Can steadicam replace a dolly? at DVinfo.net

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Old May 8th, 2006, 05:18 AM   #1
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Can steadicam replace a dolly?

Dear Sirs,
Having never worked with a steadicam before, only read on what it can do, I have this question, can a steadicam replace the traditional track and dolly? I have a shoot coming up in a very exotic and obscure temple, the catch is they only let us in for 3 hours at any given time. I want to catch the golden hour, so question is, will getting a steadicam operator and his rig have a faster setup time for each shot vs the dolly grip and his team? From my understanding, the a good steadicam operator can mimic the rock steady movement of a dolly, but can he also pan around to follow the subject to? Also it only seems logical to me that since the whole rig is operated by one guy, it should be faster than laying down tracks no? Experience and advice would be greatly appreciated!

Pauly Nia
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Old May 8th, 2006, 06:56 AM   #2
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Yes - within reason.

One of Steadicam's huge bonuses is how fast and versitile it is. Your oprator can fully prepare the rig and then is ready to shoot most shots without any set-up time. If you are setting up lighting gear, chances are yoru opreator will be ready for the first shot before the lights are set, and then isn't constrained by track changes. This is a massive savings in time ( = money) that Steadicam brings. Just be sure to note that unlike a dolly, a Steadicam opearator will need breaks (don't ask him/her to carry the rig for 3 horus non stop with a bgi heavy film camera!)

A Steadicam an very well imitate a dolly and can do all teh same moves. However a Steadicam is still floating, and depeding on the optrator, eventually it isn't *quite* as precise as a dolly. Especially with long lenses.

So unless you are dooing lots of very long lens work, a Steadicam with a professional operator is definatly the right tool for this job.

To find an operator, I'd sugest checking out www.steadicam-ops.com

- Mikko
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Old May 8th, 2006, 08:12 AM   #3
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One thing to keep an eye on is wind--I would scout the location at sundown to see if it is prone to gusting. Wind is a major issue for the stability of Steadicam images, and while there are certain techniques and accessories that can be used to help, strong gusty wind will really separate Steadicam from dolly.
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Old May 8th, 2006, 12:12 PM   #4
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thanks for the responses

I didn't know that wind was a problem with the mecha looking rigs you guys got. I have to definitely check on that. Thanks a bunch guys. On a second question, you mentioned no long lens. By long can you specify how long? is 120mm ok? My guess is 200mm is pushing it. Comments please.
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