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#1 Brandon Whiteside

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 10:17 PM

I'm new to the forums and the steadicam! I am working on a final project for Cal state northridge with a rented SK1 from a friend. Ill be running an XL2 on it. I came here for some quick tips and tricks, as our shoot is this weekend!
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#2 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 11:42 PM

I'm new to the forums and the steadicam! I am working on a final project for Cal state northridge with a rented SK1 from a friend. Ill be running an XL2 on it. I came here for some quick tips and tricks, as our shoot is this weekend!



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#3 Brandon Whiteside

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 12:19 AM

I'm new to the forums and the steadicam! I am working on a final project for Cal state northridge with a rented SK1 from a friend. Ill be running an XL2 on it. I came here for some quick tips and tricks, as our shoot is this weekend!



Search is your friend



I know, I'm just introducing myself
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#4 John Brook

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 02:55 PM

I would just like to say hello to Brandon. Unfortunately you are going to get a lot of "Search the forum" answers here until you become a "pro" or possibly until you have a question that no one has been asked before. To me it doesn't seem professional and it seems really rude but there you go.

As far as advice or tricks goes I don't have really any at all. I am still a newbie as well. What I can say from looking around the boards is that practice is going to be your best friend. I would say that if you could have someone else be the operator who is already slightly trained in the art of the Steadicam, you are going to have a much better product. If you have any money in your budget I would definitely say spend it on an operator. If not I would say that you should get the steadicam early and practice, practice, practice. It takes a long time to get even ok at the art form, let alone good. I have heard that a workshop is good but I haven't been to one yet so I can't say one way or the other.

To be honest I think that is the best advice you are going to get from most of the pros on the forum. Most are going to agree with Eric or post about my comments. I hope this is a better welcome for you.

Edited by John Brook, 14 April 2009 - 02:56 PM.

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#5 Jerry Holway

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 06:31 PM

John, Brandon -

Not so shameless a plug, but short of taking a workshop, read Laurie's and my book available from Focal, Amazon, Tiffen, or (now shamelessly), from me and Laurie. 50 bucks gives you a comprehensive, organized approach to the subject, art form, business, lots of specific exercises to practice, etc.

The hope is then that your specific questions and searches have some broad context, and the answers you find here in this wonderful forum will also find a home in a broader context.

There are no quick ways to get really good at this game, and you can get better and better if you keep trying and are critical of your work. (I'm still learning... it's still a challenge to get everything I want out of a shot or a move).

So welcome to this spirited forum, full of ideas and insights from a host of really smart and interesting folks who have dedicated an enormous amount of time and energy into their craft, and who also are more than willing to share whatever they know.

Jerry
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#6 Erwin Landau

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 07:06 PM

Firstly: Brandon there are no quick tricks or tips... You can't learn to operate the camera (not even to mention the steadicam in a week) from a book even though Jerry and Laurie's book is a great start. Take a workshop that is the only real way to get a foundation to start getting good at it. I'm sure you are driving... did you learn to drive by reading the manual? No you took driving lessons... AFTER you read the drivers hand book, and how long did it take you to not bump a car while trying to parallel park? I took a total of seven Workshops over the years and actually learned a lot by teaching one. And I still think that I don't have the whole picture after almost ten years in the rig.

I would suggest to hire a local operator with his gear instead of renting just the gear... you will get way better results for equal the money without the frustration of blown take after take. Look at "Chasing Amy" The DP David Klein strapped the rig on and got a couple of glorified handheld shots out of it. If you are okay with it, go ahead. In a couple of years you will cringe every time you see that specific scene...

Secondly: John... With a question that broad, I could write a thousand pages (which I did) or post a thousand posts (which I also did) and without a basic knowledge of operating (Camera or Steadicam) I will get blank stares back from people. Read the book... but without actually having anybody show you what it means and what it does, it will seam like reading theoretical Physics...

Sorry but there is no quick answer... the answer lies within years of amassed info... that's why everybody will send you searching... because every answer, I will give you, will open 2 or 3 new ones... and so on and so on...

When I started... I didn't even dare to ask questions on the holy AOL folders... Now everybody jumps on the forum and DEMANDS answers...

Read the Book, practice, take a workshop, practice, watch a lot of movies, practice... repeat as many times a necessary.


Happy Flying,

Erwin
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#7 Brittney White

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 08:58 PM

Although this weekend is near, try contacting a local operator via the SOA Directory and try to get a practice run in before the shoot. Many operators are more than willing to help you out.

Edited by Brittney White, 15 April 2009 - 08:59 PM.

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#8 Charles Papert

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 09:38 PM

Imagine if you would a post on a board for professional musicians: "Hi, I've never played a cello before but I'm going to be playing with a string ensemble this weekend, does anyone have any quick tips or tricks?" One could imagine that the responses would likely be far more "rude" than what is meted out here. For those of us who make our living operating Steadicam and have spent countless hours and years finessing our technique, it's not much different.

Regardless of how it's worded, the principle of "search first, ask questions later" is more than valid. There are years of accumulated knowledge on all aspects of Steadicam contained within these virtual walls. As for general operating knowledge, the similarly well-worn response "take a workshop" is also valid because that's the best way to learn (along with Jerry and Laurie's book as a valuable reference tool).

I don't see what is "unprofessional" about this sort of response--in general, I think Steadicam operators are more likely to share their trade secrets and techniques than other types of specialists in most fields, particularly the film industry. But it's all about the approach.
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#9 chris fawcett

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 08:17 AM

Imagine if you would a post on a board for professional musicians: "Hi, I've never played a cello before but I'm going to be playing with a string ensemble this weekend, does anyone have any quick tips or tricks?"

Wonderful!
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#10 Jerry Holway

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 09:33 AM

Totally agree with Charles here - nothing beats a workshop for starters and nothing beats long hours of practice and loads of experience for getting better.

If there were, say, 5 or even 50 quick tips and tricks to make you great, Steadicam would be very uninteresting (anyone could do it) and there would be no career (nothing special), and it would all look the same (nothing personal).

Here we have a different mind-set, and the hard-earned humility to know just how much effort is required to do work worth doing... so we're more than willing to help each other and those willing to work at it.

Good luck to everyone starting out, but please - take a workshop (2 day at least!)!

Jerry
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#11 Amelia Cutadean

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 01:49 PM

YES! Take a workshop. It's the best thing I have ever done. You won't regret it at all.
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