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Circling a Subject

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#1 Jamie Northrup

Jamie Northrup


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Posted 30 August 2007 - 10:55 PM

First time poster, long time reader.

I've noticed that the shots I have the hardest time operating (losing horizon) are those that involve circling a subject or approaching a subject and then doing a curve around them. Like so:
Posted Image

This makes complete sense to me because obviously the direction of the rig is constantly changing and, because an object in motion stays in motion, I need constant pressure on the post not to lose the horizon. It is my understanding of physics that if I were operating with a 0 sec. drop time a circular path would not be of a challenge, although operating would be trickier. However, because I've a 2 sec. drop time my center of mass is lowered to the tips of my fingers and thus introduces the difficulty.

Any tips on operating this shot?
And the lock-off?

I'll take my answer off the air.

Jamie Northrup
Steadicam Flyer Operator
Los Angeles
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#2 Afton Grant

Afton Grant

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 11:22 PM

Hi Jamie,

Hmmm... Have you taken a workshop yet? If not, definitely do so. I ask because the way circular shots "should" be done and the way they'd show you at a workshop involves the rig position staying relatively the same throughout the shot, not changing like you mentioned. You should be walking forward (or backward) in a circle around the subject with the rig in front of you perpendicular to yourself.

Because the subject is fixed and you're essentially walking in a circle, I find the roundy-round to be one of the easier techniques to perform. The difficult thing about them is either the approach or exiting of one. If you do not have good dynamic balance (and I know with the Flyer it can be difficult) the horizon will easily tilt, since you'll likely need to move the sled from 90 degrees in front of you to 0 degrees at your side (or whatever the shot requires).

The lock-off simply requires you to move as little as absolutely possible. This is easiest when you hit the frame with your body in a comfortable position - back straight, feet under you, sled at your side... Otherwise, your muscles will quickly tire and your time will be very limited.

With practice you'll get it no problem. ...and are you in LA or Boston?
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#3 Jamie Northrup

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Posted 31 August 2007 - 01:53 AM


My main difficulty comes from the exit, the initial lock off, and cramped locations where I can't maintain good technique.

Thanks for the great advice though. I'm saving up for the class now.

Used to be in Boston(born and raised), now I'm in LA.

Jamie Northrup
Steadicam Flyer Operator
Los Angeles, used to be Boston
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