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Old March 5th, 2010, 06:58 PM   #1
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Steadicam ... walking up steps.

I'm self teaching myself to run a Pilot w/ 7 lbs on it. Going down the stairs isn't too bad. Going up the stairs is real bad. The camera stays pretty steady, but you can see the surge in movement on each step up.


Any tips on walking up stairs?
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Old March 5th, 2010, 07:06 PM   #2
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flat board across them :-)
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Old March 5th, 2010, 10:11 PM   #3
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I think Charles P has a post in here somewhere about going up and down stairs. You might search a bit just to see or maybe put a shout out to him to get the answer.

Hmmm, maybe it was Dave Gish.
Well regardless one of them posted something here about stairs.
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Old March 5th, 2010, 11:42 PM   #4
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You rang!?!

OK, stairs. The trick with this is that your arms need to separate themselves from your lower torso (fetch a saw)! Focus on having your grip hand (the one on the gimbal handle) drive the rig forward at a constant speed and direction. Imagine that you are pushing a cart up a ramp--the position of your hand relative to the ramp never changes.

Let your legs do what they need to do underneath you. If you make it all about your legs, you are essentially just carrying the rig up the stairs, which will result in the surging. Make it all about your arms, particularly that grip hand.

Once you have that going for you, here's a subtle trick that we use to soften the transition going onto stairs. Just before you take the first step, boom up (with the grip hand) gently. This will start the rig in its ascension and ensure that the transition is smoother than if you waited until you take the first step. And when you get to the top, keep booming up just a half second after you arrive, which will again soften the transition. Do the opposite when descending stairs; start booming down just before you step down etc.

As you continue to practice and get good at this, it's subtleties like these that make good Steadicam look so smooth. It's kind of like working with bezier curves, if that is a reference that you can relate to--you can take a sharp transition and soften it by rounding it out.

Congrats on buying the Pilot, by the way. You are already way ahead of the game because of the performance of the arm--many of the competitor's arms will exhibit a certain bounciness that will exacerbate the phenomenon you are experiencing.
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Old March 6th, 2010, 01:54 AM   #5
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Ah, so glad Chaz popped in to help - definitely no need to put a board on the stairs! I definitely need to get out (or in, rather?) to practice stair shots again... haven't practiced them since our workshop in December.

There's also some good info regarding stair shots (and all other aspects of steadicam operation) in the Steadicam Operators Handbook, which you can get here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0240811658?camp=213381&creative=390973&linkCode=as4&creativeASIN=0240811658&adid=1P9970183565JXNPDZ52& - definitely recommend it!!

Enjoy :)
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Old March 6th, 2010, 03:57 AM   #6
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With stairs the impression created is that you're just gently pushing the sled and you're just following behind it.
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Old March 6th, 2010, 03:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor Meeks View Post
definitely no need to put a board on the stairs!
Not normally, but it's not to say that it's not a good trick to have up your sleeve. Watch this amazing shot:

Steadishots.org : Steadicam Shot by Greg Bubb from Wedding Planner, The

Just as J Lo is about to round the landing on the stairs you can see all the way down and note the boards that were laid out in the path. You'd never know to look there normally but there they are.
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Old March 7th, 2010, 01:21 AM   #8
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Niiiiice!

The first time I saw a ramp of some sort being used for steadicam work was that shot at the danish concert where the guy comes down the aisle on a segway, hits the edge of the stage at full speed, hops off and runs up the ramp, does two circles around the singer then runs off stage... but I digress...

Thanks for pointing out the wedding planner shot, Charles!
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Old March 7th, 2010, 10:16 AM   #9
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There's a shot of me in the Steadicam book somewhere perched on the end of a makeshift ramp. I found a construction parallel on site and foolishly offered to invent a crane shot by running up 1x12 plank we wedged under the top. It wasn't at all safe but I was young and eager (eh, T. Meeks)!
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Old March 7th, 2010, 05:31 PM   #10
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Hello Trevor and Charles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
There's a shot of me in the Steadicam book somewhere perched on the end of a makeshift ramp. I found a construction parallel on site and foolishly offered to invent a crane shot by running up 1x12 plank we wedged under the top. It wasn't at all safe but I was young and eager (eh, T. Meeks)!
Its on page 236. Regards -Hunter
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Old March 7th, 2010, 06:10 PM   #11
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If you can get a copy of the EFP training DVD from Tiffen there is a very detailed bit of footage about how to walk up and down stairs with a running commentary on the booming-up and booming down procedure.

The DVD is well worth getting whatever rig you own actually!!

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Old March 7th, 2010, 08:15 PM   #12
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It sort of was messing with my mind that going down the stairs looked so much better than going up. Maybe trying to hard or maybe even being to tight and deliberate.

I'm going to try some of Charles suggestions. Putting boards down is not something I'd do in most situations.

I did notice one time I tried using a little more uplifting pressure as I went of the stairs and it helped a touch.

I'll try the pushing and lifting techniques. So far your description of my legs doing all the work is pretty accurate.

I got to practice in the sun this week. How does one see the lcd in the bright sun?


Thanks for the suggestions. Very much appreciated.
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