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21 Jan 2021

Steadicam

Steadicam
Steadicam is a company that creates camera stabilizer mounts used in cinematography that mechanically isolates the camera from the operator's movement, creating smooth, steady, footage, despite the movement of the camera operator.

What is a Steadicam?

There are countless instances where technology has revolutionized how films are made, and the Steadicam is no exception. The Steadicam was invented by Garret Brown and was introduced in 1975. It refers to a brand of cinema stabilizer mounts for motion picture cameras.

Brown first used the Steadicam in 1976 and was later popularized in iconic movies like Rocky. Brown has also gone on to create other inventions such as the Skycam and Divecam. The Steadicam combined the stability of a tripod mount with the fluid motion of hand-held camera work. The design allows for a smooth shot even if there are irregular surfaces, as it mechanically isolates the camera from the operator’s movements.

How to Use a Steadicam

A Steadicam can be challenging to use, and it might take some time for operators to understand and get used to it. Either way, a Steadicam takes a significant amount of practice. There are different types of Steadicams, as well. There’s also good news: you don’t have to be an expert Hollywood director to understand how to balance DIY Steadicam.

A Steadicam might involve a Steadicam arm and vest, but it also often utilizes a Steadicam sled so that it looks like the camera is floating effortlessly. Often, operators figure out how to use other camera stabilization systems, as Steadicam is not the only product involved. Specifically, some notable Steadicam competitors include Glidecam industries and Varizoom.

Tips for Steadicam Operators

First and foremost, the operator of the Steadicam should follow the predetermined path for the Steadicam shot. If you want to understand how to balance DIY Steadicam, there’s also the obvious fact that any potential obstacles in the path should be removed before the shot. It’s important to note that the operator is required to have a significant amount of stamina for the best results. They should be experts in how to use a Steadicam.

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There are other Steadicam tips to consider, as well. If you are serious about learning how to use a Steadicam, you should treat the arm like an extension of your body. Even after years of operating one, you may learn that there are always new techniques and tactics regarding using a Steadicam more efficiently, and Steadicam operators should continue researching techniques to hone their skills.

Conclusion

The sled is what provides balance in a Steadicam and it can be challenging to find “dynamic balance” before filming. The camera is positioned on the sled, as well, and the sled pole is what connects the various camera components. It can take some time for operators to understand how to use a Steadicam, but some experienced directors continue to figure out new Steadicam techniques.

One thing is for sure - it’s worth it for aspiring directors and cinematographers to figure out how to balance DIY Steadicam, as it produces a very unique visual. Of course, it can be difficult for those aspiring to get into a career to figure out how to use a Steadicam if they don’t have the money or resources. Regardless, there is a tremendous amount of useful information on the internet, books, podcasts, and blog articles.

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