the Steadicam Tango (+interview with Garrett Brown) at DVinfo.net

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


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Old September 13th, 2010, 04:39 AM   #1
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the Steadicam Tango (+interview with Garrett Brown)

Pete and I got exclusive invites to meet + interview Garrett Brown (steadicam inventor) and to drop jaws at the new Steadicam Tango.

Totally doesn't suit my/others unobtrusive and reportage style of filming weddings...but it 'may' interest others here, who do the hollywood/bollywood/major production jobs (weddings/events/short films)

Pete's done a great little edit on the footage we shot, so feel free to take a look:

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Old September 13th, 2010, 05:26 AM   #2
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Here is some more video I found from the same event
The Tango looks an amazing piece of kit.
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Old September 13th, 2010, 11:28 AM   #3
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Nice pictures you're right Richard, but if Mr Steadicam thinks they're going to be at every wedding I think he's in fantasyland. Only if you have an empty dance floor could it be used in a wedding and that means 3/4 minutes of the first dance.

As for the average UK church wedding; I can hear the vicars rolling over in unison.
It wouldn't do for 3D cameras either.
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Old September 13th, 2010, 05:50 PM   #4
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Wow!! That is a mean rig indeed!! I sold my second rig because it was just too cumbersome to use even on photoshoots..too much setup time and by the time I had suited up the bridal party was way ahead of me already!! My current rig is up and running in 30 seconds which is about the time you usually have to get ready at any wedding. I would suspect that this one would team a dedicated team of helpers to set everything up ( and dis-entangle you afterwards too)

With a simple Steadicam Flyer being in the 10K price range I would hate to even ask the price of this new creation!!

Not exactly the ideal gear in a packed Church with tiny aisles!! Great footage though!!!

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Old September 13th, 2010, 06:31 PM   #5
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The Tango is not nearly as fearsome as it may look (I've been around it since it was in the design stages). Doesn't require helpers, you just dock and undock it like a Steadicam, but obviously it needs more lateral space. Balance is a bit more involved but like everything else, with practice you'd get quick at it. The learning curve is definitely interesting. I sense that those who are new to stabilizers in general will be able to pick up the technique of working with the boom arm nearly as quickly as those who have experience--there is an "unlearning" process that one has to wrap one's head around. I've tried the thing on about 5 times and I'm not very good at it.

Pricing hasn't been announced but it's not expected to be astronomical (a relative term of course)--it's meant to be an accessory to a given rig like the Zephyr; you can add or remove the Tango part and use the rig in a normal configuration. So one would expect it to be a fractional part of the cost of the rig. It is, incidentally, fully mechanical--no motorized parts, requires no battery power other than to fire up the monitor.

It may well be too much for a standard wedding, but for those who pack along sliders and cranes for the beauty shots, perhaps this is a more efficient way to achieve all of that with one piece of gear.

By the way, the other operator interviewed in the piece is, like GB, a bona fide legend--Larry has been responsible for some of the most famous and amazing Steadicam shots of all time, including the Copacabana scene in "Goodfellas". He's long been my top inspiration as a Steadicam operator, and I use his clips to teach my workshops. See: Steadishots.org : Featured Steadicam Shots by Larry McConkey
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Old September 13th, 2010, 08:07 PM   #6
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Interesting piece of kit, but I wonder how it would have handled a salsa dance couple on a ballroom at 10pm with an AP of 1.6 with nothing but the lighting you're given and no rehearsal - as I got on Saturday.

Judging by the distance of that LCD screen about two feet from your face, I would think many would struggle to keep a true sense of distance to keep focus, especially finding yourself at 90 degrees to the action on some occasions. Although the demo (or in some parts) looked like it was shot in AF (see 1:47), fair enough if you have the right lighting and contrast for it.

These demos are great (I mean it) but given some of the locations many experience here I doubt it would have any practical use other than the very rare occasion when the video producer had full control over the shooting environment. In such a world we could tell the vicar where to stand and do three takes of the bride coming down the isle.

But not really a lady's piece of kit :) So I'll leave you guys to the metalwork gadgets.

:)
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Old September 14th, 2010, 12:00 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claire Buckley View Post
Interesting piece of kit, but I wonder how it would have handled a salsa dance couple on a ballroom at 10pm with an AP of 1.6 with nothing but the lighting you're given and no rehearsal - as I got on Saturday.

Judging by the distance of that LCD screen about two feet from your face, I would think many would struggle to keep a true sense of distance to keep focus, especially finding yourself at 90 degrees to the action on some occasions. Although the demo (or in some parts) looked like it was shot in AF (see 1:47), fair enough if you have the right lighting and contrast for it.)
The camera on the end of the arm was a Canon 5D Mk II so would have handled the low light better than any camcorder. There is no auto-focus so in this case it's just a question of using a wide-angle lens & the skill of the operator keeping the subject in focus

Last edited by Nigel Barker; September 14th, 2010 at 11:56 PM. Reason: correct typo
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Old September 14th, 2010, 02:06 AM   #8
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Nice Richard. Did you see the new Scout there?
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Old September 14th, 2010, 04:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
By the way, the other operator interviewed in the piece is, like GB, a bona fide legend--Larry has been responsible for some of the most famous and amazing Steadicam shots of all time, including the Copacabana scene in "Goodfellas".
Charles, I think most of us who tried out the Tango at this event really struggled and felt as incompetent as the first time we tried a regular Steadicam. When Larry started kitting up, everyone fell silent to see if he could master it. I was glad to see he had the same "unlearning curve" that you mention... although he'll probably master it within hours!

The thing that makes Larry so great is not just his technical skill but his creativity as an op. He got in the Tango and was immediately experimenting with shots rather than just testing the technicalities of the rig. Please all follow CP's link and watch his work, like Garrett Brown he is a real inspiration.
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