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#1 Kyle Bryant

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 12:26 PM

ALL,

I am a student film maker in my 3rd year of film school. I have taken a very serious interest in Stedicam and have been the most requested at my school to op for shoots on the ULTRA and the FLYER. I am even the Teachers Assistant for new classes, My professor was taught by Garrett Brown. I just wanted to know the opinion from working professionals what the best way for me to get into the business working on features, I have thought about buying a Flyer to shoot music video shoots and Indie films while I work enough to buy my own ULTRA system, I understand to get work you have to have your own gear. I was also interested in doing a workout regiment specifically oriented to Steadicam Ops if anyone out there has any recommendations.


Thanks!
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#2 Kyle Bryant

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 12:44 PM

Why can't they make it easy to just post a picture!!!
This is the System I have been flying, with the SDX 900, Varicam, RED ONE, Cinealta

Edited by Kyle, 11 April 2009 - 12:46 PM.

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#3 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 12:49 PM

I am a student film maker in my 3rd year of film school. I have taken a very serious interest in Stedicam and have been the most requested at my school to op for shoots on the ULTRA and the FLYER. I am even the Teachers Assistant for new classes, My professor was taught by Garrett Brown. I just wanted to know the opinion from working professionals what the best way for me to get into the business working on features, I have thought about buying a Flyer to shoot music video shoots and Indie films while I work enough to buy my own ULTRA system, I understand to get work you have to have your own gear. I was also interested in doing a workout regiment specifically oriented to Steadicam Ops if anyone out there has any recommendations.



Three things.

1) it's SteAdicam

2) please use your real name. Change your preferences so that your login and display name is your real full name. First and last.

3) Search the archives all that you ask has been answered more than a few times
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#4 Kyle Bryant

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 01:13 PM

I am a student film maker in my 3rd year of film school. I have taken a very serious interest in Stedicam and have been the most requested at my school to op for shoots on the ULTRA and the FLYER. I am even the Teachers Assistant for new classes, My professor was taught by Garrett Brown. I just wanted to know the opinion from working professionals what the best way for me to get into the business working on features, I have thought about buying a Flyer to shoot music video shoots and Indie films while I work enough to buy my own ULTRA system, I understand to get work you have to have your own gear. I was also interested in doing a workout regiment specifically oriented to Steadicam Ops if anyone out there has any recommendations.



Three things.

1) it's SteAdicam

2) please use your real name. Change your preferences so that your login and display name is your real full name. First and last.

3) Search the archives all that you ask has been answered more than a few times



Sorry for the Typo, Thanks for the info
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#5 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 05:26 PM

Why can't they make it easy to just post a picture!!!
This is the System I have been flying, with the SDX 900, Varicam, RED ONE, Cinealta



It is easy. You just need to be a sustaining member.
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#6 Kevin M. Andersen

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 02:56 AM

I'm sorry, was there a question there?

I'd say you must master the stabilizer before being able to make a living using it.

Until then I think you are doing well by being the "Teachers Assistant taught by Garrett Brown."

"I have thought about buying a Flyer to shoot music video shoots and Indie films while I work enough to buy my own ULTRA system, I understand to get work you have to have your own gear."

Despite the financial challenges of "working to have your own gear" I would focus your goal on mastering the art of stabilizers, and Indie films (your definition needed here) often requires an advanced skills set. It is noy the gear that makes the operator, but the operator makes the gear (Operate.)

Music videos, on the other hand is a different story.

My first few gigs were on music videos where they wanted that "modern "dutch" look," in other words...not horizon level.

Practice then blow it out the box
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#7 Nicholas Davidoff

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 09:05 PM

It's a loooong, haaaaard road my friend. You won't see any $$$ for a long time and competition is fierce.
If you want success in this profession, you have to live and breathe camera operating. Becoming a good camera operator takes many years and vast experience. A steadicam rig is just a piece of gear like a fluid head or a slider or a dolly. Owning one doesn't make you an operator. If you're getting into steadicam because you think you're gonna make some quick bucks, then you are in for a HUGE disappointment. There are much easier ways to make a living. If you LOVE being a camera operator and want to devote many years of hard work to developing your craft, then I wish you the best of luck.
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#8 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 09:15 PM

It's a loooong, haaaaard road my friend. You won't see any $$$ for a long time and competition is fierce.
If you want success in this profession, you have to live and breathe camera operating. Becoming a good camera operator takes many years and vast experience. A steadicam rig is just a piece of gear like a fluid head or a slider or a dolly. Owning one doesn't make you an operator. If you're getting into steadicam because you think you're gonna make some quick bucks, then you are in for a HUGE disappointment. There are much easier ways to make a living. If you LOVE being a camera operator and want to devote many years of hard work to developing your craft, then I wish you the best of luck.



Great post. Unfortunately most of the people that post that sort of question don't want to hear that. They want to hear that they are going to walk outta school and be right there hired onto a $100million dollar feature as the hero steadicam operator to, as Uncle Teddy put it. "Wed or Bed the star"
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#9 Brittney White

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 05:08 PM

It's a loooong, haaaaard road my friend. You won't see any $$$ for a long time and competition is fierce.
If you want success in this profession, you have to live and breathe camera operating. Becoming a good camera operator takes many years and vast experience. A steadicam rig is just a piece of gear like a fluid head or a slider or a dolly. Owning one doesn't make you an operator. If you're getting into steadicam because you think you're gonna make some quick bucks, then you are in for a HUGE disappointment. There are much easier ways to make a living. If you LOVE being a camera operator and want to devote many years of hard work to developing your craft, then I wish you the best of luck.


Thats a verrrrrrry encouraging post for a newbie like myself.
Thanks !!
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#10 Brian Freesh

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 11:06 PM

Kyle, do you go to SCAD? Your story sounds familiar. Now I'm all nostalgic.

These guys already said everything. Keep motivated!
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#11 Nicholas Davidoff

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 02:05 PM

Thats a verrrrrrry encouraging post for a newbie like myself.
Thanks !!


My humble apologies if that isn't what you were hoping to hear. Maybe this is better -

"Hey, you're getting into steadicam! That's great! Everybody should get into it. It's really easy to learn and basically anybody with half a brain can do it. Camera operators are always in high demand and there are plenty of job openings nationwide. All you need is a little bit of practice and a few thousand dollars and you're on your way! In just a few short months, you too will be making big bucks working on top Hollywood movies and commercials! So strap a rig on and start flying!"

There you go. Encouragement. Unfortunately, reality is a different story. The good people of this forum are a polite and supportive bunch and I love them for that. I, for one, am not going to put on a freindly smile and encourage every Tom, Dick and Harriet to get into Steadicam. I feel the most generous way I can contribute here is to offer you some honest advice. The following is some collective wisdom I received from veteran camera operators when I was starting out. To me this was gold. If you're a newbie looking for sugar coated encouragement then stop reading now because there are spoilers ahead...

1. If you want to be a steadicam operator, you need to be a CAMERA operator first and foremost. A camera operator is not somebody who's skill is humping 70 pounds of steadicam gear on their body. A cameraman is somebody with an eye for composition. Somebody who uses images to tell a story. A photographer. An artist. You need to be good on a fluid head, gear head, off the shoulder, on a sandbag, hanging off a ladder, whatever. A camera operator has to be diplomatic, communicate with people, actors and technicians. An operator is a problem solver, working under high pressure, racing a clock all day long. Operating requires an eagle eye searching for a hundred different problems in a frame at every given moment. This is the tip of the iceberg of job requirements. You must be a camera operator first. The steadicam is just a bunch of metal and wires.

2. Steadicam is a huge financial investment. You think professionals who put $80-$100k into their equipment did so because they had too much cash on their hands? Flyers and Merlins are great for weddings, Youtube videos and practice rigs. But if you want to work on any high level projects, you need a rig that takes a 20-30 pound payload. You need a reliable sled with electronics that don't crap out. Arm springs that won't snap. A monitor you can view in the sunlight. A remote focus system so your shots are sharp. A dozen batteries to power a full day's work. Full wireless video. A vehicle mount. Fifty different cables. A cart. Shipping cases. The list goes on... And these aren't bells and whistles, they're bare essentials! Neglect these things and you'll look like a fool on set who's guaranteed no call back.

3. Steadicam is serious DEDICATION. Does owning a basketball get you in the NBA? Does buying a Louisville Slugger make you Babe Ruth? Does an HVX make you Vittorio Storraro? You catch my drift. Any idiot with a credit line can buy a steadicam. But a rig does not an operator make. Months and months of backbreaking sweat and training with very slow progress. Months or years of music videos, shorts and ULB's for crazy hours getting paid peanuts. When people say it's a loooong, haaaard road, believe me, they are not being funny!

4. Steadicam is competition. This may be hard news to hear, but there are MANY more steadicam operators than there are jobs to go around. For every job, from features to student freebies, you can bet there's a dozen other ops angling for it. What this means is simple. Only a select few will actually make a decent living. Presumably, only the best. The ones who are so in love with this craft, that they've dedicated themselves to the point of obsession. The ones who train their assess off, invest in quality equipment, stick with it for years while slowly earning the vast experience necessary to become a professional camera operator. The rest will have rigs collecting dust in their garage. Or they'll cash out in a year or two after contributing so generously to the decline in rate scales and respectability of the steadicam profession.

There you go. Newbie advice, honest and from the heart. If you want to see success in this field, you have to absolutely LOVE camerawork regardless of $$$, otherwise you'll be wasting much time and money. If anybody finds the aforementioned inaccurate, please chime in. Otherwise, I close with a question for you aspiring operators to ask yourselves - How much do you love steadicam?
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#12 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 03:51 PM

There you go. Newbie advice, honest and from the heart. If you want to see success in this field, you have to absolutely LOVE camerawork regardless of $$$, otherwise you'll be wasting much time and money. If anybody finds the aforementioned inaccurate, please chime in. Otherwise, I close with a question for you aspiring operators to ask yourselves - How much do you love steadicam?



Fantastic Post Nick!

There is truth in those words.
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#13 Fabrizio Sciarra SOC ACO

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 10:47 AM

Hey Nick,
such a nice and REAL picture, great post;
maybe not encouraging but nice and damn real
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#14 Brittney White

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 08:51 PM

Thats a verrrrrrry encouraging post for a newbie like myself.
Thanks !!


My humble apologies if that isn't what you were hoping to hear. Maybe this is better -

...


No, I was actually being quite sincere in the thanks !!

A lot of times, when people inquire about my steadicam operating, it can be blown off as just a dream since I dont have the monies to buy a rig and dont havejobs to work on. But when you said "A steadicam rig is just a piece of gear like a fluid head or a slider or a dolly. Owning one doesn't make you an operator. If you LOVE being a camera operator and want to devote many years of hard work to developing your craft, then I wish you the best of luck." it gives more encouragement to practice practice practice using other people's equipment (very appreciative of that) and breathe live and love the art, until I get my own equipment.

Sorry if I sounded sarcastic, but it was indeed a good post !! Thanks again.
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#15 Nicholas Davidoff

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 02:40 AM

Sorry if I sounded sarcastic, but it was indeed a good post !! Thanks again.


Being a sarcastic guy myself, that's the first thing I assumed. So, apologies right back at you Brittney and thanks for the complement. Although tough to swallow, I thought it would be a helpful post.

Cheers!
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