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-   -   Steadicam Pilot - Getting Started Q & A (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/stabilizers-steadicam-etc/115235-steadicam-pilot-getting-started-q.html)

Steven Davis September 14th, 2009 06:52 PM

Belly Busters
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Gish (Post 1353744)
Getting in shape is never a bad thing, but I don't think it's critical. I've seen great footage from professional steadicam operators that had a few pounds to spare.

But if the battery is hitting your belly, it sounds like you're holding it wrong. If anything, the battery should be bumping into your left leg. The only time the battery comes near my belly is when I'm switching between shooting forward and backward.

Maybe he has four bellies like me. It's true about holding it off to the side, I'm horrible about holding it out front, which is easier to see the monitor as well as where I am going.

Niall Chadwick September 15th, 2009 01:46 AM

Well im making plans to go on a 3 day course in November. With any luck Ill sort out any kinks in the technique.

Raymond Tsang October 6th, 2009 01:24 PM

I've been using the Pilot for a couple of weeks and I'm signed up for a workshop coming next March. I've been experiencing shoulder and neck soreness after extended use of the Pilot (i.e. after 5 hour of straight shooting).

Is this muscle/shoulder pain normal or is the vest not fitted onto my body correctly?

Also, my calves have cramped up 1-2 times after flying the unit walking backwards. Is this something that I can prevent in the future by working out?

Dave Gish October 6th, 2009 01:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Raymond Tsang (Post 1428660)
I've been using the Pilot for a couple of weeks... I've been experiencing shoulder and neck soreness after extended use of the Pilot (i.e. after 5 hour of straight shooting).

Is this muscle/shoulder pain normal or is the vest not fitted onto my body correctly?

Also, my calves have cramped up 1-2 times after flying the unit walking backwards. Is this something that I can prevent in the future by working out?

Hi Raymond,

Well, if you're going 5 hours at a clip after only 2 weeks, you must be doing something right, but just to be sure:

Make sure you're always "under the rig". Practice hands-free, with both hands just a couple of inches away from touching (in case it gets away from you). Practice walking the line, stopping, starting, switching from missionary to don juan, all hands free. Do this for 10-15 hours, until it becomes second nature. If you can control the position of sled completely with your hips, then your hands are free for feather-touch fine tuning only. Besides making your shots more stable, this will also make it easier to wear for long periods.

Keep the sled close to your body. With the Pilot, this is a nice thing to do for your body, and it makes your shots more stable. With a heavy rig, you basically have no choice - you have to keep it close to your body.

And make sure the rig is properly balanced.

As for cramps in your legs, well, your legs are supposed to take the load, so they will get tired after a while. Make sure you do stretching to prevent cramps.

For me, the main issue is my feet. After 4-hours or so, my heels start to hurt. But I guess this happens if I just stand around for 4 hours or more without the rig on as well, so I don't really think there's a solution for that.

As for exercises, I run 3-5 miles on most days, and that seems to help. Being in shape generally is good for operating. Some people do yoga. I don't think you need any special exercises for steadicam. Just do it.

Hope this helps.

Scott Shama October 6th, 2009 02:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Raymond Tsang (Post 1428660)
I've been using the Pilot for a couple of weeks and I'm signed up for a workshop coming next March. I've been experiencing shoulder and neck soreness after extended use of the Pilot (i.e. after 5 hour of straight shooting).

Is this muscle/shoulder pain normal or is the vest not fitted onto my body correctly?

Also, my calves have cramped up 1-2 times after flying the unit walking backwards. Is this something that I can prevent in the future by working out?

Be sure you're staying hydrated.. calf cramps are normally from dehydration.. also, what kind of shape are you in? If you are not in good shape and are trying to do 5 hours a clip straight off the couch you're going to have problems...

Raymond Tsang October 6th, 2009 02:30 PM

Dave & Scott - Thanks for all your advice. I didn't know that dehydration causes cramps. I actually get dehydrated at every event and wedding that we shoot... so this makes sense.

I am in OK shape and 5 hours on the Pilot doesn't bother me too much, but the shoulder and neck pains the next day is what kills me.

I'll try keeping the sled closer to my body next time and see if it helps. Thanks!

Charles Papert October 6th, 2009 03:07 PM

If you are using the rig every weekend, your March workshop is a long way off and you may well be adopting bad habits in the meantime. If you get the chance to have someone tape you in action, put it up somewhere and let us see if there's any advice regarding your form. It's always harder to unlearn something you've been doing for a while--many times the students I get at workshops who struggle the most are the ones that went years without doing a workshop.

Raymond Tsang October 6th, 2009 03:15 PM

Charles - Great idea. I'll have my wife film me in action and post it on Vimeo for you guys to check out. The last thing I want to do is develop hard to break bad habits - especially ones that may physically hurt me in the long run. Thanks!

Niall Chadwick October 10th, 2009 05:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Charles Papert (Post 1428715)
If you are using the rig every weekend, your March workshop is a long way off and you may well be adopting bad habits in the meantime. If you get the chance to have someone tape you in action, put it up somewhere and let us see if there's any advice regarding your form. It's always harder to unlearn something you've been doing for a while--many times the students I get at workshops who struggle the most are the ones that went years without doing a workshop.

Charles

Ive had exactly the problem about using the rig before going on training and thus picking up bad habits. Ive been reading jerry's book every day, and doing the practice, but am mindful of those habits being bad, or at least off kilter.

I know from playing snooker and golf how important a good technique is, and I want to get out there and use it every day but am afraid ill get into a bad posture.

I have used the rig for a recent shoot in manchester, and I found it was such a inspiring experience, I just want to do more.

Just at the back of my mind is that nagging "what if..", thats making me not take out the Pilot and practice further

Am going on the course in Mid-nov, so fingers crossed

Dave Gish October 10th, 2009 07:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Niall Chadwick (Post 1430300)
I have used the rig for a recent shoot in Manchester, and I found it was such a inspiring experience, I just want to do more.

Just at the back of my mind is that nagging "what if..", thats making me not take out the Pilot and practice further

Charles, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think practicing hands-free will more-or-less force you into correct posture. If you can control the position of the sled at all times without touching it, keeping the sled close to your body, without touching the sled or gimbal at all, throughout all types of movement, then your posture pretty much has to be good.

During the workshop, I realized that I was controlling the sled too much with my hands, and my posture was bad, so right after the workshop I did nothing but practice hands free (with both hands an inch or two away for safety). After around 15 hours of this kind of practice, my form had changed dramatically, and I was able to start using very light feather-touches to control the rig. I really wish that I had done this before I took the workshop - I might have gotten more out of it.

Charles Papert October 10th, 2009 11:17 AM

Hands-free will definitely teach one how to position their hips to get the rig to float where they want it, but there are still plenty of mistakes that could still be made, from head and neck position to footwork to arm position--and then there's fingerwork and grip technique as well. Theoretically someone could learn to fly the rig handsfree with it in front of them instead of to the side. I think there's a certain amount of value in using the hands-free technique but I fall short of suggesting it as a primary learning tool as you advocate, as I'm concerned that without supervision, some practitioners of that technique might gain habits from their hours spent walking around handsfree such as letting go with the gimbal hand while operating, if even momentarily. I think that a significant number of people who heed the hands-free advice without supervision will not have the discipline to duplicate hands-on form as closely as possible, i.e. with hands just above the proper positions on the post and gimbal, and will fall back to walking around with hands at their sides.

Also, if the rig is not dialed in to the operator properly (arm adjustments at socket block), when operating hands-free the operator will have to compensate by leaning the other direction, of course. Once you get that sort of muscle memory locked in the brain, it might be hard to erase (I've seen that at the workshops). Conversely, someone who is operating with both hands on the rig may adopt proper form but have to muscle the gimbal hand more to compensate, which is obviously a tiring way to do it but once you dial the arm in properly, they will automatically just feel better.

Everyone approaches Steadicam from a different vantage point physically. Some take it to it with a certain ease, others struggle madly with the body mechanics. The good news is that with enough practice, most become comfortable with the basics of flying the rig, but often what learning technique works for one does not work for all, so again I hesitate to advocate hands-free flying as a universal technique. Over the years I've seen Garrett continue to evolve his suggestions to individual operators at the workshop, and then Jerry has a completely different approach, and I might suggest something different myself.

Dave Gish October 10th, 2009 04:16 PM

Hey Charles, Thanks for keeping me in check. I did do my 15 hours of hands-free training after the workshop, so maybe that was for the best.

For anyone who doesn't know, Charles is one the top Steadicam operators in the industry. 61 IMDB credits and counting. We are blessed to have someone like him post here regularly.

Niall Chadwick October 31st, 2009 07:31 PM

In case anyone was interested.

My setup during a recent parkour shoot. http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r...icam_pilot.jpg

Im trying to get permission to post example footage.

Bear in mind Im going on a course in 10 days, so setup and forthcoming footage is probably not great :)

Dave Gish October 1st, 2010 07:35 PM

Composite Video Adapters
 
4 Attachment(s)
Composite video adapter cables:
1) For Sony EX1, V1U, & other Sony cameras
2) For Canon 7D
3) For various Canon cameras (including 5D)
4) SVideo to Composite Adaptor (uses small capacitor to combine color with block/white image)


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