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Old September 13th, 2008, 06:11 PM   #1
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Steadicam Reel

So I've finally gotten brave enough to show what I've been doing. I know this isn't perfect, but maybe some of it doesn't look half bad. Hopefully I'll be able to get some more work with this.
http://www.vimeo.com/1727073
Comments welcome.

Last edited by Dave Gish; September 13th, 2008 at 09:50 PM.
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Old September 13th, 2008, 06:37 PM   #2
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Nice work man!
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Old September 13th, 2008, 07:42 PM   #3
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Most of this was shot in 1920x1080 24p, and it looks good in the editor or on DVD, but when it's uploaded to YouTube it looks kind of dark and fuzzy. It there a better way to display this?
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Old September 13th, 2008, 08:26 PM   #4
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some people do seperate exports specifically for youtube...or for whatever service they use. You may want to try something like Vimeo.

-JS
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Old September 13th, 2008, 09:57 PM   #5
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You may want to try something like Vimeo.
Vimeo is much better, still a little dark, but much less fuzzy. Thanks!
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Old September 14th, 2008, 01:14 AM   #6
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Vimeo says:

Sorry, you do not have permission to watch this private video.
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Old September 14th, 2008, 05:56 AM   #7
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Vimeo says:
Sorry, you do not have permission to watch this private video.
Thanks for pointing that out. Should be fixed now.
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Old September 14th, 2008, 12:23 PM   #8
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what steadicam rig were you using, and what camera on it?
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Old September 14th, 2008, 01:50 PM   #9
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what steadicam rig were you using, and what camera on it?
Steadicam Pilot with AA batteries. Some of the footage was from my HVX200, but for the student films I flew a Sony EX1.
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Old September 14th, 2008, 01:57 PM   #10
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Looking good Dave! Nice control of the rig, very stable for a Pilot.

It's always tough with early reels to have enough material without repeating. My belief is that it's better to have a shorter reel without redundancy than feel obliged to make something a certain length and keep coming back to similar shots. Case in point, the end sequence that repeats shots from earlier, I don't think that sells anything in particular.

My favorite shot is the kids in the dance studio, the operating is quite solid especially the initial push-in. Any time a shot is wide enough to show a lot of geography or architecture and the subject is small in the frame, things like horizon and accuracy of framing become that much more critical and you did a great job, plus I like how the shot develops as the kids peel off one by one. I might like to have been panned a little more left during this part to see further down the line but I do see that you were fighting the mirror.

Least favorite shots are the ones in Times Square, particularly the pan--they don't show much Steadicam chops. Looks a bit more like a practice session.

I like the dancer in the park, there's a real beauty to that imagery but it is possible that you could trim a bit of the redundancy in the sequence (little girl to dancer and back again).

The opening shot of the guy with the gun--it's good but in terms of shot design, I might have hung back a little bit so that I could keep the shot moving throughout, i.e. slowly creeping in to the profile which could continue into the boom down, making one seamless move. If the actor had closed the cell phone closer to his head, it would give you a motivation to start the boom down (following the phone). The gun ended up a little low in the frame also, and it's usually cleaner to let someone out of frame without panning with them slightly (makes a better cut). These are super-subtle notes but it is the kind of thing that takes these sort of shots to the next level.
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Old September 14th, 2008, 04:28 PM   #11
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Hi Charles,

Thanks for the comments! I re-edited with your suggestions in mind, and replaced the video on the Vimeo server. It's about 30 seconds shorter now.

For the opening shot, the director was pretty specific. What you suggest is probably more the way I would have done it. I like to keep the camera moving. I'm just happy that it came out fairly well.

By the way, as I boom down low, it gets really hard to control, and stability suffers. Any suggestions for this?
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Old September 14th, 2008, 04:41 PM   #12
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For the opening shot, the director was pretty specific. What you suggest is probably more the way I would have done it. I like to keep the camera moving. I'm just happy that it came out fairly well.

By the way, as I boom down low, it gets really hard to control, and stability suffers. Any suggestions for this?
Part of the fun of being a Steadicam operator is selling suggestions--not every director will embrace that but it's always worth a try. Some directors truly know what they want, but many--especially less experienced ones--would rather have their way then consider the possibility that there may be a better way to do it. The art and politics of all this is far more complicated than learning the ins and outs of the rig!

As far as booming down, what part of the rig are you feeling is hard to control? Is it your post hand? One thing to focus on is that you keep your wrist in a similar angle throughout your boom, because if the angle changes that may reflect into the rig. Ideally as your raise the rig, your elbow should come up in the air staying parallel with your wrist to help this along. When you boom down there comes a certain point where this is no longer possible and the wrist has to drop below the elbow, and this transition may be where you are having trouble. By the way, I noticed on the side-by-side booming pictures on my review here that I managed to absolute NOT achieve this, as you can see I didn't raise my elbow in the second one and the wrist will have gone through a major arc relative to my arm. Ah well, must have been focusing too much on the photo session and not on form!
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Old September 14th, 2008, 05:16 PM   #13
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Very nice
my favorite shots 2:29-2:43, with the ballerina and the girl in the park,
keep flying Dave :)
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Old September 14th, 2008, 05:29 PM   #14
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Some directors truly know what they want, but many--especially less experienced ones--would rather have their way then consider the possibility that there may be a better way to do it. The art and politics of all this is far more complicated than learning the ins and outs of the rig!
Ha! LOL. Yes, well put.

This director was actually pretty good, but as I'm just starting out, not all of my takes worked, so I felt less inclined to make suggestions contrary to the director. It's not like I'm shy or anything, I did make some suggestions, and I'll probably make more as I get my chops down.

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As far as booming down, what part of the rig are you feeling is hard to control? Is it your post hand?
Yes, it's mostly my left (sled post) hand when the sled is low, but I also find that my right hand causes problems at the extreme ends of the Pilot arm's range due to the large amount of force required. I'll try keeping my elbow level with my left wrist as you suggest, and just keep practicing. I've recently found a practice partner in my area, so that should improve things fairly soon...
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