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Steadicam on an Escalator...

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#1 Marc_Abernathy


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Posted 15 June 2004 - 10:51 PM

hey guys,

doing a music video where i will follow a lady onto an escalator going down. i will pan over to the "up" escalator just over her shoulder to reveal the person she is looking at. then the talent and i will get off the escalator, she will stop to think (this is deliberate so i can get in front of her and have the spotter get behind me) then she will proceed to go up the "up" escalator with me in front of her.

i will have someone at the bottom of the escalator to help me onto the escalator and this person will give me cues as to when to step off the escalator when we are coming back up.

the take is supposed to end just shortly after we step of the escalator.. it seems pretty straightforward but i could be missing something in terms of safety. if there is something im not thinking about please let me know.

thanks for any replies!
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#2 Howard J Smith

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 11:39 PM

Hi Marc

I have this type of shot a few times as escalators are great for 3D moves.
Going down is fine (unless your assistant pulls your rip cord by mistake - not recomended!!)
Going up is fine - the only danger and I know this first hand - is to walk backwards onto an up escalator, as it pulls your feet away from you and the rig and if you are not careful you will go face forward into the ground or the talent.

walk it through without the kit as many times as you need - and if you don't feel happy say no.

Hope it all goes well - please let us know.

Don't let them bully you into doing something you are not happy with.

All the best

Howard MK-V
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#3 Marc_Abernathy


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Posted 16 June 2004 - 09:18 AM

thanks howard. yeah i walked it sans Rig so i have the steps in order. when i rehearse with Rig i will make sure im aware of that step. the utility and i have a count system in place for when i needed to step on the escalator and subsequently step off at the top but i need to make sure the Rig and i are in that perfect sweet spot so it wont lunge out away from me and into the talent.

im thinking it may be better for me to DJ it so i can see that step myself! il try that... (thinking of chas 'cause i know he loves to DJ! ;))

thanks howard for your insight.
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#4 Lawrence Karman

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Posted 16 June 2004 - 11:34 PM

feel free to grab the moving hand rail for a moment during transition if it is possible.
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#5 PeterAbraham


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Posted 19 June 2004 - 06:06 AM

As one might suspect, walking onto and off of a moving escalator is akin to being on a moving elevator with a Steadicam strapped on. We're reminded of how isolate a thing it is.

With that in mind, practice the step-on and step-off quite a few times with a stand-in in place. The moment you step off is rougher than the moment you step on, because you are descending. The step-on is easier, you just ease the arm down slightly as you go and you are behind the actor anyway.

Stepping off at the bottom is trickier- the rig wants to keep plunging downwards- on a diagonal to boot !!!- as you step flat and move onto the floor to do your switch. To me this sounds the single most complex moment of your entire move, and so were it me, I'd do that part over and over again until I had the muscle memory set for that transition.

Good luck ! Sounds like a fun shot. Rent Carlito's Way, the Brian DePalma picture. Larry McConkey's work in it is amazing and the escalator sequence near the end may give you a lot to think about and offer you some pointers.


Peter Abraham, E.M.T.
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