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Eliminating that "walking" feel


Dan Coplan
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  • 4 weeks later...
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Or perhaps we are talking about "boba-ing", which either means carrying the rig as smoothly as a tapioca ball floating in milk tea, or perhaps flying it through the air like a bounty hunter with a jet pack?

 

Opposed to "boba-fetting" which involces an angry bounty hunter and his emotionally unavailable son who has profound personality disorders because there are over 400,000 Dads running around?

 

Have you tried recording a pass without touching the arm at all? What does that shot look like? Is there bobbing going on? If so, then your arm has a slight rise and fall. If not, then it is your arm hand grasping the handle and moving the arm up and down in a barely perceptible manner.

 

Either way, dammit, cut it out ! :lol:

 

With practice you can dial this out. When I bought my Master Series rig, my first job post-purchase was a nightmare. My headroom was all over the place. I went to Philly and got a bit of a tutorial from GB. Turns out that I was SO used to pulling up a few pounds of constant pressure on my old IIIA arm ( which was truly the way to get the best performance out of that era arm ), I was overhandling the arm. A much lighter touch was required and in time, and with serious practice, I was able to control the new design arm without manhandling it.

 

Whatever the characteristics are of your particular arm, you will have to dial out the hand to arm interface pressures so that you exert the least influence. One cannot underestimate the value of a Tastykake Junior in this regard. ;)

 

Best,

 

Peter Abraham

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  • 1 month later...
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You shouldn't have to walk any differently. As you can see above there are lots of opinions... and many of them valid.

 

It's very important to have tuned your arm properly. The key here is that both sections are working together... so if you find one bone bottoming out before the other... then you're not tuned right. They should both hit the bottom and top of their range simultaneously.

 

However, the type of arm DOES make a big difference in performance. Having started years back with an SK arm (only one articulating section), then going to a pro-vid arm (basically 2 x SK Arm Sections), and now owning an Ultra Arm... there's a huge difference between arms. Design is everything, and there have been vast improvements over the years. For instance, with the G50 and G70 arms you have the ability to tune your ride. This is a really powerful feature!

 

And finally, there's operator technique. As always, you want to be flying the rig with your body... and your hands should be doing as little as possible to get the shot. If you're fighting the rig at all... you're screwed.

 

Good Luck!

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The walking feeling seems to the thing I struggle with the most as a new operator. I've paid carefill attention to arm adjustment, not overcontrolling, etc. and I think it comes down to speed variations when walking more than anything else. When walking I am pushing off slightly with the toes of one foot as the heel of the other foot touches down and slightly changes my momentum. Taking smaller steps has helped somewhat but it is still somewhat there.

 

Here are a couple of recent clips that show what I mean:

 

http://www.ifoliohd.com/hvx/ForForumWalking.mov

 

Any advise would be great.

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Kevin, your shots are pretty good. Good start and stops and a constant horizon. Nice.

 

Walking slow and in addition to pass close to requisites is really the most difficult thing to handle with a steadicam. I suggest to do this stuff with a dolly... Yeah, absolutely! As we all know, steadicam is a steadicam and not a dolly and not a machine. It has some kind of a human touch, hasn't it? You'll never get a perfect walk as long your feet and your hips are carrying the system. But of course you can get close to it ;-)

 

For myself, I try to do smaller steps and I adjust the arm for its best position to eliminate the steps, in the majority of arms it's in the middle range position. Also, try to grip your gimbal stiff and hold the steadicam in the height you want it to be. And my last advice: use more weight! As heavier the steadicam is as sluggish the camera flows. That also depends on your drop time.

 

Well, I still practice that slow stuff day in day out, but sometimes on set I admit myself to suggest the dolly...

 

Cheers.

Lukas

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Thanks Lukas. I agree about the additional weight. In this case, I was flying a Panasonic HVX200 without the usual weight block. I did have a mattebox and wireless audio as well as a wide angle adapter for the bar shot, but bringing the weight up always helps.

 

In the case of the odd corporate stuff I shoot, I am pretty much a one man crew with an assistant. I do lighting and direction in addition to operating so a dolly isn't feasable unless more crew is available.

 

I will try a stiffer grip in the gimbal as well, but this seems to be the biggest conflicting debate among Steadicam ops. Some say a very light touch and doing only what is required to maintain the shot is best. In other words flying the rig with your body and less with your hands. I'd be interested to hear how other experienced ops approach this.

 

Thanks again for your input Lukas.

 

Kevin

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try to grip your gimbal stiff and hold the steadicam in the height you want it to be. And my last advice: use more weight! As heavier the steadicam is as sluggish the camera flows. That also depends on your drop time.

 

 

Don't do that you defeat what the rig is trying to do. Influence it as little as possible and you will get the best results

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Don't do that you defeat what the rig is trying to do. Influence it as little as possible and you will get the best results

 

Yes, I agree with you Eric, influence it as little as possible. But that stiff grip on the gimbal helps me to keep the height of my spring arm. Adding your physical arm parallel to the spring arm gets you more control and on "bobbing" (to use your description), BUT that only works fine for slow movements. My experience.

 

Good Sunday. Lukas

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Don't do that you defeat what the rig is trying to do. Influence it as little as possible and you will get the best results

 

Yes, I agree with you Eric, influence it as little as possible. But that stiff grip on the gimbal helps me to keep the height of my spring arm. Adding your physical arm parallel to the spring arm gets you more control and on "bobbing" (to use your description), BUT that only works fine for slow movements. My experience.

 

 

That's what your non operating hand does. Control the arm in boom and lateral position. The operating hand is gimbal control only, that's all. Don't forget that you want to trim for headroom at the most difficult part of the shot.

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Eric is right on the money here. I cant agree more. As less as possible with your gimbal hand. Other hand controls the headroom/booming.

 

And the hights gets easyer to maintain with an arm like the g50/70 ( Ride ). Also i found that walking slow with the G arm is much easyer. I think the same results with the pro arm.

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Oops sorry, I actually meant the "booming", non-operating hand when I wrote the "gimbal" hand. Sorry, my mistake. You're absolutely right, Eric.

 

And I agree with you too, Job. Indeed it's easier to control height with a G50 or G70 arm as it is with a regular spring arm, I never have tried a Pro arm, but I'm shure it gets you good results too ;-)

 

Thanx. Lukas

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Based on this conversation, I put on the rig and did some movements paying specific attention to the level of control with each hand. My results indicate:

 

1. Gimbal hand - ALWAYS light touch. even when tilting. Only enough pressure to control the shot.

 

2. Non-operating hand, boom hand, hand that controls the arm, whatever. - Slightly stiffer grip when booming but when walking, especially slow, very light touch. The more I grip with this hand the more my slight momnetum changes get tranlated through to the arm showing my footsteps.

 

Thanks for that. I've gotten into a specific feel of operating and making myself isolate different areas of input to the rig and seeing the result has been a good eye opener.

 

Proper rig adjustment is the key and letting the rig do what it is designed to do is working better than over controlling.

 

I remember seeing a clip of GB rounding a corner and walking with the rig and not touching it at all. I can't imagine really operating like that but the point he was making was that the rig does what it is designed to do, don't mess it up with too much human input. Do only what you need to do for the shot.

 

All this is most likely obvious to experienced ops but for my learning experience it has been a good thing.

 

Best,

Kevin

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  • 6 months later...
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Hi Kevin,

 

if I can say something even from a newbie POV, I totally agree about using hands in your last post, but the problem in your shot is that you can see the camera moving with your legs, but not up and down as if it would be if it was a matter of hands, just little stops in movement that are originated from your steps, if you walk faster they disappear because there is no mid time between one step and the other, theoretically they would disappear if you can manage to walk without lifting your feet, but that would be a dolly shot, right? I Don't have any suggestions to avoid this, since I'm a newbie, just my 2 cents, to me it's not a problem of hands but of walking. For example in the bar shoot if you would have softly rotate the camera while geting closer to them that "walking" feeling would probably have diappear.

even if I still didn't take a workshop I decide to give my impression anyway, It's been three months of practicing since I have my fisrt rig and I hope not to offend someone and mainly not to give bad suggestions, but that's what I saw when I see your little shot.

 

my best to all

 

Matteo

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