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Showing content with the highest reputation since 11/08/12 in all areas

  1. 8 points
    This is the original forum for discussing steadicam. The Facebook group is a cascade of posts. It is easier to find and reference archived information here which makes this a better place for any info to be posted. If you have info, it would be great to post it here for all to be able to read, see, etc instead of directing someone to go to yet another place. Not everyone has time to scroll through countless posts on a Facebook page just to find a bit of info on a new piece of gear. Grayson Grant Austin, SOC
  2. 7 points
    This is my personal technique for making whip pans. I’m sharing here in hopes that it might help a newer operator who is looking to improve their whip pans during this quarantine.
  3. 6 points
    Patrick, Please please do NOT become dependent on the Volt. If you have as much passion as you seem to have (referring to your first post on this thread) you should learn to be a good Steadicam Operator without it. You seem to have great respect for Garrett and Jerry and the entire world of Steadicam, to learn without using the volt (as they had and most of us had to) would be a great way to express that respect, IMHO. Your fellow op, - Kat
  4. 6 points
    A little personal story that I would like to share. Back in 2012 I started having some right knee problems. My right knee had had issues since I was 15 y.o. as I had a skiing accident and I blew my ACL, nevertheless it never got reconstructed. It all started as pain and slowly I started losing strength on my knee. I was in the middle of shooting a long series so you can imagine the struggle I was going through. The situation kept getting worse and worse. I had made plans so see and specialist but in the Canadian health care system you have to wait for your turn so I was doing due diligence. I began to fear for my job. We still had a few episodes to shoot on my show and my situation was getting worse and worse. Half of my energy was directed towards not letting it show on set. The last thing you want is you Steadi guy to be limping around. I crawled towards the end of the show and finished it. By then, I was a disaster, things like going downstairs or getting out of the car were a huge struggle for me, not alone flying the rig, go figure. I finally meet the orthopedist and the prognosis was a lot worse that my nightmares, I had severe osteoarthritis on my right knee and the only solution was to go for a full knee replacement. Having had blown my ACL at 15 and living through really crappy healthcare (another story for another time) lead to extreme wear and tear of the cartilage on my right knee. I had a long chat with the specialist and he said that I could go for the knee replacement right away back in 2012 but he would recommend (due to my age at the time) that I would wait as long as I could. That the replacement was not a permanent solution and that I could get better with physiotherapy while postponing the knee replacement. My whole world just collapsed, at the end of the day making a living as a camera/Steadicam operator and to make things worse I’m a very passionate downhill skier. My livelihood and my hobby were all of a sudden going down the drain. Needless to say I went into a downwards spiral and I had no idea about where to move to. I was panicking. I started doing physio and spending very long hours at the gym trying to get out of that mess. It was indeed a very slow process. The biggest question on my head was weather I was going to be able to continue doing Steadi on the short term and more importantly weather I was going to be able to do it after having a full knee replacement done. I had nobody to ask to. I asked my doctor, I tried to explain in detail what we do and what it implies and he said than he thought it would be OK. I asked my physiotherapist, I tried to explain in detail what we do and what it implies and he said than he thought it would be OK. But at the end of the day what we do it very hard to explain to a “regular” folk, so I asked myself, “who knows the most Steadicam operators on this planet?” Garrett! I reached out to Garrett hoping he would know a Steadi op that had had a full knee replacement so I could contact him and get some light on this dark hour. I remember his answer very well “ I don’t and if I do probably he/she is hiding it is because of the same reason you are “. Wow! He blew my mind but he was so right, last thing we want is people thinking we can’t do our job. Especially when it is so physically demanding. Time passed and I was fully committed to get ahead and go back to set and to the slopes. It was not easy, it was exactly the opposite of it, it was hard, slow and really annoying but I got there. About 6 months after that I was back on my feet flying the right and skiing. I managed not only to get my strength back but to be pain free. I never took anything more than over the counter Advil for pain. Life went on for 6 years, I was pain free and I kept working and skiing. I had to meet with my surgeon once a year just to make sure everything was still OK. You have to remember that I still needed to get my knee replaced, I was just buying time before the big surgery. Then 2018 came, I had my yearly visit with the doctor and he asked me “how are you doing, can you go for another year without the surgery?”, I just said yes, everything was great. But this time instead of him saying “that’s great, see you in a year” he mentioned that I should not wait for the replacement for too much longer. My cartilage was completely worn out on the right side of the knee and I was bone on bone. Even when I was functional and pain free waiting for too much longer would compromise the replacement efficiency so we went ahead and scheduled the surgery for January 2019. Needless to say I was petrified, I did not what to expect. In 6 years nobody could tell me weather the implant was going to be good enough so I could get back to work as a Steadi op but I had to go ahead with it. I Went into the operating room, things went well and the surgery was a success, now it was time for a very long and very, very, VERY painful recovery, at the end of the day they cut the two biggest bones of your body to place the implant so you can imagine the level of pain. I did my physio and slowly I went back to work, not doing Steadi but operating on a very nice show that I have being doing for a few seasons. Eventually, about 5 months after the surgery I took my first Steadi day, things went actually pretty well. That cloud that was roaming over me for several years was finally dissipating, I could fly the rig with a full Knee replacement!!! Things were not as smooth after that but I don’t want to bore you with details, suming up my implant got infected and I had to have a second surgery and thankfully we won the battle against the bacteria. They say is only a 0.04% chance of these implants to get infected, well… I should have had bought a lottery ticket. I contacted Garrett again to report about the progress of this story and he suggested that I would share my story on the forum so here I am. Sharing it so other operators with similar struggles could reach out. No longer I fear people thinking I can’t do My job. I just did a 2 pages and change oner on my current show (Amazon’s American Gods), 15 takes and not for a second I had to think about my knee, I think that qualifies as trial under fire. Now my story is out in the open, if any of you need somebody to approach about this sort of heath issues I would be more than happy to help
  5. 5 points
    I just completed 6 weeks of production, but some of my working conditions were unique to our production, and most likely not going to be duplicated by any other shows. For example, there was no negotiation regarding PPE. If you were an on set position (the red wristband zone), you were required to wear the provided KN95 masks and face shields, no exceptions. We had health and safety compliance staff all over production enforcing these rules, and our director was the most stringent enforcer of all. He would yell at anyone he saw with their mask below their nose, or the wrong mask, and don't even think about sneezing or coughing anywhere NEAR set. He himself was wearing a $3000 helmet with a hose connecting to a filter on his hip (sound is gonna have a field day in post). As such, I had to get used to 12 hour days, all steadicam, with a KN95 mask and face shield. I had to learn how to breathe in them, and find little moments in between setups to catch my breath off set. There was no choice. After a while, I realized the key was swapping them out for new ones more frequently as I was sweating, as they become a serious problem when the slightest bit wet. I had to abandon wearing my glasses, because I couldn't deal with them fogging up. I recommend contacts or just forgoing glasses altogether. EAR SAVERS ARE A MUST-HAVE. I cannot stress this enough. For face shields, I found that wearing them at an angle, up on top of my forehead a bit, worked perfectly for steadicam. That way, when i look down at my monitor, it protects my head fully while not obstructing the view of my steadi monitor. Using a hat or sweat band as a guide for the face shield band helped a lot. I also developed an order of operations for everything I had to wear on my head: Mask first, then sweat band, then face shield, then Comm headset. Hand sanitizer was overflowing, all over the lot. You could get a handful whenever you wanted, no matter where you were. When your EP is a germophobe, hand washing stations will be everywhere. Also, as far as who can or cannot touch my rig, there were no issues. It was an already established rule on our set that only the 1st AC could touch my camera and only my designated grip could help touch my rig. This was a minor hindrance for the 2nd AC's and some of the camera utilities, but they were overwhelmed with other responsibilities so it ended up working out fine for us. I had a personal Steadicam Grip named Zavier who stuck to me like glue all day, helping me move my rig when I asked, holding a pogo between shots, and spotting me all day. I was his only responsibility.
  6. 5 points
    How many of you can find old Steadicam stuff in the closet like this? Evolution of Steadicam test fixtures from the mid 70’s through Steadicam III. The first one was used from early Steadicam. The second was the one I built in order to build and test the Steadicam II electronics. The third was for the Steadicam III circuit boards.
  7. 5 points
  8. 5 points
    Hello Tomasso, The quick answer to your question is - "it depends". For most full-sized rigs (I.E. M1, Ultra2, XCS Ultimate, GPI PRO, MK-V, etc...) the sled is not sold with a specific weight limit, or is sold with a weight limit that exceeds the weight limit of arms on the market. This is not always very helpful, as some sleds are built more rigidly than others, and will cope with heavier weights better than others. In real terms, I'd expect any sled in this class to be able to support 40-50 pounds of camera payload (though some will support much more, and some may support this in a less than optimal way). With smaller rigs, sleds are often built down to a specific size, weight, or cost level, and may not be capable of supporting the heaviest of loads. The Archer2 is a prime example of this. The post diameter is smaller (although not much), the stage is smaller and uses a smaller size dovetail, and the gimbal, most importantly, is designed to be small and lightweight. The combination of these factors mean that if you overload the suggested payload of the Archer 2, you will almost certainly get vibration in your shots, and there have been many people who have broken their gimbals (I have known at least one personally), either dropping the camera and causing damage, or at least taking their sleds out of commission for some time while they are serviced. For an even more extreme example, a lot of Zephyr owners found that even though their rigs were rated for 24 pounds of camera, they could put over 30 pounds of camera on it before the arm started sagging, and did so. Later many of these same owners had to send their rigs back to Tiffen for new bearings and new gimbal parts, as they had destroyed their gimbals. For each rig, and each manufacturer, things may be different. For instance, with Tiffen's smallest rigs, the "payload" designation often refers to everything you add to the sled - batteries, camera, focus units, etc..., and sometimes even just refers to the weight carrying capacity of the arm. So the Aero 30 doesn't support a 30 pound camera, but has a 30 pound capacity arm. The Archer's weight limit is likely in the sled more than the G50 arm, as the sled doesn't weigh 20 pounds (the G50 arm supporting 50 pounds, and the Archer2 saying its payload is about 30 pounds). The Shadow is basically a full-sized rig, so I would trust reasonably heavy camera packages on it. Another issue to consider when weighing which rig to buy, although harder to tell via pictures and spec sheets, is how the weight of a sled is distributed. For instance, my M1 is a heavier sled than an Archer is, and so for the same camera payload, and number of batteries, my M1 will not be extended as far as the Archer would be. Post extension, especially at really long lengths, is one of the main causes of camera vibrations (which are a big, big issue, and have gotten many operators fired, including myself!). So if you are flying heavy camera packages every day, getting the biggest, beefiest rig you can makes sense, so that you're flying it within its comfort zone, rather than flying a lighter rig at the end of its useful range. I hope this helps in your selection!
  9. 4 points
    Hello All, I'm happy to finally announce we are officially launching the latest 1.7 Volt Firmware. Thank you to Larry McConkey & Steve Wagner for all the work they put into helping us make this firmware what it is. Look in the video description on how to proceed w/ getting the update. In the video, it shows the changes that we made in the update to help you understand what the volt is doing in Regular & Sticky mode. If you received a Volt since July 2020 you'll have the latest 1.7 firmware already installed on your control box.
  10. 4 points
    Many years ago I was on a show and this exact thing was happening all the time .Like Cedric I was using 2 magic arms and for most setups was quick and easy .My assistant presented me with this embroiled velcro backed slogan .I now use the SOS plate and it works great .
  11. 4 points
    From Ted’s manual of style...always a great idea to charge per minute, or even per foot moved. More for stairs. They can’t afford low mode.
  12. 4 points
    25 years ago today, Ted Churchill died. For those of us who knew him it was a painful day and time in our personal lives and in our careers. For those who knew of him back then, it was a shocker and made them want to know more. There will be links coming in here that will provide nuance and detail and some incredible clips and videos of him. As Garrett Brown has often said, " I invented the Steadicam. Ted invented the Steadicam Operator ". Hope you're resting in peace, Teddy.
  13. 4 points
    To those who missed my Chocolate Lab, Harley. Meet our new two month old Black Lab. This is Lillie. She will be excited to meet you!
  14. 4 points
    We work in a world where being seen in a reflection is bad, and for live operators the need is to remain as unobtrusive as possible. And providing the least amount of distraction to the actors. Anything but black is unprofessional, in my opinion.
  15. 4 points
    I've been holding off on saying much, as I know many who've gone the Volt route who I don't want to discourage, but I've had a very different experience than many with the Volt and the Wave. My experience with the Volt was that while it did offer some immediate advantages over the Wave (like its size and weight, and also the added bonus of having a rig that is neutrally balanced and thus can be moved around without any pendulum effects), it significantly changed my operating, and not for the better. I do a lot of tilting in my operating (something I wasn't aware of until I switched to the Volt), and the M1V electronics altered the way tilt felt, which required a lot of retraining, and additionally, I always saw a little pan wobble at the beginning and ends of tilts, no matter how much I turned the tilt strength down. There was also the issue (that I'm hoping eventually gets fixed) of the M1V tilting on a diagonal, and not in a straight vertical line, amongst a few other things that I found over my year and a half with the device. The work I did with the Volt was simply not as clean or good as the work I could do with the Wave, so I have since moved back to the Wave and sold my Volt. I urge each operator who is moving towards any augmented stabilization technology to try using both (and make sure they are both set up correctly, as many do not balance the Wave correctly), and see what they prefer, and most importantly, to analyze the footage critically.
  16. 4 points
    A suggestion - Greek out everything already showing on the vest and then don't add anything to attract more attention to yourself.
  17. 4 points
    My list of features on the M2 follows - Alas, the final specs for weight and min and max lengths, and of course, the pricing, are not done. Some post-NAB tweaks are in the works, and I believe Tiffen will announce it all officially by CineGear, if not sooner. M2 highlights Overall Lightweight, stiff, modular, 12/24v + 3rdbattery, integral Volt electronics, Volt ready gimbal, +/– tilt head, 3x HDSDI lines. G-50X companion sled. Modularity Stage, base, and posts are fully interchangeable with M1 components, both mechanically and electronically. Stage features Very low profile Large size, longer dovetail plate, updated hole pattern Tool-free dovetail plate lock and release, identical to M1 Integral Volt “brain” electronics inside stage (optional feature) 3x HDSDI ports, 2x Lemo power ports, tally connector, 2x P-taps +/– 10 degree tilt head Post systems Standard 2 post system Shorter 2 post system Also available with M1’s 2 and 3-stage post systems Gimbal High precision bearings Volt ready Integrated Volt encoder ring Tool-free post clamp Handle for .500, .625, or .740 arm posts Monitor mount to center post Tool-free, solid design Clamp lever for height adjustment Inserts for different post sizes 15mm rods on 60mm centers Monitor Universal monitor mount Choice of many monitors Base 3x HDSDI connectors 2x Power port Monitor port Low profile Integral 3rdbattery mount (optional) Dovetail base (optional) Cheeseplate base (optional) Battery mount 2x IDX or AB (IDX mount now with battery release protectors) Switchable 12/24 volts 3rd battery on/off switch 12 volt P-taps on each battery USB power tap
  18. 4 points
    They are Klixon breakers, available from Aircraft Spruce, an aircraft parts supplier. They’re not cheap, but here they are. I’ve also gotten them from Peerless Electronics. https://m.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/elpages/klixon7277.php?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIitPVhbb93wIViorICh0fXQBIEAQYAiABEgIy2vD_BwE I’ve used the 7277-2-# series, where that last number is the ampacity.
  19. 4 points
    What an outstanding shot .Here is a BTS and Peter talking about the shot .Enjoy
  20. 4 points
    Hi everyone Here is a interview with Larry McConkey talking about the Copa shot enjoy Louis Puli Goodfellas BTS copy 2.pdf
  21. 3 points
    Selling my G70X Arm. Located in Denmark. Includes bag and rain covers. €7660 / $8500
  22. 3 points
    If you don't have any other choice, this could help you : - Have an assistant Raising or lowering your docking stand to the correct height for the shot - Put your Sled on the balancing stud - Put a magic arm between your post and the stand - Frame the shot, than tighten the magic arm Not as sturdy as a tripod but can sometimes help.
  23. 3 points
    Found these early Steadicam pictures. Seemed appropriate. I will always miss Ted.
  24. 3 points
    Hi Josh, I remember being in your shoes clearly - it was the late summer of 2012, I was on my first feature film, having operated “semi-professionally” for about a year, and on two occasions I had to either put the 85mm up, or do a shot on the 50mm in low mode, and I remember both being seemingly impossible. So, you’re not alone in the difficulty of doing long lens work on Steadicam when starting out! I’d say about 1/4 of my work is tighter than a 50mm. Generally I don’t see many lenses above 135mm (though I have from time to time), although especially when doing anamorphic, 135mm is a pretty typical lens, and I regularly fly 100mm spherical lenses. A 65mm or 75mm is a sweet lens for Steadicam, and if you can get well in-sync with your actors, you can produce some truly beautiful tracking shots. I’d say to get to the point where I was completely unafraid of long lenses took me about 3 years of operating, and probably about 5 years to actually be able to back up my big talk with the skills to really pull it off. I will say that with long lenses, not only is it a technique issue, but it is also a physical feat with your body, and there is a significant component that the quality of your rig plays. When I upgraded my rig after that first feature, one of the biggest things I noticed in going to a new gimbal was that there had been some friction and play in my previous gimbal that just destroyed any chance of precision in long lens operating. Even the slightest friction in your gimbal will translate your body’s movements into the lens, and those errors will become much more pronounced on longer lenses. The same goes for your arm, although to a lesser degree (as the issues will be translational rather than angular). Additionally, having your rig trimmed for the tilt you will be holding is crucial, as is keeping your speed consistent. If you’re holding pressure with your hand to hold tilt, any little twitches and tremors in your hand will get into the frame, and if you’re speeding up and slowing down, any pendular swing of the sled will also get in, unless you’re good enough to keep 100% of it out (which very few are, although I think we all hope to get close!). And biggest of all, relax! I even get called out on this by DPs I’ve worked with for a long time. If I’m tense, that tends to telegraph into the shot, and sometimes I just need to take a deep breath and shake out my hands and try again. I hope that helps and gives you a few things to think about! Best of luck on your adventures!
  25. 3 points
    Pristine condition Tiffen M1 rig with Volt system. *Flat (equals rock solid) M1 topstage. *M1 Camera Dovetail Plate (unused/as new). *Two stage 1.75” M1 Centerpost. *M1 Gimbal with Volt. *Volt Control cable. *Volt Sensor Box Power cable. *Volt Sensor Box and attachment bracket. *M1 Monitor Mount (monitor not included). *M1 lower Junction Box and dual battery plate. *Eight IDX V mount batteries. *One IDX simultaneous Quad Charger. *Tiffen Volt Docking Bracket. *Spare Volt motor belt. *Spare Volt Sensor Box Power Cable. *Spare Encoder Sensor. *Case for M1 Volt Rig. *Case for Batteries and Charger. Price for all: $25,500 US. Buyer pays shipping (shipping account preferred). This rig has been fantastic. The only reason for selling is that i just received my M2 Volt. Serious inquiries only. More photos available. Email only please. I don’t always check the forum. Grayson Grant Austin, SOC graysonaustin@me.com
  26. 3 points
    Hi all; Budgeting, not often a happy subject for most but as we both work into tax season and a new year, its worth discussing. The media industry matures and changes we should revisit this subject. There is no doubt the industry, the union, and the world is changing. We mostly work freelance and there are few safe guards, let alone financial ones.... I know many, many freelancers (maybe most) who are in deep …… because they are underprepared. The ideal was always, for me, 15% for taxes over what I had taken out of my check because lots of things get paid throughout the year without taxes deducted and box rentals etc.. Next, 20%, ideally for retirement, and often auto deductions was the most sensible and least painful way to be reminded of its very important place in our life. Lastly, anything to 20% for savings for those inevitable months when you have no or little income. I've been both good and terrible at this over the decades. Simple math, I've now made 30-50% of your every paycheck less. Yikes! I think its rare that we all do that and certainly life events prevent it but its time to at least start with something, 5-20% into some of those accounts would certainly fill holes we all know about. I'm raising this to make us all think. I certainly wish someone had brought it up when I got big paychecks and thought it was all mine or I was putting out the current financial fire! (There is always a big bill on the horizon in my world.) Janice

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