Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Happy 40th, Steadicam!

The first use of a Steadicam was a tracking shot in 1976's Bound For Glory. But because the second movie to feature a Steadicam, Rocky, made it to theaters first, that's when the public first saw a Steadicam scene — of Sylvester Stallone running up those steps in sweatpants.
     Nowdays, any schmuck can get a Steadicam Jr., for his cellphone. Don't ask AKSARBENT how it knows this, but we assure you: using any Steadicam effectively takes practice.
     Hint: if you don't balance a camera stabilization system right, it will always sway on you. That comes from being bottom-heavy from too much counterweight.
     How much is too much?
     Perform the drop test: before leveling the camera, grab the bottom of the stabilizer (i.e., Steadicam, GlideCam, etc.) and swing it up so that the camera/stabilizer are parallel, not perpendicular, to the ground. Then let go. If properly counterweighted, the stabilizer should take 1-2 seconds to drop. (Two seconds is better.) You're welcome.

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