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Old February 18th, 2008, 01:55 PM   #1
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Question for charles papert

Hi charles (or any other pro steadicam operator) thanks for your time, i have a job shooting a music video on the 1st of march and iv been asked to operate a steadicam with the Sony HDW750, most likely this very rig http://www.hammerheadtv.com/kitlist/grip/Steadicam.html .

I own and operate my own glidecam V8 single arm rig with a fully loaded JVC HD100 and have done so for a while now however iv never used the bigger stuff before and on this shoot i'll have practically no time with the rig before hand ,i was wondering if you can give some advice on what to expect, i'm thinking that since the steadicam is a much higher quality rig than the glidecam the transition shouldn't be that bad.....or am i way wrong?

Iv explained to the director that iv not used the rig before and he seems fine about it and i reckon the skills i use with the smaller rig aren't going to be that much diffirent however these are just speculations.

Also I noticed in the pic of the rig its on the operators right and I fly with it on the left, i take it that it can be set to either side (probably a stupid question!).

Anyway its going to be an interesting shoot whatever happens, nothing like a baptism by fire! , any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers
Andy.
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Last edited by Andy Graham; February 18th, 2008 at 03:03 PM.
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Old February 18th, 2008, 08:37 PM   #2
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That rig is a Steadicam Ultra Cine. A HUGE step up from your V8.

The same principles do apply, and operating it shouldn't be *that* big of a leap. However setting it up will be.

Start by reading the manual through a few times, you can download it here: http://www.steadicam-ops.com/soamanual.shtml

Arrange for a lot of prep time.

Will there be someone experienced with setting up the rig present at the shoot/setup?


- Mikko
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Old February 18th, 2008, 11:38 PM   #3
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I will echo Mikko's thoughts and add to them:

You will be experiencing a substantial increase in the weight of the system. Spend as much time in your V8 in the meantime, do whatever else you can to beef up your legs and back; if you can arrange to have the Ultra in your possession either with the 750 or your camera with the appropriate weights to match the 750, it will be advantageous.

The operating principles are essentially the same. You will find the arm rather alien after your single-section V8, it will have a noticeably different feel (certainly you will enjoy the extended boom range)! Also the increased weight and size of the system will deliver a lot more inertia, so you will likely find the rig much less sensitive than your own (will require more force to operate, but will also be more stable).

Don't worry about the right-left thing, the arm is quickly reversible via quick-release pin as well as the socket block mount on the vest.

I think you will adapt to the operational stuff pretty quickly. Remember to keep the rig close to the body--this is not nearly as critical with a lightweight rig, but the full-size ones will exert much more strain when pushed away from you.

Best of luck!
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Old February 19th, 2008, 04:06 AM   #4
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Thanks a lot for the link Mikko, i'll read through it thoroughly. Charles a horrible twist of fate means that my own v8 rig is out of action at the moment after the arm snaped on my last job! lol its a crazy situation. Anyway thank you very much for the advice, the weight issue was worrying me, i'll just have to grin and bare it.

I have a meeting with the director and the other cam operator tomorrow so i'll ask if there is any chance of getting the rig the day before (probably not but its worth a go).

I'll let you know how the shoot goes.

Cheers
Andy.
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Old February 19th, 2008, 07:08 AM   #5
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Well, as Mikko suggests, there better be someone setting the rig up for you if you won't be seeing it until the day of--that's cutting it awfully close!
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Old February 19th, 2008, 08:20 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
I think you will adapt to the operational stuff pretty quickly. Remember to keep the rig close to the body--this is not nearly as critical with a lightweight rig, but the full-size ones will exert much more strain when pushed away from you.
I would imagine, other than the setup, this will be the area that is most foreign when first putting on the big rig. I think it was for me. Tiny rigs can be easily thrown around without much thought. A big rig, on the other hand, may not only strain your back - it can pull you right over. And once a rig has hold of YOU, it's a tough fight to win. So as Charles said, keep it close to you. Picture a small little pocket of space at your side (slightly fore) in which the rig can move around. Do your best to not let the rig get out of that pocket until you've become fully used to the feel of the big rig.

Good luck!
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Old February 19th, 2008, 12:59 PM   #7
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Thanks for the advice Afton, Im going to do my best at getting the rig the day before to have a go with it, and if that fails i'll be up at the crack of dawn so i can at least get a few hours with it to balance it.

It's gonna be fun and games i know that much :)

steadicam is where i see my career heading and you can't get hold of this type of gear yourself to practice on so i guess it has to be this way in the beggining. Its £2500 for a four day course over here.

BTW whats this balance calculator for and is useing it essential?

Thanks again, if your all ever in scotland i'll buy you a drink and if you never hear from me again it means the rig sucked me under a bus!

P.S Charles I found this on you tube....funny stuff, i love scrubs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7s6ijtvuks

Andy.
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Old February 19th, 2008, 02:17 PM   #8
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P.S Charles I found this on you tube....funny stuff, i love scrubs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7s6ijtvuks
The other night I turned on a few minutes of a subsequent episode in reruns and caught myself by surprise--I had totally forgotten about my brief reprise of "nervous lab guy". The scene was being shot through the very same window (rest of room redressed as Masi Oka's lab)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCXV4vTmCkc

(last few seconds)
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Old February 19th, 2008, 02:40 PM   #9
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Lol nice one man, i like seeing the crew in cameos, its a nice gesture to let them get some screen time. The entire film crew of lord of the rings pops up everywhere , as Andrew Lesnie said its the most expensive low budget film ever made.

Andy.
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Old February 19th, 2008, 02:55 PM   #10
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oops Andy, I mistook the clip you referenced for something else--this was what I thought it was (from Afton's site):

http://steadishots.org/shots_detail.cfm?shotID=268
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Old February 19th, 2008, 03:44 PM   #11
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It must be sad to see the series end, with films it only lasts a short time but with series you must get to know everyone so well.

You can tell them there's a guy in a wee village in Scotland that'll miss it :)

Andy.
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Old February 19th, 2008, 11:27 PM   #12
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Chas,

What's the scale for extras these day? With a speaking part? Maybe you could work up to it.

See you at NAB if you make it.

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Old February 20th, 2008, 02:50 AM   #13
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Not long after my appearance on Scrubs, a memo was distributed from Touchstone discouraging the use of crewmembers on-camera (allegedly a coincidence). Fortunately that didn't stop them from doing it.

Scale for extras is around $110 a day I think, but once you open your mouth on-camera, you bump up to day player and it's something like $600. Not being SAG, that was not going to happen for me. I leave the acting to Amy Jo.
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Old February 22nd, 2008, 06:59 AM   #14
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I met with the director and the second cam operatror and i expressed my point of it being very short notice, he agreed with me and iv managed to get a few hours with the hire company running me through the operation of the gear the day before the shoot which is a weight off my mind. BTW its not the ultra that they're hiring its the master.

The shoot is for MTV2 and the directors worried that there's too much violence in it so he's orginised a studio to film them performing as a backup which means more hours in the rig and more experience so its all good

Andy.

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Old March 2nd, 2008, 04:39 PM   #15
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Hey folks, well the shoot went ahead and i found the steadicam was the least of my problems.....to sum it it up i had no prep time and very few takes (and trust me these are not guys to mess with , you may not understand the scottish accent http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndGMiuUuEwo this is their video diary). this is their home page , have a look http://www.urbnri.com/ .... good luck to them

All in all it went well, they were a good bunch of guys and they cared a lot about what they were doing and even though we had few takes the footage lookes good and the guys are happy so it was a good couple of days.

Charles, hats off to you, the HDW750 and the master was the hardest thing iv ever done in this industry. I knew it would be heavy but my god!, I guess it doesnt get much heavier in the digital world than that which is kind of a relief cause i know now it can't get any worse unless i go to film which isn't very likely.

As you predicted i took to the operation well enough but the weight was almost overwhelming, i just had to bare it and thankfully the footage was good.

some pics if your interested
http://www.box.net/shared/static/ee8u6huyok.JPG
http://www.box.net/shared/static/yh9li4lesw.JPG

Thank you very much for you help and advice, keeping the rig close to me was a huge help

Cheers
Andy.
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Last edited by Andy Graham; March 2nd, 2008 at 05:32 PM.
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