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Old March 18th, 2004, 11:25 AM   #16
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thank you for the reply, CHarles!
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Old March 18th, 2004, 03:31 PM   #17
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Charles

I wondered how many takes Dave Luckenbach had to do on one of the X-Files episode (Triangle) where the whole episode was done using a Steadicam.

I think they had to keep one long shot where Scully was running out of Mulder's office in the basement and as she turns around the corner, she almost wipes out. You can see her slipping in her high heels but quickly regains her balance. The decision here was to keep the shot instead of reshooting it.
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Old March 19th, 2004, 10:13 PM   #18
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Whip Pans

As usual, great stuff Charles! How did you do those whip pans with those kids outside by the Pepsi machine and stop so precisely? How many takes or did you nail it? Also, all of your video on both demos plays continuously but with rather occasional skips like film jumping teeth or bowing in a projector. Any idea what that could be? I watch Apple movie trailers all the time with no problem.
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Old March 20th, 2004, 01:52 AM   #19
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mmmff, sorry to hear that about the web issue. I'm wondering if the buffer is too short and it keeps getting hung up momentarily? Does pausing for a few seconds help as it allows the stream to get a little ahead, I'm wondering? Maybe our web guru friends can answer this.

I can, at least, answer to the content!

The whip pan scene (from a very good but scarcely seen film called "Squeeze", worth a rental) took a few takes. This goes back 10 years so I don't remember how many. The tough part was getting the kids to be in a predictable spot when I would land on them--there's not much reaction time available during a whip pan to adjust if the actor is well off the mark. That particular movie was shot with an Arri BL4, an absurdly heavy camera and thankfully one I haven't had to carry since. It helps greatly with the stability but it's a lot of momentum to start and stop for whip pans. I do believe that they cut a few frames out of the middle of some of the whips to shorten them.

Whip pans are always a bit dicey with Steadicam; very few operators can consistently nail them take after take. In all humility I sort of feel like I got lucky on that particular take! During my two seasons on "Scrubs" I had to do a lot of whip pans as editorial transitions and got it down pretty good (probably got rusty again since!) Like most things Steadicam related, practice makes perfect.
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Old March 20th, 2004, 08:15 AM   #20
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Playback issue

No. I know what you're talking about how it sometimes pauses when the slider catches up to the download and it's not that. It literally jerks like an 8mm home movie projector is known to do.

So for the whip pans you just grip, twist and release real quick and then hopefully clamp down at the right moment? Does your rig have the knurled collar area for better grip when you're fingers or gloves may get a little moist? Mine has that baby smooth powder coat finish and when your fingers are moist you can forget it. Like you said, I can't imagine spinning that kind of weight in an instant and then stopping on the mark without some major practicing. If I remember correctly there were 3 of those in the same shot. Unbelieveable!
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Old March 20th, 2004, 08:18 AM   #21
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The knurled handgrip is the way to go. Barring that, some friction tape may work for the short term. I remember before the handgrips some folk were using the sort of padded rubberized stuff that one wraps around tennis rackets also?

Perhaps the Demo Reel Network needs to apply some baby smooth powder coat finish to their server....?
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Old March 20th, 2004, 08:30 AM   #22
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As far as the technique for whip pans, you have all the steps but the last and probably most important--when you clamp down, you have to release your grip almost immediately, then clamp again to a lesser degree, release etc. like an ABS braking system. If you clamp too long, the rig will jerk a bit and probably lose level, or bounce back the other direction in pan. Getting a feel for this is a big part of the successful whip. Being in good dynamic balance is another.
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Old March 20th, 2004, 08:45 AM   #23
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The grip

Yes. The ABS example is a perfect way to describe it. I totally agree with dynamic balance playing a key roll. My biggest frustration is a slight wobble with that kind of move. Just the slightest wobble is a dead giveaway. Under normal operation, do you grip full hand or just with index, middle and thumb and above or below the gimbal? I've seen some operators using a full hand grip. It seems that there is more control with fingertip use.

When a Steadicam operator screws up a shot for whatever reason, losing vertical, horizontal or overpanning, etc. are they more forgiving because of the nature of it's properties or do they give you the look when you say, I'm sorry, can we do that again?
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Old March 20th, 2004, 03:16 PM   #24
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<<do you grip full hand or just with index, middle and thumb and above or below the gimbal?..

I'm a traditionalist, I use a classic grip with the fingers spread apart and palm set back from the post. All fingers are in contact with the rig though. The full hand grip has become more popular, but it is deceiving--they are actually just using their fingertips also, it looks like they are clamping because they have the fingers curled around the post further. The nice thing with this grip is that you don't have to shift back and forth when working in high wind or doing a whip pan. I use it from time to time. I work below the gimbal almost all the time. Occasionally in very low mode I will go above the gimbal, which is also becoming a standard practice for low mode.

<<When a Steadicam operator screws up a shot for whatever reason, losing vertical, horizontal or overpanning, etc. are they more forgiving because of the nature of it's properties or do they give you the look when you say, I'm sorry, can we do that again?>>

Depends on the DP, director etc. and the type of shot. If they know you do a good job, they are generally understanding to the odd bauble, unless the performance was perfect and/or there is a time pressure cooker, which is usually the case. If you have to whip pan into a shot, generally we keep the camera rolling over several tries until you land on a good one and the scene continues. If its in the middle--good luck! One of the cold opens (the scene before the opening credits) on the first season of Scrubs was a continuous 3 minute Steadicam shot that went from the parking lot through hallways, up an elevator and eventually into the ICU where I had to do no less than three whip pans. At the end of the bloody shot. Only took us 37 takes to get all the elements in order!
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Old March 20th, 2004, 03:37 PM   #25
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Charles,

Your video was so cool that right after watching it I was really pumped! I was so motivated in fact, that I strapped on my recently purchased Glidecam V16 and chased the dogs and wife around the house. After 15 minutes I pulled off the sweat soaked vest, grabbed a cold beer, and watched my video. You know what? It looked almost as good as yours...almost...if you can overlook my tilted horizon, bobbling stops, bounces from banging the sled with my leg, overshot pans, soft focus, uncontrolled headroom, and loud breathing, grunting, and cursing scattered all over the wild audio track. Your video showed me how easy it is for anyone to fly a camera <G>

Seriously, your video is indeed an inspiration, and provides much needed motivation for me. In only three weeks I have seen an improvement in my ability to handle the Glidecam, but I know I have a long...long way to go before I can even hope to approach a reasonable level of expertise. That's okay, because in my 30+ years of film and video photography, this may be the greatest challenge I've faced, and I'm having a great time learning this new tool. Getting there is at least half the fun.

Thank you for sharing your beautiful work. It's obvious from the responses you've received that there are many of us out here who really admire your skills, and truly appreciate the knowledge and experience you so graciously share with us.
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Old March 20th, 2004, 07:16 PM   #26
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Thanks Brad and to any others I may not have responded to directly within this thread. To be called an inspiration is itself inspirational.

Sounds like you are doing the right thing! Just keep strapping it on. I have described a few exercises here in the forum that might be found by searching under "Steadicam"; other than free-form chasing the family, it's very helpful to do walking exercises with nothing more than an X on the wall. Lets you really focus on your footwork, finger work etc.

Keep at it, make me proud!
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Old March 21st, 2004, 03:56 PM   #27
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Charles,

Good Stuff !!!


any chance these can be downloaded?, they dont seem to resume
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Old March 21st, 2004, 04:01 PM   #28
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uhh...dunno?

At some point I will have my own site, but I needed to get these up and out there temporarily. I don't know much about the Demo Reel guys other than that their introductory offer made it cheap and easy.

What do you mean by "they don't seem to resume"? not sure...?
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Old March 21st, 2004, 05:14 PM   #29
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If that's okay with you I'll post the direct download links here,
Charles. Do a right-click on the links below and choose save
target as (PC):

REEL 1
REEL 2
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Old March 21st, 2004, 05:41 PM   #30
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Rob

nice one ta!

Charles,

by resume I mean when the line drops and I go back - it starts from the begining - so Ive only seen about 10%

If you dont mind Ill convert them to run on MS on my clie they should look nice at 480 x 360 - you never know who I run into on my travels :)
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