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Erwin Landau

Can't we just get along?

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Hi Guys,


I was under the impression that we were all adults here. At least in and on our Job. As I was going through the old AOL folders, I came to realize how much the people and the tone have changed, drastically changed in the last few years.


Okay all of the operators (not me, I was still listening and keeping quiet, until I had something to say or ask) knew each other, most of the time on first name basis. Also if someone had something to say even if not liked by some or most, the tone stayed zivilised and friendly... I almost have never seen/read so many apologize...


Nowadays everybody goes off at each other, for what? A "bad" arm choice, a quickly written comment, a remark about money, my rig is better/nicer/cooler, etc...


Aren't you guys sick and tired to read and comment on that? How many operators have to leave until this board turns into a informationn wasteland and we need a fake screen name to prevent each other from going over and slicing each others tires?


The issue with the real name / screen name thingy...

If you are here to discuss a zivilised topic... let's say a random topic... like... Steadicam related... you don't have a problem to share your information, at least your name and were you are from. Maybe even more specific so that we can met you and learn about you...


And it's so much nicer to start a letter/topic/post with: Hi...(put name here) or Dear... (Not John, that could be miss understood)... you get me? "Feel" me?


Discussions are great... disagreements are a base for discussions... talk it out with out the heavy Gun's... why the quicky insult? Relax, is not life essential.


Read the post... don't answer imidiately, think about it, maybe after a while it's not worth to answer, let it blow over and by that time you want to answer it, you already forgot what pissed you off in the first place...


Not every post has to be answered, some are better unanswered... exempt for crys off help should be always answered...


Just my thought... maybe I'm wrong or just old fashioned... Don't know...


And don't take everything so serious... have fun in life.


Let me know!


Erwin (If I would belive in smilies, as my daughter does, I would put a couple of them right here...) Landau, SOC

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I agree wholeheartedly, I enjoy reading some other Internet forums (such as the ones on IMDB) for the amusement factor of seeing how silly some people can be.

I never, ever, expected 'our' forum to turn into one of those, with random offensive remarks and a general negative feeling amongst a verbal minority!

The tone has been so negative the last few months and I can't for the life of me figure out why...


Just like Erwin, I remember lurking on the old AOL forums and just enjoying the comraderie there (one of the main reasons I wanted to get into this business).

I still have the archives of those forums and like to read through them every now and then, there's just such a wealth of information there and even some real emotions (reading Ted's memorium posts brought many a tear to my eyes!)


Is it because there are so many newcomers coming along in the last couple of months?

Maybe they're used to the way other forums are run and take that behaviour to this one?

Even basic politeness is starting to go out the window, we're all colleagues here and should have some respect for eachother (atleast, I'd like to think so).

It's not that extreme yet but I can see it turning nastier soon.

I recommend all newcomers to read through the old forums before posting here to give you an idea of what the vibe is 'round here (and it's a fun read if you're interested)


I'd like to think I know some of you and can call you my friends just from what I know about you from this board (some of you I know in person, most I don't)

Let's all try to play nice, there's more than enough hate in the world to keep us all busy for a long time in out daily lives...we don't need an Internet forum for that!


Peace, Ruben "Spreading the love" Sluijter

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Guest SebastianMatthias

Hey Erwin !

You said some wise words there!

Tone really has changed a lot.Especially when newcomers ask some questions and instead of advice get stupid comments that no one needs.(We are all boiling with water,aren´t we?)

Hope all of the arrogant,bad mooded people(wich are hopefully just a few) read your mail and think about it.


Allthough You don´t like the smilies....You get one anyway :D





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Hello All,


I must say that i find this forum very very friendly. There are always people to help you out with problems. After six years of operating ,this is my second year on the forum and i am loving it. The only time i think people are a bit cranky is when the discussion is turning in to politics. And that's why there are different country's. Just because people think different, but that must be possible on the year 2004. I do respect everyone's way of thinking, and enjoy every new post. Hope it stays for a long time.



Job" Letta's hold hands together and sing" Scholtze :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

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I will put this in more business terms.


What you have witnessed over the past five years is a maturation of the camera stabilization industry. Directors and producers have fully accepted the Steadicam process in their creative work, which created a market for more operators. However, the supply quickly outpaced the demand. There are more operators in the market, which created greater competition. This competition is also the cause of the rates dropping.


You should feel lucky. Even at a lower level of commeroderie, this is still a stronger "brotherhood" than in any other industry. Where else would a competitor lend equipment so your business can thrive.


Think about it. In what other market do you know of competitors that can go out and have a beer and sushi? You never see Douglas Draft (CEO - CocaCola) and John Cahill (CEO - Pepsi) sitting down and discussing increasing syrup costs over a tall cool one.


For the LA market I am afraid it is not going to get better any time soon. Yesterday, I attended Jack Kyser's Economic Forecast, presented by the LAEDC. Basically, they said that motion picture production would continue to be a negative impact on the county's balance of industry. It is expected that more companies will continue to leave LA.


The Feb. 2 issue of the LA Business Journal has an article about Raleigh Studios in Manhatten Beach pulling up shop and moving to Toronto. What does this mean? Less demand for an already over-abundant supply. I expect your competition to get even stronger in LA.


So, Yes the good ole days were great. Thanks to the efforts of Dave Grove and the Guild you are working to retain this spirit. I think this is commendable. I don't think you will get it back to the way it was, there are just too many people in the Steadicam business now.


Keep the guild going, it is your communal tie. You really need each other and are your best support group and why you remain unique in the business world.



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So, Yes the good ole days were great.  Thanks to the efforts of Dave Grove and the Guild you are working to retain this spirit.  I think this is commendable.  I don't think you will get it back to the way it was, there are just too many people in the Steadicam business now.


Keep the guild going, it is your communal tie.  You really need each other and are your best support group and why you remain unique in the business world.





We missed you at our last gathering.. Thanks for the mention and thanks for all you've done for us!


Of course I can't take all the credit. Dan Kneece came up with the idea of the guild during a conversation we had. Brad, Kelly and Erwin, (I forgot to mention Denis Moran, sorry Denis!) have helped with organinzing demostrations and contacting people. So my thanks to them! I just think it's great that people show up to the meetings. I learn so much each time I go!


I would like to see even more people involved in the planning. Kenji Luster suggested just recently we have a BBQ/Swap meeting for one of our gatherings. Which is a great idea.


This would take a little bit of planning.. does anyone want to help plan this event? Maybe we can discuss this during our February gathering?

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Hi James,


Yes... The good ol'days are gone, and gone for good. Actually the the good old days are only the good old days, because we now know how they will and did end. Some where in the future this "bad" days today will be our good old days again and we will talk how great the Steadicam Forum used to be....


I'm not asking for the old forum back, that is done. But it would be great that the new/old guys could/would/maybe/why not act a little like the old days when there was a mutual respect going on...


Some of my best friends are Operators, and some of my equipment I haven't see in months because one of them is using it and why not, as long as I don't use it, why collecting dust when it could save someones but/job/reputation, even money. I also have equipment from other operators... it's sometimes so intertwine that we have to ask each other who's is who's... and that is the great thing about Steadicam... get the job done, under all circumstances. Because at the end of the day no one of the guys that cut you your check will ask, how did you do it. They will only remember this guy pulled it off and this one didn't...


But because of that, it's more important that we (Steadicam Operators) keep together and create a force against THEM... the guys that hire and fire us, the weaker we are the better they can play us against each other... and they do...


I still love the Story when Chris Haarhoff and David Emmerichs were room mates and Chris would get a call for a job and would give them his rate and 5 minutes later the same Production Company would call David, and he would excuse him self and ask Chris quickly for his quote, to make sure that he wasn't lower on the quote then Chris...


If we already pull each others hair on the topic of "not agreeing with each other on small not so important things" how can we stand a chance on the rest????


Make the family bigger as it grows and all will live better, as to create many enemies that will cut each others throught for a couple of bucks... it will not work.


Yes the Steadicam has established it self as a part of the Production arsenal and almost every show has it or does use it once or twice a week... so why should that be a bad thing. Demand what you are worth and if all stand on the same side it will happen... oh, oh I sound like a Union Leader... scratch that.


Does that make sense or am I talking out of my B***



David... just had an idea for a Guild meeting.... I'll post in in News,Events, etc...



Erwin" Thank you for the peace..." Landau, SOC


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Its terrible that this is the trend and the forecast for the future of the steadicam industry. The whole reason Garrett started the SOA, which I believe this forum grew out of was to let operators have a place to exchange ideas and tips with each other. This is still stressed at the SOA workshops out here in PA. It surprises me that the left coast is so cut-throat, or at least it seems that way to this right coaster. Please don't shred me too hard for this post. LOL.

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It strikes me that in the "good old days" of steadicam there were far fewer operators (and even fewer good ones!) so eveybody knew everybody. There was one brand steadicam to choose from, so you didn't have any pissing matches over who had the best arm / vest / sled. Pretty much everyone operating had been through the "traditional" training program led by Garrett or Ted or one of the other original batch of ops, and as such were instilled with the acceptable style of operating, the culture of steadicam and the comradery that went along with it. Unreliable gear led to a need for as many friends in the biz as possible, since you never knew who you'd have to call to help revive a III monitor that refused to fire up. If you were a lousy operator of just an asshole word probably got around fast and, with steadicam being such a speciality, you probably didn't work much.


As others have outlined, it's a far different world now. Steadicam isn't the exotic tool it used to be, lorded over by mystical operators who knew to proper incantations to coax the soothing green glow out of the little rectangular screen. It's pretty standard, the rigs are cheap, financing is readily available, and even Tiffen sells rigs that they claim require "no workshop training." In the 90's many saw steadicam as a quick way into the higher ranks of the film biz, resulting in a flood of L.A. operators, the lowering of rates and arguably the lowering of artistic and professional standards. Don't get me wrong here - The top operators still do amazing, mind-blowing work, and continue to improve and refine the craft, but these days anyone with a DV camera and a credit card can call up B&H, buy a Mini or even an SK and call themselves a Steadicam operator. (There was much hand-wringing whent the EFP first came out, yes?)


So, I think the romantic "golden age" of steadicam has come and gone, but those who operated through it probably don't all look at it as being golden. Today's rigs are so much more reliable, so much easier to fly, so much more available.


And I still maintain that it's the most fun camera job there is.


Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

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As a new member to the forum, I'd like to add my perspective. Right off the bat, I was impressed with how supportive and encouraging everyone on the forum is. Yeah, there might be a few grinches spoiling it for some, but as far as I'm concerned it's been great. I don't have the years of archives to look back on and trace the decline in civility. I just have a few weeks of intermittent reading. And I've never noticed anything that made me doubt the comraderie of the steadicam "cult."


I posted to this forum a few weeks ago with questions about building/buying a practice cage. Within days, I was flooded with tips and notes from all over the world. Edwin hopped on and gave some important technical perspective. Rob Van Gelder even e-mailed me pictures of his homegrown beauty. Where else do you see such quick acceptance and encouragement for a guy fresh out of a workshop?


I attended the workshop in Australia this year, and I'm so glad I did. For years, while I was still living in NY, I considered going up to Rockport. Even with a buddy working at the workshops and a way to stay for cheap, it still seemed out of my price range. Then, after two years in Taiwan, I got it in my head to go to a workshop NO MATTER AT WHAT PRICE. Yes, the Australia workshop fee might've been cheaper than Rockport, but when you add planes, hotels, food, it was way more expensive.


So why go to Australia and not the US? Had I gone to Rockport as a New York technician I'd've been with many, many peers. Also from New York and also having the same ambitions. Result... Competition. It's inevitable. But in Australia, with the exception of four guys from Sydney with different positions in the industry, everyone was from a different country. Korea. Taiwan (myself), India, Canada, and the best country of all... New York! Result... Unbelievable support for each other. No one was competing for the same thing. We all knew that at the end of the workshop, we'd be going to different points on the globe and NOT competing with each other for work.


You guys are all right. Back in the day with so few operators competing for the same gigs it was natural to support and encourage each other. Even easy to get excited about other people's successes. And now, it's getting harder and harder. But there's got to be a way to find a positive solution to that competition. Competition can be a good thing; a way to force us to improve.


Don't compete by being cheaper or having bad things to say about your peers, compete by being friendlier, more passionate about the director's vision, doing what you can to get the other departments involved DIRECTLY with the shot you're about to do. Yeah, at the end of the day, most people will only know you for the work you've put on the screen, but the people you work with on set will always remember your attitude; good or bad.


Personally, I have crazy competition here in Taiwan. And most of it is with myself. You might think that for an American (white) cameraman in Taiwan, I'd have my pick of it all. But I've got to compete with plenty of talented guys. Guys who all speak the same language as the director, and everyone else on set. Why the hell would anyone hire someone who can barely speak their language when they can get good results from their fellow country"men"? Only if I can offer something different. And that's what I'm working on all day, every day. How to pull off shots that nobody has tried, or at least not in Taiwan. How to give the light a new life, or whatever. I also try to offer a more personable approach to work. I'm constantly spending time with production. And I'm trying to make myself technically different. Hence, learning steadicam. With so few people able to operate in Taiwan, it's something to help me stand out from a tough crowd.


But back when I lived in New York, the only way I could see myself competing successfully was by being faster and cheaper; being better was always an afterthought. So now I'm greatful for being in a world that forces me to compete by being better.


Jake "can't say enough great things about this forum" Pollock

DP/newbee steadicammer

Taipei, Taiwan

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Ahhhh The Golden Days Go ahead try to replace the monitor that failed on that model II (There was a big solid metal cable attaching it thru high voltage to everything else) Ahhhh squint at the tiny screen. Ahhh dynamic balance Oh yea you bet!!! (Not invented yet) What the plastic failed again on the vest, or the plate that mounted the arm would suddenly slide down the wedge on the front of the vest, or the velcro on the back of the model I or II vest suddenly failed and you were holding the rig with your arms! and of course Cinema Products the original company from hell. Just try to get a timely repair or sensible advice or even parts. Ahhh and the acceptance. directors that never heard of Steadicam. I'll never forget the guy on a name Rock Show who told me "I was there over his objections", just go ahead and prove yourself eh? Dolly drivers that thought you were out to replace their job. Assistants who thought the WRC3 was the work of the devil, and it may have actually been! (oh well 3.5 feet is almost the same as 3 ft?) transmitters that just basically didn't work over half the time, Ahhh yes we were gods then!!! This sounds to me like the kind of romantic claptrap that makes the 18th century sound so swell. Forget the Cholera and rotten food and poop in the street, it was the very age of romance.


Give me today...... rigs like somthing out of Buck Rogers, Light weight sync cameras, video that finally looks good, including all the flavors of HD (Obviously you do not remember the tube video camera) quad antenneas on the modulus receiver,

rock solid focus, and directors that love good looking steadicam work. (The director today hugged me at the end of the day) Hey sure there are a lot more people working and there is a lot more work. I remember three networks!!! look at the market for programming today. Look at the number of movies made last year.

Look at the higher than ever number of Ops making good wages.


Work long enough at this and what we'll get is old. Which means you'll hafta go harder on the stair master to get up the same number of stairs in the rig.(trust me on this) (todays shot had an up the airplane ramp into a jetliner at the end.)

Today is truly the best day of all until tomorrow.







:D :D

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To be fair here, this wasn't really about the equipment but about the etiquette present on this forum (compared to the fabled "Days of Long Ago" ©).

The demystification of the Steadicam is a good thing but who do we rely on when that funky smelling, brownisch goo hits that strange, yet cooling, revolving thingie....that's right, we rely on eachother... mostly.


It's good to be polite and to try to avoid petty conflicts, especially on something so anonymous by nature as the internet where it is so easy to insult people (even unintended).


For us in particular, on this forum, we stand a good chance of actually meeting each other someday.

Moreso than most other forums (save the average Trekkie forum).

Would you act the same way in person to each other as you would under the anonimity of this forum?


I guess what I'm trying to say is that we're all in the same boat here, it really helps if we all paddle in the same general direction.

Atleast when it comes to dealing with each other

I still feel this is one of the most polite and friendly forums around but that can so easily change if we let it.


Peace, Ruben "Going back to lurking" Sluijter

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I frequent quite a few Martial Arts forums on occasion, and I have to say that this board is very civil for the most part compared to some of those forums. I have only been hanging around here for a little over a year, and perhaps the worst period was before I ever logged on. I have heard that many good, experienced ops stopped checking in long before I ever started lurking around here. Well, I can't speak about what happened before I started checking in, but for the last year at least, people here tend to be very polite for the most part.


There tend to be fewer trolls here than many forums, and that's a good thing. Almost everybody here seems to know at least a few other ops, so that probably helps in keeping this place polite and self policed.


I am no doubt guilty of occasionally making a rude remark to one particular frequent poster from time to time. That is something that I should rise above, and refrain from doing regardless of how inciting that individual can be. I am working on it. I'm still working on bettering myself. There's a slightly tardy New Year's resolution for you.


I will endeavor to refrain from impolite comments to any individuals on this board regardless of how insulting or infuriating they may be.


i hope I can live up to that one... he he

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great googly-moogly those are some long posts...and by the way, this is a very polite forum. You should see some of the trolling and catfights Phil starts on the Smack-my-bitch-up forum. He logs in under the name Superpootylicious


Ron B

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