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Steadicam Crane

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#1 zachary holloran

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 11:17 PM

Hi Everyone,

 

I have been trying to find a company or crane/steadicam model that is able to transition smoothly from a crane to a steadicam operator/rig.

 

I have a big shoot coming up and need to know if I need something made.  We will need a motorized pan/tilt hot head on a 50' ish crane for a few moves before we go to steadicam - either that or an operator on the crane...

 

I really need help and am depending on some of you more experienced DP's to have some ideas and solutions.  Thanks so much - I know there must be some way to do this, or someone who has done it before.  

 

I have watched all the on-shots such as boogie nights, etc. and understand I may need an operator on the crane, which would work as well.

 

Money is not an issue.  I have been given an unlimited budget for whatever I need.  Please help! me with any information on rigs, cranes, customized equipment, etc.  

 

thanks guys,

 

zach

 


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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 11:26 PM

Normally; you have an operator stand on top of a crane. There's no hot-head or anything like that. The op does the move, and then walks off into the steadycam shot.

 

Or you can do it as an invisible cut between a crane and then a steady-cam op on the ground, which is what i'd go for with unlimited money depending on the shot.


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#3 zachary holloran

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 11:32 PM

well the director wants it all to be done in one shot.  He won't allow any cuts.  Any idea of the technical side of what kind of crane will support an operator with a steadicam? Or how he would be able to step down?  I'm not sure if he would be able to operate the steadicam on a crane due to space, being supported, etc.- just trying to piece all these little things together 


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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 11:35 PM

Any of the old ride-on cranes would support him; depend how high you need to go and what kind of space you're working with for the shot. Where to find a ride-on 'round here, dunno however.


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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 11:43 PM

Also check out:

 

http://www.steadicamforum.com/

 

 

 

they may have some good safe suggestions for you from a steady-cam op perspective.


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#6 Jaron Berman

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 01:44 AM

It's called a crane step-off, and its common enough to be taught at steadicam workshops.  That said, it's not particularly easy and you'll find only a handfull of ops who have done them on shot (successfully) because of the logistical complications.  The issue of the step-off itself is fairly easy, certainly easier than holding a shot while going up or down stairs.  But there's a big dance in order to do it safely, and of more concern than which op you choose to hire is the experience of the grips.  Given the choice between an op who's done a step-off and 3 grips who have done them (successfully) I'd take the grips EVERY time.  Simple physics Force = Mass x Acceleration - when the operator steps off the crane, it's now imbalanced meaning that 50' lever wants to spring upwards with a LOT of force.  When the op steps off 3 things need to happen - two grips need to land the platform, one of them has to un-safety the operator (when he/she confirms that both grips have weight on the platform, and then signal the OK.  If this doesn't happen, it's incredibly dangerous.  If this all happens smoothly then everyone looks like a hero and you end up with what could be a very cool shot.  It's ok the land the platform hard to the ground because it's a lot better to KNOW that you're at the ground than to have the grips feather the move and land 5" high and have a faceplant when the op steps off.  The beauty of the steadicam arm is that the op can feather the landing, booming the rig itself down as the crane comes to rest and soaking-up the landing - the rig itself never stops moving and therefore never loses inertia or stability.  Beautiful clean step-off in Hoffa, and a few very clever step-offs in Kill Bill (so good most people have no idea how the shots were done at all).

 

If money is not an issue, find a few good examples and try getting a hold of those ops, and be open to bringing in grips they trust.  And when you diagram the shot, having done a few similarly ambitious shots they may even have ideas to help make it better (and safer).  Good luck, sounds like a fun project!


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#7 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 03:56 AM

Safety is everything. I remember attempting this with a helicopter for a commercial, it was the scariest shot I've tried. I think it was wonderful in the directors head, but the practicalities were against what he had in mind. 


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#8 Charles Papert

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 09:25 PM

The best crane for a Steadicam step-off is the Chapman Titan, as it is the most rigid and has a large platform (which allows the operator to take a step or two as the crane is landing, very critical to smooth out the transition). There are many operators in LA who have done this move quite successfully. This kind of shot has been done for 40 years now (starting with the very first Steadicam shot in a feature film) so the variables are well-documented.


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#9 zachary holloran

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 11:10 PM

The best crane for a Steadicam step-off is the Chapman Titan, as it is the most rigid and has a large platform (which allows the operator to take a step or two as the crane is landing, very critical to smooth out the transition). There are many operators in LA who have done this move quite successfully. This kind of shot has been done for 40 years now (starting with the very first Steadicam shot in a feature film) so the variables are well-documented.

Thanks Charles.  This shot will be happening inside a theater though.  So there is no way a truck will fit into that space.  Is there any other way/crane that would work?


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