough with the Generalities" Wowchuk
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#5 Paul

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 10:53 AM

Thanks for all the Replies. You all are quick and helpful.

On the equipment issue, The Glidecam V-25 sounds like a great system to start out with. It holds up to a 25lb camera or ?The arm is dual action, with six titanium springs that will hold a total load of approximately 40lbs. This allows 25lbs. for the camera and 15lbs. for the sled, battery, and LCD setup.? (See Link below to Article)

Does Glidecam have a bad reputation? I know that the Steadicam is the best known and I guess the original.

Anyway this is what I found on the V-25. Price until May 1 it is only $7,995. then it jumps to $9,975.
· Glidecam V-25 Vest
· Glidecam V-25 Arm
· Glidecam V-25 Sled with Anton Bauer style base
· Glidecam L7-Pro LCD with Anton Bauer Battery Plate
· (1) Glidecam V-25 Docking Bracket
· (1) Glidecam V-25 Dovetail Video Camera Plate
· (1) Camera power cable - 2-pin Lemo style to 4-pin XLR
· (1) L7-Pro power cable - 2-pin Lemo to L7-Pro 2.1mm
· (1) BNC to BNC video cable
· (1) RCA to BNC video cable
· Wrenches and hardware
· (1) Setup and Operations Guide
· Arm ? a dual articulating Support Arm that is designed to carry a total combined camera and sled weight of 25 to 40 pounds. The Glidecam V-25 Arm includes six titanium Springs and incorporates a proprietary Arm-to-Vest connector.
· Sled - precision Support Sled designed to carry film and video cameras weighing from 10 to 25 pounds. The Glidecam V-25 Sled incorporates 12-volt integrated wiring.
· Batteries not included.
This is a link to an articled on the V-25. It is midway down the page.
http://videosystems....ab_17/index.htm
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#6 paul magee

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 11:22 AM

Hey Dave,

I understand that it can be tiring to hear the company that makes your rig being put down. I do think Eric was referring to the V25 because he did mention the Tiffen flyer and weight restrictions in the same sentence but aside from that there is something to be considered about the brand you buy and it's market perception.
On this board I think everyone knows it's the operator not the gear that makes the shot.
But it's producers that do the hiring and firing. This is an industry where you can be passed over because the first AC says you have the wrong follow focus unit. If you don't have a firm relationship with the Director, Producer , DP and they're not familar with your work, the gear you own could make all the difference on a cold interview. Is it right or fair? That leads to a whole other discussion about this industry but right or wrong it can be a reality in some situations.

I think the bottom line is you do the research for what works best for you and the market you're trying to serve and then make your decision. After that screw whatever anybody else has to say. They're not paying your mortgage and putting your kids through college, you bought the rig that makes sense for you.


Paul Magee
Philadelphia, PA
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#7 Lars Erik

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 12:18 PM

First things first, I have never tried, and never seen a Glidecam. But yes, it's been said on several occasions that it's not one of the best systems. But, as I said, never tried one. For what it's worth, I know several ops who thinks Steadicam sucks, they stick to MK-V. People have different needs and different ways of getting a rig to work.

Paul, you could always buy a cheaper rig now. Use it for a few years (chances you'll get 35mm jobs within the first 2 years aren't that good), sell it in 2-4 years after making money on the first rig, and go buy a bigger rig.
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#8 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 12:55 PM

Dave,

I know for me, I always look to the manufacturers that continually raise the bar (Tiffen, PRO, XCS, Klassen to name a few). They innovate and push their competition to improve. Glidecam got into the game a long time ago by producing low-end crap that boasted not an original thought. Yes, lately they are trying to get into the higher end market with the Gold, etc. I understand this to be a decent rig for the money and very functional. In my mind though, I'd rather support the companies that are continually pushing the envelope. That is a personal choice. Paul Magee (hey Paul) is spot on with his comments as usual.

Just my two cents.
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#9 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 02:24 PM

I'm really curious why the constant Glidecam bashing continues?


Dave "Enough with the Generalities" Wowchuk



Dave,

First off please reread my post. I cite carrying and more importantly BALANCE capacity. Just because the arm can lift it doesn't mean that the sled can be balanced.

More importantly, I have yet to see a glidecam with a decent gimbal. Two things make the sled right, Gimbal and rigidity. everything else in the sled is just execution.

Then there is the matter of AC familiarity. Face it AC's expect to see certain rigs, don't have one of them and they can make your life difficult.

As Alec said Glidcam has produced some horrific shit in the past and they seem really bent on doing it their way, which isn't always the best way. Stick with the true innovators, the guys that have been in the biz the longest, the ones that listen to the operators and what we need. I've been involved with Steadicam for 25 years, I've seen it all. There is a reason that gear is where it is on the court of public opinion. Sometimes paying what looks like the premium bucks is the best solution since you only have to buy it once.
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#10 Michael Jones

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 03:08 PM

Hi all,

I'm in the same boat pretty much. I've ordered my V25 a couple weeks ago before I went on vacation to Hollywood. Should have it around June.

I've already ordered and received my battery system; an Anton Bauer Interactive quad charger, 3 Hytron 100's, and 2 Hytron 50's.

Have also already purchased my stand & wheels, it's a Bogen/Manfrotto heavy duty cine-stand, very beefy.

Right now I'm looking at video transmitters/receivers and a greenscreen monitor. I really like the XCS TB-6, with the digital level, and the Duo Frameline generator... I got to see this monitor in action; so awesome...

I've been in video for 4 years and have been doing some freelance camera-oping for some production companies in the area, and the TV department where I am employed, so I've been sure to tell all the contacts I know that I am getting a rig. They're all looking forward to when I start operating commercially. I feel I should at practice untill I feel confident enough in my ability to produce a high quality product for them.

I'm in the process now of making new contacts, making business cards, setting up my 'business' financially, and really just waiting for the day my rig arrives so I can start practicing day and night.

As far as getting new business, the way I look at it:

When I was a (young) kid, I mowed neighborhood lawns to make money, so I could buy new video cards and RAM... I would go down the streets door to door, "Hi, I'm Michael, I live up the street, and I am mowing lawns this summer. Here's a business card," (I had busniess cards when I was 10) ..."If you ever need your lawn mowed feel free to give me a call, I'll do good work for you." Quite a few called, many didn't, but they met me and knew how to contact me.

Now, I'm basically 'walking down the street' talking to as many production companies I can. Some I'm sure will call, some won't. The more companies and people I make contact with, the better chances I have of getting a callback.

Planning on giving plenty of demos, and 'discount' work in the next few months.

Thanks to everyone on this forum, I've been reading for over a year now, and the advice and discussions I've read have been invaluable. Many thanks.

Best of luck to all of you.

-Michael Jones
El Dorado, KS
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#11 JobScholtze

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 04:43 PM

Dave,

First off please reread my post. I cite carrying and more importantly BALANCE capacity. Just because the arm can lift it doesn't mean that the sled can be balanced.

More importantly, I have yet to see a glidecam with a decent gimbal. Two things make the sled right, Gimbal and rigidity. everything else in the sled is just execution.

Then there is the matter of AC familiarity. Face it AC's expect to see certain rigs, don't have one of them and they can make your life difficult.

As Alec said Glidcam has produced some horrific shit in the past and they seem really bent on doing it their way, which isn't always the best way. Stick with the true innovators, the guys that have been in the biz the longest, the ones that listen to the operators and what we need. I've been involved with Steadicam for 25 years, I've seen it all. There is a reason that gear is where it is on the court of public opinion. Sometimes paying what looks like the premium bucks is the best solution since you only have to buy it once.


LOL, your funny. But hey, thats your opinion, i dont care. I make a very nice living with my GOLD. It carrys every camera i use, NEVER faild me, NO gimbal problems and GREAT costumer service.
Ok, i am not into the big Hollywood productions where the brand cares more than the result. But in my work, sometimes people look strange at my rigbrand, but at the end there always very happy with the results and hire me again.

2 Years ago i had a budget for a new Provid, ore the Gold. ( same pricerange ) And i did go for the Gold. Well, i would do it again. It was a great choice at the time. It is the same story with the lighter rig. A flyer ore a V25. I did go for the V25. Yes, i own 2 rigs. Again, for the money, the V25 rocks. ( I'll bet you never tryd one )
Now i wont say that the Gold is the end, its just a very very desent rig. At the end i would like to move on, slowly. Perhaps a different sled, ore arm. But a complete Pro rig dont make sence for me. But again, i am not into big Hollywood movies. I have used Sk2 (blew up once), Provid ( blew up twice), , Master and now the Gold.

Dont compare the Gold with your Pro. Thats not fair. Compare it in its pricerange.

I also tryd the new G50. I loved that arm, also used the Pro arm, very great arm to. So i am still thinking wich and what arm i would upgrade to.

I would suggest that you try first, and than make your choice. Whatever people telling you, its YOUR choice.
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#12 Erik Brul

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 04:57 PM

@ Michael Jones & Paul who has started the topic..

I would just say.. have a blast, welcome to the Steadicam World. Don't worry about the equipment you will or just bought. In mine opion Glidecam (V25 and Gold) will do the job the same as any Tiffen Steadicam..

I was today on a second day shoot for a travel company here in the Netherlands. It was not Steadicam related but just many 'stand ups' of several talents which promoted the Travel World and doing there best to sell more vacanties the coming months. They stand directly at front a Tripod with a Sony 530 XDCAM with Pro 35 on it. I was present as main Audio Engineer and also as Lighting and Camera assistent.

On a break we were talking about Steadicam. Mentioned i have a Flyer which works fine for me. I also mentioned the Glidecam, specially the Gold.. which is in mine opion a very decent Rig !

On that point the Main Lightning person who's has done many many Features including 35mm work did also some kind of Glidecam Bashing. It did not suck in his opion.. but hey.. a REAL Steadicam Operator only operates a Steadicam and NOT other brands.. :angry:

On that moment.. the discusion came to a immed stop.. I wonder WHY ??? ;)

Best and fly save

Erik
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#13 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 07:51 PM

LOL, your funny. But hey, thats your opinion, i dont care. I make a very nice living with my GOLD. It carrys every camera i use, NEVER faild me, NO gimbal problems and GREAT costumer service.
Ok, i am not into the big Hollywood productions where the brand cares more than the result. But in my work, sometimes people look strange at my rigbrand, but at the end there always very happy with the results and hire me again.

I would suggest that you try first, and than make your choice. Whatever people telling you, its YOUR choice.



Have you tried a Pro? Or an Ultimate? or any of the "Big Rigs"? Have you flown a full production camera on it or has it been smaller cameras? How do you have your rig equipped?

I have tried the Glidecam's, Infact I have tried just about everything out that, Hence my informed opinion. So no Job I'm not being funny, I'm being deadly serious here.

Good god people wonder why the established rarely post here.
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#14 Michael Jones

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 08:42 PM

When I was in Hollywood/LA for spring break, I got to fly a high-end rig, with a 35mm camera. Very sweet.

I'm anxious to compare when my V25 arrives. Will there be differences? Of course. Without a doubt.

I definitly understand the mentality of those who are strongly pro-'Steadicam'. They ARE the biggest, the BEST, the ORIGINAL, and that is my GOAL.

The budget just wasn't there for me, and for many others who want to go into Steadicam Operation, thus my purchase of the V25.

Owning a 'real' rig will come with time, training, lots of work, and a hefty invoice, but that is what I'm working towards.

I really like analogies, mine are probably bad, but here I go...

Compare Steadicam operators to major league baseball players. The major leaguers are without-a-doubt the best out there, and they are praised and emulated by people all accross the country.

There are many different levels below the major league players...
little league groups (magiqcam, other 'toys'),
High-School teams (Lower Glidecams),
College Ball (V25, others),
Minor league (GC Gold, and other 'high quality' but not 'Steadicam' rigs)
then back to the Major league (Steadicam)

If a little league child, or a thriving college ball player spoke with a major league player, the MLB player would give advice, guidance, and encouragement about how to succeed, how to do better; not spite the young player for using a cheap glove, or a handed-down bat. You don't see a major league player laughing at a 12 year old because he doesn't use the new top-of-the-line titanium alloy bat, do you?

Everyone starts somewhere, and many of us can't afford big rigs right from the get-go. Flying a 'big rig' with a 35mm over break gave me a GOAL, a VISION, a TASTE of what I want, and where I'm going. It's up to me to achieve that goal using the equipment I can afford.

As opposed to bickering about brands, we all should be helping each other become better OPERATORS through education, which is why we, the "little leaguers", the "college ball" players, come here to learn from the best. Please embrace our admiration and our initiative to learn; and give us guidance and inspiration. Don't shun us away because we don't have the new titanium alloy baseball bat.

Sorry if that analogy sucked.... :)


-Michael Jones
El Dorado, KS
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#15 Afton Grant

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 10:41 PM

As opposed to bickering about brands, we all should be helping each other become better OPERATORS through education, which is why we, the "little leaguers", the "college ball" players, come here to learn from the best. Please embrace our admiration and our initiative to learn; and give us guidance and inspiration. Don't shun us away because we don't have the new titanium alloy baseball bat.


I think many of the posts on this forum mistaken to be "bashing" which lead to bickering, actually are this advice and education you seek. As far as I know Eric, Alec, and most of the other ops on here, do not own any part of the Steadicam, PRO, or XCS companies, and therefore make no money off of the sales. When the question is regarding working on TV and Movie projects and it is answered by someone that has done both for many years, I sit up and listen.

2 more cents,
Afton
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