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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old August 22nd, 2008, 09:36 PM   #1
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Stedicam Pilot at weddings

Anyone want to share some personal experience here? I'm looking at getting the Pilot with the Canon XH-A1. I know it works well with the merlin, however, I will be outfitting it with a wide angle lens, 2 UHF recievers and a quick release plate. Anyways, with regard to the pilot with the arm and vest.. How long can you wear this thing for before you've had enough. With it's stability I think it would be great to wear it as much as possible, but I'm wondering if I have my sights set to high. I don't know.. Anyone care to share?
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Old August 23rd, 2008, 03:42 AM   #2
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It depends on the constitution and experience level of the operator as well as the type of shooting being done, but I think it safe to say that most people are able to wear it for an hour straight if necessary, and many can do several hours.

As to whether it is appropriate to shoot that much of a wedding with a stabilizer, I will leave up to those who specialize in shooting weddings (Nick?)
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Old August 23rd, 2008, 05:33 AM   #3
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We use an FX1 with a Glidecam smoothshooter and I normally wear it for 3-4 hours straight for the major bits.

For the ceremony weve figured not to use it at all. The situation and shots just dont suit a moving scene so we glide in with the bride, quick release onto a tripod, then glide out with the couple.
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Old August 23rd, 2008, 09:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Harjo View Post
Anyone want to share some personal experience here? I'm looking at getting the Pilot with the Canon XH-A1. I know it works well with the merlin, however, I will be outfitting it with a wide angle lens, 2 UHF recievers and a quick release plate. Anyways, with regard to the pilot with the arm and vest.. How long can you wear this thing for before you've had enough. With it's stability I think it would be great to wear it as much as possible, but I'm wondering if I have my sights set to high. I don't know.. Anyone care to share?
I would agree with Danny that the Glidecam/Smooth shooter option may be one you'd want to consider. We've always filmed handheld with the Glidecam 4000 for weddings and have been super happy with the footage, but are moving to incorporate the Smooth shooter moving forward since it allows you to sustain your Glidecam shots for much longer.

I would recommend renting it from your local supplier over a weekend and spend some time working with the full rig without the pressure of a wedding. The whole set-up should rent for just over $100. I think that once you and your back get used to how you need to move with it, you'd be surprised how much you can incorporate it into your regular shooting routine!

Good luck!
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Old August 24th, 2008, 03:19 AM   #5
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Oh my back, by the evening and after a few glides with the guest your lower back will soon start to complain. I forgot why until I strapped a friend into it and you could see the while rig falling forwards.

If I had the money I would get a pilot but I dont. You also need to give steadicam/glidecam'ing a go first. Its not for everyone as its very different to the usual control methods.

The other reason i dont use it for the ceremony now is keeping still for an hour is painful as UK churches are quite reserved.

IF your as good as Charles is (whos an actual Steadicam pro unlike us wannabe's) you can achieve a really good lockoff, this is where the camera moves and then stops and is almost as steady as a tripod. Its hard and something i have yet to achieve.
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Old August 25th, 2008, 09:31 AM   #6
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A Steadicam is great for those "special" shots but not the tool to film an entire wedding ceremony. Tripods are an absolute necessity for those long CU shots, hand held is best left for uncle Ned shooting with his handicam in the third aisle. The Merlin sans vest is my choice for preceding the B&G out of the church and for certain quick shots at the photo shoot. The Pilot (and Merlin with vest) is great for capturing action on the dance floor. Yes you can go hours (until you get tired of all that standing up) but I'm a firm believer less is best - use it to add spice to the production - like in the movies. Back pain? Not with these lightweight rigs - or any other setup, only if you were to use improper form. Expecting one's self to learn the art of Steadicam over a weekend is being a wee bit over ambitous...
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Old August 25th, 2008, 02:07 PM   #7
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The general wisdom is that stabilizers can be attractive to those who are shooting on tripod and handheld, with the lure that perhaps both can be rolled into one device, but this is most often a misconception. Shots that require a tripod for stability and the ability to zoom, especially capturing events, should remain on a tripod. Certain types of handheld shots will be improved with a stabilizer, assuming the user takes the time to learn the skill.
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Old August 27th, 2008, 03:56 AM   #8
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Thanks for sharing everyone. I didn't mean I wanted to wear it during the ceremony. Maybe just during the bride's entrance and when they exit. Either way, when I do get one, I plan on practicing with it for maybe a couple weeks until I feel ready to use it for a wedding. I can definitely see using it for photo shoots and at various parts of the reception.
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Old August 27th, 2008, 06:29 AM   #9
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Took me 2 weeks to get used to the difference in the way it works to a tripod or handheld. I mean, its a stick underneath that you twist. How veird is dat!

Then a further 2 weeks to undetstand the physics. A few videos out there made me sit there and go "Ahhh, I get it now". Centre of gravity is the whole key and newtonian physics. Think about it, how stable is a nice heavy object? You cant move it easily or make it jump around. Thats how your steadicam will work.
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Old August 27th, 2008, 09:30 AM   #10
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Stedicam Pilot at weddings

I love the piece,
takes some :) practice and I'm still getting used to it, but it really makes the difference,
I wouldn't use it with an A cam at the ceremony or reception , but at the park you take the best shots with it.
as the other guys say, once your back gets used to it 2 -3 hrs is not a problem;
if it fits the budget - get it, it is an amazing tool.

http://www.2frames.com/sophie.html
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