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Adam Wassink

Never Touched a Stedicam Before

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Hello all!

I have never ever picked up a stedicam In my life, let alone touch one. I'm going to be wearing one tomorrow to practice with it for a basketball later on the season here at my high school. My question is, how can I prevent strain and exhaustion and just make sure I don't fall over when I put this thing on for the first time? And is there any tips for me I should know so I don't fall over and damage my rig, haha.

Thank you guys so much! -Adam

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Please have someone help you. If it's a very light rig, you probably won't damage anything, but you will instantly learn bad habits and likely be frustrated because you don't know how to balance the sled or balance the sled to you, how to stand, walk, what hand does what, etc.... If it's a full-sized rig, you could strain some muscles - not fun at all. Go slowly. Read the Steadicam Operators Handbook. But certainly have someone who does know what they are doing help you.

Good luck!

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On 1/24/2019 at 6:34 PM, Jerry Holway said:

Please have someone help you. If it's a very light rig, you probably won't damage anything, but you will instantly learn bad habits and likely be frustrated because you don't know how to balance the sled or balance the sled to you, how to stand, walk, what hand does what, etc.... If it's a full-sized rig, you could strain some muscles - not fun at all. Go slowly. Read the Steadicam Operators Handbook. But certainly have someone who does know what they are doing help you.

Good luck!

Thanks for the advice! Just used it at a basketball game a couple of hours ago, and It turned out great! Though a lot of the footage looks a little bouncy. How can I fix that? (I used the stedicam pilot)

Edit: I also have a little bit of shoulder pain afterward. Is that normal?

Edited by Adam Wassink

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Please find someone to help you. "Great" is a relative term, and not seeing your footsteps is a basic skill to be learned. You should not have shoulder pain, it's an indication of doing something not quite correctly.

I applaud your eagerness and determination, but really hope you don't do more before getting some help. 

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9 hours ago, Jerry Holway said:

Please find someone to help you. "Great" is a relative term, and not seeing your footsteps is a basic skill to be learned. You should not have shoulder pain, it's an indication of doing something not quite correctly.

I applaud your eagerness and determination, but really hope you don't do more before getting some help. 

Here is a picture of me flying it. Not sure if you wanted to see how the vest fits me. Is there anything so can change in my form to relieve stress. And any idea on why my footage is bouncing?

F21944BB-A094-43B0-ABB1-92471E9258A9.jpeg

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Hi Adam,

Jerry's advice recommending that you to find a local operator to guide you is your best option. You can also look into taking a workshop (Tiffen offers several levels here, and the SOA offers a workshop here). The handbook is also a phenomenal resource, though technique is best learned by doing, and having someone helping you who can teach you proper form, and make sure the vest (and thus load) is sitting on your body in the correct way (from the picture, the vest looks like it might be a little crooked). 

As Jerry said, find someone to help and/or take a workshop before doing more. It's a lot easier to learn the correct way rather than unlearning bad habits, and it's much easier to start with the correct form rather than rehabbing injury from bad form. 

Also - welcome to the community! From the look on your face in the picture, and your enthusiasm expressed in your posts, it's easy to see your excitement. Keep going!

Lisa

Edited by Lisa Sene
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I'm surprised that nobody has said to GET THE VIDEO.

In fact, I would watch the video before opening the SOH (but it's probably too late for that advice).  Get an idea of what's going on, how things fit and move together, then the Handbook will really start to sing to you.

You've already got some experience, and maybe have killed the kangaroo, but when I was getting started, once I began to think of myself as part of the system (rather than as a guy with a bunch of equipment cantilevers from his body), things smoothed out.   The LENS is the center of the Steadicam universe, everything else (including you) is just there to serve it.

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On 5/9/2019 at 11:52 AM, Nyssa Glück said:

Hi Keith, which video are you referencing? Thanks in advance.

The Steadicam EFP Video Training Manual (it's actually a video).  While originally intended to cover just one series of Steadicam gear, it is the definitive technique presentation.  If you watch that, THEN read Da Book, everything really starts making sense as you read.

The other book that I strongly urge fledgling shooters to read is "Matters of Light and Depth" by Ross Lowell.  You can tell the great Steadicam ops from the good ones by how they understand the things that Lowell explains.  They are even far more important to us than they are to trolley and tripod users, because we are IN the "light and depth" to a greater extent.

It's possible to overstudy.  Think of this like getting your driver's license -- you learned how to drive a car, not how to design and build one!  These three resources teach you as much of what you need as you would get in a full-semester university course on Videography.  You can learn the rest of it later, if you like.

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