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#1 Kevin M. Andersen

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 06:37 PM

This has been bothering me for...25 years.

Unlike almost everyone else I choose to operate the camera/sled with my god-gifted right hand. That means arm is mounted on my front left.

Since the majority of people are right handed like me, why am I not like the majority of steadiops who operate the camera/sled with the left hand?

Can someone please explain why *most* people operate a tripod head with their right hand and then operate the steadicam sled with their left?

I remember prepping a Panavision package in Woodland hills in 1994 and the AC said " Oh, you use the arm backwards." I said "HuH?"

What do you say?
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#2 Jerry Holway

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 07:43 PM

Kevin-

In one sense, right handed operators are better at positioning the camera in space with their right hand, because they have better eye-right hand-spatial coordination for reaching and grasping, and the right arm is stronger for booming, and slicker for starting and stopping moves.

Because positioning the camera well is one huge aspect of framing, using the right hand on the "arm" makes tons of sense.

Regardless, one reason a lot of us operate normally is that the original operator was right handed, and original operating was one handed. When two handed operating started - again with Garrett - he retained the arm starting on the right, and used his guitar and banjo trained left hand to aim the camera. Changing the arm from left to right was a huge pain in the butt back then as well, so the rest of us were trained to operate his way, regardless of our left or right-handedness.

Doesn't matter which way you do it, as long as it works for you. But it's good to practice both ways.

Jerry
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#3 luis castro

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 09:30 PM

Kevin-

In one sense, right handed operators are better at positioning the camera in space with their right hand, because they have better eye-right hand-spatial coordination for reaching and grasping, and the right arm is stronger for booming, and slicker for starting and stopping moves.

Because positioning the camera well is one huge aspect of framing, using the right hand on the "arm" makes tons of sense.

Regardless, one reason a lot of us operate normally is that the original operator was right handed, and original operating was one handed. When two handed operating started - again with Garrett - he retained the arm starting on the right, and used his guitar and banjo trained left hand to aim the camera. Changing the arm from left to right was a huge pain in the butt back then as well, so the rest of us were trained to operate his way, regardless of our left or right-handedness.

Doesn't matter which way you do it, as long as it works for you. But it's good to practice both ways.

Jerry


Good explanation Mr Jerry , nowadays are many operators who guide the post with the right without being left-handed and I believe that this is an error, your to teach to work both with sides in the work shop 99
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#4 Mike Germond SOC

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 09:40 PM

Without getting into the physical reasons why we do it, I just do it because that's how I was taught. Like Jerry said, it's just been passed down over and over again..

On a fun tangent, I've always thought about what it would be like to operate Steadicam on snowboard or skiis. But then I started to ponder, if I'm a regular footed snowboarder (left foot forward) but am operating Steadicam in what would be considered goofy footed (off the left hip), how would that work out?

Probably best to keep my investment out of the halfpipe for now :lol:
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#5 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 11:25 PM

When I took Jerry's class in 98 he made us operate on both sides. I mostly go regular (arm on the right) and to be honest my boom arm does 90% of the work. My left hand only does the fine tuning.

Also, I've had to operate on the left side before because of the way I had to walk down a hallway and go through a door, it wouldn't have worked with the arm on the left.

A good trick I use is that a few times a year (usually on a rap video where quality operating is not that critical) I put my arm on the left side and just leave it there all day. By the end of the day it feels pretty much natural and if you need to go on that side it's not such a big deal.
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#6 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 01:40 AM

Also, I've had to operate on the left side before because of the way I had to walk down a hallway and go through a door, it wouldn't have worked with the arm on the left.

It would have if you did it in Don Juan walking backwards ;-)

~Jess
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#7 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 12:26 PM

Assuming of course that my don juan didn't suck :ph34r:
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#8 Chris Vermaak

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 02:45 AM

When I got my first rig I knew bubkiss nothing zero zip narda.Point being I had no training or history regarding operating (Tabula rasa).I just looked at all the bits and put them together to start working.I wasn't sure of arm position and tried both ways.The arm on the right "normal" just felt strange!It got in my way when I had to get to the camera as well.(I had to set own exposure ,hyperfocal and sometimes sound levels too after having done the lighting setup of course).

After 5 years of blood sweat and tears I know that the rig is by no means controlled by one's hands (except to finesse) but still I operate goofy.

Should a middle-aged dog change his spots? If one had a third arm growing out of one's sternum..... (freak) would'nt one want to shake hands with the right?

I have recently ordered Jerry Holway's steadicam ops handbook and can't wait to see how I'm actually supposed to do this job!!!

Regards
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