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steadicam info for 35mm shoot


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#1 Brandon Rubesh

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 09:16 AM

Hello,
I'll be the DP on a 35mm shoot coming up in November. The descision has been made to use steadicam for the entirety of the film. This will be my first 35mm shooting experience, thus forth I'm not so familiar with all the difference brands of these machines. I want to find out. I really only know about "steadicam" and "glyde cam". Does anyone know any other good cine model brands? We're going to rent, and we have a steadicam operator, but I just need to know what to look for, and the difference between the different brands (which ones are better or worse).

Much thanks - Brandon
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#2 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 09:50 AM

Brandon,
If you have a Steadicam Operator then surely he has his own Steadicam Package? Or at least has a preference for which brand he likes to rent?
There are several brands of Steadicam available and most operators will use different pieces by different companies depending on how they like to work. The major brands would be Pro, Tiffen, XCS, and MK-V. In the hands of a good steadicam operator there is no difference between the major brands - just as there is little operational difference between a Panaflex and an Arricam in the hands of a good traditional operator. If you trust your operator then i honestly wouldnt concern yourself with what brand of equipment he uses so long as he's confident he can achieve the shots you want. As the DP I'd be more concerned that you ensure that prduction can provide the appropriate camera package for steadicam use. If its PV id recommend the Millenium XL if its non-PV then the Arricam LT, with 100% video top, Low mode bracket and 3 x Steadi mags is best. Talk with him before hand about what you are trying to achieve and let him advise you on what he needs to get the shots. Have a good Dolly Grip for him to work with. Some shots might still be better to do of of a dolly, or steadicam hard mounted to a dolly. He may need a Superpost for super high/low mode or gyros/antlers if you plan on using longer lenses. Will you need to zoom/pull iris on any shots - again let him know. Hope this helps,
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#3 Jon Kukla

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 09:50 AM

I would assume that you'll use whatever your Steadicam op feels most comfortable with (especially since it's his back on the line...). Unless you want to do cutting edge stuff like the Revolution roll cage, all you should need to check is the amount of weight the rig can support. At the end of the day, though, you don't need the *best* model, you need the model that the op is familiar enough to accomplish the best shots with. Whether that's his rig or a rented one, I'd ask the op first.
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#4 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 07:52 PM

My biggest worry would be that your operator doesn't own a rig. Renting might be good when you need a shot or two, but if you're going to do a whole movie on steadicam I'd think you'd want someone who works as a steadicam operator full time.
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#5 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 08:30 PM

As others have said, the specifics of the rig aren't really your concern. You should be more interested in knowing that your Operator is skilled and can do the types of shots that you and the Director throw at him.

With that in mind, you DO want to think about any shots that could be out of the ordinary which could impact the Steadicam Operator. For instance, if you have any low angle shots in mind, the Steadicam would have to be reconfigured with a low-mode cage or bracket. If you have any unusually long shots planned (more than a 400' mag), then that would definitely impact the equipment choices. All Steadicam arms have a weight limit and some hold more than others. Not every Steadicam can be reconfigured for low-mode. Should he have a video transmitter (Modulus) so you can see the shot in progress? Will you also need to rent monitors with tuners? What about an on-board "clamshell" to record the shot? Or will someone at video village record the shots for playback?

You get the idea.

Also as important, if not more so, is a VERY skilled Focus Puller.

Unless you'll always be shooting at a T22 on a 14mm outside all the time, you need somebody who is capable of pulling focus on longer lenses at wider stops and an Operator who can also keep a level and steady horizon on longer lenses, like 50mm and up.

For more specific information, I recommend browsing through the thread archives at www.steadicamforum.com. Also the Tiffen website has information about their most current models available.

Some links for you:

http://www.steadicam-ops.com
http://www.steadicamforum.com/forums
http://kiwifilm.com/steadfaq.html
http://www.steadi-on...dicam_info.html
http://books.google....FJsh6iE#PPP1,M1
http://pro-gpi.com/concept.htm
http://www.mk-v.com

Good luck!
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