Well...how do I do that?
Posted 11 November 2008 - 05:40 PM
Posted 11 November 2008 - 06:29 PM
Posted 22 November 2008 - 10:29 PM
If you can't afford a larger rig you can at least get some hands-on exerience to help understand the importance of a light touch on the gimbal, holding horizons and maintaining headroom and more.
Of course then you'll be bitten by the bug and you'll have to get a Pilot...
Posted 23 November 2008 - 06:44 AM
I would start with the Steadicam Pilot for $3700:
(be sure to click on "Email me a better price").
This is the least expensive Steadicam rig with a vest, arm, and sled with monitor and batteries. It's also the most professional in it's class. You can buy cheaper rigs to start with, but most of them don't really work as well.
Be sure to buy 8 extra weights:
This makes a light rig like the Pilot a lot more stable.
Any camera will do for practice. A widescreen DV camera would be better, and avalable cheap if you don't have one:
A lighter camera like this will work better if you use a weight plate up top. If you're handy, you can make one of these cheap.
More info on the Pilot here:
Posted 25 November 2008 - 02:38 PM
Posted 25 November 2008 - 06:31 PM
This is an excellent source for info on home built and off brand rigs. You may already know of the site but I thought I'd throw it out there.
Posted 26 November 2008 - 10:06 AM
Posted 26 November 2008 - 11:13 AM
I do not know how much cheaper you can get then $3,700.00 I would save up for the pilot if I were you.
While you are waiting to buy a rig you can ?practice? by operating a camera on a tri-pod, dolly, or hand held. Remember a Steadicam Operator is a camera operator! Composition is the most important part of are job. A steadicam is one of the many tools we use.
Posted 26 November 2008 - 02:16 PM
You should be able to get by with 2 rigs, 1 for starting out, and one big professional rig for flying film cameras. For starting out, you could buy a cheaper Glidecam or something, but I've found that these are limiting. If you can manage $3700 for the Pilot, that would be a much better first rig.
Is it worth buying a small cheap off-brand rig right now for the money I have or, since everyone is saying once I try it I am going to want to go full force into it, do I just save a few more months and buy a more expensive rig so when I am good enough I don't have to upgrade a second time.
If you are unsure about the whole thing, you can take the 2-day workshop for $500. They provide the Pilot and Flyer rigs for you to learn on. You'll want to take this workshop in any case. It might be better to wait until a month or so after you've used the rig, but taking the course before you buy the rig will work as well.
Posted 26 November 2008 - 03:07 PM
I strongly recommend not to penny-pinch on the little rig. And I echo Dave's sentiments on taking the workshop--you will indeed get more out of it if you have already had some time in the system but either way, it should answer many questions and get you into good operating habits.
Posted 26 November 2008 - 03:09 PM
This may seem retarded, but I was given a little piece of advice from a very well-known operator/instructor when I took the workshop. One of the things we pay heavy attention to in our work is our levels.
This instructor told me from time to time he would take out one of those small bubble levels that fit in your hand and place it on his thumb and pointer finger to practice keeping it leveled while moving around pretending he is holding the post. You'll obtain a muscle-memory that remembers to keep the horizon flat while preventing you from dropping your thumb.
You can practice this at any time, without a rig. I have done this and believe me, it's not as easy as it sounds. What I feel it does is help you keep it level while taking your body's energy transference down to a minimal affect in your physical arm.
Before you buy that rig, consider the type of cameras you presume you will work with. I don't know what the specs are for the Pilot, but if you plan on shooting with cameras heavier than what it can take, you've just bought something you can practice with or do small camera jobs with, but as Charles puts it, not any and all gigs.
One of the problems of getting a smaller rig is that clients may not call you again if they know you have a rig that cannot handle the camera they plan to use. Not to worry you or complicate your decision, but I have used cameras ranging from small handycams to the Cadillac of Arriflex, the 535B. Fortunately, I have a rig that can do all, barring the Pana G2 and maybe the IMAX, although I have yet to fly the latter.
As you know, a rig that handles heavier cameras can handle lighter cameras with some ingenuity and adding weight. Lighter rigs will struggle and ultimately fail trying to fly larger cameras. I would save for the heavier rig if you expect to work with such cameras. If not, then go for the lighter setup and when ready, opt out for a larger rig when you feel comfortable or financially secure.
Good luck and let us know which way you decide to go. Definitely take the workshop. If not the week-long, then the 2-day for sure.
Posted 26 November 2008 - 09:47 PM
Phillip's advice goes along with something else for you to consider:
AFTER investing in a workshop to see if you get bitten.....perhaps try to source out some work at a broadcast station that uses steadicam as part of their daily operations. That sort of opportunity gives one paid experience, and while improving skills, the potential ability to save for a bigger rig.
With regard to your question about "upgrading"....I think many would agree that it never ends.....but a wisely researched decision on your first big rig would be massively key to your first few years as an owner/operator....many of which D.G.E. mentioned already in this thread.
Be creative...if you really want something, you WILL figure out how to accomplish....and yes, it can take many years before you buy your first big rig so try and realize the big picture here.....seek advice from any local veterans who are willing to let you buy them a beer and tell you their story......shocking fact...many steadicam operators like to have a drink and talk about our passion for this craft!