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Questions from a newbie

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#1 Matt Cooper

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 07:51 AM

Hey folks,

I'm a complete newbie here, so just a quick intro; I'm a student in my final year studying Film Production Technology at university in the UK and although I have DV and studio camera experience, I have almost none using a steadicam or other stabilization rigs.

As I'm looking to go into steadicam operation as a career, I am looking into camera stabilization for my final year project and was wondering if I could put a few questions to those who have experience in the field.

The first and probably most obvious one is; What is the best way to get into the industry? Is there anything you would encourage or discourage?

The second is; What advice would you give to a steadicam newbie? Any tips or techniques you would suggest, or anything you would advise against?

Thirdly, are there any up and coming rigs or techniques that I should look in to, where is the future of stabilization rigs going?

Thanks for reading the post, any help or advice given would be greatly appreciated.

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#2 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 10:28 AM

While there are a host of answers to these questions, the one you will for sure hear the most is that you should go to a workshop. There are many of them in the US and probably several in the UK as well. They range in length from a day to a week long and you will definitely learn a lot about all aspects of Steadicam, including whether or not you are actually interested in doing it for a living (because although it sounds great, it's definitely not for everyone).

So my advice is to take a workshop (just google Steadicam workshop).

Hope that helps,

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#3 Jerry Holway

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 11:21 AM


Full Steadicam workshop just organized for Stockholm, March 30 - April 6th through Hofmann Technik,AB.

It will be conducted in English...

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#4 RobinThwaites


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Posted 14 January 2008 - 11:41 AM

Hi Matt

See if you can get to the Video Forum/Broadcast Live show at Earl's Court (sorry, London!) 30th this month to 1st Feb. If so come and see me we will certainly have Steadicam there!

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#5 Matt Cooper

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 10:54 AM

Hey guys, first of all thanks for the replies so far, it's always good to get advice from people who have experience.

As far as workshops go, the main difficultly with enrolling into these is the cost of the course and the cost of the travel. Being a poor student means that for the foreseeable future my income is not amounting to much.
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#6 Brian Freesh

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 12:14 PM

Hi Matt,

I'm new here as well (first post, yay!) but as someone who finished film school a couple years ago and has wanted to delve into Steadicam for almost 4 years, but only just now getting started, I have some input that may be of use.

First, if you haven't already, read Ted Churchill's Steadicam Operator's Manual of Style, it can be found here:


Cause it's fun, insightful, and quite hilarious.

As long as you're reading, you might as well pick up Steadicam: Techniques & Aesthetics by Serena Ferrera. Not as funny, but has some solid content as well as interviews in the back.

Now, I know that workshop seems so out of reach, and it's unfortunate you just missed one in the UK in Nov. But find a way to take one. I was lucky, we had an Ultra at school and a professor who could teach it. I took the class twice and assisted the professor for two more. You can think of each of those classes as a workshop stretched out to ten weeks, with only seven to nine hours a week. Also, these classes were taught by someone knowlegeable and competent, but outdated (he'd been away from the industry since the 80s), so while valuable, they ultimately don't beat a workshop, and they cost about the same. But I can tell you this: Without that instruction I would have been lost when trying to operate. The intricacies you learn at the workshop, the importance of how and why to do things is something you're not going to find on your own.

So I've been away from school and steadicam for a while now, just purchased a rig though. I decided to attend a Flyer workshop. Best. Money. Ever. Spent. By me anyway. I know the price, especially with travel, can be daunting for some of the workshops, but it's really the best way to learn, and second best isn't even within sight it's so far back.

Also, I have no idea if this is viable, but you may try hiring a local op for a day to give you a mini workshop. You'll save on travel expenses!

Hope this helps!

Brian |-)~
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#7 James Elias

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 12:17 PM


I would almost certainly take Robins advice and come to the Broadcast show and see us if you can.
Any questions/concerns you have can be addressed and we also run workshops here in the UK.

There will also be working ops there for you to chat too.

- James
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