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Old October 5th, 2007, 04:51 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Shiv Kumar View Post
Sam,

Sorry, I''ve been out of town and just got back...

Add more weight to the rig but still make sure the blanace is correct. That is it is not bottom heavy.

I had the Merlin balanced in two ways. The first used the least number of weights. The drop test was just fine. I found that there was a bit of bobbing (nothing like what your video shows).


Next, I added more weight and got the Merlin Balanced again. Making sure again that the drop test was correct. This time there was no bobbing.

You should probably trying your rig with you barefoot or with shoes that don't have thick rubber soles or something. I find that when one is barefoot one tends to walk with a smoother gait.

This week I did buy an HV20 and used it on the Merlin from inside a car. But if you'd like I can post some footage of walking around with it.

Sure, I would love to see the footage!!

Thanks again,

Sam
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Old October 7th, 2007, 01:56 AM   #32
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Sam,

All of the remarks have been good. What I have found is with a very light set-up you need to walk as smoothly as possible. With heavier rigs it isn't as critical due to their mass. If you can add mass (weight) to your system so that it's still balanced you will see that it is much easier to get smoother shots.

This clip from our training DVD shows what I'm talking about:
http://indicam.com/media/WalkTheWalk256.wmv

The famous steadicam motto: practice, practice, practice could be altered just a bit with: practice-watch and evaluate, practice-watch and evaluate, practice-watch and evaluate.

With all the great ideas on this forum I'm sure you'll improve soon.

Tery
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Old October 10th, 2007, 10:47 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Shiv, come now, that's not practical advice!! What if you have to shoot in a factory? And for most people, it's not true, unless they tend to walk around barefoot a lot.

This is a STEADICAM--the idea is that it isolates you from your footsteps. You can run with it and get a stable shot--how could the material of your soles affect this.

Sam, what Jack is suggesting (and somewhere along the line I think I did also) was that you get someone else to shoot footage of you working with the rig so we can see what is going on with your form. It would be helpful if that shot is as stable as possible. I would suggest that they stand in one place and rotate as you make a large circle around them with the Merlin.
I have placed 2 clips of my walking with the Merlin here -

http://www.obtuse-ny.com/steadi

Sam
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Old October 10th, 2007, 12:01 PM   #34
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I have placed 2 clips of my walking with the Merlin here -

http://www.obtuse-ny.com/steadi

Sam
Why not also a clip of the shots you took with the merlin?
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Old October 11th, 2007, 06:40 PM   #35
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The transfering of footsteps into the footage drives me insane as well!!

It is not too bad when using a 5lb camera with wideangle/fisheye lens but when using 1-2 lb cameras and running; id say alot of the camera footage is deemed unusable thanx to the footsteps.

I am definiately hoping that the vest+arm+(maybe pilot)+more practise will go a long long way to help in this matter.
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Old October 11th, 2007, 10:40 PM   #36
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Why not also a clip of the shots you took with the merlin?
I've put one up now at the same link -

http://www.obtuse-ny.com/steadi

It is the one with "result" in the title, and please, no chiding me for making the poor camera person, with a broken foot, submit to this, OK? : )

Sam
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Old October 26th, 2007, 10:17 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Sam DeWitt View Post
please, no chiding me for making the poor camera person, with a broken foot, submit to this, OK? : )
Hopefully, it's not as a result of trying to operate Steadicam barefoot ;)

From the looks of it, it looks like you're trying to control the Merlin too much. Your fingers should hardly touch the gimbal at all. It should only feather it to slightly adjust it in the way the camera should point. It looks like your fingers are holding it the whole time. Try to walk around with your right hand completely off the guide and just let the camera float, even if it point in the wrong direction. If your camera is not bottom heavy, you should see that the camera doesn't bob around.

Also, as Mikko said, don't concentrate on how you are holding the camera. Instead, imagine the line in space that you want the camera to follow and keep the camera on that path. For example, when going up and down stairs, instead of thinking, "I'm about to step up a step so I should bring the rig down simultaneously as I take my step up so that my steps don't transfer to the footage," just imagine where in space the camera should be throughout the shot. As you approach the step and your body moves up, you positioning hand will automatically bring the rig down because you're keeping the rig "in line."
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Old October 26th, 2007, 01:31 PM   #38
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Sam, sorry I haven't posted back earlier (coming from the one who unknowingly forced your poor partner out of the wheelchair!).

While I agree with Peter that you may be exerting too much constant pressure with your gimbal hand, which results in an over-controlled look (little hard "hitches" in the shot), normally that shouldn't cause a slow vertical bobbing. As it is, your footage seemed to exhibit less of this than on the earlier samples you put up. I have a sense that you are on the right track, and simply practicing and shooting more will result in the bobbing effect going away by itself once you and the machine learn how to play together most effectively.

Overall, I thought your form looked pretty good.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 09:31 PM   #39
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One thought comes to mind...If it was easy, everyone could do it without practice and good steadicam operators wouldn't be so valuable.

Thank heavens some of a smoothness of the shots come from the operator and the practice he or she has done through the years. Did I say "years"? Yes...years.

How long have you been shooting steadicam Charles?

Tery
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Old October 27th, 2007, 09:43 PM   #40
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How long have you been shooting steadicam Charles?
Oy vey--well, it's been about 22 years now since I took the workshop in Rockport. I was actually practicing at a rental house prior to that but I call the workshop my "official" entry into Steadicam. It took me four more years to be able to afford my first (beater) rig; another four years to move up to a half-decent rig; four more years to get the state-of-the-art. I would say that it took about 10 years before I was pulling off shots that I would still consider really solid by my current standards (only one from that period remains on my reel).

Generally I think a committed operator with a knack for the thing can get good within six months, really good within a year or two and great within 3 or 4 years assuming they are working with it regularly. At a certain point it no longer becomes about the mechanics of horizon, panning and tilting smoothly etc. and the real fun of operating comes in, which is framing choices, timing and shot design. And that can be a lifetime learning process. Every now and then I get thrown a challenge that is oriented around the mechanics of the rig and getting on top of the peculiar forces that can occur, but most of the time I don't even think about the gear and all of my attention is on the contents of the frame (or, uh, what I'm going to have for lunch...!)
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Old October 29th, 2007, 05:08 AM   #41
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Charles,

Gosh, that just made my life a lot more difficult! :). That's some really serious experience.

I've seen some of your film work but to be honest I get to engrossed in the film I don't notice a lot of this kind of thing.

Do you have a website? I'd just love to take a look at your "reel".

Shiv.
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Old October 29th, 2007, 01:07 PM   #42
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Charles,...

... Do you have a website? I'd just love to take a look at your "reel".
Shiv.
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Old October 31st, 2007, 08:14 PM   #43
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Thanks Jack!

I always forget that there is a little treasure trove of complete shots over at steadishots.org (where you can also see many of the true legends of our occupation's work).

Mine are here:

http://www.steadishots.org/shots_operator.cfm?opID=10
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Old November 1st, 2007, 12:58 AM   #44
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Hey Charles, your thankyou video is frigging hilarious. Your just as good in front of the lens as you are behind it.
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Last edited by Nick Tsamandanis; November 1st, 2007 at 03:49 AM.
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Old November 1st, 2007, 10:59 AM   #45
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Hey Charles, your thankyou video is frigging hilarious. Your just as good in front of the lens as you are behind it.
Yeah, Chazzie, that was hilarious! Can we see you spin balance? LOL
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