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Poll: Don Juan vs. walking backwards


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#1 Dan Coplan

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Posted 22 April 2006 - 02:04 AM

In the spirit of Erwin's polls I'm curious, given the choice to do either, if ops tend to prefer Don Juan or walking backwards.

I've done a lot of walking backwards but no Don Juan. Maybe because of my lack of experience or maybe because that's just my preference.

Would appreciate any insight into these techniques as well.

Apologies if this should have been posted under "Newbies" but this seems like an appropriate place to park my question.

Dan "Still Waiting On A Workshop" Coplan
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#2 Hervé Colosio

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Posted 22 April 2006 - 03:07 AM

For me , i do backward when it's just 5 or 10 meters to shoot in a clean area or if i have an assistant that help me to not put my foot in the carpet . if it's longer or if i dont have assistant i always do don juan .
I think that it is important to know to use these two techniques also the good way to go from one to the other without any break .
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#3 Erwin Landau

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Posted 22 April 2006 - 05:14 AM

They have to kill me before I switch to DJ...

I should practice...

Neee... They have to kill me first.


Erwin "not very flexible" Landau
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#4 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 22 April 2006 - 10:13 AM

They have to kill me before I switch to DJ...

I should practice...

Neee... They have to kill me first.


Erwin "not very flexible" Landau



I'm going to second that. 20+ years of steadicam (oh god Have I really been around it that long?!?!?!) and I have done it MAYBE 5 times.

I freaking HATE DJ. You would have to kill me then tar and feather me before I would even think about it.
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#5 RobVanGelder

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Posted 22 April 2006 - 11:05 AM

No problem with DJ, and also switching from goofy to regular operating....regularly...... am i wierd???? :o

I find myself switching to DJ automatically, the moment the speed goes up, or on uneven terrain.

Better learn it on an early age.... or you will hate it forever :D
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#6 Matt Burton

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Posted 22 April 2006 - 11:34 AM

This is interesting, I don't get chance to see many long time opps operate.
I would of thought 'DW' would be an essential skill to master, i'm kinda glad you guys hate it two.
It's just so wrong/hard.
I bet you guys have understanding insurance co's :lol:
Anybody got dolly like 'DW' sussed going round corners in corridors ?
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#7 Marc_Abernathy

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Posted 22 April 2006 - 11:39 AM

on flat surfaces no bumps of dips i walk backwards. if its ruff terrain i walk backwards with NO spotter immediately behind me but a few feet ahead. i always walk the path im going to be on and try do get the "lay of the land".

ive tried DJ a cople times on some hilly stuff (death grip on the post and running type stuff) and it was OK but could have been better. i will practice more i guess.
i have a show today so il try it today in rehearsals...

bottom line.. prefer walking backwards.


EDIT: hey 4mat, Chas LOVES DJ (sarcastic)... ask him about "american history X" and the stairs shot in the first part of the movie... (great work though)

yeah you dont feel as bad when the top ops say they dont really prefer it...
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#8 Charles Papert

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Posted 22 April 2006 - 02:25 PM

There are a few folks out there who are DJ fans (Peter Abraham, for one) but most operators that I know avoid it at all costs. I personally hate looking at the monitor sideways, and the bizarre attitude that one's hand takes on the post (sort of reversed but not really).

I recently had to do a running shot in a tight alley--it would have been a fantastic use of a rickshaw except that there was a single step (leading to a side door) right in the middle of the run. No choice but to DJ it. Ugh. It worked out, but still. I wonder if the handsfree Segway would have made mincemeat of it?

I will even throw myself at the mercy of the court over a shot in the film "Something New" (came out earlier this year, it'll be on cable/sat soon enough). Preceding two ladies down an erratic flight of exterior steps at a garden party. I was never happy with it and the take used in the movie was painful for me to watch. Oy. No wonder I wanted to cry when I saw Andrew R.'s amazing stairs work in "Flight Plan".

(note: Afton, do NOT put that shot up on Steadishots.com, or I'll fly back east and stab you!)
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#9 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 22 April 2006 - 07:13 PM

I've never done a shot in DJ. I've rehearsed in DJ and then decided to do it walking/running backwards a couple times. I've just never felt completely comfortable in DJ. I would guess that if any of us forced ourselves to do DJ whenever possible we could get pretty good at it pretty quickly.
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#10 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 06:11 AM

I too hate Don Juan but every now and then i have to pull it out of the bag, with mixed results.
The best dJ ive ever seen was Dave Emmerichs work in Seven - that made me cry:)
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#11 JamieSilverstein

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 09:47 AM

Don Juan is yet another tool in the repitore. You can use it if you feel comfortable or not if you don't. I use it on quick short runs and sometimes go from DJ to 'conventional' in the process, once the acceleration is over and the walk and talk begins............
I wrote about a shot that I tried to but couldn't do on a set of stairs a while ago, and even were I to attempt it in DJ I doubt that the shot would have been any good. DJ doesn't solve all problems all of the time.
Now Goofy foot, is something that I simply have a terrible time mastering. Once I put my right hand on the Gimbal of my sled I become even more inept that I already am.
How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.
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#12 thomas-english

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 01:17 PM

I don t have a problem with DJ at all. However the framing is not as tight or critical than if I am going backwards. However it is faster and safer. I feel a little bit of a plonka trying to negociate up and down stairs/obstacles/corridors backwards. I feel more of a man in DJ.

I feel I need to do DJ often to not be bothered about it. Hence often if I have a tracking back shot that would be better served walking backwards, I will DJ it.
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#13 Iain Baird

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 01:50 PM

As a walk backwards at all costs operator, I agree with those that don't like DJ. However, I don't like low mode either, but it's a required skill. Along with practice, I was able to get better at low mode because of tips and suggestions I read, both here and in other articles.
So for those of you that have mastered DJ, or at least embrace it - what are the tricks of the trade? other than practice of course. Do you use two monitors? Different drop time? etc etc???


Iain Baird
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#14 Brant S. Fagan SOC

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 03:23 PM

Gents--

I would prefer not to use DJ but it has proven to be a "must have" ability that gets out and used more than most would admit.

Just last summer, I executed a shot in Fenway Park out on the hallowed grass, that totaled over 1,100 feet in running length.

I preceeded a Red Sox pitcher, Bronson Arroyo, and his band, from the Sox' dugout down the First Base line, past the bag and out across Center Field, through the back wall, under the bleachers and around the concession area, switched to Missionary and then followed the group out the back of the Park, down the street, across the street, up a ramp, turn 90* and into Club Avalon through the stage door right onto the stage where the band starts playing. All in one shot, one take, LIVE.

The feed from my camera, PS SDX-900, was hardwired into a video truck and projected onto a massive screen in the Club.

So the screaming fans knew we were coming and had nothing to do but watch my shot and then erupt into more screaming and yelling. About 1,200 people in the Club, mostly young scantily clad women in heat. The scent hit me as we entered through the stage door along with the adreneline shot and relief of making the trip without hastle or hiccup.

Tried to work it out through the four rehearsals as a walking backwards routine but gave in to pain and drove the shot home in DJ for over some 800' of travel.

I use DJ without fear but as many have said, not always the first choice.

Best,

Brant S. Fagan, SOC
Steadicam/Camera Operator
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#15 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 04:48 PM

Sounds like a cool shot Brant. Can you find somewhere to post it so that we could all have a look?
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