Jump to content



Photo

"Make it more 'Floaty'!!!"


  • Please log in to reply
33 replies to this topic

#1 Dave Bittner

Dave Bittner

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 77 posts
  • Columbia, MD

Posted 21 June 2006 - 03:44 PM

I was chatting with a fellow op recently, and remember an incident a few years ago where I was called in to operate for a corporate video piece, moving through a maze of cubicles and workstations. At one point, the director told me he wanted it "more floaty!", that he wanted a wandering horizon, wanted the camera to lean in when going around curves. I smiled and explained to him that I was certainly capable of doing that for him, but that I had trained for years to prevent the exact thing he was requesting, that what he was asking for would be an indicator of bad operating to anyone who knew better.

"I know, I know," he said, "but don't worry about it. It's the look I'm after. I don't want it to be 'too steady', I want some floating in the frame."

It took several takes for me to get him the degree of "floaty" he was after, fighting what had become instincts for proper operating. I ended up using a death-grip on the post and forceably kicking out the lower end of the sled when going around corners. "Yes! Yes! Exactly!!!" the director said.

Lucky for me the finished video had no credits. :)

I know we all complain that they never use our best takes in the final cut, and I'm wondering if anyone else has "more floaty!" stories to share.
  • 0

#2 Stephen Press

Stephen Press

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 151 posts
  • Wellington New Zealand

Posted 21 June 2006 - 04:02 PM

I like it when they have a clear idea of what style they want. OTT floaty can look good if used properly. I prefer it to the Directors who hired you because they thought it would save time and therefore money on setting up tracks and then get grumpy because those long lens tight tracking shots are not as steady as they would have been on tracks.
  • 0

#3 Brad Grimmett

Brad Grimmett

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 718 posts

Posted 21 June 2006 - 06:05 PM

I've heard this a few times before..."Can you make it look more like handheld?" I always want to say, "Sure, just let me get the camera off the rig....", but I never do. I always just say "sure". A lot of times just making the pans a little more whippy will make them happy. Other than that I'm not really sure how to make steadicam look like handheld, and I don't really see the point.
  • 0

#4 thomas-english

thomas-english

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 1165 posts
  • UK

Posted 21 June 2006 - 06:31 PM

I often as whether "you want me to take corners like a car or a motorbike?" direcors sometimes really want that dynamic of leaning into a corner. And it can look pretty cool but I rather call it fly e .

"Do you want me to enter a corner and turn like in Doom or do you want me to turn the corner like a car" is another one....

I dunno, I certainly appreciate that requesting a handheld shot off steadicam is laziness on the part of someone and just plain silly. I always suggest going handheld for handheld. Steadicaming quite a lot, I have grown very fond of the handheld aesthetic.

Sometimes I think they are the artist and we are some kind of loudspeaker. I often think I get the "floaty" feeling they are after by neutrally balancing the gimble and letting it ... well float about more, They seem to love it and since they are paying me, I am not their art teacher telling them how to make a video.

The other thing with floaty is varying the gimble height very smoothly. They seem to like that too.

Getting floaty right is quite tricky and requires zen, having done a few of them MTV Cribbs where they speed floaty right up, some operators vary better than others through the MTV CRIBBS floaty aesthetic.
  • 0

#5 Bruce Alan Greene

Bruce Alan Greene

    Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 26 posts
  • los angeles

Posted 24 June 2006 - 11:06 AM

"I know, I know," he said, "but don't worry about it. It's the look I'm after. I don't want it to be 'too steady', I want some floating in the frame."


I think the really cool thing about the Steadicam is that it has personality. When I started operating there was a real reluctance to use the machine. One could tell that it wasn't a dolly and the movie looked floaty sometimes. It was only used when there was absolutely no other way to get the shot. If they could hide a dolly track, or crane up the stairs, the steadicam stayed home. I can also recall many repeated takes for a few directors who wanted absoute perfection (dolly like).

Today the machine is often used just because it is not a dolly and contributes it's personality to the shot. The look of Steadicam is now considered a normal part of filmaking and not a compromise. Floaty is good. We should embrace it!

I"ll be removing the level from my rig this afternoon :unsure:
  • 0

#6 TJ Williams

TJ Williams

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 213 posts
  • Seattle

Posted 26 June 2006 - 11:18 PM

another approach to floaty.... put up a really long lens make some tight marks on the floor and make it into an asst test...
TJ
  • 0

#7 Alexandre Lucena

Alexandre Lucena

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 10 posts

Posted 27 June 2006 - 08:01 AM

How about the springy feel of an over tensioned arm for a floaty.
  • 0

#8 Grayson Austin

Grayson Austin

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 89 posts

Posted 29 June 2006 - 09:02 PM

If you really want to do it right, just do what I do. Tie a gigantic bunch of helium filled birthday balloons to the rig and then suck down a lungful of the helium as well. That way, the camera has that "floaty" feeling and so do you. As an added bonus, you can tell the director to "F#$K OFF" in a funny, high pitched voice which is so amusing to the client that you are guaranteed not to be fired.

Okay, I don't that. I did have a dream about doing it after I blacked out from sucking down too much helium at a birthday party though...

P.S.
For you new guys, please don't take this serious and try it. You'll probably be fired and I in no way, shape or form endorse this kind of behavior on set nor do I take any responsibility for it. However, if anyone does try it, Right On!

Grayson Austin


P.P.S.
It was good to see some of you at Cinegear and Tiffen's shindig(sp?)
  • 0

#9 MarceloKron

MarceloKron

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 22 posts
  • Sao Paulo Brasil

Posted 06 July 2006 - 09:06 AM

A few days a go a DP wants to hold the gimble and the camera and my arm yes my arm not the steadi arm... hahah... was really funny... He wants a shake and floaty image (what a f!@#$%??!!) next day I was not there...
  • 0

#10 thomas-english

thomas-english

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 1165 posts
  • UK

Posted 06 July 2006 - 01:22 PM

If you really want to do it right, just do what I do. Tie a gigantic bunch of helium filled birthday balloons to the rig and then suck down a lungful of the helium as well. That way, the camera has that "floaty" feeling and so do you. As an added bonus, you can tell the director to "F#$K OFF" in a funny, high pitched voice which is so amusing to the client that you are guaranteed not to be fired.


I find nitrous oxide works best.
  • 0

#11 Sean Jensen

Sean Jensen

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 55 posts
  • Canada

Posted 06 July 2006 - 07:39 PM

I have often been asked to make it "more floaty". It drives me nuts. Having worked so hard for so long NOT to make it look floaty, it just feels unnatural. But... what the director wants... I try to make it look intentionally floaty. Over-exagerate it.

Today, on set, I was doing a hand held shot in a locker room. The director wanted me to push in to a waist up shot from a wide. No problem! I just had to step over a bench to do it. He then says he saw a bump when I did it. I told him we could do it on Steadicam to eliminate the bump but he wants it hand held... smooth hand held. What the...?

If it's not one thing...


Cheers!

Sean
  • 0

#12 David Baldwin

David Baldwin

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 149 posts
  • Los Angeles

Posted 06 July 2006 - 10:03 PM

So my move doesn't have to look like it's on a dolly? Pphffwwheeeww...What a relief. I'll still strive for good framing and horizontal integrity, but now that I know it doesn't have to look like it's on a chapman I'll sleep much better at nite.
Dave "shaky 'til the day I die" Baldwin
  • 0

#13 Fernando Quinones

Fernando Quinones

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 8 posts
  • Puerto Rico

Posted 10 July 2006 - 08:46 PM

Yes This Happens

Just a month Ago I was Asking to make the Steadi "Shaki" I always make my Self unconfortable Because This is not what this is made For (But just for my Self) So inmidiatly A Began taking The post by my hand Grip & Trying to Operate with My entire hand holding the Sled. But The Director was not confort; He wants me to hold the Sled by the Botton part of the Batteries, worst than a hand held camera. He was happy even I was thinking always of taking out the camera and make it Hand Held, but He has his point Of view.

Somebody Explain ME Please!!! What is the Point???

FErnando Q
  • 0

#14 Terry Thompson

Terry Thompson

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts

Posted 19 September 2006 - 01:00 AM

Fernando,

He's the director so the boss is always right...sort of.

Too bad the DPs and directors don't attend a steadicam workshop. They would see all the work and practice you go through in order to NOT get the kind of shot they want.

Terry
Indicam
  • 0

#15 Brant S. Fagan SOC

Brant S. Fagan SOC

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 407 posts
  • Charlestown, New Hampshire, USA

Posted 19 September 2006 - 07:27 AM

I actually attended an interview for a feature with the director and DP who, after viewing my reel, asked me why I had no shakey or floaty shots on it. You see, their film had lots of subjective camerawork planned,

"You know, like it's floating around without real purpose, like it's handheld, but without that shakey bumpy feel to it," says the DP

"Right, just like that," says the director.

I explain that shots like that are not on my Steadicam reel for the "obvious" reason but that I can certainly "detune" the Steadicam to their liking.

Did I get the job? Not a chance. The whole film was handheld and horrible to watch.

Yes, I have done a bunch of shots this way, even on big features like "Keeping the Faith." Do I advertise this?

No, not really. But it does happen.

Best,

Brant S. Fagan, SOC
Steadicam/Camera Operator
  • 0




PLC Electronics Solutions

Omnishot Systems

rebotnix Technologies

Engineered Cinema Solutions

Boland Communications

PLC - Bartech

BOXX

GPI Pro Systems

Ritter Battery

Wireless Video Systems

Betz Tools for Stabilizers

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

SkyDreams

IDX

Teradek

Paralinx LLC

Varizoom Follow Focus