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


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Old September 26th, 2014, 06:02 AM   #1
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Solo shooters and steadicams

Hi all - I take my Merlin to every wedding and for 90% of them it stays in it's bag (balanced and ready to go) as I tend to play it safe and get the shots I've always got for the last 8 years or so (I should add with 100% happy customer record). When a wedding is fairly leisurely with a nice gap between the ceremony and speeches I whiz around with it and the results are pretty good - I've put in a lot of practice. However I've seen awesome steadicam work from solo shooters such as the likes of Noa and Clive on this very forum, so I seek some tips to get me out of my comfort zone and start using it at every wedding.

What I envisage as difficult is the prospect of having 2 cameras - an example would be the arrival of the bride where I like to get a shot of the bride and dad in the back of the car, a nice close up of the bride and bridesmaids' bouquets, maybe a little detail on the car (the hood ornament with the bride nicely defocussed in the background etc etc. I can't see how I could easily do a steadicam of the bride's arrival AND get these type of shots without having 2 cameras - surely using the steadicam as a support is not the way to go? I can't see that being stable enough.

I'm wondering if it's a 'sh**t' or bust situation - get the nice little framed pretty shots OR some fluid coverage of the entire event by steadicam but not both?

Any thoughts or am I over thinking the issue?
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Old September 26th, 2014, 06:22 AM   #2
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Re: Solo shooters and steadicams

Hi Pete

I used to do the bride arriving, walking down the aisle and the works on stedicam but it really just got too much for me so now after the photoshoot I grab the rig from the car, do a 15 minute romantic shoot and it goes back into the car. Then again my rig is a sled, dual arm and vest and it just didn't work with being solo!

Chris
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Old September 26th, 2014, 12:07 PM   #3
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Re: Solo shooters and steadicams

Sounds like a job for a hybrid device? Steadicam solo or similar...
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Old September 28th, 2014, 01:35 AM   #4
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Re: Solo shooters and steadicams

I saw a new announced steadicam recently that was a combination of a monopod and a steadicam which could achieve what you are asking for but I couldn't find it back anymore. The only thing you would need is lens like the 18-35mm f1.8 from sigma so you do have choices in focal length and dof, only changing the focal length will affect the stability of your steadicam. I thought I have read that Joe simon did use a zoom lens on his steadicam and that he did change the focal length depending on the desired effect but from what I have seen he made his steadicam very bottomheavy, since his steadicam shots look good I guess it must be a working option, I think he now uses such a movi stabiliser.
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Old September 28th, 2014, 05:42 AM   #5
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Re: Solo shooters and steadicams

So my question for you solo shooters is do you rely on your steadicam with a wide lens and not get any 'standard' shots or do you carry another camera around at the same time?
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Old September 28th, 2014, 09:09 AM   #6
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Re: Solo shooters and steadicams

I only use the steadycam with a fixed 12mm prime and use other camera's for other shots, my steadicam gets used starting from the reception and since I don't change location anymore it's always within reach (the blackbird has a stand which allows me to place it anywhere on the floor or on a table in "standby" mode.)

I did find the steadycam I was referring to, it is the Steadicam Solo Stabilizer & Monopod from Tiffen which I do find an interesting design as it would allow me to use the monopod during the entire day and switch to steadicam whenever I need it and not only from the reception, only not sure how the steadicam re-balances if you switch from monopod mode to steadicam again. It also seems quite heavy.
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Old September 28th, 2014, 12:03 PM   #7
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Re: Solo shooters and steadicams

This is a bit cheaper than the steadicam solo
.
they have the same function, and looking at the youtube video it looks lighter with their new carbon fiber and easy to balance.

You can buy it here Kovacam Monocam CF Pro Standard Edition No Feet 0 87kg Hybrid Stabilizer | eBay
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Old September 28th, 2014, 02:21 PM   #8
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Re: Solo shooters and steadicams

Hi Peter,

For me it only gets roled out at times which suit.

Typically these are bride car arrival and aisle, then b&g aisle exit and post ceremony mingling.

I then will try and see if it works with the b&g later for some walking shots. Since I moved to shooting handheld, it meant I could carry it along on photoshoots, and set it down when doing regular shoots. Then at some point I'll ask to do walking shots, switch lens and mount on steadicam.
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Old September 28th, 2014, 05:06 PM   #9
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Re: Solo shooters and steadicams

Just for "further reading" sake, if anyone comes to this post again and wants more ideas about hybrid devices, here's some earlier threads:

What stabilizer do you use, or would like to be using.

New Steadicam

Monopod/shoulder rig/dolly

I'm yet to order a Solo, by the way, though I was initially really enthusiastic about it. It seems to me that there's compromises both on the monopod side (doesn't look like you can tilt that head, can't get it as low to the ground as the Manfrotto monopod, doesn't have feet, weighted arms might interfere with monopod operation when folded up) and the stabiliser side (not as elegant a device as a Merlin).

What I attempted two weddings ago was to strap one camera to my back attached to a monopod, while carrying the steadicam. It didn't work well, but then I was trying with a 70-200 on the monopod; with a more compact, it might be easier to hang on your back.
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