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How do you use a stabalizer?

Jennifer O'Rourke's picture
Last seen: 3 months 4 weeks ago
Joined: 03/07/2008 - 10:44pm
Plus Member

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Hi, everyone, Jennifer O'Rourke with Videomaker
here. I have a reader that asks an interesting question and I thought
I'd throw it out to the forums.

I have a reader that
asks: "Does the magazine have an article on how to walk using a
stabilizer. I really suck at this!"

I did some research and can't see if we've ever done a story on the proper way to use a tripod or stabilizer. Looks like a story is in the plan, huh? Any ideas?

We talk about doing
what we call "The Marx Walk" for hand-held shoot - imagine Groucho Marx
walking in a room with his knees bent. It makes for a smoother image.
Anything else?


birdcat's picture
Last seen: 1 year 10 months ago
Joined: 10/21/2005 - 10:09am
Plus Member Moderator

Hi Jennifer -

I was once at a Vegas User's Group meeting in NY and a guy came in with his GlideCam rig to demonstrate it. He had the body mount version and all he did was walk normally just lightly guiding the camera with his hand - the rig did the rest. I will say I was impressed but he had the higher end stuff (and lots of the accessories) and while less than a SteadyCam it was still pretty pricey all told.

Bruce Paul 7Squared Productions http://www.7squared.com



Rick Crampton's picture
Last seen: 1 month 3 days ago
Joined: 08/20/2009 - 1:08pm

"Does the magazine have an article on how to walk using a
stabilizer. I really suck at this!"

Use a wheelchair or shoot from a grocery cart . . . OR a pricey SteadyCam . . . . or a shoulder-mount camera andkeep a wide angle on the lense while walking like Groucho . . . . . Howz about a miniature remote controlled dirigable?

Rick Crampton


roblewis56's picture
Last seen: 6 hours 39 min ago
Joined: 06/07/2009 - 11:59pm

Dear Jennifer, If VM does an article on using a stabilizer I hope it includes video examples of what to expect by an experienced user over some standard course that includes walking back and forth on level ground, panning left and right and up and down and walking up and down stairs. Past reviews that I have seen have not included this.

Robert


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 3 months 4 days ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

Each of the many versions of stabilizer devices has its own set of unique requirements for utilizing it to the maximum effect. Most/many of them also require MORE of a physical endeavor than the non-initiated realize. Even those with the body harness require upper torso strength and endurance to use them to maximum effect or even for extended periods of time.

When I say "extended period" I'm not talking about hours, I'm talking about minutes. With the SteadyCam JR and other similar devices, you need to have an good amount of shoulder, arm and wrist strength and some stamina. The so-called Grouch crouch also works well with these, but again NOT for extended periods of time.

When using ANY of these devices, handheld or body harness, it is always best to determine the shot you want, set it up and get it done. Sure, if you're strong enough, familiar enough and the rig is properly adjusted, you can perform extended shots: the circling several times of a subject, a walk-and-talk of say, 15 minutes ... maybe.

Those who have NEVER used any type of stabilizer have the uninformed perception that it takes the load off. Nope. It requires muscles and stamina you've probably never had. And it still puts extreme pressure on parts of your anatomy that will leave you sore if you're not in excellent physical condition.

Even then you'll know you've been under the gun after using one continuously for any unusual length of time. I once covered a 2-hour event, rigged out with a GlideCam V8 body harness system and it wore me to the bone.

Another thing is it takes a LOT more skill and appreciation for the fickle behavior of some of these rigs when it comes to keeping them balanced, taking them off, putting them back on during a session, re-balancing, wind-factor with the handheld units and keeping a steady eye on whatever kind of monitor device you hope to incorporate with them.


Gregory Watts's picture
Last seen: 1 year 2 months ago
Joined: 10/25/2010 - 2:31am

I have a book that has a video that has an instruction...yes I really have it, it is packed, we are moving this weekend, all hopes, when I get that book unpacked I will list the author and ISBN. But what has been said is suggested in the book aside from two other points.

There are three main points that I remember that stand out...

1) [It has been brought out, the Grouch Walk]

2) For stop and stand, pivot, pan, place one foot in front of and off to side of other, (right handed right foot, left handed left foot) bend slightly at knees and pivot the hips only, not the chest or legs or shoulders.

3) [This point also involves #2] Hold the camera lightly, remove hand straps at they transfer too much movement, rest the camera in your hand and avoid using zoom, approach your target when shooting. When doing a tight pan, or you want a really nice effect, pan with the wrist (not the hand) and waist at same time but at different speeds. This gives a nice smooth glide type pan and works great if you like making scary movies. Takes time to learn it is in that video. (If I can get by posting it somewhere I will).

And one last thing that helped me

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Camera-Stabilizer-Handle-Canon-Sony-JVC-Panasonic-/260516556240?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3ca7ff2dd0

This is a sweet little extra that is tough, I have yet to be able to break it, not that I have tried. If you go into the guys store he has a lot of stuff to mount on the arm. This is not for larger cameras, and I call it the poor mans steady cam. But he has video's showing you how to use it and in time you can get really decent. But Earl's point is to be taken. In time trying to keep it steady will hurt, it requires learning small muscle adjustments, like piloting a helicopter I guess, too much and CRASH. But for low budgets this thing is nice and it adds a little protection to the camera.

 "A Photo Captures but a Moment in Time: Video Captures a Lifetime in a Moment"


Gregory Watts's picture
Last seen: 1 year 2 months ago
Joined: 10/25/2010 - 2:31am

Here are the videos from that Cam Caddie

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANt3N-o4iLk

 "A Photo Captures but a Moment in Time: Video Captures a Lifetime in a Moment"


terryo's picture
Last seen: 2 years 4 months ago
Joined: 03/14/2012 - 3:49am

EarlC is right.

These things take an enormous amount of energy, skill and patience to make work. I have been working with one with a Canon 5D and a 24-105. I have a viewfinder attached to the back and the things starts out pretty light weight but after about five minutes it's suddenly weighs a ton!

I have a C stand with a Cartelllini on to hold the set up between takes which helps. I am finding that it's very difficult to pan smoothly for more than one short sweep. Everyone has examples of fast moving cameras with fast moving subjects but does anyone have some tips for slower pans?

Thanks


Gregory Watts's picture
Last seen: 1 year 2 months ago
Joined: 10/25/2010 - 2:31am

@Terry, Points #'s 2 & 3 in my post above is my best suggestion.

 "A Photo Captures but a Moment in Time: Video Captures a Lifetime in a Moment"


waxart's picture
Last seen: 1 year 8 months ago
Joined: 10/19/2011 - 5:00am
Plus Member

I'm in my sixties and have a Cam Caddie. Is it too late for me to learn to skateboard?


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 3 months 4 days ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

Goodness NO, Ann Baldwin. Pad everything on your body that's important to you and ROCK! Even the spills recorded on your Cam Caddie can provide THRILLS ;-)