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running with steadicam


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#1 Danny Lachman

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 04:43 PM

Hi I've got a friend interested in purchasing a steadicam flyer LE. He wants to be able to have some quick movements in some of the shots, which will involve quick movement - jogging speed. Think Wes Anderson's The life Aquatic where they go to rescue the bank stooge.

I've heard that you need a "two stage arm" to do any running. The camera we'll be using will be either the future "scarlett" or the xlh1 with a letus 35mm adapter (11lbs?)

Anybody know about running with steadicams and how not to break them?

Edited by Danny Lachman, 26 October 2008 - 04:45 PM.

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#2 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 02:45 PM

The flyer is a good rig with a two stage arm.
I've run with my steadicam on many occasions. My best advice for not breaking the rig would be, don't fall. Sounds simple, but that's really all there is to it.
You and your friend should both be aware that running with steadicam, and operating a steadicam in general, is not easy. If your friend is new to steadicam and thinks he'll just be able to buy a rig and do running shots, he's being naive. He should do a workshop at the very least before attempting to do a running shot.
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#3 Kieran Scannell

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 03:40 PM

Hi I've got a friend interested in purchasing a steadicam flyer LE. He wants to be able to have some quick movements in some of the shots, which will involve quick movement - jogging speed. Think Wes Anderson's The life Aquatic where they go to rescue the bank stooge.

I've heard that you need a "two stage arm" to do any running. The camera we'll be using will be either the future "scarlett" or the xlh1 with a letus 35mm adapter (11lbs?)

Anybody know about running with steadicams and how not to break them?


I did a 3 day introduction workshop at the BBC in London last year and it really opened my eyes as to just how difficult it is to master the steadicam.
Brad was kind enough to give me some pointers(the tip on the shoes was very helpful Brad! thanks)

After 3 long days i was still struggling to balance the rig quickly! And as for operating, I'm a cameraman of 25yrs plus experience but i would say i was less than a novice flying the steadicam. I mean i would say i was football side line proficient but that's not really what your after i think.

If someone balanced it for you, you could probably do a running shot quite quickly but your framing would be s**t.

Do a workshop and find out for yourself, these are very skilled camera operators!

Kieran.
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#4 Yancey Franco

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 03:25 AM

Hi I've got a friend interested in purchasing a steadicam flyer LE. He wants to be able to have some quick movements in some of the shots, which will involve quick movement - jogging speed. Think Wes Anderson's The life Aquatic where they go to rescue the bank stooge.

I've heard that you need a "two stage arm" to do any running. The camera we'll be using will be either the future "scarlett" or the xlh1 with a letus 35mm adapter (11lbs?)

Anybody know about running with steadicams and how not to break them?



i've been doing some operating and I'm wondering how much is the average workshop for Steadicam and if there are specific places or not.
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 05:42 AM

Where are you based?

I did the "Malibu Classic" course, which was... expensive, but a week long and still didn't feel long enough; I have no idea how people manage to do three-day courses, although you have to bear in mind that - frankly - the standard is a hell of a lot lower in the UK. The advantage of what I did is that it's taught by the guys who do it five or six days a week, every week, on big TV shows and therefore know precisely what they're doing in a way that only two or three people really do where I come from. The disadvantage of this is that they will teach you Hollywood operating, that is, operating in circumstances where there's a lot of time, a lot of money, and the best available equipment, which is unlikely to be the case elsewhere.

Of course this was also my opportunity to discover what a dismal steadicam operator I had the potential to be, but that's another story...

P
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#6 Yancey Franco

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 12:44 PM

Where are you based?

I did the "Malibu Classic" course, which was... expensive, but a week long and still didn't feel long enough; I have no idea how people manage to do three-day courses, although you have to bear in mind that - frankly - the standard is a hell of a lot lower in the UK. The advantage of what I did is that it's taught by the guys who do it five or six days a week, every week, on big TV shows and therefore know precisely what they're doing in a way that only two or three people really do where I come from. The disadvantage of this is that they will teach you Hollywood operating, that is, operating in circumstances where there's a lot of time, a lot of money, and the best available equipment, which is unlikely to be the case elsewhere.

Of course this was also my opportunity to discover what a dismal steadicam operator I had the potential to be, but that's another story...

P


i'm based in the LA area.
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#7 Danny Lachman

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 11:52 PM

Thanks,
from watching the videos on youtube and other sites with steadicams and similar products - You can easily see the wobbles, misframing, and other subtle mess ups that ruin the magic of the shots.
We plan on practicing a lot with the steadicam rig, and we've got an operator who will be in the shreveport, LA area to give us a few hands on pointers and hopefully help out. Workshop would be nice, but I think with lots of practice, time, prep, and being able to see the end product of good steadicam shooting (shining, elephant, etc.) we should be ok.
Thanks for the info!

Edited by Danny Lachman, 28 October 2008 - 11:53 PM.

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#8 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 05:17 AM

Brad was kind enough to give me some pointers(the tip on the shoes was very helpful Brad! thanks)

Kieran.

I'm glad it was helpful. Shoes sound arbitrary, but you realize how important they are once you wear the rig for a few days in a row.
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#9 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 05:25 AM

The disadvantage of this is that they will teach you Hollywood operating, that is, operating in circumstances where there's a lot of time, a lot of money, and the best available equipment, which is unlikely to be the case elsewhere.

P

While that may have been the case in the past, it's not often the case these days. TV has gotten to the point where steadicam is so common that everyone expects you to be able to do any shot at the drop of a hat. I haven't worked on that many shows, just a few, but I know from my experience that time is something that is very valuable on TV sets, so you have to be ready for anything and be able to pull it off quickly. I'm not complaining, but it's not as much of a dream situation as some people think it is.
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#10 Bruce Greene

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 04:05 AM

Anybody know about running with steadicams and how not to break them?


Falling while running is the number 1 way of breaking Steadicams and/or cameras while Steadicaming.

I have broken the lens off a camera while running (looked really cool in the movie, but the knee surgery was expensive!) and destroyed a matte box or viewfinder or two...

The most important way to avoid this is to know where you are running and clear the path of all ankle braking rocks and fill in any holes. It will also help that the Flyer is very very light weight and will not pull the operator towards the ground the way a full sized rig will when loosing control of the weight.

Have fun with your new toy!
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#11 K Borowski

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 03:29 PM

I have broken the lens off a camera while running (looked really cool in the movie, but the knee surgery was expensive!) and destroyed a matte box or viewfinder or two...


Cool. Which movie?
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#12 Bruce Greene

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 04:25 AM

Cool. Which movie?


It was a short showcase film that was not released. I did it for free when I was just starting out in the Steadicam biz about 1985 or 86...I remember that we borrowed the camera and had to pay to have the Eclair NPR mirror shutter repaired before returning it (ouch). The lens went back to the rental house with the ears broken off the mount and they didn't notice :blink:

I did a shot on Beverly Hills Cop III off an insert car where the road gutter bumps were so large that the bracket holding the camera to the rig cracked open and the Arri III went flying off the rig. It caused some good sparks as it got dragged down the alley by the power cable! This shot did not make it to the film but there are a few shots in my Steadicam reel from this picture (a car chase). My life was saved here by the 2nd unit director who held my ankles to keep me from flying off the insert car with the camera. I had screwed the Steadicam sled to the arm to prevent it from flying off if the bumps got too big :o
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