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Questions for UK, London Ops


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#1 Luke Willson

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 06:45 AM

Hi Guys,

I've searched and searched and can't find the answers to a couple of questions I have. I currently own a cheap as chips 600 quid steadicam bought from India. I only bought it to work out if steadicam was indeed the industry I wanted to break into. And after reading a million wall posts, books, websites and speaking to a couple of people in the industry i've decided this is the direction I want to go. I'm currently producing online streaming media content for UK businesses and have also worked as a freelance editor for the BBC. I'm going on the UK course at the start of July and if I enjoy that then i'm pretty sure my mind will be made up.

Anyway, a couple of questions for UK Ops:

1) I know its been asked a million times but I can only find answers relating to the US. Is there much demand for UK ops. I understand you have to be good and its not a case of buying the kit and bam.. your there! But is there the work in the UK. Are people struggling?

2) For those of you that got a loan to finance your steadicam have you got any advice. Best provider? How did you keep up with payments in that first difficult year or so?

3) I know it?s an awkward questions but what are the accepted standard rates for UK ops. I'm putting together a business plan for the bank manager and need to know what rough figures I can plug into it. Also I don't want to make the major Faux Pas of undercutting everyone. If I go for this I want to be in it for the long haul and don't want to, for lack of a better phrase, "piss you guys off", and drive down rates. Its not good for anyone.

4) Are there any London / East Anglia Ops interested in having a "keen to learn" kid shadow them for the day?

Any help you could give me would be more than appreciated.

Cheers
Luke

PS: Does anyone know an Op called Roger Tooley? He came into my old college and couple of years ago and was the guy that first introduced me to the steadicam.
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#2 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 09:56 AM

PS: Does anyone know an Op called Roger Tooley? He came into my old college and couple of years ago and was the guy that first introduced me to the steadicam.


Luke,

Roger is a legend amongst UK operators. He's been doing it for quite a while and is very very good at it too. I met him briefly at a BSC dinner last year and he seemed like a lovely guy to boot. If you can contact him he'd be a great guy to learn from.

S
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#3 Luke Willson

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 10:09 AM

Wow thanks for the reply Steven. I only wish a had the forsight to realise how much a would want to enter the industry.
I would have made far better use of the time I had with him. If anyone has any contact details for him that would be awsome! Sounds like he would be a great guy to learn from.
You right aswell Steven, he seemed like a top guy when I spoke to him, I went to college with his daughter, sadley I don't know how to get in touch with her.

Cheers
Luke
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#4 Louis Puli SOC

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 09:24 PM

Hi Luke
All of your questions will be answered when you do the workshop Peter Robertson (atonement)Has been the instructor in the past and is a great operator .Alf Tramontin ,Mike Scott,Rupert Power,and many others .If I was you I would contact them direct and I know they will answer all your questions first hand .I live in Australia and have many times got on the phone and called the operator direct (not in the middle of the night different time zone ) about the hows and whys? of a shot from a film I had just seen . When Atonement first came out I emailed Peter and in a few days he got back to me with a great article he wrote for the UK cinematographer society .(Thanks again Peter)

In Australia there a number of UK show shown here " Life on Mars" Inspector Lynley "Louis" Jekyll".Live from Abbey Road" and others All have some fantastic steadicam work on it .

I know you will have a great time at the workshop .Welcome to the club
All the best .
Louis Puli from down under B)
ps find below details for some UK operators to contact.

http://www.steadicam.....nited Kingdom
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#5 Luke Willson

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Posted 10 March 2008 - 07:30 AM

Hi Luke
All of your questions will be answered when you do the workshop Peter Robertson (atonement)Has been the instructor in the past and is a great operator .Alf Tramontin ,Mike Scott,Rupert Power,and many others .If I was you I would contact them direct and I know they will answer all your questions first hand .I live in Australia and have many times got on the phone and called the operator direct (not in the middle of the night different time zone ) about the hows and whys? of a shot from a film I had just seen . When Atonement first came out I emailed Peter and in a few days he got back to me with a great article he wrote for the UK cinematographer society .(Thanks again Peter)

In Australia there a number of UK show shown here " Life on Mars" Inspector Lynley "Louis" Jekyll".Live from Abbey Road" and others All have some fantastic steadicam work on it .

I know you will have a great time at the workshop .Welcome to the club
All the best .
Louis Puli from down under B)
ps find below details for some UK operators to contact.

http://www.steadicam.....nited Kingdom

Thank for the great advise Louis, i'll be sure to contact some ops directly.
Thanks for the links to some UK ops aswell, much appreciated.
Hows work going down under? Do you ever get called down to New Zeland? I know the american studios shoot alot of stuff down there?
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#6 Curtis Dunne

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Posted 10 March 2008 - 08:09 PM

Hello Luke,

Please accept my apologies if you're already a camera operator. You haven't mentioned it in your post so I'm assuming that you're not. Also most of my experience is in TV so if you're interested in films then you might want to consider a different approach.

My only advice for you would be don't rush into it. Others may disagree but I would try to get a few years operating under your belt before tackling Steadicam full time. If you're in for the long haul then it will be worth it.

Steadicam requires a lot of skill but so does camera operating in general. Learn the rules about operating, composing and adjusting shots. It's one thing to take a camera and offer a moving shot but it's another when you have to worry about horizons while carrying heavy rig and a Production which expects you to keep the rig on for 2 or 3 hours without a decent break.
Learn Steadicam on freebies and in your spare time so that when you do paid work you're able to deal with production's demands. You'll need to have the confidence to stand your ground if necessary.

If Steadicam is what you want then your determination and experience will get you there. The work is there for good operators. Normal camera operating jobs will give you a chance to build up some funds to buy your rig. It would be nice to start Steadicam without a large debt hanging over your head. It might not be as much fun if you're having to undercut because you've got monthly loan payments to make. Maybe hire a rig for the first year or so when you need it. This allows you to build your confidence and a contact base without the financial outlay.

This is only my opinion. I'm not trying to be negative. I just feel that there is a way to becoming a Steadicam op without putting yourself under too much pressure. Some may say that you can start Steadicam and learn to operate as you go. If you think that's the best option for you then go for it.


Regards
Curtis
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#7 Luke Willson

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Posted 11 March 2008 - 05:03 AM

Hi Curtis,

Thankyou so much for you advise. You can always get straight answers on this forum which is why I love it so much. Your right aswell, from what i've read and after speaking to people most have dome alot of camera work before they take on more serious stuff. I'm trying to gain as much experience as I can working on amateur jobs and low budget productions. I've applied for some runner jobs with Tiger Aspect aswell, just waiting to hear back from them. Im also working as DP on a Low Budget film being shot in April sometime.

I have an education in Film Making and have taken a Film Studies course at College which taught me alot about the composition of shots, why things are filmed in certain ways and to what effect they have on the audience. I spent a whole year running out essays on Cinematography which has all put me in good stead for getting some practical experience.

Thanks for all the advice guys! For those of you that had to get loans who did you get them from and how did you pay off that first year?

Thanks
Luke
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