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William L Christensen

DP & Steadicam? Do's and Don'ts

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Hey everyone. 

First time posting; really appreciate all of the incredible insight and generosity amongst the members of this forum. Question; I'm seriously considering taking up steadicam operating, and was curious if I should be wary of branding myself as both a DP and an Operator. I've been told that if I pursue operating, I might be shooting myself in the foot if a DP I was working for knew I was shooting as well. Looking for success and horror stories to be honest. 

 

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Hi William,

Welcome!

When you say operator, do you mean camera operator, or Steadicam operator only? You'd be selling yourself short to only focus on Steadicam if you want to be a camera operator; Steadicam is a phenomenal instrument, and incredibly useful - when it's the right tool for the job. Some shots are better achieved (or more safely achieved) another way. It's part of your job as an operator to decide how to get the shot. 

To answer your question - I think it depends on your market, and what types of jobs you're seeking, both as a DP and as an operator. I've seen people successfully do both in smaller markets, though I do think it's more difficult to do both in a larger sphere on larger jobs. In the union world, DP and operator are two separate jobs, and once you change your card you can't do the other job on a union show (with some exceptions). It seems there's more fluidity between operating and DPing from a hiring standpoint, so you may not encounter the same marketing struggle people face when moving from ACing to operating. 

Good luck!

Lisa

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