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Steadicam Workshops

Justin Sadler

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Greg Smith does excellent one-on-one lessons in LA.



The SOA Workshop is an amazing six-day workshop.


Did you go to one when starting to learn? I have this mixed feeling on it. It's a lot of money, but I guess it's not so much compaired to what people pay for their steadicams.

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Hi Justin,


There is usually a Tiffen Gold Workshop in GA in the fall. The 2018 dates aren't up yet, but it will eventually be posted here: https://tiffen.com/flysteadicam/


I took a two-day workshop (the equivalent of a "Bronze" workshops on the Tiffen site now) when I was first starting out, before I had a rig. That was enough to teach me the basics and see if Steadicam was a good fit for me. A few years later, I took the week-long SOA workshop (https://www.steadicam-ops.com/) which is in PA. Worth every penny for the knowledge, and a phenomenal experience.


I also got a lot of valuable advice on how and where to purchase a rig from talking to instructors and operators at the workshop, in addition to trying several types of Tiffen rigs and vests to figure out what worked best for me. The SOA workshop allowed me try out an Exovest for several days, surrounded by people who knew how to fit it properly, which is ultimately why I use one today. Tiffen gear is what is available at the workshops I mentioned, but is obviously not the only brand out there. Local operators typically show up at the week-long workshops (especially SOA) and will have experience with multiple brands of gear. It's helpful to talk to everyone you meet about what they have and why they like it (or why they want to change it!), and try the gear for yourself before forming any opinions. If you're lucky, you might connect with someone who will let you try out their gear!


Before the workshop, I had been wary of buying used gear because I was new to the community and didn't know any sellers, but ended up getting a used arm and sled via this forum because Jerry and the other instructors told all the students to run names of who is selling by them; if they didn't know the operator personally, they probably knew someone else who would.


If you're sure Steadicam is what you want, make the investment in yourself and go for an SOA or Gold workshop. If you're still testing the waters before investing more money, try a Bronze workshop. Both will be wonderful experiences and help you in ways you didn't even imagine.


Good luck!

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Go to a workshop. Spend the time and money. You'll be spending lots more of both should you buy a rig, so set yourself up for success with a jumpstart. You'll learn things you'll use for the rest of your career. You'll pick up ideas that will help you in all kinds of operating.

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  • 1 year later...

Hi Justin,

It depends on your interest level and finances. Bronze is a great way to dip your feet in (especially if you've never had a rig on before) and make sure it's for you before making a larger financial investment in the SOA workshop. You'll have some time in the rig, and learn building and balancing. It's a fantastic foundation upon which to build, either via your own practice, or by taking a larger workshop down the road. 

If you have your heart set on Steadicam, skip the Bronze and go for the SOA workshop. It doesn't matter if you've never had a rig on before; students of all experience levels are welcome to attend, as there is always room to improve and more to learn. 

Feel free to PM me with more questions!


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